|Vol. VI Number 7||February 17, 2002|
Today I am going to introduce a subject that will upset a lot of people and cause a lot of people to question what they have been taught. If I succeed, you will start doing your own research on what the Bibles says about any subject. For today's study I am going to deal with the popular story of Jonah and the Whale which we have all have been taught as children.
The danger of this story can be found in articles where people trying to disprove the Bible say that a whale cannot swallow a human and other sources.
And there are many more arguments that the world uses against the Bible for many have been taught that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. A careful reading of Jonah shows that God prepared a great fish specifically for Jonah. This was a special creation and not one that we see in the oceans today.
1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?
9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.
10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
The teaching of a whale swallowing has lead to a number of people not to believe the Bible, but if the teaching had been about the creation or the preparation of a great fish, then there would not be as much controversy. Satan has used the Bible stories that have not been told accurately to bring questions about the validity of Christian belief. He has used the erroneously told stories to dissuade belief in the Bible. There are many who have been lost because of the Bible stories as told cannot be proved.
Now Jonah was a prophet who was running from God's instructions when he was told to go to Nineveh and prophesy against it. Jonah was afraid and decided to hide from God, which is impossible. As you can see God created a great storm at sea and even prepared a great fish just for Jonah. If the story of the prophet Jonah had been told more accurately, then there would not be the discussion and debates about whales swallowing people. It still would take faith to believe the story as it happened, but one less tool would be available for Satan to exploit.
Now a lot of you might be asking about Matthew 12:44 where Jesus refers to Jonah spending 3 days and 3 nights in the whale's belly.
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Here Jesus was referring to the original telling of the story that is told in the book of Jonah. To get the details of the story you must refer to the original telling of the experience of Jonah. Also Jesus was telling the people that the only sign that they were going to be given was the same as Jonah spending three days and nights in the belly of the whale.
Other stories include the eating of an apple instead of a fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the three wise men, the manger scene, and others. Also I remember as a little boy being told by a Lutheran minister that God does not pour out the Holy Ghost or perform miracles any more. When I asked him as a 10 year old boy he told me that God stopped doing miracles and giving the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues around 100 AD. My response to that was that there was no reason to becoming a Christian or believing the Bible. From that point on I lived a life of sin until I met a person who told me that the Holy Ghost was for today and that God still performed miracles. If it wasn't for the woman who became my wife to take me to a church that believed the Bible as it is written I would not be a Christian today.
As you can see I was dissuaded from true Christianity by a man who believed church dogma over what the Bible actually stated. We have the Bible with us today written so that you can read it for yourself. Whatever language you speak the Bible has been translated into your language for you to read it for yourself. With the Bible at your disposal there is no excuse for you not to search the scriptures for yourselves. If someone tells you something about the Bible it is your discretion to find out for yourself if what the person is telling you a Biblical fact or a story. It is vital that we tell the Bible as it is written without attempting to ``sugar coat'' what is in it. Either we believe the Bible as it is written or we don't. There is nothing in the Bible that is too hard for us to understand except when it comes in conflict with what we have always been taught. When the conflict arises it is up to us to either believe the Bible as the Word of God or not. This conflict can be very wrenching on our souls, and as a born again believer in the Bible we have to choose either the Word or dogma.
Look at the following list of sin and rate them.
After you have looked at the above list is there any difference in the eyes of God between any of them, or they all equal? Please answer before reading the following.
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
In verse 8 we see that the judgment is the same for the one who tells the ``white lie'' and the murderer. God does not differentiate between big sins and little sins. They are all sin and will get you the same judgment. Satan and the world will have you to believe that there are differences between sin, but in reality there is no difference. With the judgment the same for the murderer and the liar, there is no difference in God's eyes.
3014 E Street Philadelphia, PA 19134 Church Office Phone: (215) 634-3637 Published by: Rev. LeRoy D. Cressy (215) 535-4037
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Copyright © 2002 LeRoy D. Cressy
Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this transcript as long as the copyright and this permission notice appear.