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"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."

"For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation."



 A Preacher in his Study





The lives of Jonah and Jesus have several interesting similarities!

Jesus "hinted" at such in Matthew 12:40.  "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."

Then again Luke 11:30 says:  "For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation."

Today I would like to mention one of those parallels between their lives.

We read in 2nd Kings 14:25 of ... "Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher."

Gathhepher grammatically means "wine-press on the hill!"

It is located about 3 miles from Nazareth!

Jesus lived, according to Matthew 2:23, in Nazareth!  "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."

Both Jonah and Jesus came from Galilee!

"And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee." Matthew 21:11

Apparently that area did not enjoy a good reputation with the people of Judah, the southern part of Israel.

Nathaniel, one of Christ's Disciples, at first asked: "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"  That's when ...  "Philip saith unto him, Come and see."

At least once in the Bible Galilee was clearly associated with the despised Gentiles!  "The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles."  Matthew 4:15

Even the Pharisees disparaged the area.  "They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." John 7:52  (This is not the first ... or last ... time these men were wrong!)


Both Jonah and Jesus were reared in obscure towns.

Both were brought up near each other.

Both were associated with Galilee.

Both had been acclimated to Gentiles!

The area of Galilee that included both Gathhepher and Nazareth was intersected by trade routes, roads that led commercial interests both north and south as well as east and west.  Peoples of many nations traveled thereby and often dwelt in the area.

Jesus our Lord, even as a young Man, had been around Gentiles for years!

Why is this so important?

Jonah is best known for his ministry to Gentiles!

The Ninevites were Assyrians!


Our dear Lord, different from most Jews, had a vast world-view!

In fact, on the Cross of Calvary ... Jesus died for us old Gentiles!

"Filthy dogs," most Israelites called us!

"Objects of love," Jesus countered!

"For God so loved the world (including Gentiles), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

And "He (Jesus) came unto his own (the Jews), and his own received him not. But as many as received him (us Gentiles), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."  John 1:11-12

Praise the Lord!

Jonah, centuries before the Cross, showed us (in spite of himself) how God loves the peoples of all nations, even Assyrians!

In that sense too He prefigured our Lord.

Again one may ask, WHY is Brother Bagwell so excited?

Because I am an old Gentile!

I was among the "despised!"

But Jesus loved me!

And died for me!

And saved my soul!

Thank God for these two men who ministered to Gentiles!  Although one (Jonah) did so reluctantly ... and The Other (Jesus) did so willingly!

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."  2nd Peter 3:9

Glory to his Name!

Believing Friend, on this first day of the new year, thank God you are saved!

Thank Him that Jesus included Gentiles in the great Plan of Salvation!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




It's a fact easily overlooked now.

Within just a few years of Israel's rejection of Jesus as her Messiah, the nation lay in ruins!

Jerusalem had been besieged and attacked.

The Temple had been destroyed.

The people had been brutally mistreated. Thousands of them starved to death. Many others were outright murdered.

Jesus truly lived and preached in the "last days" of His nation.

Israel did not "exist" as a nation from 70 AD until 1948 AD!

During that time the dear Jewish people "wandered" from place to place, having to settle throughout the other nations of the world.

Another Prophet of Galilee preached under similar conditions!

His name was Jonah.

He, although most famously preaching to the Gentile Assyrians, also had a  ministry with the people of Israel.  His nation had "split" years earlier into two kingdoms, a northern one and a southern one.  And Jonah was a northerner.

2nd Kings 14:25 specifically tells us:  "He (Israel's King Jeroboam, son of Joash) restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher."  Jonah preached in the days of Jeroboam, really Jeroboam II.  He reigned roughly around 775 BC and Israel was "taken" captive by the Assyrians in 721 BC! 

Therefore ... Jonah preached in the "last days" of his nation too! 

By the way, quickly notice one thing with me please.  Although Israel had only a few years left prior to her national "expulsion," she was "prospering" politically! Land, taken years ago, was being restored.  Commerce was "booming."  And life had seldom been better!

Then ... suddenly and quickly ... the "end" came!

Woe be unto other nations, including contemporary ones, who sinfully ignore Almighty God!

Yes, Jonah and Jesus ... both men were Prophets of the "last days!"

Those men of God associated with such times are often called upon to rebuke sin.  Both Hosea and Amos preached during the time of Jeroboam II also.  Listen to Amos:  "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations! Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David; that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed."  Portions of Amos 6

And Jonah surely had no trouble preaching doom to the inhabitants of wicked Gentile Nineveh!  "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown," he repeatedly cried!

And listen to Jesus rebuke sin in the last days of Israel prior to 70 AD.  He especially clashed with the religious hypocrites of the time.  "Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying; The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, whosoever shall swear by the temple, woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, if we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets."

Yes, Jonah was a "last days" preacher ... and Jesus was too!

Additionally ...  the true men of God who live on earth today are as well!

Biblically speaking, we have been in the "last days" since Jesus walked this earth 2,000 years ago!  Hebrews 1 informs us:  "God ... hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds."

Men, we too must confront sin!

We must preach "judgment" from the hand of a Holy God!

Brethren, let it be ultimately said of us in our future eternal home:  "Jonah and Jesus and     your name here   , preachers of righteousness!  Faithful even in the 'last days' of their generations!"


                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell


P. S. --- Jonah of course was an inferior Preacher when compared to Jesus!  His ministry, even during exceedingly sinful times, was rather upbeat and optimistic.  At least that's the case from the information we have recorded in Scripture. Jonah even spoke some "good things" about a wicked King (Jeroboam II of Israel)!  Of course he preached judgment to the Gentiles!  He even became angry when God did not judge the Ninevites!  However, Jesus always exposed truth accurately and boldly!  Our Lord neither had "favorites" nor did He harbor any bitterness at the Will of His Father in Heaven!

And then notice this too:  Both times the Judgment of God fell upon Israel, in 721 BC shortly after Jonah lived and again in 70 AD shortly after Jesus' earthly Ministry, the terrible calamities that befell were the side-effects of sin!  God judges iniquity!   "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34




Jonah loved his Country!

The only time this Prophet is mentioned in Scripture, prior to the Book that bears his name, he has been preaching about the prosperity of his nation, Israel.

"He (the King of Israel) restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher."   2nd Kings 14:25

I suspect Jonah loved preaching that message!

Yes, although Jeroboam, this being the second Jewish King to bear that name, did not do right in the sight of God ... he nonetheless was blessed of the Lord in having much formerly captured land restored to his people!  Hamath was in the north and the "Sea of the plain" was the Dead Sea in the south! 

Jonah the Prophet was no doubt well-known throughout Israel as a man with great patriotism!  His words were powerfully strong on Israel's behalf!

In fact, that may have been the key reason why Jonah did NOT want to go preach at Nineveh.  The people of Assyria (of which Nineveh was the main city) were fierce enemies to Israel!  Jonah could not bear the thought that God might forgive them and "spare" that ungodly nation.  To do so would be sure "suicide" for Israel! 

In fact, within a relatively few years of Jonah's ministry, Assyria DID attack Israel, taking ten of her Tribes into captivity!

I say this again:  Jonah loved Israel!

Now think with me a few minutes about Jesus!

He, our dear Lord, loved Israel too!

You will find these words to be quite plain.  "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."  Matthew 10:5-6

And later when a Canaanite women asked for healing for her daughter, Jesus responded:  "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 15:24

And, most powerfully of all, in Matthew 23:37 Jesus cried:  "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

Even when the Lord returns again to earth, Revelation 1:7 promises that "they also which pierced Him" will see Him and will "wail" because of Him ... trusting Jesus as their Saviour!   It is specifically the Jew who "pierced" our Lord.

Yes, He still loves Israel!

Isn't that amazing?

The two great Bible Prophets, one very human and One wholly Divine ... Jonah and Jesus, came from Galilee, "Galilee of the Gentiles" according to Matthew 4:15.

Yet both loved Israel passionately!

Paul the Apostle shared this love!  Listen to him:  "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."  Romans 1:16

He even said this:  "For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh."  Paul was willing to die and go to Hell ... if only Israel would be saved!  Romans 9:3

And, back to Jonah just for a second, as soon as that storm hit on his now famous ocean journey, he identified himself saying:  "I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land." Jonah 1:9

See that?

"I am a Hebrew!"

He was not ashamed!

Rather, he was proud of his Jewish heritage!

He loved his Country!

Of course Jonah's love for Israel, although admirable, did not eternally help them at all.  His efforts were merely temporary.

However, Jesus' love for Israel, His shed Blood on their behalf (as well as ours) has made possible their very Redemption!

What love!

"Behold what manner of love!"  1st John 3:1

Yes, in summary, Jonah loved the Jews!

Jesus loved the Jews!

Paul loved the Jews!

In fact, there is a Bible promise of blessing to all those who love the Jews!  To  folks who "bless" Abraham and his seed God guarantees some things.  "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Genesis 12:1-3

The Lord even went so far as to promise a blessing for those who pray for Israel!  "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee." Psalm 122:6

Christian friend, have you prayed for Israel today?

Have you witnessed to that Jewish man or woman you know?

Or ... do we even care?

I'm going to be favorable to God's earthly people!

Jesus was a Jew!  God's Son, yes ... but still a Jew physically!

So were the Prophets of old!

And the Apostles of New Testament days!

And the Word of God even came to us through Jewish hands! Paul said of the Jews, "unto them were committed the oracles (Word) of God."  Romans 3:2 

Yes, we had best have a burden for the salvation of Israel!

After all, several times God called her "the apple of His Eye!"  Listen to the warning of Zechariah 2:8.  "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you (Israel) toucheth the apple of his eye."


                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Old Testament Prophet Jonah was called of God to go preach to the people of Nineveh.  Instead, he hurried to Israel's seaport, determined not to obey this divine command!

But yesterday I learned something quite interesting.

The route Jonah would have taken on the trip from his home at Gathhepher to the port city of Joppa would have carried him right through the land of Samaria. 

Yes, Jonah went right through Samaria.

He traveled southbound dozens and dozens of miles, running from God's "Presence!"  At lest that's what he said in Jonah 1:3.

Jonah went through Samaria, in outright disobedience!

Jonah went through Samaria, hoping to avoid preaching to sinners!

Jonah went through Samaria, thinking only of Israel and her needs!  He despised the "dirty" people of Nineveh!

Jonah went through Samaria, to gain passage on a boat from which he would eventually be cast into the sea, swallowed by a whale and three days later ... vomited upon the shore!

Jonah went through Samaria ... in a hurry!

I hope you have already discerned some "parallels" between Jonah and Another Man Who "went through Samaria!"

We are once told of Jesus:  "And He must needs go through Samaria."  John 4:4

Yes, Jesus too went right through Samaria.

But whereas Jonah went southbound, Jesus was going northbound!

While Jonah was running from God's Presence, Jesus was perfectly in God's Presence, in full communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit!

Jonah traversed Samaria in disobedience, Jesus "needed" to go there in fulfillment of His Father's Will!  That verb "needs" in John 4:4 ("dei" in Greek) means "must" or "was necessary!"  Perfect obedience! 

And though Jonah went through Samaria hoping to avoid preaching to sinners, the people of Nineveh,  Jesus went there looking for sinners!  He found one too, a Samaritan woman who was "hungry" for God!

And though Jonah was nearly a nationalist "bigot," loving only Israel, Jesus came to die for the lost, no matter their nationality!  Even the despised Samaritans!

And do notice this fact.  Whereas Jonah went through Samaria on his way to the belly of a whale for three days and nights, Jesus went through Samaria ultimately on His way to Calvary's Cross!  The Cross where He died ... was buried ... and raised again the third day!  Our Lord Himself said in Matthew 12:40 "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."  Amen!

Then, Jonah quite hurriedly went through Samaria ... but Jesus took His time, long enough to see a soul get saved!  A woman who had lived a life of sin!  I can see Jesus now sitting by Jacob's Well, waiting for her to arrive!

I hope you see what I've tried to do today.

Jonah and Jesus!

And of course of the two, Jesus is Greater!

Scripture says, "Behold, a greater than Jonas is here!"  Matthew 12:41

It's sure easy to grasp this:  Where Jonah failed ... Jesus succeeded!

Praise His good Name!

Yes, today let's thank and praise and worship the "One Who is Greater than Jonah" for dying to save us from Hell!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Lord Jesus, when on earth two thousand years ago, compared himself to Jonah.  Of course He is much "greater" than Jonah, but several parallels nonetheless exist between the two Galilean Prophets.

Here's the most prominent one.  Jesus said:  "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."  Matthew 12:40

But notice another instance too.

After Jonah had boarded the ship, the one which he intended to take to Tarshish, he ... "was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep."  Jonah 1:5

See that?

Jonah went to sleep!

Jesus also went to sleep in a boat!

But this difference exists:  Jonah was tired because of his running FROM God. Jesus was tired because of His constant working FOR God!

Mark records Jesus' rest that day.  "And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow."  Mark 4:38

Jonah went to seep in an effort NOT to preach!  Jesus went to sleep having been physically exhausted because of much preaching!  He had just given His perfect "Sermon on the Mount," the very longest of His Messages.

Jonah's sleep was interpreted as his not "caring" about the storm at hand!  So was Jesus' rest!  And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they (the disciples) awake Him, and say unto Him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?"  Mark 8:34

Jonah's storm was allowed to show the consequences of sin!  Jesus' storm came to show the power of One Sinless Person, the Son of God!  "And the disciples said one to another, What manner of Man is This, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"

Jonah knew how to STOP that Mediterranean storm ... the sailors must cast him overboard! Jesus knew how to STOP that Galilean storm ... simply speak the words of peace! "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."  (Mark 4:39)  I told you!  Jesus is greater than Jonah!

The storm of Jonah brought rebuke to the backslidden prophet!  "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." Jonah 1:6  The storm of Jesus brought rebuke to the disciples!  "And He (Jesus) said unto them (the twelve), Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"

That Old Testament storm got the best of Jonah, leading to his three-day incarceration in the belly of a great fish!  Jesus "rebuked" His storm, leading to further glory for God His Father!

Folks, let me ask you a question today.  As you experience the "storms" of life, the hard times and various difficulties that come your way, Whom do you want with you as the winds rage and waters roll?

I want JESUS in my life!

He, rather than any other individual, is the ONE Who can handle the storms!

He can even "walk" on the waters!

He is the Creator of all!

Anyone in such a storm today?

Then call it to His Attention!

He is still the Master of the Sea!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Prophet Jonah actually ran from the Presence of God!

"But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD."  Jonah 1:3

He decided to buy passage on a ship, one headed in the very opposite direction from Nineveh! 

But, soon the backslidden Prophet learned that his "holiday" in the sun was not to be!

The storm came!

And Jonah found himself the subject of a grueling series of questions!

Once this reluctant Man of God had been marked as the cause of the violent wind and furious tempest ... he had to "answer" for some things!

The Captain is specifically mentioned as the interrogator!  "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?"  Jonah 1:8

In rapid-fire fashion, Jonah was under the "microscope," being examined for his past deeds!

In a way this scene reminds me of a future time when we all (as Christians) will be so questioned! 

Yes, each of us Believers will have to answer some questions ... before our Captain too ... at the Judgment Seat of Christ!

Paul words it this way:  "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."  2nd Corinthians 5:10

Again, Paul teaches us:  "I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."  1st Corinthians 3:10-15

Jonah didn't do very well.  He suffered "loss" that day for sure!  Yet I remind you, he is still a "saved" Prophet of God and will spend eternity in heaven!

Jonah was on the receiving end of judgment!


The "greater than Jonah" Prophet from Galilee, the Son of God, Deity incarnate, will also some day be at that Judgment Seat Paul mentioned!

But NOT as one receiving judgment!

He is the One Who will be administering Judgment!

"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.  That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him." John 5:22-23

He is the One Who knows our thoughts and motives!

He is the One Who discerns the wood, hay and stubble ... or the gold, silver and precious stones in our Christian service!

And even on that serious day, the day of the saints' reckoning, Jesus will be glorified and recognized and honored as the Fulfillment of all Jonah merely represented!

Yes I say it again, quoting our Lord Who is in context speaking about judgment, "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."  Matthew 12:41


We all, having either been rewarded or having suffered loss, will gladly join the throngs already in heaven saying:  "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments."  Revelation 16:7

Or, grouped from Psalm 119, "Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments."  Or maybe:  "Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments."  Again, "At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments."  And maybe, "I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments."

Jonah, the judged!

But, hallelujah, Jesus ... The Judge!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




There's no doubt about it.

Jonah IS a Type of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Especially in his descent into the "belly" of the great fish ... and expulsion three days later on dry ground!

That was a picture of the burial and resurrection of our Lord.

But  I noticed something else earlier this week.

Jonah, once he was discovered to be a runaway Prophet and the cause of the great storm, suddenly became more humble and reverent.

In order to calm the storm he even said this:  "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."  Jonah 1:12

Did you read that carefully?

Jonah believes (rightly) that he is the cause of the terrible cyclone.

He also believes (rightly) that he can help calm the thing too!

So ... he volunteers to be thrown overboard!

The Prophet, in reality, has become willing to die ... in order to save the others on board the ship!

"So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging."  Jonah 1:15

This, folks, is substitutionary death!

This is a vicarious sacrifice of one man for many men!

And it is an astounding picture of what Jesus did on the old rugged Cross for you and me!

No, Jesus is not the cause of sin.  Adam was!

And no, Jesus is not in the least disobedient or sinful as was Jonah.  In fact, our Lord was ... "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."  Hebrews 4:14

But, yes, Jesus was willing to die!

And yes, He was dying for others.  Not just a few as in Jonah's case ... but for multitudes!

Jesus was the True Atonement for lost souls!

He is the Substitute!

He is the Vicarious Sufferer!

He is The Saviour!

Jesus, as Jonah, died at the hands of those He intended to save!

Jesus even prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."  Luke 23:34

Then ... Jesus, again as Jonah, was buried!

Jonah in a whale's stomach ... Jesus in a borrowed rock grave!

Both were in their respective places of confinement for three days and three nights!

The both came "up" out of the depths!

There is even some grammatical reason to believe that Jonah just may have died too ... and then was subsequently raised from the dead!

There is no doubt Jesus was bodily resurrected by his Father!

And the result of Jonah's ordeal:  "Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows."  Jonah 1:16

To describe the sailors' response in New Testament terms, they believed on the Lord!  They got saved!

Their lives were changed!

And the result of Jesus' Death Burial and Resurrection?

Countless thousands have been born again, washed in the precious Blood of the Lamb, redeemed!

No wonder the world today scoffs at the Bible account of Jonah.

We need not be surprised that liberal so-called "scholars" doubt the accuracy of the "great fish" story!

It so clearly foreshadows the Gospel of Jesus Christ ... that the devil must fight it passionately!

I just know this.  If Jonah's life and ministry were acceptable to Jesus, there are just fine for Brother Bagwell too!

Yes, I do believe the strange account of that little Minor Prophet, the one swallowed by a whale!

How thankful we should be today that Jesus has come and died and been buried and raised again ... "for our justification."  Romans 4:25

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




When one studies the Bible, looking for great examples of praying men and women, he just can't overlook the Old Testament Prophet Jonah!

Whatever may be said "against" Jonah, one thing just must be said "for" him; he was a man of prayer!

He knew how to commune with God!

The greatest of his prayers is recorded in Jonah chapter two.

It is a classic case study in intercession!

Really the whole chapter needs to be inserted here.  I will capitalize certain words or phrases for emphasis.

"Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, and said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.  For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.  Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.  The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.  I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.  When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.  They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.  But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD."

Not only is the prayer absolutely full of Old Testament Scripture, it is also intensely personal and beautifully worded.  And, when compared with most other Bible prayers, it is lengthy too!

But, Preacher Bagwell, was his prayer "answered?"


"And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land." Jonah 2:10

Now ... let me compare Jonah to Another Prayer Warrior in the Bible, the most effective One of all!

Jesus, Who is much "Greater than Jonah," also prayed a lengthy prayer in the Bible!  It is recorded in John 17. 

But I really feel Jonah's prayer from the belly of the whale is more comparable to Jesus' Gethsemane prayer!

There Luke records that Jesus ... "kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow."  Luke 22

Matthew adds:  "Then saith Jesus unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed."  Matthew 26

Mark, supplying the final details, says that Jesus  "began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy.  And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.  And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt."  Mark 14

As Jonah prayed he was facing death!

So was Jesus!

Jonah mentioned his affliction!

So did Jesus!

Jonah knew his cause was in the Hand of the Lord God!

So with Jesus!

Jonah was said to be "cast out of the sight of the Lord!"

Jesus cried that He was "forsaken" of the Father too!

Jonah was at the "bottoms of the mountains!"

Jesus went to "the heart of the earth!"

Jonah was by then determined to keep His vows to God!

So was Jesus ... "Thy Will be done, Father!"

Then ... Jonah's prayer dealt ultimately with salvation!

That's exactly why Jesus died too, to save perishing old sinners!

And, by the way, Jonah's prayer was answered!

As was our Lord's!  "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared."  Hebrews 5:8

Two men of prayer!

One being just the symbol or emblem or the "type," but the Other eternally being the Antitype or the Fulfillment!

Glory to God!

I am so thankful Jesus prayed!

Come to think of it, He is still praying yet today!

Hebrews 7:25 tells us of our Lord:  "He ever liveth to make intercession for them who come unto God by him!"

That's us!

Glory to God!

Just think about it Christian friend!

Jesus has already prayed for YOU today!

He is indeed the GREAT High Priest!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Prophet Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the whale!

Jesus said so.  "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."  Matthew 12:40

Our Lord further indicated that this ordeal of Jonah's was a "picture" or a "type" or a "symbol" to the men of this world.  "But He answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas."  Matthew 12:39

The Greek word there for "sign" is "semeion" and means "that which points to another!"

Jonah's descent into the fish's stomach "points" to Jesus' Death!

Jonah's three days and nights there "point" to Jesus' Burial!

And Jonah's release from the whale ... alive and on dry land ... "points" to Jesus' Bodily Resurrection!

Let me mention several quick truths about Jonah's coming out of the whale's interior!

Jonah had nothing to do with such an expulsion!  He was a passive participant! And so was Jesus raised from the dead ... by His Father's Power!  "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."  (Romans 10:9) Notice Who raised Jesus from the dead!  God the Father did!

Jonah's release was a carefully timed event!  Precisely after three days and nights had passed, the Prophet was deposited upon dry ground!  So was Jesus raised from the dead ... on the third day!  "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day."  Matthew 16:21

Jonah, when raised, likely was a "marked" man.  He surely bore in his body certain indications of his time in the whale's belly!  Perhaps certain "stains" or "scars" easily visible to others!  And Jesus too bore marks of His Death!  Nail scarred hands and feet, even after His Resurrection are apparent!  Jesus, after His Resurrection, said to Thomas: "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing."  John 20:27

And if I might add this fact.  The whale, after experiencing his Jonah "event," went off somewhere and died!  How do I know this?  Well, he either died or there is a 2,700 year old whale swimming somewhere in the ocean!  And it is so fitting that this whale died!  Because Jesus, when He arose from the Grave, also "slew" that dreaded enemy!  Jesus, through his Death ... destroyed death!  "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"  1st Corinthians 15:54-55

And lastly, everywhere Jonah went thereafter, he was known as "the man who entered and exited the stomach of a whale!"  Surely that miraculous event defined him thereafter!  And so it is with Jesus too!  Every time the Apostles mentioned His Name, after His Death and Burial and Resurrection, they called attention to His being ALIVE, RESURRECTED, VICTORIOUS!  Listen to Peter at Pentecost:  "Him (Jesus), being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."  Acts 2:23-24

Look at those last words:  "It was not possible" that death should hold Him! Neither could the whale "hold" Jonah!   The fish "vomited out Jonah upon the dry land."  He had stomached that Preacher as long as he possibly could!

By the way, it is also quite likely that Jonah was expelled from the fish at or near Joppa, the very point of origin for his runaway journey!  And Jesus too was raised not far at all from where He had been crucified!  John 19:41 tells us: "Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid."  There Jesus was buried and raised!

Thank God for the Bible account of Jonah!

But even more so, thank God for the Truth of Jesus (The Greater Than Jonah) Who vicariously died for you and me!  Was literally buried for three days and nights!  And Who bodily arose "for our justification!"  Romans 4:25

And He lives yet today!

Eternally so!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




After the "whale" incident Jonah preached, obeying the Lord!

"Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee," said the Lord in Jonah 3:1.

His sermon?

Eight short words --- "And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."  Jonah 3:4

The amazing thing, the real miracle of the Book of Jonah, is that "the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them."  Jonah 3:5

And even more astounding is the response of the King!  "For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes."  Jonah 3:6

Revival came to Nineveh, real Revival!

"And he (the King) caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?"  Jonah 3:7-9

Two things we are here told:  Multitudes believed God ... and turned from their evil way!

That's exactly what the people of Thessalonica did under the preaching of the Apostle Paul too!  He marveled at ... "what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols ...."  1st Thessalonians 1:9

They turned to God ... belief!

They turned from idols ... repentance!

These are the exact things the Assyrians did in Jonah's day!

And the repentance of the people diverted God's great Hand of judgment!  "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."  Jonah 3:10

Let's analyze that Revival for a minute, the one in Jonah's day.

What was the POWER behind the preaching of the Prophet?

His personality was not very pleasing.

He at first (and maybe even at last) did NOT want to be there in Nineveh preaching.

He apparently did not even want to see those folks get right with God!

Again, what made his message so effective?

The Holy Spirit?  Yes!

The message of Nineveh's impending doom?  Probably!

God's providential will?  Surely!

But I believe there's something else!

No doubt "word" about Jonah's "experience" has traveled!

Folks began to learn of his ordeal.

I'm of course speaking of his descent into the belly of the whale, his being buried there for three days and nights, and his miraculous "expulsion" back on dry land!

That "testimony" of Jonah no doubt played a powerful role in the supernatural fruit his mission produced!

Folks were overwhelmed at that "story," the actual historical "account" of what amounted to Jonah's death, burial and resurrection, at least in "type" or "symbol!"

Jesus Himself said so!

Oh, I just mentioned Jesus!

The One of Whom Jonah is a picture!

God's very Son!

He was familiar with the epoch Jonah endured!  He said: "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."  Matthew 12:40

Do you know why the multitudes have believed on Jesus?

Why the Gospel story has had such power over the ages?

Why tens of thousands throughout history have repented and been saved by the Grace of God?

The same two reasons that prevailed at Nineveh!

Number one:  Judgement!  "For the wages of sin is death."  Romans 6:23a

Number two, the real power behind all preaching, the "heart" of our message: "That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures."  1st Corinthians 15:3


The Power that drives the Gospel ... in fact the very essence of the Gospel ... is Jesus' Death, Burial and Resurrection!

No man is ever saved until he, by faith, sees Jesus as his own personal Saviour, the One Who died for Him and was raised again for Him and lives eternally at the Father's Right Hand!

But what is this "linkage" between real repentance and real trust or belief in God and His Word?

Jesus shows us.  "Now after that John (the Baptist) was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Mark 1:14-15

The power behind Jonah's preaching was his experience with that great fish, his victory over such an awesome animal!

And the power behind the Gospel is Jesus' experience with Death on that old rugged Cross, His victory over such a universal enemy!

Thank God for the Gospel!

Without It, none of us would have ... or even could have ... ever been saved!

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9

Yes, Jonah's power rested in His "picture" of the Gospel Story!

And yet today Salvation's power rests there too, in Jesus' Gospel Story!

Again Paul best said it:  "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."  Romans 1:16



                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Jonah was an unusual prophet.

He perhaps was instrumental in the greatest revival in the Old Testament!

Repentance fell on the whole city of Nineveh!

With a population into the tens of thousands, the metropolis believed God and turned from their wicked ways.

The strange thing is that Jonah was not pleased!

After Jonah 3:10 reports that  "God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not," we are immediately told that Jonah was "very angry!" Jonah 3:11

Here's the whole verse:  "But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry."

So angry that he "talked back" to the Lord, saying something like "I told you so!  I knew they would repent ... and that Thou wouldest forgive them!"

Mad over sinners getting right with God, Jonah still had not lost his sense of pleasure and delight! 

He was absolutely thrilled over a little gourd plant that miraculously grew overnight ... to shield him from the scorching heat of the sun!  "And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd."  Jonah 4:6

Jonah, "upset" because sinners believed!

But now "calm" because a little tree appeared!

Wouldn't the environmentalists have been proud of him?

Let me word it this way:  Jonah grieved over sinners who had  repented!

But now, for a few minutes, let's think about One Who is "Greater than Jonah," the Lord Jesus Christ.

He too has presided over great Revival!

He is the Author (as well as the Finisher) of our salvation!

He did more than preach to bring about our deliverance!

He died a substitutionary Death on our behalf!

And now, when a soul falls under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit of God, repents of his or her sin and believes on Jesus ... the Lord not only saves him, but also rejoices over him too!

Jesus delights in souls being saved!

He even said so in Luke 15 ... 3 times! 

Luke 15:7 --- "I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."

Luke 15:10 --- "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."

And Luke 15:32 --- "It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found."

Yes, even the Pharisees realized concerning Jesus:  "This Man receiveth sinners!"  Luke 15:2

That verb "receiveth" ("prosdechomai") has the idea of accepting someone with anticipation and eagerness!  Face to face!

We today should be so glad that God, unlike Jonah, is not willing that sinners should perish ... but come to repentance!

The Old Testament even goes so far as to picture God happily singing over His Own!  "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17

Glory to God!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The last we see of that great Old Testament Prophet named Jonah he ... "went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city."  Jonah 4:5

Before long however, he is grumbling!

In fact, his last recorded words sadly were: "It is better for me to die than to live" and "I do well to be angry, even unto death." Jonah 4:8-9

That's after forty days of preaching ... with tremendous results!

In this respect ... how very different Jonah is from Jesus!

Jesus too left the world in which He had ministered!

Our Lord left the Mount of Olives, after "showing Himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."  Acts 1:3

Do you see that parallel?

Jonah and his forty days of preaching repentance!

Then Jesus and His forty days of proving the Resurrection!

Then they both (these Prophets from Galilee) sat down!

Jonah sat outside the city, I think still waiting for fire to fall!

And Jesus sat at the Father's Right Hand, making intercession for His Own children!  Listen to what God the Father told the freshly ascended Jesus to do: "Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."  Psalm 110:1

And out of Jonah's mouth came these final words:  "It is better for me to die than to live" and "I do well to be angry, even unto death." (Jonah 4:8-9)  Pretty morbid, even for Jonah!

Yet out of the ascended Jesus' mouth flow glorious words like these as He prays for you and me:  "Father, I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.  Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  Father, Thou art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."  These Scripture selections are from John 17, Jesus' High Priestly Prayer!

In summary, Jonah and Jesus each end their earthly ministries with "forty day" periods of time!

Each then "sat down" ... due to their finished tasks!

Then each spoke!

Jonah focusing on death ... and Jesus on life, eternal life!

I'm seeing more and more why Jesus is called "the greater than Jonah!"

Thank God for what our ascended Lord is doing right now!

How blessed we Believers really are ... all because of Jesus!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Book of Jonah ends with the prophet simply "disappearing" from the Bible record!  We never hear of him again in all the subsequent Old Testament Books!

Of course he is mentioned again in the New Testament, by Jesus Himself!

Jonah has vanished ... and he was mad (angry) when last seen!

But the great Antitype to Jonah, the Lord Jesus Christ ... although He too vanished after His Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension ... is coming again!

He too will be "angry," righteously indignant and judging iniquity when He returns to earth!  I think Isaiah has Him in mind when he wrote:  "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.  Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?  I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.  For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come."  Isaiah 63:1-4

Of course before Jesus literally comes to earth, He will appear in "the air!"  He will "rapture" away His saints who have believed on His Name!  That phase of His Return will be joyful, not angry!

Thank God for Jesus, the "greater than Jonas!"

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell







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