The Jonah Saga

The Jonah Saga

Scripture: Acts 10:34-35
Date: 07/25/2015  Lesson: 4
"The Bible's authors present the valiant along with the petty in the lives of people to illustrate the truth that, no matter how weak and unpleasant these characters may be, God is able to work through them if they are willing."
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Welcome to Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. We're so glad that you are tuning in, whether it's right here in Sacramento or across the country and around the world, listening on the radio or watching live with us on our website. Let's start with #375 - work for the night is coming - and we will sing the first - we're going to do all three stanzas. #375 - Join with us. Work for the night is coming, work through the morning hours; work while the dew is sparkling; work 'mid springing flow'rs.

Work while the day grows brighter, work under the glowing sun; work for the night is coming, when man's work is done. Work for the night is coming, work thro' the sunny noon; fill brightest hours with labor, rest comes sure and soon. Give every flying minute something to keep in store; work for the night is coming, when man works no more. Work for the night is coming, under the sunset skies, while their bright tints are glowing, work for daylight flies; work till the last beam fadeth, fadeth to shine no more; work while the night is darkening, when man's work is o'er. Our next song is #358 - far and near the fields are teeming - and this goes along with our lesson - #358 - join with us and we will do all three stanzas.

Far and near the fields are teeming with the sheaves of ripened grain; far and near their gold is gleaming o'er the sunny slope and plain. Lord of harvest, send forth reapers! Hear us Lord, to thee we cry; send them now the sheaves to gather, ere the harvest-time pass by. Send them forth with morn's first beaming, send them in the noon-tide's glare; when the sun's last rays are streaming, bid them gather everywhere. Lord of harvest, send forth reapers! Hear us Lord, to thee we cry; send them now the sheaves to gather, ere the harvest-time pass by. O thou, whom thy Lord is sending, gather now the sheaves of gold; heavenward then at evening wending thou shalt come with joy untold.

Lord of harvest, send forth reapers! Hear us Lord, to thee we cry; send them now the sheaves to gather, ere the harvest-time pass by. Thank you so much for singing with us. And, at this time, our prayer to open up our program is going to be brought to us by our speaker for today, pastor and doctor David derose. Let's pray together. Father in Heaven, we thank you for the privilege we have of opening Your Word; of turning our attention to your thoughts on our behalf.

Please help us hear your voice speaking to us, to discern what you're calling us to do and to go forth, for we ask it in Jesus' Name, amen. Amen. Well, it's good to be together today to again study the Lord's word. We're continuing our journey on biblical missionaries - biblical missionaries is the theme for this quarter and today we're studying lesson #4 - lesson #4 - the Jonah saga. Now we have a special gift - a special gift that's available - it is the sign of Jonah, a remarkable little book that goes along with today's lesson.

If you've never read it, you don't have to wait. You don't have to call in and request it, you can go online to amazingfacts.org and you can receive it or you can call and request your copy - it's free offer #149 - #149 - you can either go online or you can call -788-3966 - that's 866-study-more. Well, we are studying the Jonah saga. Now, I don't know about you; when I hear that word saga, it does not bring up warm feelings in my mind. Now some of you might just say, 'well, saga, that's just a story.

' But if you listen to theologians speaking about saga, they're usually speaking about something that is not fact, they're talking about something that is legend. And the question, as we begin, is - the story of Jonah - is it fact or is it just some illustration? Is it just something that was made up to illustrate a point? Now you say, 'well, that's a ridiculous question to ask. We're all Bible-believing Christians here and we know that the story of Jonah is historical fact.' But I'll tell you, most Christians today doubt many of the stories of the old testament. I actually grew up in a tradition like that where I was told that these Bible stories were just - just made up to teach lessons. Have you heard that one before? And so, when I hear this term the Jonah saga, it's often used by individuals saying, 'well, this is kind of a, you know, made-up story.

' Well, I'll tell you, if people say today that they believe in Jesus, and I do - I mean, Jesus not only was a real historical figure, we're privileged, and I'm privileged, to call him my Lord and my Savior. Jesus actually dispels all these myths about saga in the old testament. Let's take an example, and the first one actually comes to us from one of the key Scriptures for today. It's from Matthew chapter 12 - Matthew chapter 12 and verse 40. Let's turn to Matthew 12 and, as we go there, we want to give ourselves some context.

Jesus was continually harassed as he was conducting his ministry. You know, the religious leaders often didn't take kindly to this galilean who seemed to often turn all their teachings on their head. He was giving, really, God's Word in a very clear way that the scribes and pharisees were not giving and so, those very religious leaders often were hounding Jesus and finding fault with His Words. So I'm in Matthew chapter 12 and I'm going to begin with verse 38 - Matthew chapter 12, beginning with verse 38. It says, "then some of the scribes and pharisees answered, saying, 'teacher, we want to see a sign from you.

'" - Now just stop for a minute, I mean, this is Matthew 12. Up to this point, has Jesus demonstrated at all that he is the Messiah? I mean, he's been fulfilling the biblical prophecies about someone who would come and preach the Gospel - someone who would heal, someone who would minister, someone who would teach. So Jesus, here, is coming as the very fulfillment of old testament prophecy and those who were supposedly the expositors - the ones who knew the old testament - they're asking Jesus for a sign. But Jesus says, in verse 39, "an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will The Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

" Now, the question here is, is Jesus speaking figuratively, or is he saying, in so many words, 'just like we have this real, historical account of Jonah, so you're going to see this very same thing played out in my ministry.' I would suggest to you that Jesus is speaking of Jonah as a fact. And, in fact, if you were to look through the words of Jesus, you would find that Jesus speaks of the historicity of adam and eve. Are you aware of that? Remember when they're controverting about marriage? Jesus says 'it wasn't this way from the beginning.' And he speaks of God making them male and female. He actually quotes from both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. In Matthew 24 Jesus speaks about Noah being a real person, right? 'As it was in the days of Noah.

' So all of these things that people today - many Christians - want to say 'our saga' they're legend - they're made-up stories. If you actually just look at the words of Jesus, it pulls back that veneer. Jesus is saying the story of Jonah really took place. Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of this great sea monster - or fish - and not only was it a real story, it is a sign that will speak to this generation. So the story of Jonah is a real historical story.

Now some of you say, 'well, dr. Derose, we all know that, but when we're going to go back home, there's going to be folks that say, 'hey, how do we know that Jesus wasn't just speaking of a, you know, kind of metaphorically, you know, saying, 'yeah, you remember that story?' Let me just show you one other example and I'm going to invite you to turn to your Bibles to actually Luke 11, verse 51. This is a very interesting one. You know it's very fashionable in many Christian circles, and you might say, 'well that's using the term Christian lightly dr. Derose.

' It is, when you realize what Jesus taught, but in Luke 11 we find Jesus making reference to another figure that many have tried to say was just part of saga, just part of legend, just part of a story designed to teach a lesson. So I'm in chapter 11. By the way, chapter 11 in Luke also recounts the sign of Jonah - that's in Luke 11:29 onward, but I'm hastening on now where Jesus is actually speaking about judgments that will be visited upon those who rejected the plain teachings of the Scripture. So I'm starting with Luke 11, verse 46 - Jesus speaking - "woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves to not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.

In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore the wisdom of God also said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,' that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation." Why I think that passage is so significant is many today would say that there was no adam and eve - that man just evolved over eons and eons and finally there was some spiritual infusion of a soul. 'There was no adam and eve, there was no cain and abel.' But what is Jesus saying here? He's not only saying there was a real abel, but he's saying the blood of abel is going to be reckoned to this generation. This cannot happen with a figurative person.

Are you understanding me? So when we look at these old-testament stories and some want to relegate them to the realm of myth or saga or legend, Jesus is saying in his teaching, abel really existed. Noah really existed. Adam and eve really existed. And, yes, Jonah really existed. So this may not be all that necessary for those of us who are gathered here today, but we're under barrage as Christians as the secular world tries to tell us that we can't have confidence in the Bible, and I find just the opposite as we dig deeply, as we have the privilege to do here in Granite Bay.

Well, with that background, we want to now look at the book of Jonah - a real book that tells a real story of a real man. And as I turn in my old testament to the book of Jonah, there is one single word that jumps out to me in the book of Jonah that is probably the most telling operative word in the book - at least from my vantage point. Any of you like to hazard a guess? Through my eyes, what do I think the key word in the book of Jonah is - and I'll give you a clue, it's only two letters long. I heard some of you saying it - the word 'go.' That's right, go. Let's look at how the book of Jonah begins.

It says, "now the word of the Lord came to Jonah The Son of amittai, saying, 'arise, go'" - arise, go - "'go to nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.'" - So the operative word as the book of Jonah opens is 'go.' Now, our lesson pointed out that this is not a unique word found only in the book of Jonah. Actually, we find that word 'go' at the heart of the Gospel commission. We're speaking about missionaries. And, as Christians, as we look at the call to mission, we're often turning our attentions to some of the closing words - actually the closing words in Matthew's Gospel. I invite you to keep your finger in Jonah, if you will, and turn with me to Matthew chapter 28 because this very call to go is one that is given to all believers.

You know, Jesus, more than once, if you compare the Gospels, if you compare Mark 16 with Matthew 28, you'll see that this great commission was given in more than one context. It seems that in those 40 days after Jesus' resurrection, Jesus was speaking about this mission that he was calling all believers to and in Matthew 28, all the believers that could be gathered at that time heard these words - Matthew 28 beginning with verse 18 - "Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'all authority'" - or all power - "'has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go'" - go - "'go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'" So as Matthew's Gospel closes, it closes with a commission - that at the heart of that commission is that same two-letter word, 'go.' Now a friend of mine who is a career missionary, based overseas today, I've heard him say something like this: 'how is it that Christians have this command from the master to go and most of us merely want to stay?' Okay? We're called to go and most of us want to stay. Now I'm not saying that there isn't a mission field everywhere, but the church is called to do what? To go. And so this is the command that comes to Jonah and this lesson tries to give us some windows on why Jonah struggles with the commission to go.

Now for us, that very statement that I just gave you from a modern-day missionary would suggest that many of us don't go because we're comfortable. Right? Was that Jonah's issue? Now some of us might not or had - you might say, 'well, yeah, he must have been comfortable.' But Jonah actually - I don't know that that really holds weight, because look what happens in verse 3 of Jonah chapter 1. Jonah is not so comfortable that he just stays, he actually does go. Verse 3, "but Jonah arose" - so God told him to do what? He told him to do two things: arise and to go. Does he arise? Yes, he does arise.

And does he go? He actually does go. "Jonah arose to flee to tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to joppa" - it's the city of jaffa today, a major port there in the holy land - he "found a ship going to tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to tarshish from the presence of the Lord." So we get a picture of someone who is not content to stay in his own place - that doesn't seem to be his problem. What was his problem, then? Obedience. Well, actually, we get a window on this.

The lesson points us to Jonah chapter 4 - and rightly so. Now we know the story - most all of us here, probably - of how, perhaps, the greatest missionary campaign in old testament history - maybe in the history of the Bible - was conducted by Jonah. But if we don't read chapter 4 of Jonah, which is after the repentance of the ninevites, we don't catch a window on what Jonah was thinking in Jonah 1. Let's look at it - chapter 4 - God's wrath - God's judgment is averted upon nineveh - they repent. We'll talk more about that, the Lord willing, shortly.

And in verse 2 of Jonah chapter , Jonah prays "to the Lord. And said, 'ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to tarshish; for I know that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, one who relents from doing harm.'" Why did Jonah not want to bring the message to nineveh? Well, here in chapter 4 - here in chapter 4 Jonah is saying that he knew God was merciful. Actually, your lesson, you might find this interesting if you didn't have a chance to study it or, if you did, it may have jumped out at you, but in Friday's lesson there are some discussion questions and there's a little bit of a window on history given us as to who the ninevites were. Nineveh, you see, was one of the prominent cities of assyria and assyria, at the time that the book of Jonah was written, was actually the world power of its day. Let's look at this comment in the lesson on Friday, it says, "assyria" - this is the second discussion question, if you have one of the quarterlies - "assyria was one of the superpowers dominating the ancient near east from about 885 to 625 bc.

Israel and judah suffered repeatedly under her harsh rule." Let me just tell you a little bit about that harsh rule. I was reading a little bit about the assyrians. The assyrians actually worshiped many of the same Gods that other peoples in that part of the world worshiped. There were not all that far removed, geographically, from the Babylonians, so they worshiped many of the same Gods of the Babylonians. You may have heard of marduk or baal.

But they also had a unique God. Their God that they especially worshiped, the assyrians, was by the name of asher. The God asher had a number of attributes, but one of the chief attributes of asher was that he was the God of war. And so, in reading about the assyrians, we're told that when they went to war they were engaging in an act of worship. I mean, think about that for a minute.

One of the assyrian rulers wrote this about his conquests, referring to one of his campaigns in the middle east, speaking of his worship of asher - his success for his Gods, if you will, this is what he did: "streams of blood were shed and corpses were piled up like mountains." What kind of picture does that give you? I mean, especially if you were one of the peoples that were oppressed periodically by the assyrians, as the Israelites were. What - they were a Ruthless people. They were a people that seemed to glory in carnage. So you're being given a message, if you're Jonah, and the message is that you are - that God is planning to destroy nineveh. What do you think most Israelites were praying about the assyrians? Do you ever read in the Bible where people are praying for the death of their enemies? You may remember, historically, Solomon was commended by God because when God asked him what he wished of him, Solomon did not ask for the death of his enemies.

It was common for an oppressed people to ask for the death of their enemies. I would not be surprised if Jonah, like many "good Israelites" - in quotes - "good Israelites" - were praying for the destruction of the assyrians. And so now God gives a message to Jonah saying to do what? To proclaim judgment against nineveh. Now you might say, 'well, that's all well and good. That's probably what they were praying for.

' But chapter 4 reveals to us that Jonah had this nagging suspicion. He knew the character of God. And what was the character of God? Loving, anxious to forgive. Do we need that message today? Does our world need that message? I have a - we were just talking around the table at home about one of the contexts that our family has trying to keep things as confidential as possible, but in dealing with an individual, like many you've met, 'how can I love a God like that?' 'How can there be a God if x, y, or z happens in this world?' Are you following along with me? But Jonah saw the character of God. In the midst of the difficulties in the world, Jonah saw the truth of Exodus 34.

Why don't you turn there? God gives this Revelation when Moses wants to see God. Moses wanted to see God. Have you ever felt you wanted to see God? And what's interesting to me is God doesn't let Moses physically see him. He said 'it's impossible, you can't look upon me and live.' But as we're turning there in Exodus, it's interesting the Revelation that is given. So let's pick up the story in - well, there's actually several interesting dimensions to this.

Let's look at Exodus 32 and in Exodus 32 Moses is dealing with the rebellion of God's people. God's people have built that golden calf. And in Exodus 32, God actually says something to Moses that may seem quite surprising if we hadn't read the story before. I'm in Exodus 32, verse 9, the Lord says to Moses, "I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! Now therefore, let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.

" But what is Moses' response to this? Moses' response is found in verse 11, "Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, 'he brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to your people.'" And as Moses pleads with the Lord, he does, indeed, repent. He changes his expressed decision. And as the story plays out over the next few chapters, we find in chapter 34 Moses cutting out some new tables of stone. You remember he threw the tables of stone to the ground, symbolizing the broken law that the people had implemented there in worshiping idols. And then it is, we find in chapter 34, where Moses has this experience in, if you will, seeing the Lord.

I'm in verse 5 of Exodus chapter 34, it says, "now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him" - that's Moses - "there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, 'the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of The Father upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation.'" So although there is that expression of justice there, there is also the expression of God's mercy. And if you study the Psalms, you'll again see the very same words. So the Hebrew mind, if they understood the Scriptures, we want to see Jesus today, but Jesus says we see him when we recognize him to be a God of mercy. Are there things that would cause us to question God's mercy and love? Are there things that we can't understand? There are.

There are. We don't understand why good things happen to bad people, so to speak, and why so-called bad things happen to good people. We struggle with that, right? And it's a struggle that's been throughout the Scriptures, but the point is we get glimpses of God's love and mercy. Did Jonah see it - coming back to the book of Jonah - did he see it? He saw it and he was so concerned about God's goodness that he didn't want to bring the message. Why do you think that was? Do you think he said, 'listen, if I don't go, maybe they won't get the message and they won't repent and God'll just wipe 'em out like he's planning.

' Do you think that was in the back of his mind? Perhaps. There might have been something else on Jonah's mind. Turn in your Bibles to Deuteronomy, the last of what we call the pentateuch - Moses' five books - Deuteronomy chapter 18. In chapter 18 there are some sobering words. If they were heeded today we'd have a lot less people proclaiming to be prophets.

Deuteronomy 18 - the people were longing for someone like Moses to come after Moses left the stage. God was preparing the people for Moses' departure - he promised that he would raise up another prophet like Moses. Ultimately, that was fulfilled in Jesus. And in verse 19, here's what God says of that prophet - Deuteronomy 18, verse 19, "and it shall be that whoever will not hear my words, which he speaks in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other Gods, that prophet shall" - what? - "Shall die.

" I mean, it was - in old testament times it was a dangerous thing to say you were a prophet. You would not say you were a prophet. You wouldn't come to church and say, 'I just had a dream and I think I was given the gift of prophecy.' You wouldn't do that unless you were certain that God had given it to you because the text goes on - it explains how you were to know whether someone was a true prophet or not. Listen - verse 21, "and if you say in your heart, 'how shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?'" - In other words, how are we going to enact the death penalty for someone who proclaims themselves a prophet and is not? - Verse 22, here's the answer - "when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." And what was the penalty for that prophet who spoke a prophetic message claiming to be from God and it didn't come true. What was to happen? He was to die.

Can you put yourself in Jonah's position? We'd like to look down at Jonah and say, 'boy - what - how can - if God told me what to do, I would do it.' I mean think about it - God actually telling him what to do. You say, 'I'm just - dr. Derose, I'm praying for that. I'm praying that God would just show me what to do and I'm just ready to do it.' Did Jonah know clearly what the Lord was calling him to do? But as he reasoned things out in his own human reasoning, it didn't sound all that good. I mean, here, this was the enemy.

These were the people you were praying to be destroyed. Now - and on top of that, he knew God's character. If he goes and preaches this message and they repent, what will he be thought of as? A false prophet. And what's his reward for doing it? I mean this is pretty lousy, isn't it? I mean, first of all, your enemies are going to live and you're going to die. So what does he decide to do? He decides to run, okay? He's going to run from the presence of the Lord.

By the way, where can we go to run from the presence of the Lord. You say, 'how could he have such a clear understanding of God's character - his love and mercy - and not realize that there's no place to run away from the Lord? Let's go back to Jonah and try to fathom a little bit more of this familiar story. The problem is, I think, as I look at the story more and more, even though we like to distance ourselves from Jonah, isn't this really the human condition? That we all long for God's guidance until God tells us something that we really didn't want to hear, right? Well, Jonah finds himself on that ship headed to tarshish and in chapter 1 we find that this ship is, in verse 4, in the midst of a mighty tempest so that the ship was about to be broken up. The mariners, those men who had spent their lives on the sea, they are fearing for their lives. And what do they begin to do? What do they begin to do? They're all crying out to their Gods, but what is Jonah doing? Jonah is sleeping on the boat.

Now is all of this starting to sound vaguely familiar if you've read the whole Bible? This sounds an awful lot like another ship that was crossing a smaller body of water, the sea of Galilee. And on it were a number of fishermen as well as a number of other disciples numbering twelve in all, and there was someone on the boat who was sleeping. Who was sleeping on that boat? Jesus. That's right, it was Jesus. By the way, as we study about great missionaries in the Bible, it is fitting that as we go through this quarter, at the heart of this lesson study is the great missionary, Jesus.

So here, as we're reading the story of Jonah, and it's amazing as you look at the details of what happens. Jonah sleeping on the boat - why was Jonah, do you think, sleeping on the boat? Now we have to be careful because not all the details have been revealed and we all bring certain biases to our reading of the word. Now, as a physician, I'm, you know, reading this and I'm reading about a man who seems quite depressed, not thinking clearly - I'm thinking, I mean, he's depressed laying in the bottom of the boat. Was that Jesus' state as he was crossing the sea of Galilee? No, Jesus, on the other hand, was resting in his father's care. And some have argued that perhaps Jesus was resting so soundly as they traveled across the sea of Galilee because he knew his time had not yet come.

Jesus knew the prophecies of Daniel - Daniel 9 - where it spoke of when the Messiah would come, how long his ministry would last - you know, actually the very date being prophesied as you study Daniel chapter 9 and the 70 weeks prophecy. But what's so interesting about the parallels is, as you read through Jonah chapter 1, Jonah comes up with a solution and what is the solution he gives to quell the storm? Yeah, verse 12 of Jonah 1, "pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me." And so Jonah is willing to bear his own sin in order to save the other people. Are you starting to see some Gospel parallels here? By the way, this free offer book - the sign of Jonah - I mean, that draws out some of these very lessons and makes it very pointed. Jonah's story, as we read through it, we see the ministry of Jesus, don't we? Jesus called to speak to a lost world and here he's on this ship - now Jonah's bearing his own sins, whose sins was Jesus bearing? Jesus was bearing the sins of the world.

He's bearing our sins - my sins. Turn in your Bibles to another interesting connection. It's mentioned in Sunday's lesson, 2 Kings, chapter 14, verse 25. We know something more about Jonah than just what is revealed here in the book of Jonah. Kings, chapter 14 - because, you see, Jonah was already a successful prophet in his own right in his own land.

He had a ministry to his own people. He could have well said, 'well, why don't I just stay here? the Lord's been using me at home.' 2 Kings chapter 14, verse , it says here, speaking of - well, let's read - begin with verse 23 - I'm in 2 Kings chapter 14, beginning with verse to give us a little context. In the fifteenth year of amaziah The Son of joash, king of judah, jeroboam The Son of joash, king of Israel, became king in samaria and reigned forty-one years. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from all the sins of jeroboam The Son of nebat, who had made Israel sin. He restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of hamath to the sea of the arabah, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he had spoken through his servant Jonah The Son of amittai, the prophet who was from gath hepher.

" It is obviously the very same Jonah - the same father, amittai, that is mentioned in Jonah 1, but there's a detail in Kings chapter 14 that we don't see in the book of Jonah, it's where Jonah is from. Did you catch where he's from? Gath hepher. Now your lesson quarterly does tell you what gath hepher means. It's from Hebrew for the wine press. Gath, you see, is the wine press - gath - and what's quite interesting about this is that there is another gath in the Bible, where the significance of wine press takes on great significance and it has a parallel with the Jonah story.

It's gath semane - have you heard of gath semane? Yes, semane refers to seed or oil. So it was the wine press for the oil, if you will, gath semane. It was the place where the oil was pressed. And what happened in the garden of Gethsemane? Jesus' life began to be pressed out. Jesus was giving himself - was covenanting - was reaffirming the covenant made from the foundation of the world, that he would die for humanity's sins and this really is not a promotional lesson study for this free booklet, I mean, but this booklet brings out something that many Christians have missed throughout history.

They've missed what the three days and three nights in the heart of the earth experience was that Jonah was - experience illustrating. It was something that began at the wine press of Gethsemane for Jesus. Jesus began bearing the sins of the world in Gethsemane. And if you say, 'dr. Derose, you're just flying by that too quickly for me.

' That's why, you know, we have the free offer, because it goes into more detail about that. But the point I'm simply making is what plays out in Jonah chapter 1 is actually a Revelation of what Jesus was going to do in his ministry. He would be in the heart of the earth. He would be burying the sins of the world, in the midst of humanity, bearing our sins, from the time of Gethsemane, through the crucifixion, until he was resurrected on Sunday morning. This is the sign of the prophet Jonah.

You say, 'wait! This is great news!' That's great that you catch it. I mean, we can rebel against God and God can use us to give a powerful message to the world. Isn't that great news? Well, is it great news or not? Can God use us if we're rebelling against him? I mean, he can, but this is not something that should encourage us to what? Rebel against God. Well, you know, listen, think about it, if Jonah hadn't rebelled then he wouldn't have been thrown, you know, he wouldn't have gone on the ship, he wouldn't have been thrown overboard, it wouldn't have illustrated so amazingly this experience that Jesus went through. But, you know, there were other people that spoke for God in the midst of rebellion.

You've heard of balaam, haven't you? By the way, balaam, evidence from antiquity, a real historical figure - hundreds of miles from where baalam prophesied, an inscription of balaam's very words - words that were used to guide the wise men - the magi - to Jesus. Are you aware of that? This was a prophecy given by balaam in the book of Numbers when he was rebelling against God. You remember the high priest, caiaphas, remember? In John 11, I believe it is, where he said, 'isn't it good for one man to die for the whole nation?' And the Bible says he was prophesying as high priest. Was caiaphas someone who had yielded his life to Jesus? Can I tell you something? I know God can use me even if I'm rebelling against him, but I don't want that to be my life testimony, okay? I want my life testimony to be that when God told me to arise and go, I did what? I arose and I went, but not went where I wanted to go, but went where he was calling me to go, right? And so this is what we're seeing in the story of Jonah. So Jonah chapter 2 is a story of what Jonah experienced in the heart of the earth.

By the way, he wasn't dead that whole time. He wasn't dead any of the time, you realize that. Jonah chapter 1 speaks about the rebellious prophet. Jonah chapter 2 speaks about how Jonah comes to his senses in the belly of a whale. By the way, how come it often takes some catastrophe in our lives to get us to really, honestly call on God? Why is it - why is it that? Why is it that when everything is going well it's so easy to forget God? Oh yeah, we can come to church and we can sing The Songs and all, but to really, honestly - to pour out our souls to God - Jonah does that in the belly of the fish.

And, as chapter 2 ends with verse 10 it says, "so the Lord spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land." Again, it's miraculous, even though there's foundation in history. So chapter 3 of Jonah begins and if the key word of the book of Jonah is really 'go' do you think we might find that word again? Well, let's see. "The word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying," - what? - "Arise, go to nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you." Now it's interesting - compare Jonah 1 with Jonah 3. Do you notice there is something different? In Jonah 1, God does give a little more details about how wicked those people are and the implication is it's going to be a message of judgment. In Jonah 3, God simply says, 'preach the message I tell you.

' What is the easiest message to preach? What is the easiest testimony to give? Your own, especially if it's your own and you want to give it. I mean, the easiest thing to communicate is something you want to communicate. If you want to talk about the weather, how hard is it to talk about the weather? If you want to tell someone how bad you're feeling, how hard is it to tell them that? Probably not all that difficult. But sometimes the hardest thing to communicate is what God asks you to communicate, and Jonah's struggling with that. That's what is the whole book to this point - he's struggling with it.

So in chapter 3 we find Jonah - verse 3 - he arises again and this time he actually goes to nineveh according to the word of the Lord. And it's this huge city and Jonah is walking through this city - I don't know - I mean, think about it. In your human reasoning, where could you go today and preach a message of judgment and think that people would warmly receive it? Really? I mean, Jonah is now in this land of the enemy and he's speaking a message of judgment against them and he does it for days - that's the implications. In verse 5 there is this remarkable, remarkable insight. I mean, do you - do you realize who the ninevites are? I mean have you ever met someone and you said, 'boy, that person would make a great Christian.

' Or 'they would be a great Seventh-day Adventist.' I mean, they - they just obviously don't know everything - they just seem like such a wonderful person, right? Wouldn't they be a great Christian? Listen, the ninevites were not those kind of people. They were not. So when someone walks into the church and you find they're not a church member - they say, 'well I'm just visiting for the first time.' And you look at them and say, 'wow, I mean, whatever, they'd be a great Granite Bay member.' Those are not the people that most need your witness. Now don't misunderstand me, anyone who walks through the doors here should feel welcome. And it's a big enough church that some people may not feel all that welcome because, you know, you see your friend on the other side of the church and the person that sat next to you all through Sabbath school you never even said hello to them, okay? I mean, that can happen, can't it? Yeah, I'm glad some of you - I see you right now, smiling at the person next to you.

I know it seems like most of you already came connected, those of you that are doing it, but here's the point: this group of people, they did not look like the ones that you wanted to join the church. Remember, they were a bloodthirsty people. By the way, the assyrians were the ones that ultimately destroyed the northern kingdom - the ten tribes. They were the ones that overran and basically scattered the ten northern tribes. We don't even know where they are today.

You know, some people want to claim they do, but there's no evidence that they're right, okay? Verse 5, Jonah chapter 3, "so the people of nineveh" - did what? - They believed God. They trusted God. I mean, isn't this a humbling book? The prophet, Jonah, who God had used up to this time, he doesn't trust God and who does? This heathen people - and they proclaim a fast and the lesson quarterly suggests that Jonah must have - must have given a message of mercy, but I don't get that from the book because look - look what the King says in verse 9 - the King of nineveh, "who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish?" 'We've heard the message of judgment' - the King is saying - 'but we've also heard about the God of Israel. Maybe - maybe if we repent he'll avert the judgment.' Well, they do repent. They turn from their evil ways.

And when we come to chapter 4, Jonah, as we saw earlier, is disappointed because God didn't get rid of that people that had been Israel's enemies. And as Jonah struggles, God causes that plant to grow up. As he's looking over the city of nineveh, hoping God will change his mind, apparently, and destroy the people anyway and he can, you know, have his praise ceremony, God causes that plant to grow up and then causes a worm to eat it and Jonah starts complaining. As the book closes, verse 10, the Lord says to Jonah, "you have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left - and much livestock?" Jesus on the cross said, 'father, forgive them' - what? - 'They don't know what they're doing.

' You know, when we distrust God - when we sin - we're really doing that which is contrary to our best interest. It's like we don't know our right hand from our left. We don't know what we're doing and God has mercy on us. He had mercy on the ninevites and he had mercy on Jonah. And the message comes from the book of Jonah to me and to each of us to do what? Arise and go.

If you want to study it more, we've got this great resource for you, it is the sign of Jonah - it is the free book that goes along with this lesson - the sign of Jonah by Pastor Doug. It is free offer #149 - #149 - and you can get it by going to the website - you can get it free right there, just download it and read it right away, or you can call 1-866-788-3966 - that's 1-866-study-more. And the question, as we close, with the story of Jonah: can we better appreciate a God of mercy? Even though we may still struggle with some of these things in the book of Jonah, why these messages of judgment? And, you know, for some further additional study if you want it, I challenge you to see in the book of Jonah the three angels' messages of Revelation 14 - Jonah, called to give what was really the everlasting Gospel and the message of judgment, and to live, himself, a life of patience and trust. Amazing Facts began in 1965 with a God-inspired concept. Hello, this is Joe Crews and the Amazing Facts broadcast - facts which affect you.

These radio broadcasts would begin with an amazing fact from science, nature, or history, followed by a Bible message that touched the hearts of listeners from every walk of life. The program was an instant success and the ministry soon began expanding to include Bible lessons. In 1986 Amazing Facts added the medium of television to its growing outreach efforts, offering soul-winning evangelistic messages for viewers around the world. In 1994, Pastor Doug Batchelor assumed leadership of the ministry, adding the Bible answers live call-in radio program and new ministry tv programs began airing on multiple networks around the world. For 50 years, the driving vision of Amazing Facts has been the bold proclamation of the everlasting Gospel and, with a team of evangelists circling the globe and thousands of men and women being trained through the Amazing Facts center of evangelism program - afcoe - the ministry is helping God's church see a rich harvest of souls.

Amazing Facts - God's message, our mission. Amazing Facts has impacted my life. I just praise God for Amazing Facts. Amazing Facts actually did have an impact on my life. It's all a process, getting to where I am today.

Amazing Facts has been - I feel good about that - I didn't feel condemned, I felt - I began reading the Bible. I got baptized into the seventh day adventist - I realized that there had to be more to life. God is really doing this. The life that he's given me - this message was so powerful. I'll follow Christ wherever he goes.

Amazing Facts - more than 45 years of proclaiming God's message around the world. And then the logo pops across - Amazing Facts presents. I've listened to a lot of different ministers, but he was - this was the first time that he's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible and actually pick it up - and I've never heard this before let me - let me look through this and find this. I just couldn't get enough. And so I started doing Bible studies.

Every single one of these guys started being changed - including myself. My question was 'why did that happen to me, God?' the Lord was able to reach out and - and I actually saw him as a father. I lost everything and that was when I realized that it was God missing in my life. I went to a prophecy seminar which knocked me out. This message was so powerful and so irrefutable and I just went 'this is real.

This is - this is amazing.' In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years, man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit 'Sabbathtruth.com'. For life-changing Christian resources visit afbookstore.com.

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