And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
For further study - Jonah 2:1-10
The little book of Jonah is a very unique book of prophecy. It contains prophecy, miracles, repentance, revival, and even the account of Jewish-Gentile relations. Remember, Jonah was Jewish, the one God sent to a Gentile people there in Nineveh.
The last verse of Jonah 1 reveals to us that Jonah, having been cast overboard by the fishermen, would end up in the belly of a "great fish" for three days and three nights. That is where we catch Jonah, our rebellious Jewish prophet, in the belly of a great fish.
The narrative reveals that Jonah would suffer for his disobedience to the Lord. It makes it very clear that Jonah would actually die in the belly of this great fish. You might be thinking, "I've never heard that before." Okay then, let's look at the evidence for the death of Jonah while in rebellion.
In verse 2, Jonah says "out of the belly of hell" cried I. The Hebrew word for "hell" is "sheol." Sheol is, in the Old Testament, the place to which the dead go. Verse 4 says, "yet I will look again towards the Holy Temple." "The waters compassed me about even to the soul”, verse 5. It seems to indicate death had taken Jonah.
Notice verse 6, "yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption." Jonah had been brought up from the corruption of death. I believe that Jonah died in the belly of that great fish and God resurrected the rebellious prophet to do the ministry the Lord had given him to do - go to Nineveh and preach, chapter 3:2.
God did not preserve Jonah in the belly of the great fish, because Jonah died. The greater miracle than the preservation of Jonah in the great fish's belly, is the resurrection from the dead. This scenario would fit what Jesus said in Matthew 12:40.
Jesus compared Jonah's three days and three nights in the belly of the whale. He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The end result of Jesus in death in the earth is that he would resurrect from the dead. The parallel suggests that Jonah also was resurrected from the dead.
By the way, this passage helps us to understand the time of the crucifixion of Jesus as well. He had to be in the earth three days and three nights, not two days and two nights, which would indicate a Friday crucifixion. That discussion is for another time and another devotional.
If you ever wondered if Jonah was in the belly of a great fish, whale or not, for three days and three nights, Jesus confirms it with His statement in Matthew. The Bible is not made up of fairy tales but real literal events in history.
PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for an infallible, inerrant word from You.
Substance & Shadow
The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how God uses past events in His word to foreshadow future events. We refer to this as the 'substance and shadow' principal of God's word: the past event being the 'substance' and the future event being the 'shadow'. This is a common method of operation used by God to allow man to discover some of the hidden secrets in His word.
Here we will study some of the examples that will add clarity to this principal as well as discovering two particular events that have been hidden in the word, but that are now uncovered and very relevant to our lives today.
Sign Of The Messiah
In the Old Testament there is the Book of Jonah. Events in Jonah's life foreshadow events in the future that Jesus, Himself, said determine the sign of the Messiah. Messiah to the Jews meant their expected deliverer. Let's read...
Matt 12: 38-41
12:38 One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, "Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove that you are from God."
12:39 But Jesus replied, "Only an evil, faithless generation would ask for a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.
12:40 For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so I, the Son of Man, will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
12:41 The people of Nineveh will rise up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And now someone greater than Jonah is here and you refuse to repent.
Jesus is clearly defining the 'substance' in Jonah's life that is casting the 'shadow' into the future of how to identify the Messiah when he comes; namely, death and the remaining in the tomb for three days, and resurrection back to life on the third day.
Let's compare the 'substance' in Jonah's life to the fulfillment in Jesus' life.
| What Jonah did |
as the "Substance"
| What Jesus did |
as the "Shadow"
From this example we gain a basic understanding of how God uses the principle of "Substance and Shadow" to fulfill His word, and how that which casts a shadow is distinguished from the shadow itself. Meaning that Jonah and Jesus were two different people separated by hundreds of years as to when they lived on the earth. But God used events in Jonah's life to foreshadow [to cast a shadow of] the events that Jesus would duplicate in His life hundreds of years later.
Let me add one thought here that may answer the question in some minds as to Jonah, and that is: How do we know that Jonah died? The simple answer is: Because Jesus died. Jesus pointed at Jonah and said:
"I'll do what he did to prove that I came from God".
And then Jesus did what Jonah did: He died. They both died!
Jesus completes the sign of Jonah through His death and resurrection, and thus confirms He is fulfilling the role of the Messiah to the Jews. But the Jews refused to accept Him as their Messiah.
The Feasts Of The Jews
Additionally, by His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus is simultaneously fulfilling [as the substance] another group of shadows that were cast by God for the Jews. They are known as the Feasts of the Jews. These are the 'set times' established by God for the Jews and were partially intended for them to be able to recognize their Messiah when He came. The Apostle Paul speaks directly to this issue when speaking about the Feasts he says in Col 2:17:
"they are shadows of things to come, but the substance is Christ."
There are Seven Feasts of the Jews given to them by God through Moses. Jesus fulfilled the first four at His first coming. They include:
| Jewish Feast And "Shadow" Cast || Jesus Fulfills As "Substance" |
And again we see how the word of God is the substance issuing the Feast Days; and the Feast Days are cast forth as the shadows. And then Jesus comes as the substance and fulfills the shadows of these first four Feast Days.
And even though Jesus fulfilled these additional signs of their Messiah, the Jews still would not accept Him. And the Apostle John confirms this in John 1:11 which states:
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not."
This is why God revealed the mystery of the Church to Paul. The Jews refused God's Messiah, so God called on Paul to establish the Christian Church who would accept Jesus as their Messiah.
It is at this time that God looked upon the Nation Israel as separate from the Church and referred to the Church as the grafted on branch of the tree of the root of Abraham. Paul makes this very clear in Romans 11:16-22 where he explains that the "setting aside" of National Israel is like a nurseryman cutting off natural branches to allow for the grafting in of unnatural branches. The unnatural branch is the Christian Church!
For their reward for accepting Jesus as the Messiah, the Christian Church, which the Apostle Paul calls the 'Body of Christ', is promised to be taken off of this planet and taken to Heaven just prior to a seven year time period of great tribulation on the earth, which is called the wrath of God. The event of these Christians being taken off the earth or disappearing is called the Rapture of the Church.
It is commonly held by Christians that they cannot know the day of the Rapture of the Church. For the most part they base their understanding on the authority of Matt 24:36 or Mark 13:32. We have debunked this false understanding in our study entitled: Can we know the day when the Rapture of the Church will occur?
The answer is YES we can know the day when the Rapture of the Church will occur, and we will demonstrate how the 'substance and shadow' principal of God's word reveals the timing for the Rapture of the Church.
Rapture's Timing Revealed
Up until now we have established that Jesus: lived, died, resurrected, and remained on earth for 40 days, and how that made Him the substance that fulfilled the foreshadow of those events in the life of Jonah. Thereby, pointing to Jesus as the Messiah.
We also know from the Gospel accounts that Jesus, while remaining on earth for 40 days in His resurrected body, was appearing to His disciples and others and was instructing them in His message of repentance. It is at the conclusion of those 40 days that Jesus gives His final instructions to His disciples and then Acts 1:9 says:
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
This event is known as the "Ascension" of Jesus Christ bodily into heaven.
Now we fast forward to the future event that the Apostle Paul was shown and that the Christian Church calls the Rapture. Remember, the Christian Church is referred to as the 'Body of Christ', so the picture that is painted of the Rapture of the Christian Church is that of the 'Body of Christ' ascending into Heaven.
Once again, the "substance and shadow" principal of God's word uses past events to foreshadow future events.
So, let us ask if there is a past event in God's word that foreshadows the future event of the Rapture of the Christian Church; or asked another way; is there a foreshadow of the Body of Christ ascending into Heaven?
And the answer is indisputably YES!
The Ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven is the foreshadow of the Rapture of the Christian Church!
It is the 'Body of Christ' going up into Heaven in both instances!
At this point the question becomes when did Jesus ascend? He died on Passover, was raised three days later on First Fruits, and ascended 40 days after that.
Therefore, God's 'set time' for the Rapture of the Church is 40 days after the Jewish Feast of First Fruits!
And there's more....
40 Day Warning Sign Of The Rapture
The 'substance and shadow' of God's word also reveals the WARNING sign that precedes the Rapture by 40 days. The Apostle Paul when writing to the Thessalonian Church regarding the Rapture says:
I Thes. 4:16
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
These 'dead in Christ' will rise 40 days before the Rapture, and they will go into Jerusalem and witness to living people that Jesus is the Messiah. How do I know this? Because it happened before! In the Gospel of Matthew where it is talking about Jesus coming out of the tomb it says:
27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which were dead arose,
27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
This scripture is revealing that after Jesus was raised from the dead many others were also raised back to life. And they went into Jerusalem [the holy city] and appeared to many other people. Their purpose in appearing 'unto many' was as a witness that they themselves had been raised from the dead, and to proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah. And 40 days after their resurrections they ascended to Heaven with Jesus.
So here we have Matt 27:52,53 as the substance casting a shadow into the future when another group of dead people, referred to as the 'dead in Christ' of Paul's Thessalonian letter, would 'rise first', and be a witness in Jerusalem as their predecessors were, and then 40 days later they will be joined by the living in Christ and together they all will ascend to Heaven in the Rapture. And thus the Rapture will have a 40-DAY WARNING period.
The Apostle Paul was emphatic for the Church to WATCH, WARN and REJOICE as they see their redemption draw near. And now you know how this will be accomplished as we are to:
WATCH for 'the dead in Christ' to rise on First Fruits.
WARN others of the countdown to the Rapture when the dead rise.
REJOICE as we watch our redemption draw near in the 40 day countdown.
| What Jesus Did As The "Substance" || What Paul Saw As The "Shadow" |
In the beginning of this study we said that here we will add clarity to this principal of 'Substance and Shadow' as well as discovering two particular events that have been hidden in the word, but that are now uncovered, understood and very relevant to our lives today.
The first of these particular events is the Rapture of the Church, and that we can know the day the Rapture will occur.
And secondly, that the Rapture will be preceded by a supernatural warning sign of the 'dead in Christ rising' 40 days prior.
Once we understand God's principal of 'Substance and Shadow' and how He uses this method of operation to show how past events reflect future events we are able to truly watch our redemption draw near.
And remember God always warns His people.