Jonah and the Great Whale

1:17 to 2:10

By focusing on the sailors in 1:16, we lose sight of Yonah. As far as they are concerned there can be no hope of his surviving the raging sea (1:14). But ADONAI has not yet finished with the reluctant prophet. And by means of a great whale in scene three God snatches him from a watery grave.

Many Bible scholars say that the word in the Greek New Testament translated whale (Greek: ketos) could be just as accurately translated simply huge fish or sea monster. However, in defending God's Word, it is not really necessary to rule out the possibility that this Greek word which may mean whale actually does mean whale. There are two reasons for this: First, Some research scholars tell us there is a species of whale which not only has a mouth large enough for a man to get in, but also has a throat large enough for the whale to swallow the man. And second, even if there is no species of whale today with a throat large enough for a man to pass through, God could have certainly prepared a whale with a mouth and throat large enough for Jonah to go right on down to the whale's stomach, because the Bible tells us that the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah (Jonah 1:17). Thus, we should realize that it was a greater miracle for God to resurrect Jonah than it was for Him to create or appoint a whale, which could swallow the runaway prophet. For with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37). Thus, the great fish of Jonah was probably a sperm whale (Catodon Macrocephalus).

In a rather blunt statement from J. Vernon McGee, he states that the miracle in the book of Jonah does not pertain to a man living for three days inside of a whale. Rather, it is a miracle where God raises up a man from the dead. If the miracle of the resurrection daunts you, then you are going to have difficulty with the resurrection of Christ from the dead. If God raised up Jesus from the dead, then He could raise Jonah from the dead. If God could not raise Jonah from the dead, then He would not be able to raise Jesus from the dead. If you do not believe that God could raise Jonah and did raise Jesus from the dead, then you cannot be a believer. Your trouble is not with a whale story, but with the Gospel story. Your trouble is not intellectual, but due to the fact that you are in the flesh, a stranger from the grace of God, because the person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit (First Corinthians 2:14). The trouble is not with Jonah but with yourself. You need to have a generous portion of eye salve to open your eyes to the truth of the Gospel.

In conclusion, the whale here is not the hero of the story, neither is it its villain. The book is not even about a whale. The whale is among the props and does not occupy the star's dressing room. Let us distinguish between the essentials and the incidentals. Incidentals are the whale, the plant, the east wind, the ship, and Nineveh. The essentials are ADONAI and Jonah . . . God and man.


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