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Matthew 12:39-40

Lesson # Matt. 12:39-40
Study Material - Matt. 12:39-40

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Matt. 12:39-40

39 But [de] he answered [apokrinomai] and said [epo] unto them [autos] , An evil [poneros] and [kai] adulterous [moichalis] generation [genea] seeketh after [epizeteo] a sign [semeion] ; and [kai] there shall no [ou] sign [semeion] be given [didomi] to it [autos] , but [ei me] the sign [semeion] of the prophet [prophetes] Jonas [Ionas] :
40 For [gar] as [hosper] Jonas [Ionas] was [en] three [treis] days [hemera] and [kai] three [treis] nights [nux] in [en] the whale's [ketos] belly [koilia] ; so [houto] shall the Son [huios] of man [anthropos] be [esomai] three [treis] days [hemera] and [kai] three [treis] nights [nux] in [en] the heart [kardia] of the earth [ge] . KJV-Interlinear

Matt. 12:39-40

39 But He answered and said to them, 'An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. NAS

People who will not believe the scriptures, will not even believe someone who has come back from the dead, Luke 16:31. In that passage a rich man had gone into the underworld compartment of Torments. You recall that there are four compartments in the underworld. The underworld is often referred to as Hades or Sheol. The four compartments are Paradise, Torments, Tartarus, and the Abyss. All unbelievers throughout history go to Torments. All Old Testament believers went to Paradise until the Cross, then they were transferred to a new Paradise in heaven via a great victory procession led by Christ in that victory of the Cross.

Anyway that rich man lived his life and died an unbeliever and there in Torments he look out and saw Abraham in Paradise. A great deep gulf (that deep gulf was faith in Christ by the way) stood between them preventing anyone from going to the other side. The rich man pleaded with Abraham to go back from the dead to convince his relatives. Abraham explained that if they did not believe the scriptures, then they would not believe anyone who was to return as a result of an obviously great miracle.

Jesus has been provided tremendous miracles, including the raising of the dead, yet the Pharisees and all who were like them (defiantly stubbornly negative) rejected Jesus and his works.

They asked for yet another miracle which we have studied as probably being even more miraculous than anything that Jesus had done thus far. They have already rejected the healing of every known (and unknown) disease to mankind. They rejected his healing of every possible disability (blindness, deafness, speech impediments, paralysis, and so forth). They have rejected even the ejection of demons from humans. So what could they have asked for? It is not mentioned specifically but it is mentioned through implication.

Within the context of this passage, we know that Jesus, as God can do anything. He could very well have performed their requested miracle with ease. However we also know from our study these past couple of months that Jesus Christ (the Son of God) does not do anything on His own initiative. He follows to the letter that plan which the Father designed in eternity past. That plan calls for His (the Sons) going to the Cross to save mankind, then as a result of the Cross, He will at some point in time, establish His promised kingdom on earth. Sacrifice first, rule second.

Jesus explains to these unbelieving people that Jonah is the type of or example of, or illustration of His judgment on the Cross. As Jonah was swallowed (literally) by a whale and there resided in its belly for three days, so also, Jesus will go to the Cross and there on the Cross will pay the price for mans sins, then He will die physically and his body will go into the grave (belly of the grave), and His soul will go into Paradise (belly of the earth), for three days (literally). Jonah's experience was true (not figurative) and Jesus' experience was true as well.

Jesus after three days, then was risen up from the dead (resurrected) just as Jonah was raised up from the belly of the whale (vomited out onto the beach), and given new life. So this was to be the sign that Jesus was going to give these unbelieving Pharisees - nothing else. The miracles were to prove His authority and identity. The miracles were numerous and convincing. Anything else was not in accordance with Gods intended plan, and God does not deviate from His plan because of the tempting whims of mankind. Their request was refused. Unbelievers will never receive a positive response from God in anything they request through unbelief. All prayers to the Father (all prayer, no exceptions, is directed to the Father only and no one else) from unbelievers fall on deaf ears because they are not submitted through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only means of access to the Father. There is no other path to God.

Because to Jonah's experience a very evil and negative people in Nineveh changed their minds and believed in the Savior and will be in heaven. They are in the New Paradise today. These Pharisees and anyone like them will be present at the Great White Throne and from there they will remain stubborn, even in the face of their sentence of the Lake of Fire, and that generation from Nineveh will be witnesses as to their own faith and its blessings of heaven, as will be every generation of peoples who have believed in Christ throughout mans history.

They believed because of Jonah, and now Christ is far greater than Jonah. They, the Pharisees have no excuse. We today in our time have tremendous technology in which we can see tremendous design in the universe. From far galaxies to the smallest components of atoms, electrons, DNA, and such there is every evidence of a designer for this universe. We also have the completed scriptures. We have far more than the people of Nineveh. So we have no excuse either. But that applies only to faith in Christ. Beyond that we have no excuse as to our daily habit of Bible study (or lack thereof), by which we should be advancing toward spiritual maturity. Just as being saved in infinitely greater than being assigned to the Lake of Fire for all of eternity, so too is spiritual maturity infinitely greater than spiritual immaturity.

The blessings are very real, just as Jonah's little trip via first class whale belly (hummm, wonder of there were peanuts served and a movie??) was real, and just as Christ's death, burial, and resurrection was real.

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End Of Lesson

Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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