Jen Shroder
The Sign of Jonah for Islam
By Jen Shroder
November 16, 2010

Muslims seem to be having trouble understanding the "Sign of Jonah." Because Islamworld and my webpage currently trade off for Google's number 1 slot on the subject, I have been overwhelmed with Muslim claims that the sign disproves Jesus, so please allow me to answer with Scriptures. Jesus said:

"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 whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Mt 12:40)

The Muslim argument begins with the claim that Jonah was alive when he was thrown into the sea, was swallowed by the fish and then vomited out to go on and preach at Ninevah. They argue that if Jonah was alive, then Jesus must have been alive in the tomb.

Where do Scriptures say that Jonah did not die in the giant fish? From Jonah's prayer, it looks like he did:

"...Out of the belly of hell I cried...the earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God. When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD..." (Jonah 2)

Surely Islam agrees that once dead we do not cease to exist? This is not the whole miracle of Christ, but the parallels between Jesus and Jonah confirm each other.

Once the debate about the death of Jonah is over, the argument begins that Jesus was not dead three days and three nights. Read carefully what the Scriptures say. It was never written that Jesus was dead three days and three nights, how would that be a sign when Jesus had just called Lazarus out of the tomb after four days? Would Christ give a lesser sign?

What was miraculous and a sign is that Jesus became our sin:

"For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
(2 Cor 5:21)

When Jesus became sin, He was engulfed by it on the night He was betrayed and arrested.

As I showed in "The Sign of Jonah," ALL of the Scriptures name the time by including Jesus SUFFERED, died and rose again wherever it is written: "three days and three nights." EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM. One Scripture quotes a Pharisee that left out any form of "suffer," but that was because he was a Pharisee and didn't know. In the authority of Scripture, twelve times, the suffering of Christ is ALWAYS included.

The three days and three nights, as told by Scriptures, began when He was taken by the soldiers and presented as the Lamb, without blemish. His last noted Biblical miracle until His resurrection was healing an ear. At the exact moment in time when He was taken, He was made to be sin for us and the beatings and abuse began. If it was not so, then these verses would make no sense:

"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace [prosperity, welfare] was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5)

"[We were redeemed]... with the precious blood of Christ,
as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:19)

"For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
(2 Cor 5:21)

Payment for our sins did not begin with His death, but when His precious blood flowed. This is what Scripture says. And at that point He was sin, "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Jesus did not begin payment when He died but for three days and nights before He rose again, at the moment He was arrested. He even said so:

"But this is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53)

The heart of the earth, according to Scripture, is not death in the ground. The heart of the earth is the wickedness of men's souls. The heart of the earth is our sin that Jesus became surrounded and submerged in. Why do you think there are so many parables about sowing seed [the words of life] in the earth [the heart of man]? We are the earth, remember?

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
(Gen 2)

If death alone was the only price to redeem us, then why did Christ pay with so much more? "Wounded for transgressions." "Bruised for our iniquities." "By His stripes we are healed." All of that, ALL of it, is included in the sign of Jonah, who was praying "out of the belly of hell."

So to all of Islamworld who try to use the Sign of Jonah to criticize Christians and our beliefs, be very careful. We come to Christ as children, there are mysteries in the Bible that the Holy Spirit reveals in His timing, not ours. But what He has revealed to us we receive gratefully, because He came for us and for you too, if you would receive Him. Please don't miss the last words of Jonah's prayer fulfilled by Jesus:

"Salvation is of the LORD."

God did not want you to miss His Son. Please do not miss the sign that He gave. It points directly at Jesus Christ and His suffering, death and resurrection that you could have life in Him.

Original "Sign of Jonah" given to atheists
Much more in depth, even explains the man in linen on the night He was betrayed.

© Jen Shroder


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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