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Friday, November 04, 2016

The Sign of Jonah and the Binding of Satan,Unveiling the Apocalypse

The Sign of Jonah - Is it upon us?
The upcoming Bride Theft sign of Jonah will be the sign given to those Christians who have not interpreted this present time. Convincing evidence is given in the verses that follow the passage I quoted from Matthew 16 earlier. The lesson about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees should now be plain. Their teaching that no one will know the time, etc, will be exposed as a lie promoted blindly that served to cover their own ignorance and wickedness. The point Jesus makes about the bread is made by reference to understanding the feeding of the 5000 and the 4000. (Here is exposited The Feeding of the Five thousand scenario at length, showing it to be a Bride Theft prophecy.) Indeed, when the Bridegroom steals the Bride out of her Father's house, the owners of the house will take note of the Sign of Jonah!
The sign of Jonah is all about resurrection being a sign. It relates to the the Spirit - it relates to the Bride. It is a sign for skeptical religious people.

With the Iraqi army currently undertaking an operation to take back the city of Mosul from ISIS, it is somewhat timely to discuss the importance of the Sign of Jonah in relation to Christ's discourse on the binding of Satan in the Gospels. The city of Mosul is situated on the site of ancient Nineveh - the location which is the central focus of the story of the Prophet Jonah, who was told by God to travel to the capital of Assyria to announce its impending destruction. As is detailed in the new edition of the book, Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, some theologians have forwarded the hypothesis that the reason the inhabitants of Nineveh were so receptive to Jonah's message of doom was because a solar eclipse had taken place over the city at around the same time the prophet had arrived to announce its fate. 

The path of totality of the Bur-Sagle Eclipse, which is one of the most famous solar eclipses in ancient history, occurred just north of Nineveh on 15th June, 763BC during the reign of King Ashur-Dan III of Assyria, and was recorded for posterity in the Assyrian Eponym Canon - a series of cuneiform tablets discovered in the 19th century.  

We know that the Prophet Jonah was a contemporary of King Ashur-Dan III because of a brief mention of him in the
Second Book of Kings, which places his prophetic ministry during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel:

In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin. He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.
(2Kings 14:23-25)

According to the chronology established by E.R. Thiele, Jeroboam II was sole ruler of Israel between the years 782-753BC, placing Jonah's active ministry to this time period; while Ashur-Dan III was king of Assyria between 772-755BC. Given the fact that this solar eclipse was one of the most noteworthy events to occurred during the reign of Ashur-Dan III, it has prompted many theologians to suggest that the occurrence of the Bur-Sagle eclipse was the primary reason why the Ninevites were so keen to repent upon hearing Jonah's message of doom - a curious reaction which is left unexplained in the Book of Jonah itself. The Assyrian chronicles inform us that a plague had broken out in the city of Nineveh just a few years before the eclipse in 765BC, which was soon followed by an internal revolt which began during the very same year that the eclipse occurred - a series of events which would undoubtedly have been attributed to the wrath of the gods.

It therefore seems quite possible that when the Prophet Jonah had arrived in the midst of these calamities announcing the imminent destruction of Nineveh, the inhabitants were only too eager to listen - especially if his entrance into the city had been timed to coincide with the appearance of a total solar eclipse. As is attempted to show in the book, the appearance of the Prophet Jonah in Nineveh may have been recorded in an ancient inscription found in a cave in Kizkapan (or "Qyzqapan") near the city of Sulaimaniya in Iraq, around 200 miles away from Mosul/Nineveh itself.

In Matthew 12 the confrontation between the Jewish leaders and Jesus has come to a head with their accusing Jesus of doing His works by Satan’s power, and His warning them of the unpardonable sin. The point that Jesus was making was that the Kingdom of Heaven had come and that they were going to be excluded if they persisted in their rejection of Him. This warning troubled them, but they were still not convinced that He was the Messiah--far from it. So they demanded a sign from Him. And that is the occasion of this short section in which Jesus rebukes them for asking for a sign instead of believing, assesses their spiritual condition, and pronounces sentence on them.
After our passage ends there is a very brief incident in which Jesus’ mother and brothers were outside wanting to speak to Him. Jesus used their visit to make a point about the change in the direction of His ministry. He said that “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” He was not being cruel to His family--no doubt He then went out to see them. What He was saying was that since the nation was now rejecting Him, since His own people were rejecting Him, He was turning to those who would believe. The true “family” of Christ was not unbelieving Israel, but believers of all races. If the “physical seed of Israel” rejected Him, He would build a “spiritual seed of Israel.” And this is true of the kingdom of God in general: people who are our relatives here may not be in the kingdom and so not our true and eternal brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus simply used the incident of the visit of His family to make this point.
Then, beginning with Matthew 13, Jesus began to teach with parables, which are designed to hide things about the Kingdom from the ones who rejected and opposed Him, but to reveal things about the Kingdom to His disciples. So Matthew 12 marks a real turning point in the life of Christ, and therefore also in the message of the book: He came to His own, but His own received Him not; and so to as many as received Him He gave the authority to become the children of God. The family of God is made up of true believers, and not natural blood ties.
Given the possibility that the repentance of the Ninevites at the preaching of Jonah can be attributed to the Bur-Sagle Eclipse, we have some grounds to suggest that the original "sign of Jonah" consisted of the appearance of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh. When we look to Christ's statement concerning the appearance of the "sign of Jonah" to a wicked and perverse generation, we find that these words were made immediately after His discourse on the binding of the strong man - which according to St. Augustine of Hippo, is an integral component of the prophecy of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the "thousand years" mentioned in Rev 20:

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man — meaning by the strong man the devil, because he had power to take captive the human race; and meaning by his goods which he was to take, those who had been held by the devil in various sins and iniquities, but were to become believers in Himself. It was then for the binding of this strong one that the apostle saw in the Apocalypse an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a chain in his hand. And he laid hold, he says,on the dragon, that old serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,— that is, bridled and restrained his power so that he could not seduce and gain possession of those who were to be freed. (St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX:7)

So in relation to the sacrificial death of Jesus and His resurrection on the third day, the "sign of Jonah" harks back to the three days the prophet spent in the belly of the fish. An event which foreshadowed the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ - which in turn brought about the binding of Satan. 

But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just 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. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
(Matt 12:39-41)

Therefore as well as pointing us towards the significance of a total solar eclipse over the site of ancient Nineveh, the "sign of Jonah" is also intimately connected to the binding and unbinding of Satan. 

It is surely beyond coincidence in this regard that the start of the First World War was marked by a total solar eclipse which directly traversed the site of ancient Nineveh in Mosul, Iraq on 21st August, 1914. The World War I Eclipse crossed over the battlefields of war-torn eastern Europe before making its way down towards Nineveh - an event which took place on the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, a Marian apparition which appears to have announced the imminence of the opening of the seven seals by the Lamb of Revelation.

The path of totality of the eclipse of 21st August, 1914 
- First World War

  1. First Sign: In the Gospel of Matthew’s version of this pericope,  Jesus invokes Jonah in a two-fold way: For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt 12:40).  Hence in this image Jonah’s descent into the belly of the whale is a sign of the Lord’s descent to Sheol. I would like to set aside any consideration of this sign for the sake of some brevity and go on to discuss the second sign of Jonah that Matthew’s version sets forth is a way that is essentially the same as the Lucan version we heard today at Mass.

  2. Second sign: In Lucan version read at today’s mass the mention of the whale is omitted and only this second sign is declared: This generation is an evil generation;
    it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.  Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment  the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here.  At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here
    . (Luke 11:29-32)
But the question remains, what is the sign of Jonah?
At one level the text seems to spell it out rather clearly. Jonah had gone to the Ninevites with the message Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed(Jonah 3:3). But the Ninevites, led by their King repented, fasted and prayed and God turned back his intent to destroy them.  So at the plainest level the sign of Jonah is “Repent or Die.”  Just as the Ninevites heard Jonah’s warning, put faith in it and lived so the people of Jesus’ time should hear Jesus’ warning to repent and believe the Good News, they should put faith in his words and live. If they do not they will meet great punishment.
But I want to suggest to you another level of what is meant by the sign of Jonah
I say, “suggest” because the reading of Scripture permits different interpretations, some of them certain, others more propositional. This description of the sign of Jonah I have read from several sources and it taps into the historical context of Jonah’s ministry and then proposes that the Lord is also speaking a deeper more polemical level when he invokes the “Sign of Jonah.” Here are the basic elements.
  1. When Jonah was told to go to Ninevah he resisted. He must have figured it was a no-win situation. Either they would rebuff his prophecy and likely kill him or they would heed his message and grow stronger. Now Ninevah was the capital of Assyria, the mortal enemy of Israel and Jonah had no interest in seeing them strengthened. For if they grew in strength through repentance they would surely gain the capacity to over-run Israel.

  2. This in fact takes place. Jonah makes his proclamation of destruction within forty days and Assyria does repent. An in their strength they would become a rod in God’s hand to punish Israel.  Isaiah the Prophet had well described Israel’s crimes and that punishment would surely come upon her from Assyria. God would use Assyria to humble and punish his people, Israel. Here is a key passage wherein Assyria is described as a rod in God’s hand to punish Israel: …Assyria, the rod of my anger,  in whose hand is the club of my wrath!  I send him against a godless nation (Israel), I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. (Isaiah 10:5-6)
Here then is a deeper meaning of the Sign of the Prophet Jonah:
 That if Israel will not repent, God will take the power and strength from them and give it to a foreign land that knows him not. They will shame and humiliate Israel inflicting God’s punishment.  This is humiliating on two levels. First of all Israel, God’s own people would not repent but a pagan country would. Secondly they are humiliated by being conquered by a foreign and pagan people. The destruction by Assyria was a devastating blow to the Northern Kingdom of Israel and resulted in the loss of the Ten Tribes living there. They became the “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.” Only Judah and the Levites were left in the South  as a remnant.
Let’s apply this understanding of the Sign of Jonah to Jesus time and then our own.
  1. In Jesus’ time the Sign of Jonah means that if Israel will not repent and accept the Gospel, God will take it from them and given it to the Gentiles. Jesus says elsewhere to his fellow Jews: Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. (Matt 21:43).  Further, just as Israel’s ancient refusal to repent led to destruction by the Assyrians, so now Israel’s refusal to repent  in Jesus’ time means destruction by the Romans which definitively took place in 70 AD and all this was prophesied by Jesus in the Mount Olivet discourse ( Matthew 24:1 – 25:46. ;  Mark 13:1-37 and Luke 21:5-36 ). Over a million Jews were lost in this horrible war according to Josephus.

  2. In our time I want to ask you to consider that the sign of Jonah may be active. I know that this may be controversial but it occurs to me that many Christians and Catholics in the decadent West have stopped loving life. Our birthrates have dropped dramatically and we are well below replacement level. In effect we are aborting and contracepting ourselves right out of existence. And God has loosed judgment on us in the form of the Sign of Jonah. In effect he seems to say to us, “Fine, if you do not love life, I will take it and give it to a people who do. Even if like the Assyrians of old they are not my people as you are, I will use them to humble you and punish you. I will take the gift of life that you have cast aside and give it to the Muslim people. They will grow and increase while you age and decrease. And perhaps in your humility and when you are punished by a people who do not respect your religious liberty, perhaps then you who remain will repent and begin to love life.”  Currently in France the Birthrate is 1.7 children per French woman (well below replacement level). For Muslim Women in France the birthrate is 7.1 children.  Most other European countries have equally dismal rates. Do the math and realize that Europe as we have known it is coming to an end. Here in America we are boosted by Christian immigrants and are close to replacement level in this country. But generally, the Catholic world is in decline. Last year the Roman Catholic Church was replaced as the largest Faith in the world. As you surely know it was the Muslims who have replaced us. I do not argue we will be destroyed for the promise is that we will prevail (cf Mat 16:18). but we are surely being diminished by our culture of death.  
  3. The Sign of Jonah: 3 Days & 3 Nights in the Heart of the Earth                                                          Uploaded on Jan 1, 2012
    Jonah was a prophet of the old testament and is most famous for being swallowed by a fish. In the Book of Jonah, God reveals to him the wickedness of a neighboring gentile city called Nineveh. Jonah in his prejudice and disobedience decides to setout the exact opposite direction of Nineveh. Scholars believe that Jonah was prejudice because of the context in which he lived in. During this time, many Jews did not have any association or dealings with Gentiles. They often would have only known of the sinful and pagan nature of their neighboring cities and they avoided them with contempt.

    Now In Jesus time, during one of the confrontations with the Pharisees, they ask Jesus to perform a miracle or sign to prove He is the son of God. Jesus does something strange and replies them and refers to the story of Jonah. This is referred to as the Prophecy and Sign of Jonah. I will touch on this scripture later, as it becomes relevant to the prophecy.

    As the account of Jonah goes, Jonah flees from the Lord by ship to a place called Tarshish which is in the opposite direction. Jonah asleep on the boat is awakened by the captain of the ship who tells him to pray to his God to see if the storms will cease. The sailors cast lots to see who is responsible for the treacherous storm and it falls on Jonah which leads to the sailors throwing him overboard. Following this Jonah is swallowed by a large fish or whale and this is where the story changes. The conventional perspective from this point onward is that Jonah lives inside the fish for 3 days and 3 nights however details from the original text and King James Version indicate that Jonah died before he was spit out by the fish. Some of the other translations have been changed and do not reflect the same details as the original texts.

  4. Jonah inevitably drowns and as a result God sends a large fish or whale to swallow him whole in order to preserve his body for 3 days and 3 nights. Jonahs soul departs from his body and he is swept deep into the earth under the mountains and in the water which is where the bible refers to the chambers of hell being located.

    Location of the Chambers:
    Under the earth: Numbers 16:30
    Under the mountains Jonah 2:6
    Under the waters Job 26:5
  5. The Sign of Jonah? You decide.

Contributing sources:
Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Sign of Jonah and the Binding of Satan:

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