The sign of Jonah
The destruction of Mosul may be Israel’s last sign that Jesus is their God
By Craig C. White
The ancient city of Nineveh was known for its bloodshed and cruelty. Back around 800 BC God sent the Prophet Jonah to the city of Nineveh with a message, “Repent of your evil ways or the city would be destroyed in forty days!” That generation repented but it seems that this generation doesn’t want the chance.
Jonah 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
Today the ruins of Nineveh lie within the city limits of Mosul, Iraq. Mosul in the Nineveh Province is the home town of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group known as ISIS. Since June 10th, 2014 ISIS in Mosul has been behaving in the same way as the ancient Ninevites. They have committed horrific atrocities against their fellow countrymen in the Nineveh province of northern Iraq.
On July 24th 2014 ISIS blew up the shrine to Jonah in Nineveh.
In Jonah’s day the city of Nineveh repented however God finally judged the city in 612 BC. The Prophet Nahum foretells the destruction of Nineveh. The city was flooded by the Tigris River and was then besieged by three nations. Babylon, Persia, and the Medes plundered Nineveh for two months leveling the city. Today the same three nations are fighting against ISIS in Mosul. They are Iraq, Iran, and the Kurds. Perhaps God will send another flood along with these three armies to once again overwhelm Mosul at Nineveh!
Nahum 1:8 But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.
Conditions in Mosul are the same as they were in ancient Nineveh. There is overflowing bloodshed. The Mosul dam is in danger of bursting. The same three armies are set against it. Nahum likely also foretells the destruction of Mosul.
Nahum 3:1-3 Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not; 2 The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots. 3 The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:
God spared the city of Nineveh in Jonah’s’ day. Jonah was upset because the people of Nineveh repented and escaped God’s punishment. God reminded Jonah that many innocent lives would be lost during the destruction of Nineveh. I suppose that most of us today would be happy to see ISIS in Mosul wiped out. In the book of Jonah God reminds us of the human tragedy his judgment brings. Moral of the story; repent while you still can!
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Folks wanted proof that Jesus was God so they demanded a sign. Jesus gave them the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah was inside of the fish for three days Jesus also rose from the grave in three days. But there may be more to the sign of Jonah. Long before the Mosul dam was ever built Bible scholars have wondered if the preaching of Jonah was also a part of the sign. The grammar of Mathew 12:39-41 leads some Bible scholars to think that the subject of Jesus’s comment was the preaching of Jonah.
Matthew 12:38-41 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas 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. 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
The Greek word translated as “sign” means miracle or supernatural wonder. Notice in verse 41 that the men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah. They did not repent at the miracle of surviving in a large fish for three days.
The unbelieving religious rulers in Jerusalem demanded a sign from Jesus. Jesus told them that they would not be be given a sign except for the sign of Jonah. Jonah was sent to ancient Nineveh to tell them to repent because God’s judgment was coming on the city. The destruction of Mosul could be the end time sign to Israel that Jesus is truly their God and that their time of trouble is at hand.
Jesus said that an evil generation desires to be shown a sign. We should already know and honor God because it is evident that he has created all things and also because has given us his word. We should not require a sign in order to motivate us to repent from our unbelief and rebellion. Nevertheless Jesus gave his generation the sign of Jonah.
Perhaps this generation will repent at the preaching of Jonah when Mosul is flooded! If Israel repents at the preaching of Jonah then they will narrowly escape God’s coming judgement on the city of Jerusalem and on the nation of Israel.
Jesus said that even the men of ancient Nineveh will rise from the dead and condemn his generation for its unbelief. It seems to me that this generation is about to witness another sign of Jonah. ISIS in the city of Mosul rejected Jonah’s offer of repentance by blowing up Jonah’s shrine. A terrible time of God’s judgment is coming upon Israel and also upon all of the earth. Only by repentance from unbelief can we escape it.
I suspect that the Prophet Nahum describes the fall of ancient Nineveh as well as the demise of modern day Mosul. I think that Mosul will fall soon by a flood and by the same three armies that wiped out Nineveh.
Since I wrote this I have learned that the dam just north of Mosul is very unstable and requires continuous maintenance. The capture of the dam by ISIS and the recapture of the dam by the Kurds has disrupted its maintenance schedule. In 2007 the Army Corp of Engineers declared it the most dangerous dam in the world. If Mosul falls I will count back forty days to see what significant event may have happened on that day.