What The Bible Says

What The Bible Says

“What The Bible Says - Vol. 5 / No. 23”

What The Bible Says

Vol. V - No. 23 / April 23, 2023


    Many of us were introduced to the book of Jonah as small children: singing songs and coloring pictures of the great fish, and learning the important lesson that disobedience brings punishment. Unfortunately, some "scholars" dismiss this story as merely a myth or perhaps, at best, an allegory of Israel's captivity, repentance, and restoration. Nevertheless, Jesus recognized the story as a factual, historical account stating, "for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" {Matthew 12:40). There are indeed many valuable lessons to learn from this unique book and I encourage all to examine and glean from it in its entirety; however, for the purposes of our discussion today, I'd like to focus on the message God gave Jonah to deliver to the occupants of Nineveh. 

    In Jonah 1:2, the Lord instructs Jonah to, "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." After Jonah's initial rebellion and ensuing trials, the Scriptures state, "Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, 'Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown'" (Jonah 3:4). That's it! That is all we have recorded of Jonah's message to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire. Yet, notice how effective this short message was. Verse 10 states, " ...they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which he had declared He would bring upon them." How was this simple message so effective? The first thing to notice is the statement in verse 5, "Then the people of Nineveh believed in God... " What would lead a powerful, pagan city to suddenly believe in the Lord of Heaven? The simple answer is they knew of the Lord's miraculous dealings with Jonah. Jesus says that "Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites" (Luke 11:29-30). What was that sign he became? In Matthew 12:39-44, Jesus says the "sign of Jonah" was that he "was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster." Think about that! Here was this otherwise ordinary looking human who sailors threw overboard and instantly the raging sea becomes calm (Jonah 1:15), who a great fish swallowed (v.17), who three days later appears on dry ground, alive and well (2:10), who is now walking through Nineveh proclaiming its imminent destruction (3:1-5). Producing faith has always been the intent of God's miracles (Mark 16:20}. 

    Let's look closer at Jonah's short sermon; "Yet forty day and Nineveh will be overthrown". What was to take place? Defeat! Jonah prophesied during the reign of king Jeroboam II of Israel (II Kings 14:23-27). Secular history tells us the kingdom of Assyria was in a depressed state during this time period (~800-745 B.C.). In addition to internal strife and infighting with revolting provinces, they were at war with the power kingdom of Urartu to the north. Impending defeat and destruction were the last things the people of Nineveh wanted to hear. Where was this to take place? Not in some far away city or land! Rather, it would be here in their own city, with their own homes in the crosshairs. When was this to take place? In just 40 short days! What was the result of this Divine message? As previously examined, the people believed in God (Jonah 4:5), repented/obeyed, and were saved (v.10). This pattern of instruction, faith, repentance/obedience, and salvation occurs time and time again in the Holy Scriptures (see Acts 2:36-41 for another example). Jonah's sermon was certainly short, but truly effective! 

    The New Testament contains a passage that is likewise short but should be equally effective to us today. In 2 Peter 3:10 the Scripture says, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." What will take place? Complete and utter destruction! A fire so intense that not only the contents of the earth with be destroyed, but the earth itself will be consumed. Where will this take place? Not some far away place or planet, but here, with our homes in the crosshairs. When will this take place? No one knows for sure! Not the angels, nor even Jesus (Matthew 24:36-39). Like a thief coming, it will happen at a time that we don't expect (Luke 12:39)! Isn't that unnerving? The most important question is: What will be the result of this Divine message? Will we, like the Ninevites (and those in Acts 2), follow the Biblical pattern of hearing (Romans 10:14), believing (Hebrews 11:6), repenting, obeying, and being saved (Acts 2:37-38; Mark 16:16)? —Ruben Hall



    When it comes to religion and attending a place of worship, many people are looking for a feeling. This feeling is something difficult for them to explain but somehow they will know it when they feel it. Feelings are the guiding element in their spiritual lives. What about feelings? Are they a safe guide in such serious matters? Let's examine what the scriptures teach. 

    In both Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 we read: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death". Our feelings can mislead us when they are based upon the wrong information. This can be clearly seen in the story ofJacob recorded in Genesis 37. Jacob’s favorite son wasJoseph and this made Joseph's brothers jealous. Their jealousy was so great they sold Joseph as a slave. Then they took his coat, which his father had made, dipped it in blood, and presented it to their father. This lead Jacob to believe that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal. Jacob grieved for his son. Though Joseph was still very much alive, Jacob's feelings were as real as if he had been dead. He had been given the wrong information. 

    Paul did many things contrary to Jesus because he was following the religion of the Pharisees. Yet during that time he could say," ...I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day." (Acts 23: 1). 

       In religion there is a lot of wrong information. Not everything you hear coming from pulpits and TV evangelists is the truth. We need to look to God's inspired word, the Bible, as the source of all truth (John 17:17). In looking to His word, we need to rightly divide and handle it right (2 Timothy 2:15). Our feelings are based on the information we receive. If we receive the wrong information, our feelings will make us to feel we are right even though we are wrong. Check the Bible first before relying on your feelings. It is your soul that is at stake. —E.R. Hall, Jr.



"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." - Lou Holtz
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.


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--- E.R. Hall, Jr. 

For The East Albertville Church Of Christ
meeting at
4777 U.S. Highway 431
Albertville, AL 35950
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