What Is the Sign of Jonah?

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.

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Published: Feb 6, 2005

Newsletter 5842-006

What Is the Sign of Jonah?

In the Gospel of Matthew, Yeshua gives us the one and only sign that He was and is the Messiah:

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But He, answering, said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was in the belly of the great whale for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.” (Matthew 12:38-40)

So was He in the grave for three days and three nights? As this is the only sign, we are to check and see if this truly was the case.
Many follow the Good Friday, Easter Sunday tradition, which only allows a maximum of two nights and one day in the grave. This tradition actually denies that Yeshua kept the “Sign of Jonah,” and thus casts doubt on His truthfulness. Did He keep this “Sign,” or is Yeshua a fraud as so many subtly suggest?

Read the Scriptures Carefully

The crucifixion was, in reality, on a Wednesday, with two Sabbaths occurring during the time He was dead.
This is told to us in the Gospel of Matthew, which literally reads:

1 Now after the Sabbaths, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. (Matthew 28:1) Youngs

Literal Translation & Interlineal Bible

Take note that it says after “the Sabbaths,” or, more than one, and on the first day of the week. The first day of the week was and still is Sunday. But, in this case it would be on a Sunday right before sunrise.

It is because most people today are ignorant of the Holy Days, as told to us in Leviticus 23, and how to keep them, that this heresy has successfully been thrust out there to deceive the world.

Yeshua was crucified, on Wednesday. The next day was the first day of the Week of Unleavened Bread, which was (and still is) a special annual Great Sabbath Day. The Bible clearly shows that the Preparation Day was indeed the day before first day of the Week of Unleavened Bread in John 19:14. This is also referenced in John 19:31 and Leviticus 23:4–8. God’s annual Holy Days are Great Sabbaths, regardless of which day of the week they occur on, as shown in Leviticus 23:24, 32 & 39 and John 7:37. The first day of the Week of Unleavened Bread is also confirmed as a Great Sabbath by combining John 19:14, Mark 15:42 and Matthew 28:1.

Because the coming of this Great Day or solemn annual Sabbath was fast approaching when no one could be left on the tree, the Jewish leaders requested the breaking of the “convicts” legs so they would die before the Week of Unleavened Bread formally began.

The Bible clearly shows that Yeshua died midafternoon on the Preparation Day. Yeshua’s body was finally placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, (in the heart of the Earth) just as the Great Day (first day of the Week of Unleavened Bread) began at dusk. Because the High Holy Day was fast approaching, Yeshua’s body was interred without being properly embalmed. So it was that the three days and nights in the heart of the Earth began at dusk at the end of the Day of Preparation. That night and the next day (Wednesday night and Thursday – the first Great Day of the Week of Unleavened Bread) comprised the first night and day of Christ’s interment.

The next night and day comprised the second day of the Week of Unleavened Bread. Normal work was permitted on that day. This was the day on which Yeshua’s followers went out and bought the herbs, spices and linen required to embalm Yeshua properly. They then had to prepare and blend the herbs and spices before they could embalm Him. It is likely that by the time they had finished, the day was nearly over, so the actual embalming had to be postponed again. It is also likely they were fully aware of the guards protecting the tomb who would prevent them from unsealing the tomb and embalming Yeshua until they left. As Matthew 27:62-66 reveals, the guards were commanded to stay at the tomb until the three days had passed. The second night and second day (Friday) had now passed.

But the new “day,” beginning at dusk, was the normal weekly Sabbath. Yeshua’s followers once again had to delay while this Sabbath passed. This was now the third night and the third day (Saturday).

This sequence is confirmed in Mark 16:1, which tells us that the women bought their spices after the Sabbath was over, and in Luke 23:56 which tells us they kept the Sabbath after they had prepared the spices. Obviously, two Sabbaths must have passed while Yeshua was still in the grave.
The three days and three nights were fulfilled at dusk at the end of the weekly Sabbath. Did Yeshua rise then, or did He wait and rise at dawn the next morning as is commonly taught?

In the Gospel of John we read how early on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came, while the tomb was still in darkness, and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. Then she ran and encountered Simon Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, declaring to them:
1 They took the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they put Him. (John 20:1-2)

Yeshua was no longer in the tomb when the women arrived before dawn to embalm Him the next day. They were hoping that with the three days now fulfilled, the guards would allow them into the tomb. But Yeshua had risen from the dead at dusk on the previous evening and left the tomb, exactly fulfilling the Sign of Jonah.

One Gospel account states Yeshua will arise on the third day and another Gospel account states Yeshua will arise after three days. Yeshua fulfilled all of these Scriptures by rising exactly at the moment of transition between the end of the Sabbath and the start of the first day of the week.
The above is confirmed in the Gospel accounts of Matthew and Mark below which state:

21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. (Matthew 16:21)

33 and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; 34 and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again. (Mark 10:33-34)

31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31)

The next morning, Yeshua spoke to Mary and then went to present Himself before God the Father in heaven in fulfillment of the Feast of the First Fruits (also known as the Wave Offering). It was only after this had been done that His disciples were allowed to touch Him. (See Leviticus 23:9-12, John 20:17 and Matthew 28:9)

This now begs the question. In the year of His crucifixion, was the Day of Preparation for the first day of the Week of Unleavened Bread on a Wednesday? We must now determine the year of the crucifixion.