It is shocking how badly people mangle the story of Jonah.

It is not about a guy terrified of the scary Assyrians flaying or boiling him alive.

It is also not primarily a story of an ethnocentrist angry that God would show kindness to people other than Israelites.
Some of it is from that stupid vegetable cartoon. But that just comes from terrible exegesis more broadly.

I say this all the time because I have to:

Bad OT exegesis comes from treating the Bible like a random collection of fables rather than an organic, cohesive narrative.
That is the problem with most children's storybook Bibles btw, (beyond how sappy and sentimental and moralistic they are).

Children grow up having no idea how these stories are deeply interwoven with each other. They have no idea how they are all connected.
Which leads me to Jonah.

Jonah is not scared nor is he angry that God might save the Assyrians.

He is angry in chapter 4, but for a different reason.
Jonah was angry because he had read (and sung) Deuteronomy 32 since he was a child.

What is Deuteronomy 32 about?
Jonah is angry because God is sending Him to the Assyrians. He knows, because of what God promised in the Song of Moses that God taking any interest in Assyria is EXTREMELY BAD for Israel.
He knows that God "giving law" to the Assyrians is grace. Of course pagans are wicked. God telling them it is bad is what is out of the ordinary.

He knows Israel's time is up. They have been worshipping demon-gods and have refused to repent. So God is going over to the Gentiles.
Which brings me to Jesus. In Matthew 8, the Pharisees demand to see a sign from Jesus. Bear in mind everybody and their brother has seen Jesus heal the blind, lepers, lame, & raise the dead.

Or that these same Pharisees watched Jesus cast a demon out before their eyes.
He rebukes them, and tells them they would get a sign. Oh, you want a sign do you? Well you're gonna get one!

The sign of Jonah!

If your knowledge of the Bible is primarily tomato and cucumber-based, that makes absolutely no sense why that should be terrifying.
Even fairly good commentators will make the connection to Christ's trial, execution, and burial and Jonah in the whale, and that gentiles came to faith because of both Jonah's and Jesus's respective ministries.

But they stop there.
Why would "the sign of Jonah" be a thing that should scare the Pharisees?

Because it means that Deuteronomy 32 is going to be fulfilled again.
The first time, God took it easy on Israel. They got to come back to the land. And it was swept and clean and they brought back seven demons worse than before.

Literally. Rather than just statues to demons in the ether, the demons were now all over the place.
God was going over to the gentiles. To the Jew first, then also the Greek.

Israel was going to be destroyed for good.

Just as YHWH's day of wrath came from Assyria and Babylon, Christ's would come from Rome. And it did.
I preached about this last Sunday, and you might find it interesting to read or listen to:
Meant Mt. 12 mea culpa

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More from @BonifaceOption

8 Mar
In American evangelicalism "the gospel" centers entirely around are you going to heaven or hell when you die.

When you read the gospels carefully, that does not seem to be the case at all. "The gospel" in the gospels is not really about where you are going when you die.
Obviously, salvation from hell is something that Jesus accomplishes for His people. That is not in dispute.

But that phrase "the gospel" is used in the gospels in a way we are completely not used to.
When Jesus & His disciples preach "the gospel" in the gospels they don't show up & say "here is your free ticket out of Hell."

They are announcing that the kingdom of God has arrived.

American evangelicals reduce that to shorthand for "ask Jesus into your heart & go to heaven."
Read 19 tweets
3 Mar
The fact I can find multiple illustrated versions of The Illiad that look like this but the “best” illustrated Bibles are barely any better than Precious Moments has far more explanatory power regarding contemporary Christianity than anything I can articulate.
What exactly *would* an artist’s rendition of Abimelech’s head getting crushed by a millstone look like?
Read 4 tweets
2 Mar
A common theme that I constantly return to is that the age we live in is one of profound loneliness, isolation, atomization, alienation, and despair.

I don't think I can emphasize this enough.
You would have to be EXTREMELY naive to believe these circumstances exist by accident.

All of this has been socially engineered since the early 20th C.

I am not gonna footnote it all here, but these people wrote about their designs right out in the open.
This tweet is funny; and this is because it is barely an exaggeration.

Human beings were not designed to live this way.

Read 19 tweets
12 Jan
I say this without a shred of hyperbole: nearly all the problems of contemporary Christendom can be traced back to a defective view of worship.

Even most of the best churches, that otherwise seriously believe the Bible, don't pay attention to what it says about worship.
What the contemporary church believes worship is for:

TEDtalks w/Bible verses
Theology lectures
Impressive rock concerts
What the Bible says worship is for:

God's people gathering before His presence
God renewing His covenant relationship with His people
God's people receiving grace from Him
God's people responding with praise
God's people returning a portion of the grace He has given
Read 13 tweets
11 Jan
The problem with pastoral ministry is that it often selects for men who are both not very good leaders and conflict averse.
What I mean is:

Start out with early-20-something men who have an interest in theological studies.

That already is a very narrow pool, and already the overwhelming majority of them would be described as “bookish” if we are being unbelievably charitable.

Load them down with tens of thousands of dollars of debt for skills and a degree that limit their career prospects to a singular vocation and almost literally nothing else.
Read 5 tweets
9 Jan
I preached last Sunday about going the extra mile (which is about foreign occupiers humiliating you).

I said we do not know what it is like to live under occupation.

Well, you had now better start getting used to it.

Jesus's command is very applicable to our situation.
We want to remove our enemies by force. Sometimes there is a time for that.

But you saw how well that worked out on Wednesday.

Our battles are fought by different means but they are no less battles.
My main point was that Jesus was expressly *not* commanding pacifism.

He is the Word-Made-Flesh, including "A time to kill…" (Ecc. 3:3) made flesh.

Our battle now is to bear the humiliation that is coming for us, that our enemies deserve.
Read 4 tweets

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