He wore the modest robes of a prophet, a foreign one whom the people did not know. He was a stranger and spoke a strange tongue. Yet he had come all
this way, from his land far away, and now in this bustling metropolis he was walking down the street, and throughout the entire city, seemingly like a
mad-man proclaiming in a loud and bold voice a message no one understood. He spoke Hebrew, they did not.
The king of that great city heard about this stranger who appeared to be a prophet walking the streets and speaking in a foreign language. He was
keen on knowing what the message was so he sent for a translator and told him to follow the foreigner, not to do him any harm, and report back what it
was he was proclaiming.
The man was a prophet sent by Jehovah and he spoke Hebrew. This was his message:
(Jonah 3:4) . . .“Only forty days more, and Nineveh will be overthrown.”
Jonah didn't want to go to Ninevah at first. It was a long way away from his homeland. Not only that there was a reason that Jonah was sent to
declare that God was going to bring that ancient city to ruin. It was full of violence and bloodshed. The people were unusually cruel and evil. To
them, who did not know the true God, violence was a way of life, second nature, they knew nothing else.
The true God was not going to tolerate it any longer, and he sent his prophet to warn them.
What did the king do? Did he scoff at and scorn the prophet of Jehovah? Did he rebuke him, mock him, scorn him, chastise him? Interestingly enough
the king did not. He did something quite extraordinary. Taking the lead he put faith in the prophet's word and declared a fast for all the people,
the great and the small. He dressed himself in sackcloth and sat in the ashes. This was a custom of a person in mourning. Then this extraordinary
king made this decree:
(Jonah 3:7-9) . . .Furthermore, he had the cry made, and he had it said in Nin′e·veh, by the decree of the king and his great ones, saying:
“No man and no domestic animal, no herd and no flock, should taste anything at all. None should take food. Even water they should not drink. 8 And
let them cover themselves with sackcloth, man and domestic animal; and let them call out to God with strength and come back, each one from his bad way
and from the violence that was in their hands. 9 Who is there knowing whether the [true] God may turn back and actually feel regret and turn back
from his burning anger, so that we may not perish?”
What a miraculous act of faith. What is even more curious was the reaction of the people of that ancient city. They obeyed the decree of the king
and did as was told. The people showed genuine heartfelt shame over their bad conduct and repented over their bad deeds.
Jonah walked outside the city and waited for its destruction but it never happened. Was he a false prophet? No. Jehovah saw that the people were
cut to the heart and had repented, and thus he stayed his hand from destroying the city.
Jonah got upset at this and Jehovah gave him a lesson that both humbled the man and taught him compassion.
Many people claim that the "God of the old testament is a vengeful God." But that is far from telling the whole picture of who he really is. Jehovah
knew that the people of Nineveh "did not know their right hand from their left." They knew no better. So he sent his prophet to warn them. And he
felt compassion for them, something his prophet did not:
(Jonah 4:10, 11) . . .Jehovah said: “You, for your part, felt sorry for the bottle-gourd plant, which you did not toil upon or make get big,
which proved to be a mere growth of a night and perished as a mere growth of a night. 11 And, for my part, ought I not to feel sorry for
Nin′e·veh the great city, in which there exist more than one hundred and twenty thousand men who do not at all know the difference between their
right hand and their left, besides many domestic animals?”
Yes, the lesson is a good one for all to learn, both God's servants and those who do not know him. He is not a vindictive evil God as some claim.
Rather he is a patient, loving, and understanding God. In fact he says this about the wicked:
(Ezekiel 33:11) . . .“As I am alive,” is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, “I take delight, not in the death of the wicked one,
but in that someone wicked turns back from his way and actually keeps living. . . .
He would prefer that wicked men turn back from their bad ways and come to serve him.
Thus in our day Jehovah has raised up witnesses for himself. And just as he did in ancient times, he has sent them to declare a day of vengeance upon
(Isaiah 61:2) . . .to proclaim the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God. . .
How do you react to the message? Are you like those in the days of Noah, when he witnessed for Jehovah to the people, who laughed and scorned and
(2 Peter 3:3, 4) . . .For YOU know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their
own desires 4 and saying: “Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep [in death], all things are
continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.”
In our day, we do not know the day or the hour, but we do know the "times and the seasons." And we have entered into the time of the end.
Everyone is Blood-guilty Before Jehovah God
Have you ever taken someone's life? Most likely not. So you may be asking how can I be guilty before God of bloodshed? And that is a good question.
To understand it one must understand God's view of justice.
For example, why was Jehovah going to initially destroy the city of Nineveh, and later did not act upon it? Is it because he is wishy-washy? No.
Can he change his mind? Yes. Does that mean his justice changes? NO. Jehovah does not change. He is the same and always will be the same:
(James 1:17) . . .and with him there is not a variation of the turning of the shadow.
(Malachi 3:6) 6 “For I am Jehovah; I have not changed. . .
That scripture in James gives the allusion to the sun at midday. As it moves across the sky the shadow's begin to prolong. But with God "there is
not a variation of the turning of the shadow." That is his principles and his justice never changes ever. He is always the same.
So how is it that he is able to change his mind upon how he deals with people? Well, it is quite simple: He applies his justice to a person
according to the actions of the person. If a person is acting wickedly he will die. If he is righteous he get life. But if THE PERSON changes then
Jehovah's dealings with that person can change. So it is not God at all who changes, rather it is how the person behaves that will dictate how God
responds to that person, or group of people. In the example above Jehovah was not the one who changed, it was the people of Nineveh who repented of
their bad ways.
edit on 20-3-2013 by SubAce because: (no reason given)