The sign of Jonah

1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that [just] a little leaven ferments the whole batch?
Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new batch, just as you are, still unleavened. For Yahshua our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.
Therefore, let us celebrate the appointed time, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.


From Robert Burden.

What is the Sign of Jonah (Heb., Yonah)?

[Mat 12:40 HNV] 40 For as Yonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the eretz.

In What Context Did the Messiah Speak of the Sign of Yonah?

As my old Greek Teacher at a “Christian” College used to drill into us, “A text without the context is a pretext”.  The context of the sign is people were asking to show them that He was the Messiah while He was in Galilee (Heb., ga-LIyL).  He said “a wicked and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, and no sign shall be given, but that of the prophet Yonah (pronounced yo-NAH).  Some people later thought it referred to His raising of His cousin who had been 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb.  Others thought it was about the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah.  In these 2 examples the “heart of the ‘earth’ (Heb., ‘E-rets) is interpreted as the tomb.  How long was the Messiah in the tomb anyway?

Did He rise after 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb, or on the 3rd day, as He told His followers?  It cannot be both unless you bring time travel into the equation.  Don’t be so bound by what you have been taught in the past.  If you put away your preconceived ideas, the puzzle can come into.

Focusing on the Lamb Exam Theory of yo-NAH’s Sign

The 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth refer to the 3 days of examination of the Lamb in a Roman Dungeon under Pilate’s court chamber for 3 days and 3 nights. The lamb is selected and captivated on the 10th day of the 1st month.  It is afterward examined for 3 days, and remains captive for 3 days and 3 nights.  So then, how does this all play out with reference to how the Messiah fulfilled this prophesy?

The Passover Lamb Selection Day

The Messiah, on the 10th day of the 1st month, enjoyed a rehearsal Passover (Heb. mi-KRA pe-SAHh), as Hebrews have done from time immemorial. In the synagogue, that is the day the leaders of the synagogue explain the symbols of Passover, and they rehearse the

Passover which will be observed later on the 14th. That is the day the Passover lambs begin to be slaughtered. On the night of the 10th, He was arrested by the Temple guard who were backed up by a Roman quaternion of soldiers. He was taken to the house of the High Priest to be selected for slaughter by “Caiaphas”.

3 Days & 3 Nights in the Heart of the Earth

Day 1 and Night 1

Very early, on the morning of the 11th, He was taken to David’s Palace where Pontius Pilate and King Herod had their courtrooms and dungeons. At 8 am (the 2nd sounding of the trumpet at the 2nd hour expressed by the 2nd crowing of the rooster), they were let into Pilate’s hall where the Messiah would be sent before Herod.

The reason Pilate had the Messiah turned over to Herod was two-fold:  (1) He was accused of claiming to be the King of the Jews; & (2) He was a resident of Herod’s jurisdiction, being from Galilee (ga-LIyL).According to Luke’s version of Herod’s examination, Herod questioned Him in “not a few” words.

To me, that suggests Herod’s examination took up the docket for the rest of the court date, which would no doubt end at 3 pm (the 9th hour).  When Herod found no defect in Him, as with the Passover Lamb, He put His robe on Him, mocked Him, beat Him, and sent Him back to Pilate.

Being the court date, Pilate no doubt sent Him back to the dungeon.  We are told that day Herod & Pilate became friends.  Reading between the lines, one may infer that Pilate and Herod met per haps over dinner at Pilate’s invitation to discuss the case.  Pilate’s wife no doubt heard the conversation and that night had a nightmare and told Pilate to have nothing to do with the blood of that innocent man.
After all, King Herod himself had already declared Him innocent, right?  Do you see where I am going with this?  Thus day 1 and night 1 the Messiah has spent in the proverbial “heart of the earth”

Day 2 and Night 2

The morning of the 12th, He was taken again to Pilate’s court, where He was thoroughly tried and examined, and like the Passover Lamb that He was, Pilate found no fault in Him. He was then taken again to the whale of a Roman dungeon for His 2nd night in the heart of the earth to await sentencing.

Day 3 and Night 3

At high noon (the 6th hour) the next day which would be the 13th day of the 1st month. At noon on the 13th, He was brought before Pilate at the place called the Pavement.  Notice that at that place, Pilate was still trying to wash His hands looking for any excuse to free the Messiah, both for political reasons to stay in good with Herod, and being disturbed by his wife’s warning not to be involved with the blood of that innocent man.  He gave the option of releasing one man, as was the custom at Passover, trying to free the Messiah.

The people, riled up by the San Hedron leaders, called for Barabbas (Aram, BAR-ab-BA) to be freed and to crucify the Messiah.  Since it was shortly after noon (the 6th hour) when Pilate washed his hands of the blood of that innocent man and signed the document sentencing Him to death, and the Messiah was crucified in the morning at 9 am (the 3rd hour), His sentencing and execution could not have been carried out on the same day, unless of course, time travel is again involved somehow, which of course, is absurd. Thus, in the interim, the Messiah was whipped and returned to His dungeon to await execution.


These are the 3 days and 3 nights to which I submit the Messiah was referring in Matt 12:40.

Jonah (Heb., yo-NAH) the prophet was being tried to see if He would obey after all.Do you remember, just before the arrest, how the Messiah said, “If is your will, let this cup pass from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done”?  And do you recall how Jonah (Heb., yo-NAH) also wrestled with the will of the Almighty Creator?

This no doubt signaled the dawn to come would be the beginning of the 3 days and 3 nights of the trial and examination of the Passover Lamb of the Most High would begin in the Jerusalem (Heb., ye-RU-sha-la-YIyM), the heart of the earth.  In examining the parallel more closely, one may notice that the prophet preached to the Ninevites after the 3 days and 3 nights, just like the Messiah went and preached to the Messengers condemning the “angels” (Heb. mal-KhIyM) and setting the captives free (those who rose from the dead at His death, see Matt 27:50 ff.)

I believe those righteous dead were Jeremiah (YIR-me-YA-hu) and his school of prophets who had been buried at Jeremiah’s grotto, exactly under where the Messiah was crucified.

They no doubt were raised from the dead to be witnesses to seeing the blood of the Messiah fall on the “Mercy Seat” of the Ark of the Covenant. Thus, the Messiah was in the heart of the earth in parallel to yo-NAH being in the belly of the whale for 3 days and 3 nights.


When I was researching this topic. I also found a hebrew site which said the following:


During the time of the Temple in Jerusalem, it was customary to obtain the Korban Pesach four days before Passover so that worshippers could make sure that their lambs had no blemishes which would preclude them from being offered as sacrifices.

This was done to fulfill the instructions given in Exodus 12 that the lamb for Passover be “without spot or blemish.”

Interestingly, this period of time allowed time for each family to become personally attached to their lamb, so that it would no longer simply be “a lamb” (Exod. 12:3) but rather their lamb” (Exod. 12:5).


Exodus 12:3
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

Exodus 12:5
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats.


Indeed the Torah refers to “the” Lamb of (Elohim), as if there was only one: “You shall keep it [i.e., the Passover lamb] until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall slaughter him (
אתוֹ) at twilight (Exod. 12:6).


Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 10.34.06 am

Note that the direct object “him” (i.e., oto) can be read as Aleph-Tav (את) combined with the letter Vav (ו), signifying the Son of Man who is First and Last.


On the afternoon of the Nisan 14, at twilight, the lambs were to be publicly sacrificed by the “whole assembly.” And even though the entire nation was responsible for the death of the lambs, each family was to apply the blood of their personal lamb upon the doorpost as a sign of their faith in the Yahuwah (Exod. 12:7).

Exodus 12:7
7 Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel [above the door] of the houses in which they eat it.

(Yahshua’s) last Passover began some time before the Festival actually began (see John 12:1-33). After visiting his friend Lazarus and his sisters in Bethany, He went to Jerusalem just before the city became filled with pilgrims coming to celebrate the holy day.

On the 10th of Nisan He entered the city, riding on a donkey to announce His Messiahship (this was the time the korban Pesach was being selected for the sacrifice).

Examined for four days before His sacrifice (execution) for the sins of the world, He was found to be the true Lamb of Elohim (seh haElohim) without spot or blemish.

The Holy City would have been a busy place, bustling with excitement and (due to Roman oppression) filled with Messianic expectation. Countless Jews would have streamed in from around the world to observe the Passover with their extended families.

The Law required (Ex. 12:1-6) that each family select a lamb (called korban Pesach) four days before the sacrifice was to be offered at the Temple. During this time the lamb would be examined to ensure that it was defect-free and therefore acceptable for sacrifice at the Temple.

Note that when Yahshua first entered the city, He was greeted by the cries of Jewish Passover pilgrims: “Hosanna!”  This word is actually the phrase “hoshiah na” (הוֹשִׁיעָה נָּא), meaning “please save” or “save now.”

The Jewish pilgrims were singing Psalm 118:25-26 and applying it to the greater Son of David, Yahshua, who had come:

ה הַצְלִיחָה נָּא
בָּרוּךְ הַבָּא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה בֵּרַכְנוּכֶם מִבֵּית יְהוָה

“Please, Adonai save us! Please, Adonai rescue us!
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Yahuwah
We bless you from the house of Yahuwah.”

Upon entering Jerusalem, Yahshua went to the temple and then, as the hour was late, went to Bethany with the Twelve disciples.

Mark 11:11
11 Yahshua went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.

The next day the 11th, after coming back from Bethany, He went back to Jerusalem and along the way say a fig tree having leaves and went to it. Yahshua could not find any fruit on it and said that no one shall ever eat from this tree ever again.

Mark 11:12
12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry.
13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
14 In response Yahshua said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.”

And His disciples heard it.

Yahshua the goes to the Temple and drove out all who sold there, overturning the tables of the “moneychangers” and the seats of those who sold doves.

Matthew 21
1 When they approached Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Yahshua sent two disciples,
saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and at once you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.

This happened so that what was spoken by the prophet would be fulfilled, saying:
Tell the daughter of Zion (the people of Jerusalem),

Behold, your King is coming to you,
Gentle and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”


10 When He entered Jerusalem, all the city was trembling [with excitement], saying, “Who is this?”
11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Yahshua, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

12 And Yahshua entered the temple [grounds] and drove out [with force] all who were buying and selling [birds and animals for sacrifice] in the temple area, and He turned over the tables of the moneychangers [who made a profit exchanging foreign money for temple coinage] and the chairs of those who were selling doves [for sacrifice].

There were actually TWO separate cleansings of the Temple recorded in the New Testament. The earlier cleansing is described in John 2:13-22 and the later one is described in (both) Mark 11:15-19 and Matthew 21:1-16.

In Mark’s account of the second cleansing, Yahshua actually stopped the “carrying of the ritual vessels” — meaning He LITERALLY stopped the sacrifices of Israel. Mark 11:16 states:

Mark 11:16
“And he would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the Temple.”

Despite performing miraculous works of healing in the Temple that day — including opening the eyes of the blind and causing the disabled to walk — the kohanim (chief priests) and soferim (scribes) were “indignant” at His actions and therefore sought to put Him to death (Mark 11:18).

Mark 11:18
18 The chief priests and the scribes heard this and began searching for a way to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, since the entire crowd was struck with astonishment at His teaching.

In the evening Yahshua left the Temple for Bethany (בֵּית עַנְיָה), the home town of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, where He stayed the night.

The following morning (the 12th) he walked back to Jerusalem, and they saw the Fig tree which Yashua had passed the day before. Peter points out to Yahshua that the fig tree has died.


Mark 11:20-24
20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”

22 Yahshua answered and said to them, “Have faith in Elohim.
23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

When they arrived in Jerusalem, Yahshua again went to the temple. He was accosted by various priests, scribes, Pharisees, etc. — the whole religious establishment — which culminated in His denunciation of them.

He then laments over Jerusalem and retreats from the Temple with these words:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of Elohim.'” And Yahshua went out, and departed from the Temple (Matt. 23:37-24:1).

In Matthew 24 Yahshua’s disciples made a last-ditch appeal for Jewish tradition and ceremony by pointing out the glory of the Second Temple. “Look at these beautiful buildings of the Temple, Elohim…”

It was then that Yahshua pronounced judgment on the Temple and the entire Levitical sacrificial system, predicted the destruction of the Temple by Rome, and so on. This was apparently unfathomable to the disciples, who apparently still considered Yahshua to be a “reformer” of Temple Judaism, perhaps the one who would restore it so that the Kingdom of Elohim would be finally manifest upon the earth.

Yahshua went on to explain the signs of the End of the Age (אַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים) that would precede the promised Days of Messiah (יְמֵי הַמָּשִׁיחַ), otherwise known as the Messianic Kingdom. He foretold that one day praise would rightly be given to Him as Israel’s True King, but only after the travail of the coming Great Tribulation upon the earth. Only after the Jewish people cry out to Him as their Saviour (Matt. 23:39) would the Kingdom of Elohim be established in Zion.

Upon the 12th day, after Yahushua had finished giving his parables he said,

Matthew 26:2
2 “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”


Over the course of these days Yahshua was thoroughly “inspected” by the kohanim but was found to be tam (תָּם) – without spot or blemish. During His early Passover Seder with His disciples, Yahshua foresaw His imminent sacrifice and associated the matzah with His body and the Cup of Redemption with His shed blood (Matt. 26:26-29).

The New Covenant was going to be “cut” in the Person and Sacrifice of Yahshua… Later that same night, Judas betrayed Him and Yeshua was arrested at Gethsamane (גַּת־שְׁמֵנָה). An illegal convention of the Sanhedrin was called.

Yahshua was falsely accused, abused, and the following morning sentenced to die. He was bound and taken to Pontius Pilate who, though he found no fault in Him, spinelessly complied with agitated the crowd that called for His crucifixion (Matt. 27:11-31). There is no Passover apart from the sacrifice of the Lamb…

Yahshua was crucified (before sundown) on Nisan 14, prophetically corresponding with the time when the Passover lambs were sacrificed at the Temple.  He was on the cross for six (Jewish) hours (see note below). He was nailed to the cross at 9:00 a.m in the morning and was dead by 3:00 p.m. Darkness was over the land for the last three hours Yahshua was on the Cross (Matt. 27:45). His body was removed before sunset, just before Passover began, in accordance with Jewish law.

  • A Note about the Jewish Hour (sha’ah)

    In rabbinical thinking, the hour is calculated by taking the total time of daylight (from sunrise until sunset) of a particular day and dividing it into 12 equal parts. This is called sha’ah zemanit, or a “proportional hour.”
    Since the duration of daylight varies according to seasons of the year, a proportionate hour will therefore vary by season. The “sixth hour of the day” does not mean 6:00 a.m. or even six 60 minute hours after sunrise, but is the 6th proportionate hour of the 12 that are counted for the day in question.

    For example, if the sun rises at 4:30 a.m. and sets at 7:30 p.m., the total time of daylight is 15 hours. 15 hours * 60 minutes is 900, which divided by 12 yields a proportional hour of 75 minutes. The “sixth hour of the day” therefore begins 450 minutes after sunrise, or about 11:30 in the morning.

    The calculation of these zemanim (“times”) are important for the observance of Jewish holidays and Sabbath candle lighting hours. The results will vary depending on the length of the daylight hours in the particular location.

The Cross of Yahshua is the true Holy of Holies where God Himself offered His Son as the Lamb of Elohim who takes away the sins of the world… It is there that He made agonizing intercession for us — the Just for the unjust — so that we are spared from Elohim’s wrath and eternally reconciled to Him. Just as the original Passover foreshadowed Elohim’s deliverance of His people from Egypt and slavery, so the Passover of Yahshua represents Elohim’s deliverance of us all from the power and slavery to sin.


Yeshua had foretold that one day the praise will be rightly given to Him as Israel’s true King, but only after the travail of the coming Great Tribulation upon the earth, when the Jewish people will cry out to Him and all Israel shall be saved (Matt. 23:39).

However, through His propitiatory death — the Just for the unjust — and our faith in His love for us, we are ascribed righteous standing before Elohim Himself (2 Cor. 5:21). During the Passover season, let us all join the chorus and say, “Blessed is He (Yeshua) who comes in the Name of the Yahuwah!” (בָּרוּךְ הַבָּא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה).  Amen.

Like the original Passover in Egypt, the sacrifice of the Lamb causes the wrath of Elohim to “pass over” those who are trusting in the Elohim’s provision for redemption, but in the case of the sacrifice of the Mashiach Yahshua, the everlasting Son of Elohim, this redemption delivers us from the cruel bondage of Satan and causes the everlasting wrath of Elohim to forever be put away from us. Indeed, Yahshua is the Lamb of Elohim who takes away the sins of the world!

Corresponding to Yahuwah’s commandment to select lambs fit for korban Pesach (Exod. 12:1-6), for four days Yeshua was “inspected” by the kohanim (as well as the Roman Pontius Pilate) — yet was found to be tam (תָּם) – without spot or blemish. Nonetheless was He unjustly sentenced to die and later was crucified (before sundown) on Nisan 14, prophetically corresponding with the time when the Passover lambs were sacrificed at the Temple.  The Cross of Yahshua is the true Holy of Holies where Elohim Himself offered His Son as the Lamb of Elohim who takes away the sins of the world…



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