DID GOD KEEP JONAH INSIDE THE BELLY OF THE FISH ALIVE OR NOT?
The book of Jonah shows that in Chapter 1 Jonah lives Israel, his destination is Nineveh, but he arrives in the fish. The last verse of chapter 1 says- " Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights ". Notice that it does not say Jonah was alive inside the fish. Then in (Jonah 2:1) says-" Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly ". That means he was alive inside the fish. That is true, but my question is : When did Jonah pray this prayer? I think he prayed on the way down, and by the time he got into the fish's tummy, it was time to say Amen. Also, obviously the prayer was not written down while Jonah was inside the fish praying. It is in the past tense throughout , in keeping with the fact that it was composed after the experience. Men do not pray a prepared prayer in the time of crisis. They get down to business immediately when the crisis comes. Jonah said his prayer in only about 80 seconds.
However, I want to make this point very carefully and very seriously, it is not a question of whether God was able to keep Jonah alive inside the fish or not. God could keep him alive . The question is : Did God keep him alive? Was the miracle one of keeping him alive, or was the miracle in raising him from the dead? It is also not a question of whether a man can live in a fish. Men have been swallowed by a fish or by a whale and have lived to tell the story. There have been recorded some remarkable stories. So that leads me to say that, if we believe Jonah was alive inside the fish, that is not too great a miracle because other men had the same experience.
In (Jonah 2:6) says--" I went down to the bottoms of the mountains ; the earth with her bars was about me for ever. Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God".
" I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with bars was about me for ever " ( V.6a ). This is a very interesting translation because it is in Elizabethan English; this is the way that death was spoken of, " The earth with bars was about me for ever"-- Jonah is speaking here of the bars of death, and that is the meaning of this translation.
"Yet hast thou brought up my life from Corruption(Death) , O my Lord" (V.6b) . ' CORRUPTION " is DEATH. The apostle Peter so used this word on the day of Pentecost when he said that the Lord did not see corruption (see Acts. 2:25-31). The miracle about the Lord Jesus Christ is that when He died He did not see corruption-His body did not CORRUPT. That is the difference between Jonah's experience and our Lord experience . Jonah did see CORRUPTION. His body apparently began to decay on those three days and three nights. THE MIRACLE HERE IS RESURRECTION, and that is much GREATER MIRACLE than for a man to live for three days inside the fish.
(Matt. 12:40) says--" For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly ; so shall the son of man be three days ad three nights in the heart of the earth". So , therefore, the experience of Jonah , who was released from the belly of fish, was typical of the coming interment and resurrection of Jesus after three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Written by Osmundo S. Sabado
Edited by Orman L. Sabado