An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 8 - Prophetic Truth - Page 281 of 304
'For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again
the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations'
(Joel 3:1,2).
If any are at all doubtful as to the fact that 'blood and fire
and pillars of smoke', the darkening of the sun, and the turning of the moon
into blood are judgments and not blessings,* let him read Joel 3:15,16.
It has actually been expressed, that however strange it may appear,
these dreadful occurrences must somehow be 'blessings'; such is the condition
of mind into which a false interpretation of Peter's quotation can lead the
most earnest seeker after truth.
'The Second Time'
The first of the Prophets, taking the 'predictive' prophets
chronologically, is Amos, but the book of the prophet Jonah forms a link and
a background that must be included.  Jonah's prophecy is threefold.  The
prophecy he spoke, namely 'yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown',
was not fulfilled, even though he himself was not a false prophet.  His
greatest prophecy is not found in the words he uttered but in the things he
did and experienced.  In his deeds he foreshadowed the culminating sin of
Israel, and in his experience he foreshadowed the resurrection of Christ.
Jonah is mentioned in the Old Testament eighteen times, one reference
being found in the book of Kings, where a record is made of the fulfilment of
a prophetic word given by Jonah.  Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel
'restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the
plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the
hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath
-hepher' (2 Kings 14:25).
Practically nothing is known of this initial prophecy of Jonah except
what is here recorded, but what little is said is like a straw that indicates
the direction of a current.
Hamath is situated at the northern extremity of the Lebanon range and
would be a natural gateway from Nineveh in any attempt to invade Palestine.
The Sea of the Plain of course is known as 'The Dead Sea'.  The phrase in 2
Kings 14:28, which in the Authorized Version reads 'And how he recovered
Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel', Dr. John
Lightfoot translates as recovering these lost ramparts which originally
belonged to Judah (2 Sam. 8:6; 2 Chron. 8:3,4), taking them over 'in Judah's
title, as fitter to be subject to the seed of Israel, than to Syria'.
It was therefore something of a staggering blow for Jonah, the
intensely patriotic prophet of Israel, to be sent with a message to Nineveh,
and such a message as he suspected might turn to Nineveh's preservation and
advantage.  Jonah's remonstrance and disobedience is to us well nigh
inexplicable, but there have been modern instances where the fear and the
hatred of an invader has overridden the finest feelings and principles of
Christians, acting in similar circumstances.