The sign of Jonah





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by Jo Tait

It is generally, but mistakenly believed that the Sabbath which was approaching when Yeshua had to hurriedly be taken off the cross, refers to the normal weekly 7th day Sabbath.  But there were two Sabbaths during that final week.  

by Jo Tait

John 19:31 tells us, “It was the day of Preparation and the Judeans did not want the bodies to remain on the stake on Sabbath, since it was an especially important Sabbath.” 1

Yeshua was having the Passover meal with His disciples the night of Preparation day in anticipation of the first day of the yearly Passover festival, which constitutes a special or high Sabbath (Exodus 12:16). 

Mark 16:1 tells us, “When the Sabbath was over Miryam of Magdala, Miryam the mother of Ya’akov, and Shlomit bought spices in order to go and anoint Yeshua.” 2

In Luke 23:56 and 24:12 we read, “Then they went back home to prepare spices and ointments.”  On Shabbat the woman rested, in obedience to the commandment; but on the first day of the week, while it was still very early, they took the spices they had prepared, went to the tomb, and found the stone rolled away from the tomb! 3

In other words, between the special Sabbath (John 19:31) and the weekly Sabbath (Luke 24:1) there must have been an ordinary working day (Mark 16:1 and Luke 23:56) which allowed the women enough time to go and buy and prepare the spices, but not enough time to go to the grave as well because of the strict observance of the Sabbath (Luke 24:1).  Scripture tells us that He appeared on the first day.  The women went to the tomb, but He had already left the grave.

The First Day (Sunday) already starts when the sun sets at the end of the Sabbath, which according to our calendar is called Saturday evening, but which according to the Biblical calendar is the beginning of the first day.  It is therefore highly probable that Yeshua was resurrected on what was still Saturday.  “The son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be executed on a stake as a criminal, then on the third day be raised again” (Luke 24:7) 4

According to this Scripture emphasising the three day which He would spend in the grave, it becomes clear that he was buried on Wednesday; just before the end of the 4th day and that He therefore rose from the grave at the end of the 7th day thus fulfilling the promised sign – the Sign of Jonah.

God’s appointment with mankind for the death and resurrection of His Son was recorded for us in Leviticus 23.  According to God’s eternal purpose He determined that Yeshua would die as the Passover Lamb on a specific date, namely the 14th day of the first month:  the Festival of Passover.   It is the festival commemorating Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, foreshadowing redemption from spiritual slavery for all who would believe on the death and resurrection of the Messiah of Israel.

In Romans 1:2-4 we are told. “God promised this Good News in advance through His prophets in the Scriptures.”  It concerns His Son – He is descended from David physically;  He was powerfully demonstrated to be Son of God, set apart by His having been resurrected from the dead;  He is Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord”.


1, 2, 3, 4,     Jewish New Testament, David Stern.