The Sales Pitch
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” M74
These words, spoken by the serpent in Genesis 3:4-5, was the best sales pitch to overcome the fear of death.
The woman understood that by eating the fruit, she would break the commandment given by the Lord God, which would result in death, the serpent’s sales pitch, however, was convincing her to take that risk.
We buy things we need, and sometimes we buy things we don’t. It is the job of the sales and marketing department to convey to its potential customers a desire to buy their product or service.
The company will first demonstrate what differentiates its product from the competitor. Next, it will present a logical reason as to why we need to buy it and finally introduce a subtle emotional connection.
For that, to work, they need to understand what emotion will motivate us to go from a logical consideration to an emotional consideration. Once the mind says okay, the next step is to motivate the heart to buy, this is done by creating desire.
Now let us walk through the sales pitch that the serpent made. First, let’s look at the logical part of the sale. This part of the sale was by getting her to think and creating doubt in her mind. We see this in Genesis 3:1.
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” M75
The logical part was asking a question and getting a response. For which the woman thought about it and replied by saying the following in Genesis 3:2-3.
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the garden; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You will not eat of it, nor will you touch it, or else you will die.’” M76
Now, this is where the sales and marketing campaign of the serpent came into play. Where he introduced the benefits and created desire, by responding with this in Genesis 3:4-5.
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” M77
In the part of the sales pitch to “eat of the fruit,” he first contradicted her knowledge by stating that she will not die.
The serpent did not lie to her; he just was talking about something else. Neither did the Lord God lie to the man. He was honest and truthful with the result of disobedience.
Let me explain this a bit more before we get into the “desire” part of the sales pitch.
We will first start with the statement the serpent made and how he did not lie but withheld parts of the truth. The reason why he said, “You surely will not die!” is because an eternal being cannot die.
In Merriam-Webster, the word die is defined as:
- to stop living
- to end life in a specified state or condition
- to have or suffer (a specified kind of death)
- to pass from physical life
- to pass out of existence
- to be overwhelmed by emotion MW12
The serpent only talked about the first part that you surely will not stop living when he said you surely will not die. As an eternal creation, one cannot stop living. One can transition from physical life to spiritual life, but one cannot die.
We have to remember the answer Jesus gave in Matthew 22:29-30, “You err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels of God in heaven. M78
How can angels die?
They can’t. That is why Jesus said in Matthew 22:31-32.
But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” M79
The joys of heaven are not waiting for those that will be judged and found with sin but eternal fire and punishment. Jesus talks about this in Matthew 25:31-46.
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. Before Him will be gathered all nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left.
“Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in. I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?’
“The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.’
“Then He will say to those at the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they also will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not serve You?’
“He will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it not for one of the least of these, you did it not for Me.’
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” M80
Eternal fire and punishment are also reserved for the serpent. Still, there is a process that God has established before that can happen to the serpent, who is also the dragon, the Devil, and Satan, as we find recorded in Revelation 20:1-3.
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be set free for a little while. M81
Once the serpent is locked up for a thousand years, the Lord God will judge, and bring to life all those that are His. Followed by the second part of the process written in Revelation 20:4-6.
I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and the authority to judge was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness of Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who takes part in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years. M82
What we learn is that the dead that were beheaded for their witness of Jesus was brought to life again and will reign with Jesus Christ.
We also learn something significant. If we look at this passage that details the reign of Jesus Christ, what we will notice is the job profile of those people who will reign with Him.
He who takes part in the first resurrection will be priests of God and Jesus Christ. The importance of that statement should be understood. We are told that those that take part in the first resurrection will be blessed and holy.
We are also taught about a second death. Which should not be overlooked. Do we know what leads to the second death?
How can we know what leads to the second death if we forget what lead us to the first death?
It was the breaking of the command given to the man in Genesis 2:16-17.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” M83
The death that is spoken about here by the Lord God is the death that sin brings to the mind and body.
It is in James 1:15 (NIV) where we learn that for the serpent to get the woman to sin, he had to create desire.
Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. N1
But as it states in James 1:12.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he is tried, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. M84
We should not forget that in James 1:13-14 (NIV).
When we are, tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. N2
It was a desire that led the man to the first death. So, what desire would lead us to the second death? This is spoken about in Revelation 20:7-9.
When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be set free from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. They traveled the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. But fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. M85
Those that will be resurrected, along with those that are blessed and holy, that take part in the first resurrection, will not be deceived by the enemy. These will also live through a thousand-year reign with the Lord God Jesus Christ.
After the thousand-year reign, the dead that did not come back to life during the first resurrection will return, as it is written in Revelation 20:5
The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. M86
Those that will come to life after the thousand years are over will be gathered together by Satan after he is set free from prison. Then they will all surround the camp of the saints and, in the end, be devoured by fire. All this is recorded in Revelation 20:7-10.
When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be set free from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. They traveled the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. But fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet were. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. M87
What’s important to note here is that the devil had deceived them. Since God knows that the reason they did this was because of deception, in His Mercy, He decided to judge them before the second death.
Before we get to the passage of judgment, let’s first realize that God is not the god of the dead but of the living. After the thousand years were over, the dead came back to life. These are the ones we are going to be speaking about now. In the next few paragraphs, we will begin to understand the true beauty of Scripture and the words in the Bible.
We will get to experience the layers of prophecy, and thought that each word spoken and recorded, builds upon each other. Soon we will discover how even the words that were spoken by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 will be a fulfillment of prophecy.
According to the grace of God which has been given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, but another builds on it. Now let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no one can lay another foundation than that which was laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or stubble, each one’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If anyone’s work which he has built on the foundation endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss. But he himself will be saved, still going through the fire. M88
Now let us take the words spoken by Jesus in Mark 12:24-25 as our foundation for the first resurrection.
Jesus answered them, “Do you not err, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. M89
And for the dead that rose after the thousand years, we have these foundational words of Jesus in Mark 12:26-27.
Now concerning the dead rising, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You therefore do greatly err.” M90
After our error is corrected and we realize that the dead that did not join Jesus in the first resurrection, became part of the living after the thousand-year rule. We can begin to understand why after they were deceived and came to fight by surrounding the camp of the Saints, God brought them to judgment in Revelation 20:11-15.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His face the earth and the heavens fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. Books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one by his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. M91
In Revelation 20:6, it says.
Blessed and holy is he who takes part in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years. M92
Now let us gain a little insight into why the second death has no power of these that are part of the first resurrection.
We know that the first commandment given to man that lead to death was not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but do we know the first commandment that keeps us away from the second death?
Here again, we see the foundational words of Jesus Christ spoken in Mark 12:28-31, shine like a jewel among the words in Revelation 20.
One of the scribes came and heard them reasoning together. Perceiving that Jesus had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” M93
For those that obey the first and the second commandment, the second death has no power of them. For there is no power greater than love, and what greater love is there than the love of God.
When we realize this truth, we will not only be like the scribe, but the words that were spoken by Jesus in the passage from Mark 12:32-34 will also hold true for us.
The scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, that there is one God and there is no other but Him. To love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one dared to ask Him any question. M94
We have to desire God in our hearts. It is when we have the desire for God in our hearts that we can understand what Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in nor steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. M95
During the thousand-year reign, we will learn many things, how to truly love and how to build treasure in heaven for ourselves. But during that time there is something else we will learn to be, and that is spoken about in Revelation 20:6
Blessed and holy is he who takes part in the first resurrection. Over these the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years. M96
We shall learn how to be priests for God and Jesus Christ, and in 1 Peter 2:9, we learn how these words build on each other.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. M97
If we keep peeling the layers of every passage in the bible, we will come across another exciting lesson that Jesus shared with us about the people that take part in the first resurrection. This lesson is about the fig tree and is found in Matthew 24:32-35.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: When its branch becomes tender and grows leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you shall see all these things, you know that it is near, even at the doors. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. M98
What does the fig tree teach us?
It teaches us the words of Ezekiel 36:26.
Also, I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. M99
Now that we have enough keys of knowledge, we can unlock the mystery of Romans 11:25-27.
For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, lest you be wise in your own estimation, for a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will remove ungodliness from Jacob”; “for this is My covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins.” M100
When the branches of the tree become tender from the fullness of Gentiles and the leaves, begin to grow. Where once their hearts were hard towards the Messiah Jesus Christ, but now have become tender and begin growing new leaves.
Then the sin of the house of Judah, when they begin to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, will be washed away, and they become like trees planted by living waters. We see this spoken about in Jeremiah 17:1-8.
The sin of Judah is written with an iron pen and with a diamond point; it is engraved on the tablet of their heart and on the horns of their altars; as they remember their children, so they remember their altars and their groves by the green trees on the high hills.
O My mountain in the field, I will give your wealth and all your treasures to the destroyer, and your high places for sin throughout all your borders.
You, even yourself, will discontinue from your heritage that I gave you; and I will cause you to serve your enemies in the land which you do not know; for you have kindled a fire in My anger which will burn forever.
Thus says the Lord:
Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when good comes, but will inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out its roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat comes, but its leaf shall be green, and it shall not be anxious in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. M101
In Jerimiah 17:3, we learn something intriguing about these prophetic words.
O My mountain in the field, I will give your wealth and all your treasures to the destroyer, and your high places for sin throughout all your borders. M102
These prophetic words were fulfilled later when in Matthew 24:1-2.
Jesus departed from the temple and was leaving when His disciples came to show Him the temple buildings. Jesus answered them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.” M103
When the temple Jesus spoke about was destroyed, and all the treasures that were in it were taken, the next part of the prophecy took place. The high places were given for sin throughout the borders.
We can read about this prophecy in Ezekiel 36:1-7.
As for you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say: O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God: Because the enemy has said against you, “Aha! Even the ancient high places are our possession,” therefore, prophesy and say: Thus says the Lord God: For good reason they have made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side so that you might become a possession to the rest of the nations, and you have been taken up on the lips of talkers and are an infamy of the people. Therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God: Thus says the Lord God to the mountains and to the hills, to the rivers and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the rest of the nations that are all around; therefore thus says the Lord God: Surely in the fire of My jealousy I have spoken against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who have arrogated My land into their possession with the joy of all their hearts and with a spiteful soul, to cast it out for a prey. Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and to the hills, to the rivers and to the valleys: Thus says the Lord God: I have spoken in My jealousy and in My fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations. Therefore, thus says the Lord God: I have lifted up My hand that surely the nations who are about you shall themselves bear their invectives. M104
The high mountains were given over, so the sin which was spoken about by Jerimiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel could be fulfilled. What will this sin be? Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:15-21.
“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. Let him who is in the field not return to take his clothes. Woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse in those days! Pray that your escape will not be in the winter or on the Sabbath. For then will be great tribulation, such as has not happened since the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be. M105
The “abomination of desolation” will usher in the tribulation. Jesus advised us to should pray so that the person who commits the act of abomination would not be able to do so during the winter season or on the Sabbath day, which God blessed and rested.
If we do not keep praying and the abomination takes place in winter or on the Sabbath, which starts Friday night and ends Saturday night, then we will undergo a tribulation that is so great, that it has not happened to the world before. It will be so unrelenting that it will not be repeated ever again.
We know that the abomination of desolation will take place, for this has been set up from the beginning, and not only has it been told to us through several prophets, but by Jesus Himself.
The path the tribulation will take; all depends on how hard we prayed before the event took place.
We need to understand that God has given us two options in the type of tribulation that we can experience.
Option 1, which is God’s preferred choice, only requires us to pray. There is nothing else we need to do. If we don’t pray, then we have chosen option 2.
We have all heard people from different places in the world warn us that the prophesied time is upon us, but only to find out later that they were wrong. What we don’t realize is that they were motivated by God to buy us more time. During that time, those that listened prayed, and more time was given. The story of Jonah teaches us this and other valuable lessons.
The first lesson comes from Jonah 1:1-16.
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry out against it, because their wickedness has come up before Me.”
But Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found there a ship going to Tarshish. He paid its fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and a mighty storm came upon the sea, so that the ship was in danger of breaking up. Then the sailors were afraid, and each cried to his god. They tossed the ship’s cargo into the sea in order to lighten the load.
But Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. The captain came to him and said, “What are you doing asleep? Get up, call to your god! Perhaps your god will consider us, so that we will not perish.”
The sailors said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots that we may know on whose account this disaster has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.
Then the sailors said to Jonah, “Tell us why this disaster has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And from what people are you?”
Jonah replied, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
Then the men were very afraid and said to him, “What is this you have done?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord because he had told them.
Then they said to Jonah, “What shall we do to you, so that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea was growing stormier.
So Jonah said to them, “Pick me up and toss me into the sea. Then the sea will quiet down for you. For I know that it is on my account this great storm has come upon you.”
Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to bring the ship to land, but they could not do it, for the sea grew more tempestuous against them. Then they cried to the Lord and said, “Please, Lord, do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not make us guilty for innocent blood, for You, Lord, have done as it pleased You.” So they picked up Jonah and tossed him into the sea. Then the sea ceased from its raging. Therefore, the men were very afraid of the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. M106
In the above passage, we learn that the sailors knew that the storm they were experiencing was not typical. Some might look at a storm as a storm, but not them. They knew this storm was supernatural. This storm was a result of someone onboard. So, they cast lots, which is like seeing who draws the shortest straw.
It was a method of divination that the sailors used. They used this method of divination to reveal who on board was responsible for this supernatural storm.
Through their divination, they found out that Jonah was responsible for this storm. Now what’s very interesting to observe are the questions that they asked him in Jonah 1:8.
Then the sailors said to Jonah, “Tell us why this disaster has come upon us. What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? And from what people are you?” M107
They wanted to know why this disaster was upon them and asked these four questions.
- What is your occupation?
- Where do you come from?
- What is your country?
- And from what people are you?
Now notice how Jonah answered in Jonah 1:9.
Jonah replied, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” M108
He didn’t have to tell them his job, or where he came from, or his country. But all he did was answer the fourth question. His answer to the fourth question revealed to the sailors that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord. And they knew that what he did was crazy and wrong. By fleeing from the presence of the Lord, he put their lives in danger.
What we will also notice is that at the end of this supernatural experience with the storm. The very same sailors that prayed to their gods turned and prayed to the one true God and Lord.
It is the storms that bring our faith into question. Those who don’t doubt their faith sleep through the storms. Jonah knew who he was and never doubted his faith in the Lord; that’s why in Jonah 1:4-6, we learn this.
But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and a mighty storm came upon the sea, so that the ship was in danger of breaking up. Then the sailors were afraid, and each cried to his god. They tossed the ship’s cargo into the sea in order to lighten the load.
But Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. The captain came to him and said, “What are you doing asleep? Get up, call to your god! Perhaps your god will consider us, so that we will not perish.” M109
It is faith that gets us through the storm. We learn about this kind of faith when a similar storm in Luke 8:22-25 was encountered by Jesus’s disciples, and just like Jonah, Jesus was sleeping through that storm and had to be awakened.
One day He went into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they launched out. As they sailed, He fell asleep. Then a wind storm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in danger.
They came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
Being afraid, they marveled, saying to each other, “Who then is this Man? He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him.” M110
What we learn next in Jonah 3:1-4 is that because he was able to hear from the Lord, he was given a second chance to do the right thing and share the message with the people of Nineveh.
The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, the great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”
So Jonah got up and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three-day journey across. Jonah began to enter the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “In forty days’ time, Nineveh will be overthrown!” M111
We have to understand that the Lord God chose one man from thousands to go and travel to a faraway city and walk through that city, telling them that their city will be destroyed in 40 days.
It’s one thing to read about what someone has done, and it’s another thing to actually do it. If we were to hear from the Lord, what would we do?
Would we ignore it? Would we travel to a faraway city? Would we tell the people of their impending disaster, or would we stay silent?
Now let’s look at the message that Jonah shared in Jonah 3:4.
Jonah began to enter the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “In forty days’ time, Nineveh will be overthrown!” M112
That’s is why in Jonah 3:5 the people did this.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast. And everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. M113
Later in Jonah 3:10.
When God saw their actions, that they turned from their evil ways, He changed His mind about the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. M114
There are two crucial things that we need to learn from these passages. The first is what Jonah said did not come to pass. Because of what the people and the king did in Jonah 3:5-9.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast. And everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself in sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he made a proclamation in Nineveh:
“By decree of the king and his nobles:
No man or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not eat or drink water. Both man and animals shall cover themselves with sackcloth and cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change His mind. He may turn from His fierce anger, so that we will not perish.” M115
And that is precisely what happened. God changed His mind after seeing what the people did. However, this brings the fundamental issue of what a prophet said, not coming to pass.
We learn in Deuteronomy 18:21-22 that if something a prophet speaks and does not come to pass, then it is something the Lord has not spoken.
And you may say in your heart, “How can we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?” When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not occur or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You shall not be afraid of him. M116
Jonah had no desire to be a prophet as he knew the words he would speak would not come to pass. That is why when the Lord spoke to him the first time, he did not do as he was asked. Jonah explains this in Jonah 4:1-3.
Now this greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is this not what I said while I was still in my own land? This is the reason that I fled before to Tarshish, because I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in faithfulness, and ready to relent from punishment. Therefore, Lord, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” M117
Jonah was angry because although he knew the city would not be destroyed due to God’s abundant grace and mercy, he had to go and tell the people of Nineveh that their city would be destroyed in forty days.
In Jonah 4:4-8, the Lord Jesus asked Jonah if it was right for him to be angry.
Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
So Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city and made for himself a booth there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God appointed a plant, and it grew up over Jonah to provide shade over his head, to provide comfort from his grief. And Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day, God appointed a worm to attack the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah so that he became faint and asked that he might die. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” M118
Now we have to pay close attention to who did what in the above passage. Note the Lord God (Jesus) appointed a plant to give Jonah some shade and appointed a worm to attack the plant.
What we will notice is that the Lord God (Jesus) asked Jonah first if it was right for him to be angry. Then using the plant, God asked him if it was right for him to be angry about what He did to the plant. We see this recorded in Jonah 4:9.
Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
And Jonah replied, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death.” M119
After Jonah’s response, we can see the Lord God (Jesus) trying to reason with him in Jonah 4:10-11.
The Lord said, “You are troubled about the plant for which you did not labor and did not grow. It came up in a night and perished in a night. Should I not, therefore, be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people, who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?” M120
It is from these words of the Lord that we begin to understand the words spoken about in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9.
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to each one? I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is he who plants nor he who waters anything, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are laborers together with God: You are God’s vineyard; you are God’s building. M121
Jesus is trying to explain so much to us, as He was trying to explain it to Jonah.
In the days since, the Lord, many prophets have walked the path similar to Jonah, and nothing has happened. We have labeled them as false prophets. Could we be wrong?
Have we heard the message of His coming so often and without anything happening, that we are becoming like the scoffers spoken about in 2 Peter 3:3-7?
Know this first, that there shall come scoffers in the last days who walk after their own lusts, and say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were since the beginning of the creation.” For they willingly ignore that, by the word of God the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world that then existed was flooded with water and perished. But by the same word, the heavens and the earth that now exist are being reserved for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of the ungodly. M122
When we see that nothing happens, we start becoming ignorant of scripture.
Is it not written in 2 Peter 3:8-9.
But, beloved, do not be ignorant of this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness. But He is patient with us, because He does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance. M123
We should not be ignorant that the Lord is patient because He does not want any to perish. For this is why He sent Jonah and many more like him. For many will follow in the footsteps of Jonah, for the Lord in Jonah 4:11, showed great concern over that one city.
Should I not, therefore, be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people, who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?” M124
If the Lord is concerned about Nineveh in which there were more than a hundred and twenty thousand people, how much more concerned and patient would He be with us because He would not want about 7.5 billion people to perish.
But instead, He is patient and waiting for the gospel to be preached around the world, as He said in Matthew 24:14.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. M125
People need to know about the gospel, otherwise how else will they know they need to repent.
It is the desire of both God and Jesus for everyone to be saved. They have told us what is coming and how we need to be prepared. Let us then have the desire to be ready and learn from the words written in 2 Peter 3:11-18.
Seeing then that all these things are to be destroyed, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, while you are waiting for and desiring the coming of the day of God, in which the heavens will be destroyed by fire and the elements will be consumed by intense heat? But, according to His promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these things, be diligent that you may be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless. Keep in mind that the patience of our Lord means salvation, even as our beloved brother Paul has also written to you according to the wisdom given to him. As in all his letters, he writes about these things, in which some things are hard to understand, which the unlearned and unstable distort, as they also do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
You therefore, beloved, since you know these things beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own firm footing, being led away by the deception of the wicked. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory, both now and forever. Amen. M126