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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

Section I. Jonas in the Belly of the Fish

Jon. 2

1. TIME AND OCCASION OF THE OCCURRENCE.—Jonas was the son of Amathi, as we learn from 4 Kings 14:25, and a native of Geth Opher, in the tribe of Zabulon (Jos. 19:13). He lived in the time of Jeroboam II. and predicted to that monarch the successful issue of his struggle with the Syrians, which ended with the restoration of the territory of Israel to its ancient limits. These prophecies must have been delivered in the early part of Jeroboam II.’s long reign. Had they been preserved, their comparison with the predictions of Amos would have proved an interesting study; for the latter were uttered towards the end of the same reign, and announced how Jeroboam’s successes would ere long be fatally undone (Am. 6:14). The Book of Jonas, however, unlike the books of most prophets, is almost entirely narrative, being a description of a particular incident in the prophet’s life. The story is too well known to need a detailed repetition. Jonas is commanded to preach the Lord’s avenging punishment in the great city of Babylon, and he seeks to evade the order. He takes ship at Joppa with the view of sailing to Tharsis, which some identify with Tharsus in Cilicia, others with Tartessus in Spain. A violent storm overtakes the ship. The sailors, deeming that one of those on board is the cause of the tempest, cast lots to discover who it is. The lot falls on Jonas, who consents to be thrown into the sea. He is swallowed up by a great fish, which after three days casts him forth uninjured.

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE OCCURRENCE.—To show the typical nature of the prophet’s dwelling in the belly of the fish we may appeal to the gospel of St. Matthew (12:40): “For as Jonas was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights, so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.” It must be noted here that these are the words of Jesus Christ himself, and that he speaks them to the Pharisees who ask for a sign. “And a sign shall not be given it [the evil and adulterous generation], but the sign of Jonas the prophet.” The miraculous occurrence is, therefore, not a mere comparison with, or a mere accommodation to, Christ’s burial and resurrection, but it is the sign given to the enemies of God, even as the resurrection is the sign given to the enemies of Christ.

JON. 2

Now the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonas; and Jonas was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

And Jonas prayed to the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly. And he said:

I cried out of my affliction to the Lord, and he heard me;

I cried out of the belly of hell, and thou hast heard my voice.

And thou hast cast me forth into the deep in the heart of the sea, and a flood hath compassed me,

All thy billows and thy waves have passed over me.

And I said: I am cast away out of the sight of thy eyes,

But yet I shall see thy holy temple again.

The waters compassed me about even to the soul,

The deep hath closed me round about, the sea hath covered my head.

I went down to the lowest parts of the mountains, the bars of the earth have shut me up for ever,

And thou wilt bring up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.

When my soul was in distress within me, I remembered the Lord,

That my prayer may come to thee, unto thy holy temple.

They that in vain observe vanities, forsake their own mercy,

But I with the voice of praise will sacrifice to thee,

I will pay whatsoever I have vowed for my salvation to the Lord.

And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonas upon the dry land.

1. We may note the similarity between Christ and Jonas in the following particulars: Jonas is thrown overboard by the sailors in order to obtain for them safety from imminent death in the waves; Christ is put to death by his own nation in order to secure peace for them with the existing authorities, but in reality in order to obtain salvation for the whole human race. Jonas is miraculously kept alive in the belly of the fish, and Christ’s body in the grave is kept from corruption and sustained in the hypostatic union with the second person of the Holy Trinity. Jonas is thrown up by the sea-monster on the third day, and Christ rises on the third day from the dead. Jonas is preserved from death in order to bring salvation to the Ninivites, and Christ is raised from the dead in order to be the salvation of the world at large.

2. The symbolic use of the story of Jonas in the inscriptions of the catacombs is too well known to need a lengthy development; but it may be noted that these representations serve not only to recall the fact of Christ’s resurrection, but they prefigure also our own future rising from the grave.

Section II. The First-fruits of the Harvest

Lev. 23:9–14

1. NATURE OF THE FIRST-FRUITS.—The offering of the first-fruits belonged to the class of religious and charitable contributions. Two of these first-fruit offerings were public and national: the first “omer” on the second day of the Passover, and the wave-loaves at Pentecost. The other two kinds of first-fruits, or “Reshith,” were offered on the part of each family and of every individual who had a possession in Israel, according to the divine directions in Ex. 22:29; 23:19; 34:26; Num. 15:20, 21; 18:12, 13; Deut. 18:4, and Deut. 26:2–11, where the ceremonial to be observed in the sanctuary is also described. Authorities distinguish between the Biccurim, or first-fruits offered in their natural state, and the Terumoth, brought, not as raw products, but in a prepared state, as flour, oil, wine, etc. The distinction is convenient, but not strictly correct, since the Terumoth also include vegetables and garden produce. Still less correct is the statement of several modern writers that the Greek term “Protogennemata” corresponds to Biccurim and “Aparchai” to Terumoth, an assertion not even supported by the use of these words in the version of the Septuagint, though it is deeply tinged with traditionalism.

If we adopt the distinction between Biccurim and Terumoth, for convenience’ sake, we find that the former were only to be offered while there was a national sanctuary. Similarly, they must be the produce of the Holy Land itself, which included the ancient territories of Og and Sihon and the part of Syria subdued by David. The Terumoth, on the contrary, were obligatory also on the Jews in Egypt, Babylon, Ammon, and Moab. The Biccurim were offered in the temple, and belonged to the priesthood there officiating at the time of the sacrifice, while the Terumoth might be given to any priest in any part of the land. The Mishna holds that, according to Deut. 8:8, only the following seven were to be regarded as the produce of the Holy Land, and that from them alone Biccurim were due: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. The honey of Deut. 8:8 must be referred to the product of the date-palm. The figs and grapes might be offered in a dried state if they could not be presented fresh on account of the distance of the offerer from Jerusalem. The amount of the Biccurim was not fixed in the law; but according to the Rabbis one sixtieth was to be considered as the minimum (cf. Edersheim, The Temple, its Ministry and Services, pp. 331 f.).

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE FIRST-FRUITS OF THE HARVEST.—The Apostle insists repeatedly on the fact that Christ is the first-fruit. In 1 Cor. 15:20 he says: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, the first-fruit of them that sleep.” And a few lines below the Apostle continues (v. 23): “But every one in his own order, the first-fruits Christ, then they that are of Christ, who have believed in his coming.” A similar allusion we meet in Rom. 11:16: “For if the first-fruit be holy, so is the lump also; and if the root be holy, so are the branches.”

LEV. 23:9–14

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: When you shall have entered into the land which I will give you, and shall reap your corn, you shall bring sheaves of ears, the first-fruits of your harvests, to the priest, who shall lift up the sheaf before the Lord, the next day after the Sabbath, that it may be acceptable for you, and shall sanctify it. And on the same day that the sheaf is consecrated, a lamb without blemish of the first year shall be killed for a holocaust of the Lord. And the libations shall be offered with it, two-tenths of flour tempered with oil, for a burnt-offering of the Lord, and a most sweet odor; libations also of wine, the fourth part of a bin. You shall not eat either bread or parched corn or frumenty of the harvest, until the day that you shall offer thereof to your God. It is a precept for ever throughout your generations and all your dwellings.

The yearly return of nature’s vegetative life is often considered as a figure of the future resurrection of the body. But since the resurrection will be a retribution for both the good and the wicked, the springing up of the seed sown intentionally by the hand of man is a more fitting symbol of the resurrection. Since the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the beginning of this retribution, it is properly typified by the first-fruits. And finally, the resurrection is a retribution for man’s merits indeed, but with a view to God’s greater glory; hence the first-fruits of the resurrection are properly typified by the offering of the first-fruits of the harvest.








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