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The Great (Re)commission

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  1. The Great (Re)commission Jonah 3

  2. Jonah’s Obedience • “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, ‘Arise: go [qum + hlk] to Nineveh’…But Jonah arose [qum] to flee [brh] to Tarshish” (Jonah 1.1-3). • “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Arise: go [qum + hlk] to Niveveh’…So Jonah arose and went [qum + hlk] to Nineveh” (Jonah 3.1-3).

  3. Jonah’s (Re)commission • “and preach [qrh] against her, for her wickedness has risen before me” (1.2) • “and proclaim [qrh] to it the message I give you” (3.2) • The verbs here are “the [same] word used for apostolic preaching in the New Testament (Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 1:21; 15:14; Titus 1:3” (Limburg 1993: 75).

  4. Jonah = Dove • “The dove was used as a symbol of love across the entire eastern Mediterranean area in the second half of the second millennium B.C.” (Keel 1994: 71). • “An Attic dish shows Aphrodite, flanked by a man playing a lyre and a woman playing a double flute, releasing a dove as a messenger of love to fly to Hermes, who is seated opposite her” (Keel 1994: 71).

  5. Textbook Repentance • “Put on sackcloth [√hagar {saq}]… Come, spend the night in sackcloth [saq]…for the grain offerings and drink offerings are withheld from the house of your God. Declare a holy fast [som]; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out [√za‘aq] to the LORD” (Joel 1.13-14). • “The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast [som], and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth [√hagar saq]. …Then he issued a proclamation [√za‘aq] in Nineveh: ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink’” (Jonah 3.5, 7).

  6. Textbook Repentance • “When Jerusalem was threatened by the Assyrians, King Hezekiah and his cabinet officers and the senior priests all covered themselves with sackcloth as a gesture of humility, then presented themselves to Isaiah the prophet, asking for prayers for the nation (2 Kings 19:1-2; cf. also 2 Sam. 3:31; Joel 1:13). In Nineveh, both humans and animals are ‘covered with sackcloth’” (Limburg 1993: 82). • “So in the consistency of his faith, the heathen ruler becomes the model of a king. This is in fact the king as he should really be in Israel, according to Deut. 17:20—a king who ‘does not lift his heart’ above the men and women of his people (‘his brethren’) but is exemplary in his fear of God” (Wolff 1986: 152).

  7. “everyone who calls [qrh] on the name of the LORD will be saved” (Joel 2.32a) • Sailors • “each cried [qrh] to his own god” (1.5) • “they cried [qrh] to the Lord” (1.14) • Jonah • “I called [qrh] … to the Lord” (2.2[3]) • Citizens of Nineveh • “Let everyone call [qrh] urgently on God” (3.8)

  8. “…should not perish” (John 3.16) • The captain • “‘How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish’” (Jonah 1.6). • The king • “‘Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish’” (Jonah 3.9).

  9. Projecting into the New Testament

  10. The Great Commission • “Jesus came to them [i.e., his disciples] and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Mt 28.18-20).