The Bible Speaks
by Gino Geraci
Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights
Jonah 1:17 is probably the most quoted, debated, and talked about verse in all of the Minor Prophets. Literally hundreds of commentaries and thousands of pages have been written to discuss whether or not this really happened. In fact, even though the Bible is full of miracles from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation, many unbelievers just can’t bring themselves to believe that a great fish really swallowed the Prophet Jonah and thus ( Click for more )
Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?” – for the sea was growing more tempestuous. And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.“ Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to ( Click for more )
But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up
This sounds like a God who was in control! The storm was not a coincidence! Have you ever been in a situation in rebellion and disobedience, and God started closing doors and limiting your choices, trying to gently get you back to the pleasant place of submission and obedience? If you’re walking in disobedience, and it seems that your whole life is falling apart, it’s not a coincidence. As God did with Jonah, He may also be sending ( Click for more )
But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.. .
Was it really possible for Jonah to flee from the presence of the Lord? Psalm 139:7-10 reads, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”
It is likely that Jonah was closely acquainted with this Psalm. As a prophet, he was ( Click for more )
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go the Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it for their wickedness has come up before Me
Although we don’t know how the word of the Lord came to Jonah, we know that it did. The Bible says in the New Testament, in Hebrews 1:1 that God in times past spoke through the prophets. I suspect that as the Holy Spirit came upon the prophet Jonah, that he sensed the power and presence of God. Not only do I think that he sensed the power of God and the presence of God, I think that he also ( Click for more )
Jonah is probably the most familiar of the twelve Minor Prophets. You likely remember from Sunday School stories of Moses and the bulrushes and Daniel and the lions’ den, and every child knows the story of Jonah and the whale. This book will look at an old story in a fresh way and glean not new principles, but principles that have always existed since before the book was even written.
The book of Jonah was written by the prophet Jonah. His name means dove, but he is more like a hawk. A man with a chip on his shoulder, he is anything but a dove. Imagine that your name means ( Click for more )
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To our God and Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen (Jude 24,25 NKJV).
Jude’s final words on Christian living and escaping the error of false teaching focus squarely on the Lord. God is the One able to keep you from falling or stumbling. He is the One who will present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. No wonder we should receive Him as Savior and follow ( Click for more )
And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh (Jude 22-23 NKJV).
The word “compassion” is from the same root word translated mercy in verse 21. Peter used the same word in 1 Peter 2:10 which reads, “who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” We are not to be mercy hogs. We are not to desire for God to judge others, and have mercy on us. We must share God’s mercy with ( Click for more )
. . .keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life (Jude 21 NKJV).
“I'm a lover, not a fighter.” Not according to Jude. Christians are both lovers and fighters. We fight error and love the truth. Builders are also lovers. The love is not some warm fuzzy feeling we manufacture from within, but rather it is the love of God found in the person of Jesus. The love of God flows from God.
Paul talks about the relationship between love and building in Ephesians 4:15-16, “but, speaking the truth in love, may ( Click for more )
“. . . praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20b NKJV).
Prayer is essential to growth, health and building for the individual and the Church. Prayer is in effect a spiritual activity. The Bible says “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV).
We are given spiritual power, not only to refute error but to build ourselves up in our faith in Jesus Christ. To pray in the Holy Spirit ( Click for more )
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith (Jude 20a NKJV).
Do you remember the commercial about Wonder Bread? It helps build bodies 12 ways!
Faith is the Wonder Bread of the Christian diet. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the foundation of our walk with Jesus Christ.
Both Paul and the writer of Hebrews quote Habakkuk 2:4, “the just shall live by ( Click for more )
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
The false teachers are grumblers, complainers or faultfinders. Who are they grumbling and complaining and finding fault with? The church and church ( Click for more )
. . . to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all of their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him (Jude 15 NJKV).
One of the reason's for Jesus' second coming is to judge the wicked. Jude uses the all inclusive word, “all” three times and “everyone” once. Every human being must stand before the Judge. Who will be acquitted? The righteous. Who will be punished? The unrighteous.
The righteous are those who have full faith and ( Click for more )
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also. . . (Jude 14a).
Jude's quote in verse 14 comes from an extra-biblical source, a book known as 1Enoch.
Why did Jude quote from an extra-biblical or non-biblical or traditional source?
Before we answer that question--let us take a quick look at Enoch. Enoch appears number seven on the genealogy list of Gen. 5:18-24,1 Chronicles 1:3. The list goes Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch.
“Enoch walked with God; and he was not, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:24). Most ( Click for more )
. . .wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever (Jude 13b).
Even the least educated child knows the earth revolves around the sun. Planets circle our sun in ever increasing paths depending on their distance. Every once in a while rogue matter enters our atmosphere and burns bright. Occasionally a brave piece of celestial matter makes it all the way to the surface of our planet and the meteor becomes a meteorite. We call them shooting stars.
Jude uses wandering celestial bodies to describe the function of apostates. The apostates, like planets, ( Click for more )
. . . raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame (Jude 13a).
Apostates are seen as raging waters or wild waves. The “sea” is often used in the Bible as a symbol for those who do not know God. Isaiah 57:20,21 states, The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
Isaiah speaks of troubled waves who pick up every kind of toxic debris and filth and washes it on shore. Those of you who grew up near an ocean might remember walking along the beach and seeing bits ( Click for more )
. . .late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots (Jude 12c NKJV)
Autumn is a time for the fruit from trees to be harvested, but late autumn trees are dry, leafless, and without fruit. These late autumn trees are not like those who abide in Jesus and bear much fruit. Remember, to abide in Christ means to live or dwell; to take root. When you take root, you will bear much fruit.
In Matthew 15:13, Jesus said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. In the immediate context, Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders, ( Click for more )
They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds (Jude 12b)
Water in the Bible often refers to the Word of God. It also typifies life; without water, all life would cease.
Luke 12:54 says, Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming;’ and so it is.’” People who raise crops will often look to heaven and the clouds for much needed rain. The clouds Jude makes reference to are the false promise of rain to a barren, desert world.
In November, 1970, ( Click for more )
These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves (Jude 12a).
The word, “these” in Jude 12a refers back to false teachers in general and Cain, Balaam and Korah in verse 11. These false teachers endanger the people of God, by removing them from the love and grace of God, and moving them toward their own wicked agenda.
The words, “spots” is the Greek word, spilas. The word referred to the ledge or the reef of rocks in an ocean harbor. In both ancient and modern times, reefs or rocks hidden in the water ( Click for more )
These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever (Jude 1:12-13 NKJV).
A few years ago an intelligence officer gathering information in London traced two terrorist cells back to Denver and Kansas City. The information listed a P.O. box, and the name of an individual who received ( Click for more )
and perished in the rebellion of Korah (Jude 1:11c)
The word “rebellion” in Jude 1:11 is the Greek word, antilogia. It appears in Jude and in Hebrews 6:16,7:7, and 12:3. It literally means “a speaking against the Word.” In the papyri it has the meaning of strife. Here it has the strong meaning “rebellion.”
We previously looked at Cain and Balaam. They both ignored the word given to them by God; Korah did as well.
Korah was a Levite and a cousin to Moses (Exodus 6:18-21). His story is found in Numbers 16. He believed he did not ( Click for more )
. . . have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit (Jude 1:11b NKJV).
The story of Balaam is contained in the book of Numbers (22:1-41). Here’s the short version of the story.
The children of Israel were headed for the promised land. They were by some estimates a horde of about 3 million souls. Balak was the king of the Moabites. He was concerned that Israel would sweep through the land, consume all the natural resources and leave nothing for his people. He hired Balaam to curse the approaching mob of Israel. Balaam said, “Wait here while I talk to God ( Click for more )
Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain. . . (Jude 1:11a NKJV).
Anybody can become angry-that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way-that is not within everybody's power and is not easy (
Cain's story is told in Genesis 4. He is the first child mentioned of Adam and Eve. Eve’s words in Genesis 4:1, “I have acquired a man from the Lord” reveal that she had high expectations for Cain. The idea -- the hope -- was that Cain would be the ( Click for more )
Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah (Jude 11).
“Woe to them!” What does that mean? Woe speaks of anguish -- the inevitable anguish of God's judgment for sin and rebellion. It refers back to verse 10, where Jude reproaches those who speak evil about things they don't understand. These false prophets are carnal, they only understand the natural realm, they corrupt themselves. Isaiah 3:11 reads, “Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid ( Click for more )
Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about he body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves
False Teachers Denounce Dignitaries
Who are the dignitaries Jude refers to? The words, “dominion” and “dignities” ( Click for more )
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