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Matthew 16:1-12 Jonah, Yeshua and False Teachings

The story of Jonah is well documented in Scripture in a Book bearing his name. The Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes and all the people of Yeshua’s day would have been familiar with the prophet Jonah and his exploits. Yeshua referenced Jonah on several occasions when asked by the religious leaders to perform a sign for them to prove Himself to them.  

Most who preach about Jonah focus on the three days and three nights Jonah was in the belly of the fish as Yeshua illustrated in one of His references to Jonah. However, there was much more to the story of Jonah. In this passage, Yeshua would use this opportunity, after speaking about the sign of Jonah, to call attention to the teachings of Pharisees and Sadducees and caution His disciples about their teachings.

Mt 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven. 

This is the third time Matthew uses this word in his writing. The first and second time Matthew uses this word is in connection with the devil.

Mt 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.


Mt 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

Mt 16:2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 

Mt 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 

Mt 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

What was the sign of Jonah?

Yeshua had used this phrase “the sign of Jonah” earlier in His communication with the Scribes and Pharisees.

Mt 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 

Mt 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 

Mt 12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Jonah’s story and Jonah’s message were two different focuses.

People focus on Jonah’s story which Yeshua highlighted, but let’s look at it from a different angle.

YeHoVaH sent a Hebrew prophet to a non-Hebrew people with a message of repentance!

 Jonah’s story was about Jonah’s rebellion, resentment ,and self-pity.

 Jonah’s rebellion was against YeHoVaH.

 YeHoVaH sent Him to Nineveh, but Jonah got on a boat heading in the opposite direction toward Tarshish.

Jonah would rather die than deliver the message He had been given to take to Nineveh.

First, he had the men on the ship throw him into the sea. 

Jnh 1:12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

Second, he told YeHoVaH that he wanted to die because YeHoVaH repented from destroying Nineveh.

Jnh 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. 

Jnh 4:2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: 

for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. 

Jnh 4:3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

Jonah cared more about a vine that died than the people of Nineveh and he wanted to die.

Jnh 4:9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” 

“I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.” 

Jnh 4:10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 

Jnh 4:11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” 

Jonah’s concerns were not for what YeHoVaH wanted but were for his own interests.

Some Hebrews don’t want Father to minister to or save some people groups. They would prefer Father destroy those people like Jonah wanted Father to destroy Nineveh. 

  • Jonah’s personal story was about rebellion. 

  • The message given to Jonah was a message of repentance.

  • Jonah wanted Nineveh to be destroyed. 

Jonah had more compassion for the shade tree than he had for the 120,000 people of Nineveh. 

The people of Nineveh had no knowledge of Jonah’s personal ordeal with the fish or how long he had been in the belly of the fish. The people of Nineveh only knew of the message Jonah delivered to them from YeHoVaH.

YeHoVaH did not tell Jonah the outcome of His message, but because Jonah knew YeHoVaH, he knew YeHoVaH would have compassion on the people of Nineveh. 

The people of Nineveh believed God, Fasted, and repented when they heard the words of Jonah. 

Neither the people of Nineveh nor the Queen of Sheba were Hebrew Israelites! 

Jonah’s message was a message of repentance.

What was the sign of Jonah?

Jonah was the sign!

Lk 11:30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.

Yeshua used many examples of non-Hebrew people that demonstrated more faith in YeHoVaH than His own people. 

Prevalent among Hebrew Roots communities, Hebrew Israelites, Israelites, Jews, and Messianic believers is pride. This pride stems from keeping the Sabbath, the Feasts, and selective Commandments they believe give them status and special grace with YeHoVaH. 

Many Hebrew Israelites who heard the teachings of Yeshua in that generation believed YeHoVaH and repented, including Pharisees and Non-Hebrews!

The people of Yeshua’s generation who believed the Gospel, along with the men of Nineveh and the Queen of the South are the ones who would rise up and condemn those of Yeshua’s generation who rejected the Gospel of the Kingdom and fought against it.

Mt 16:5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 

Mt 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 

Beware – 4337 προσέχω prosecho {pros-ekh'-o} Meaning:  1) to bring to, bring near 1a) to bring a ship to land, and simply to touch at, put in 2) to turn the mind to, attend to be attentive to devote thought and effort to 

Usage:  AV - beware 7, give heed to 5, take heed to 3, give heed unto 1, take heed 1, take heed unto 1, take heed whereunto + 3739 1, misc 5; 24

Matthew records Yeshua saying this word in reference to:


Mt 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 


Mt 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.


Mt 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

Mt 16:7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.  

Mt 16:8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 

Mt 16:9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 

Mt 16:10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 

The five thousand and the four thousand had bread and fish. Fish is not mentioned here because bread can also include food.

We can experience the Supernatural, miraculous power of YeHoVaH and then  revert back to natural thinking and self-reliance. 

The disciples heard Yeshua mention leaven and assumed and associated bread to what He was saying when in fact He was not talking about bread at all.

People hear words and assume and associate meanings to what you are saying when in fact that is not what you are saying.

Mt 16:11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 

Mt 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

In Mark, Yeshua included Herod.

Mk 8:14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. 

Mk 8:15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. 

Mk 8:16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.

Leaven – 2219 ζύμη zume {dzoo'-may} 

Meaning:  1) leaven 2) metaph. of inveterate mental and moral corruption, viewed in its tendency to infect others 

Usage:  AV - leaven 13; 13

Misc:  Leaven is applied to that which, though small in quantity, yet by its influence thoroughly pervades a thing; either in a good sense as in the parable Matthew 13:33; or in a bad sense, of a pernicious influence, "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump“.

Much of the Messianic and Hebrew Roots doctrine is leavened with Phariseeism, Sadduceeism, Herodism and Judaism.  

Thinking Hebraic is a fancy word for thinking Jewish.

We should have compassion for what YeHoVaH has compassion for.

We should see things the way YeHoVaH sees things.

We should think the thoughts of YeHoVaH via the mind of Messiah.

We should stay focused on the things of YeHoVaH.

His will be done, not ours. 

Last Updated on September 7, 2021 by Arthur Bailey Ministries

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