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“Is it true that Jonah was swallowed by a whale?”

“Is it true that Jonah was swallowed by a whale?”

MAY 6, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / “Is it true that Jonah was swallowed by a whale?”

Steve Brown:
Is it true that Jonah was swallowed by a whale? The answer to that and other questions, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Welcome to Key Life. Our host and teacher is Steve Brown. He’s no guru, but he does have honest answers to honest questions about the Bible. God’s grace changes everything, how we love, work, live, lead, marry, parent, evangelize, purchase and worship. So, here’s Steve and Pete Alwinson from ForgeBibleStudy.com with street-smart Bible teaching for real life.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hi Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey man. How you doing?

Steve Brown:
I’m doing really good as a matter of fact.

Pete Alwinson:
All right. That’s good to hear.

Steve Brown:
Swam 50 laps yesterday.

Pete Alwinson:
Wow.

Steve Brown:
You know why? Because you think you’re my mother, that’s why. Every time I look at you, you say, did you swim? Or go swim this afternoon. Don’t forget to swim.

Pete Alwinson:
Cause we want to keep you in the fight. We need you.

Steve Brown:
But I’m water logged. That’s Pete Alwinson, by the way, and you can get either the printed version or the audio version of his book, Like Father Like Son. And it’s great and it’s life changing. So, if you don’t have it, get it, and you can get it at Key Life or you can get it from places that sell good books, online or bookstores. And as you know, Pete comes in and we answer questions and we’ve been doing that for over 25 years. And we love your questions and we love this time of sitting down, talking about things you’ve asked. You can call 1-800-KEY-LIFE, 24 7, and record your question. You can write to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

in Canada, it’s

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

or you can e-mail us at [email protected] And if you can to help us financially, please do. And if you don’t, something bad will happen to you. I just don’t want to be manipulative here. Actually, we understand when you can’t, but I promise, when you do help us, we’ll be faithful with your gift. You can charge it on your credit card, include it in your envelope and we’ll rise up and call you blessed. Pete, why don’t you lead us in prayer and then we’ll get to these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
All right. Let’s do it. Father God, what a joy to be able to come to you at the end of this day and to bow before you and to Lord, remember that you are the God of heaven and earth. You’re the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer. You are all that we need. And we honor you Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We thank you that Lord in the midst of this week, you have been there and you have answered our prayers. You’ve girded us up. You’ve strengthened us every side. And Lord, you know us, you know our needs and every one of us right now, as we pause just for a couple of minutes, we know that we need you in a powerful way. And so, Father meet our needs, lead us by your Holy Spirit, we pray. We also pray for our pastors, teachers, priests, leaders, and all those who are going to stand before us this week-end and lead us in worship. We ask that you would uphold them and lead them, give crystal clarity to their mind that they could preach to us the gospel of Jesus Christ. And then we can live it out. Father, thanks for Steve and, and Key Life and the great people that work so hard here. And we just commit this ministry to you. And this time of Q&A now. In your strong name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Amen. Pete, this is an e-mail question. How do we know that the account of Jonah being swallowed by a whale is true?

Pete Alwinson:
Well, that’s a great question. Is it a big fish or a whale? First of all, let’s clear that up. What do you think?

Steve Brown:
It’s not a whale and this person put in parenthesis, big fish. But that’s gonna be a mother of a fish. Do you know, there used to be, I had a book that had a picture of a man who literally survived after being in the stomach of a big fish. I think a whale. And even recently, like in the last six months there was a report of somebody. So the pagans used to say, can’t happen.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
No way, but yeah, it can happen.

Pete Alwinson:
It can. Some of the groupers that are out there are absolutely gargantuan. So, in terms of science and everybody wants a scientific explanation, is it possible? Yes.

Steve Brown:
Yes, it’s possible.

Pete Alwinson:
How do we know that Jonah? The story there is a real story is another question.

Steve Brown:
And there are those who would like to say it’s an allegory, it’s not meant, but Jesus didn’t think that.

Pete Alwinson:
And that’s exactly what I was going to say. The first line of reasoning is Jesus doesn’t use it as an allegory. Jesus, our risen Savior, sees it as a true story.

Steve Brown:
And it’s in Scripture. So that goes, if your presuppositions theologically are true, then it’s true by that very fact.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s right. And, it reads like, it doesn’t read like a mythological allegory.

Steve Brown:
No. It really doesn’t.

Pete Alwinson:
It reads like history and the reformers also took out some of those pious books that were in the Apocrypha, Bel and the Dragon and some of the others, they took those out. They said, no, that’s okay. It’s pious literature, but it’s obviously fiction.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. And this doesn’t feel that way and they didn’t touch it, for that reason. So it’s true. And it happened and the message is even more important than what we just said about it.

Pete Alwinson:
Absolutely.

Steve Brown:
It really is. I kind of liked his first sermon better than his second one. Repent cause you in trouble babe, God’s going to wipe you folks out and I thought that’s a good sermon, man. That’s good. And then when God saves them, he’s irritated about it.

Pete Alwinson:
I know. Would I be irritated if there were people that I truly hated, I suppose, why are you here?

Steve Brown:
You know what, my late mentor, Fred Smith, he was raised in a, he was a Baptist pastor’s son, and he was, his father served small Baptist churches. And wasn’t always treated very well in those churches. And Fred said that when he quit going to church, he said, I would have given up the Christian faith, but if I gave up a Christian faith, I’d have to give up the doctrine of hell. And there were some deacons that I wanted to go there. Oh man.

Pete Alwinson:
Oh, what a man. It’s going to be fun to reunite with him and heaven man.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, it really will. But, back to the answer, it’s true for a lot of reasons. And there are faith steps that you take. I took that in my own ministry when I was young and a liberal, had no authority. I knelt down and said, this Bible is going to be my authority. It was an intentional decision on my part. And once I made that decision, that it’s true and I’m going to teach it even if I don’t know what it says. And I didn’t in those days. I began to see things I’d never seen before, realities that I’d never experienced, depths that I didn’t know existed. So, the world says, seeing is believing and God says, believing is seeing and believing is sometimes intentional and volitional.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s powerful. And you do not throw your brain out the window when you become a Christian, you engage your brain.

Steve Brown:
That’s true. That’s true. This is a good question. Should we be celebrating any of the high Holy days of Judaism?

Pete Alwinson:
Hmm. What do you think about that?

Steve Brown:
Well, you know, there’s some Christians who say not only should you not celebrate them, when you do it, you are causing, you are sinning. And I don’t agree with that. I think we, you know, have you ever been to a Goyam Passover?

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, we used to host them at church and they were great.

Steve Brown:
They really were.

Pete Alwinson:
Wonderful. And, we see Christ in the Passover in a powerful, powerful way. Yeah.

Steve Brown:
And there are a lot of Christian people leaders that say that you can’t have messianic churches, that that’s wrong. And that it’s a separate, ununifying move in the body of Christ. I don’t agree with that either.

Pete Alwinson:
I don’t either. In fact, I don’t hear those voices, cause I’d say something. But absolutely there are, now having said that, I understand there’s more messianic churches in Israel then there are in any other part of the world.

Steve Brown:
And I visited them. And I tell you, and you have too, haven’t you?

Pete Alwinson:
Some, yes.

Steve Brown:
You spent there a lot more time in Israel, then I have.

Pete Alwinson:
Well, and you’ve been in messianic churches.

Steve Brown:
Well, I’ve been with the leaders of some of those churches. I didn’t ever go to church, but I think that’s cool. If I were Jewish, I would be all the way Jewish. I mean, I would celebrate every Holy day because it points to Christ.

Pete Alwinson:
It does.

Steve Brown:
And I would be able to maintain my heritage and maintain my Biblical view of Jesus as Messiah. And those things really do go together, no matter what anybody says.

Pete Alwinson:
They really do. It’s exciting. We have, there’s far more that have a Jewish background than we know in our churches.

Steve Brown:
Oh really. That’s very true.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah.

Steve Brown:
This is an e-mail too. Are my loved ones in heaven a part of a cloud of witnesses? I hope not. I don’t want my mother, I want my mother to stay in heaven. And I don’t want her to know some of the things that I think and do, I just don’t, she was upset enough, when we were both alive and I’m kidding of course. Do you think that they are the cloud of witnesses?

Pete Alwinson:
You know Steve, that’s fascinating. I really, I can honestly say, I have not thought a lot about that.

Steve Brown:
I haven’t either.

Pete Alwinson:
You know, they’re up there, but I see them more preoccupied with where they are right now.

Steve Brown:
Then with us.

Pete Alwinson:
There very well could be that interplay that we just don’t know about.

Steve Brown:
You know, if you take literally, Hebrews 12, surrounded by, which is what this e-mail refers to,

Pete Alwinson:
right, right.

Steve Brown:
surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. If you take that literally, maybe, maybe.

Pete Alwinson:
Maybe, maybe there really is this peering ability to peer into where we are and what’s going on here.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, it really is. You know, you hear reports every once in a while of somebody, Norman Vincent Peale, the famous preacher, that New York church, the positive thinking, he, by the way, was pretty close to being an evangelical in his theology. At any rate, the day he, the reason he knew he was called is that he was in his office the day his father died, who was a preacher, and he felt his father’s hands on his head as if anointing and sending him into ministry. And that was a part of this testimony. Did that really happen? I don’t know? Maybe he was drinking. I don’t know, but I think sometimes God allows that sort of thing to take place.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, I think so too. And, we shouldn’t rule it out. It’s kind of one of those texts that it may well be.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, could be. I’ll tell you what is for sure. Time’s up. One other thing. Key Life is a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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