(i) Jonahs Whale : Biblical Outline
Jonahs Whale : The story of Jonah and the Whale, one of the oddest accounts in the Bible, opens with God speaking to Jonah, son of Amittai, commanding him to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh.
Jonah found this order unbearable. Not only was Nineveh known for its wickedness, but it was also the capital of the Assyrian empire, one of Israel’s fiercest enemies. Jonah, a stubborn fellow, did just the opposite of what he was told. He went down to the seaport of Joppa and booked passage on a ship to Tarshish, heading directly away from Nineveh. The Bible tells us Jonah “ran away from the Lord.”
In response, God sent a violent storm, which threatened to break the ship to pieces. The terrified crew cast lots, determining that Jonah was responsible for the storm. Jonah told them to throw him overboard. First they tried rowing to shore, but the waves got even higher. Afraid of God, the sailors finally tossed Jonah into the sea, and the water immediately grew calm. The crew made a sacrifice to God, swearing vows to him.
Instead of drowning, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, which God provided. In the belly of the whale, Jonah repented and cried out to God in prayer. He praised God, ending with the eerily prophetic statement, “Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9, NIV)
Jonah was in the giant fish three days. God commanded the whale, and it vomited the reluctant prophet onto dry land. This time Jonah obeyed God. He walked through Nineveh proclaiming that in forty days the city would be destroyed. Surprisingly, the Ninevites believed Jonah’s message and repented, wearing sackcloth and covering themselves in ashes. God had compassion on them and did not destroy them.
Again Jonah questioned God, because Jonah was angry that Israel’s enemies had been spared. When Jonah stopped outside the city to rest, God provided a vine to shelter him from the hot sun. Jonah was happy with the vine, but the next day God provided a worm that ate the vine, making it wither. Growing faint in the sun, Jonah complained again.
God scolded Jonah for being concerned about a vine, but not about Nineveh, which had 120,000 lost people. The story ends with God expressing concern even about the wicked.
(ii) Jonahs Whale : Mystical Interpretation
Jonah means ‘dove’ and is a representation of the divine spirit.
Crew of the ship = are the thoughts that come into our minds.
The crew try to row and row and do things their own way, whereas Jonah wants to jump into the sea.
His thoughts were trying to rule him but he wanted to give himself up to God.
The word ‘ship’ = you & your personality and direction in life. The ship is being rocked by the storm. So we are being rocked by the events in our lives and the world as is represented symbolically in the photo at the beginning of the article.
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.
The storm of your life will only be calm when your spirit (Jonah) is cast into the deep-sea.
The deep-sea = the stillness, emptiness or nothingness of spirit. There is something that happens in meditation that calms the storm.
So cast your spirit into the deep-sea of meditation and bliss.
So the mind rebels to the process of us trying to achieve calmness in meditation and just keeps on producing thoughts (the storm).
From HER raging = the raging of the emotions of which we are drowning.
The spirit was cast from the body here = an out-of-body experience or seeing the limits of the body. Deep meditation can bring about states of consciousness that go far beyond the physical body.
2nd Corinthians 5
Identification with the physical body is a distraction from God or spirit
Jonah 1 (continued)
Men = thoughts made vows.
A vow in mysticism = to separate from human thought or get detachment from the body and mind. For example shaving of the hair symbolized that they were no longer dependent on what grew out of the head or mind.
This is also symbolized in the bible in:
18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.
24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
Here disciples of the apostle Paul shaved their heads… not something the church seems to recognize.
So back to Jonah, the vow has been made that you are no longer going to be a slave to the lower nature but will follow the way of spirit.
3 days or 72 hours in the belly of a fish.
In mysticism the word fish = source of spiritual secrets. Water contains the depths of the unknown or depths of hidden knowledge. So being swallowed by the fish = being immersed within the depths of your spiritual nature through meditation. In the fish you are devoured in the sea of nothingness and are no longer floundering in the ship (your body) but you are now consumed or swallowed by God.
Kabbalah states that God has his dwelling in the great sea and is a fish therein.
3 = change resurrection, new life. Another example is 3 days Jesus was in the tomb before the resurrection.
God is asking us to teach other people who the destruction should come about on our fourfold nature. In the tomb or the fish we are in the centre of God and there will be a resurrection and the way we see the world will be transformed. This is what ‘born again’ was supposed to refer to; inner spiritual realisations.Here Jesus is referring to the process of surrendering to Spirit, he is not referring to an actual evangelist being devoured by a great fish !
Cast your net on the right side of the ship(your body) and you will find the divine on the right side in meditation. How many fish were caught ? Again there is reference to the right side or the east as in the Garden of Eden. As we meditate more, we can stop focusing on all that demanding noise, and instead focus on engaging our Right Brain experience; trying to catch it and live in it for as long as possible. When we start finding that stillness in meditation we let go of our lower nature. Some meditation groups develop awareness of an inner light and sound within and meditate upon these energies e.g. http://www.santmat-thetruth.de/
1+5+3 = 9 , the number of divine consciousness. So we are now safe in the centre of the fish, centred in meditation, because we cried out in despair of our life and chose God in the process. So the number 153 has mystical significance, it is not just a random number.
The belly of hell = your lower mind/nature that has caused all our problems.
Into the deep means into meditation.. in the midst of the seas means the seas of our emotions.
And thy waves passed over me.. mystical experiences inside.
We were as low as we could get but meditation upon the divine leads us away from the corruption of the senses.
When I was almost lost to the yearnings of my soul and longing for God, I prayed or gave attention to God in the Holy temple (the body). i.e. meditation.
Pay as in tithing or 10%. Giving up the left side for the sake of the right or spiritual side. Once we have committed ourselves, this is our direction then.
He gets religious as he is saved and they are not.
Jonah goes to Nineveh, the big city after God asks him to teach.
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
Take no thought.
God does not punish them.
Jonah wants to die as he is not getting the destruction he wants.
He does what religious people do today, waiting for Armageddon to happen the people of the city. He sits on the east side, the place of holiness waiting for all others to suffer Gods wrath.
Gourd = a plant. Totally consumed in spirit but you are still a human being.
Jonah admits to being angry even unto his death as it’s not happening the way God said ie an Armageddon.
Jonah had done nothing to earn the gourd. It is God that decides what happens and what does not happen. As a human being we are part of nature and must flow with it not against it but doing God’s will.
6 score thousand 6 times 20 =12 = perfection
cattle = lower beast nature. God refuses to bring Armageddon on anybody and will be there for anyone who wants him. He wants everyone to see him.
(iii) Jonahs Whale : In Summary
We can see from the detailed account of the scripture above that the story of Jonah and the Whale has nothing to do with a physical event but rather it is allegorical of the change in us when we engage in meditation. The three days and nights is a significant mystical event that recurs throughout the bible and an understanding of the mysticism that lies behind it is critical to understanding the entombment of Christ and the conversion of Jonah.
(iv) Jonahs Whale Recommended Links
1. Jonah and Samson – Bill Donahue
2. Tall Tale and a Hungry Whale – Bill Donahue
3. Man Overboard – Bill Donahue