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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 11: Matthew 16, by Kevin M. Williams

This being the case then, Yeshua’s answer becomes much more poignant because in not so many words, He tells them that they have already been given the sign(s), but they have been ignorant to recognize it (them)! Not only that, but the “signs of the times” Yeshua is concerned with will bring a storm indeed, a storm that will separate the righteous from the unrighteous, the redeemed from the lost.

Without dancing around the issue, Lightfoot goes on to say:

[It was] as if he had said, “Can ye not distinguish that the times of the Messias [sic] are come, by those signs which plainly declare it? Do ye not observe Daniel’s weeks now expiring? Are ye not under a yoke, the shaking off of which ye have neither any hope at all nor expectation to do? Do ye not see how the nation is sunk into all manner of wickedness? Are not miracles done by me, such as were neither seen nor heard before? Do ye not consider an infinite multitude flowing in, even to a miracle, to the profession of the gospel? and that the minds of all men are raised into a present expectation of the Messias? Strange blindness, voluntary, and yet sent upon you from heaven: your sin and your punishment too! They see all things which may demonstrate and declare a Messiahs, but they will not see.”2

Yeshua was telling them that they had all the evidence they needed—yet he still promised them a sign, the sign of Jonah:

An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them, and went away (Matthew 16:4).

Much has been written over the years about the “sign of Jonah,” and how he spent three days in the belly of the fish, but on the third day came back into the world. For many, this is the culmination of the “sign.” Yet the truer purpose of the sign is found back in chapter 12:

“The men of Nineveh shall stand up with this generation at the judgment, and shall condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” (Matthew 12:41)

We have already read “Something greater than the Temple” (Matt 12:6), and “something greater than Solomon” (Matt 12:42) . . . is here. The intent behind the words meant that whatever you think about this or that—as true as those things may be—now something even greater and more important has arrived. Something with even more impact than the first missionary journey of Jonah was in their midst. Without using words that could be used as evidence against him in the Temple court, he was intimating that he was the Messiah.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Fall 2003, Pneuma Review

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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