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

There may have been other “signs” as well buried inside this person of Jonah. The first is in his very name, Yonah (הנוי) which means “dove.” This brings to mind the words of Luke 3:22, “… and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.’” If these Pharisees and Sadducees were aware of Yeshua’s immersion, then they knew that a heavenly sign, a “yonah” had descended upon him.

Another hint of a sign may be in Jonah’s lineage. We do not read it in the book that bears his name, but rather in 2 Kings 14:25, “… according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which He spoke through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gath-hepher.” That would make Jonah, Yonah bar Amittai, “son of the truth,” a valid appellation for the Messiah.

Another might be that we easily see Yeshua as the priest and king, but what about as prophet? Yet Jonah was a prophet and Jonah is the “sign.”

All together we have hints to Yeshua’s death and resurrection, we perceive the brewing storm of God’s judgment, we have images of the care God has for the non-Jewish people, we see the absolute call for repentance from sin, we find the dove, the son of truth, and we find the prophet. They may all work together to identify this man, this promised Messiah by the “sign of Jonah.”

Finally, and though not a part of the “sign,” it cannot be missed that Yeshua was addressing two types of people: the Pharisees who believed in the resurrection of the dead, and the Sadducees, who did not believe in resurrection. When Yeshua spoke of the Ninevites standing in judgment on this generation, he was implying a resurrection of the dead before the “bema,” the judgment seat of God Almighty. When Yeshua “left them, and went away,” there was no doubt a wake of dissension behind Him.


And the disciples came to the other side and had forgotten to take bread. And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began to discuss among themselves, saying, “It is because we took no bread” (Matthew 16:5-7).

I wonder, at times, how these men who were so close to Yeshua could so often miss the point. I wonder at how, having been raised in the synagogue and daily living out the Torah, they were so capable of ignorance. Then I think of myself, and am reminded how very much alike we are.

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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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