Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Jonah Chapter 3
Metaphysically Interpreting Jonah 3:1-10
3:1And the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 3:2Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. 3:3So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of Jehovah. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city, of three days' journey. 3:4And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. 3:5And the people of Nineveh believed God; and they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
3:6And the tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 3:7And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, nor drink water; 3:8but let them be covered with sackcloth, both man and beast, and let them cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in his hands. 3:9Who knoweth whether God will not turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
3:10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil which he said he would do unto them; and he did it not.
September 21, 1930: Jonah 3:1-5
What are the central ideas in the Book of Jonah? The central ideas in the Book of Jonah concern wickedness, disobedience, compassion, and repentance.
What is the meaning of Nineveh? Nineveh, “exterior growth,” may be said to represent the seat of the natural, animal forces in the body consciousness. These natural forces are not to be destroyed, but must be reclaimed by instruction in the higher law of life.
What does Jonah symbolize? Jonah symbolizes the phase of spiritual consciousness that sees the enormity of evil and the dire consequences of evil.
November 24, 1929: Jonah 3:1-5
Nineveh, to which the prophet Jonah was sent, was an Assyrian city, and the Assyrians represent the outer or sense man of each individual, a certain intellectual realm of thought and activity that is based on the senses. God sent Jonah to Ninevah to tell the Ninevites what the result of their sins would be. Then when they repented, changed their minds and their ways, they were spared. God had mercy on them because there were very many persons, and animals, among them that were really not responsible for the evil of the city, not able to be a party to it or against it. Even so, the outer man is not willfully sinful, but may be lifted up and saved with the true self. Thus, alive and entire, we shall become one new man in Christ Jesus.
Jonah was angry because God did not destroy Nineveh. Jonah was as we are sometimes, or as we were before we came into true understanding. He had rather have seen thousands of persons perish than have had his warnings of evil fail to be fulfilled. Evidently he had no love for this foreign city, these inhabitants of a country with whom the Israelites were often at war. But Jehovah said, “Should not I have regard for Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right and their left hand; and also much cattle?”
Little children represent new ideas and thoughts in consciousness, thoughts and ideas that are capable of great expansion and possibility. Cattle represent physical strength, and pertain to the animal forces of the organism. These are not necessarily evil. Their unfoldment and expression depend on the understanding and directive thoughts of the individual. They may be elevated to the spiritual expression and may be used constructively, for the good only. Isaiah speaks of the redemption of both Egypt and Assyria; with Israel they shall be a blessing in the earth. (Isa. 19:24-25.)
- UNITY magazine
June 30, 1940: Jonah 3:1-10
What is the metaphysical meaning of the name Jonah? Jonah is that prophetic state of mind, which, if used without divine love, fixes man in bondage to belief in the law of cause and effect, under which error sowing cannot be redeemed or forgiven.
What does Nineveh represent? It represents the natural animal forces in man's body consciousness. These await spiritual instruction to turn them toward God.
Why was the time limit of forty days set for Nineveh's probation? The number forty signifies completeness. In forty days the persistence of the Ninevites in their evil way would make the city ripe for destruction.
Why was not Jonah's prophecy fulfilled? Jonah's preaching was effectual enough to convince the people of Nineveh of the necessity of changing their ways, and they changed immediately and completely. The law of destruction could not then operate, because the people had aligned themselves with divine law.
When disaster threatens, why do the "unbelieving" turn to God? When man faces his finite limitations and knows that of himself he can do nothing, he becomes meek in spirit and realizes that he can escape disaster only through a power higher than himself. He turns instinctively for help to this higher power, in which all men have faith, even when they have buried it under their skepticism. In the face of disaster there are no unbelievers. All cry to God.
Is meekness essential to happiness? What does the lesson have on this point? Where pride rules the spirit, there can be no real happiness. Jonah took pride in his prophetic powers, and was unwilling to have them discredited, even though his preaching proved the power of divine love to turn men from destruction.
September 21, 1930: Jonah 3:10
In what does this phase of spiritual consciousness fall short? This phase of spiritual consciousness falls short in allowing itself to be intimidated by the seeming mightiness of evil, and failing to appreciate the redeeming power of eternal Good.
June 25, 1950: Jonah 3:3-6
What faculty should be uppermost in our mind when we undertake to correct error? Love. By the active practice of love, error thoughts are redeemed and harmonized and strife and contention are dissolved. Love makes repentance effectual.
What do Nineveh and Jonah represent? Nineveh (“exterior growth, growling vigor”) represents the first manifest expression of the truth that the spirit, soul, and body of man are free and are not bound by limitations of matter. Jonah (“a dove”) represents the prophetic state of mind, which, if used without divine love, fixes a person in bondage to belief in a law of cause and effect, wherein error sowing cannot be redeemed or forgiven.
What was Jonah's message like? His message was dogmatic, tempered by no conditions and lightened by no promise of escape. He typifies the natural man, who sees only disaster as the inevitable consequence of sin and is unable to accept the teaching that repentance for sin can alter or wipe out the consequences that would otherwise ensue.
What saved the Ninevites from destruction? Their faith in Jonah's message, and their immediate following up their faith in action. Without delay or reservation the “great city” underwent a complete reversal of its customary error habits. When the thoughts are turned wholly toward Truth, the whole man is lifted up and redeemed.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 10-26-2013