- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Bible Questions and Answers - other
- Published on Monday, 07 February 2011 23:14
If Hades be “in the heart of the earth,” as some have thought, how can we reconcile this with Jonah’s experience, who went down into the whale’s belly (symbol of Sheol), spirit, soul and body, while the Lord’s soul went to Hades (Sheol) and His body to the grave?
There is really no contrast, still less contradiction in the two thoughts. Though Jonah speaks of being “in the belly of hell” (Sheol), I think those are mistaken who deduce that he actually died in the belly of the whale, as I think the rest of his prayer shows. The Lord does not say that the prophet died, though so terrifying was his experience, that he might have imagined he was in the unseen world. But the death of the prophet was quite unnecessary to justify the Lord’s comparison between Himself and Jonah. Jonah’s disappearance in the belly of the whale was a figure of the disappearance of the Lord, when His body was laid in the grave and He in spirit descended into the place of departed spirits—Paradise——as it was for Him and for all of His own, who had already died. But the exact location of this it does not seem necessary for us to define, even if it were possible. Our Lord’s words were, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40), and this came to pass. W.H.