Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. (Jonah 3:1-3)
The Word was giving a warning. Unless there was a substantial change, the people would be destroyed. In order to be the Savior of those people in Paradise, Jesus had to first take on the body and live the life of a man. This second time the Word came, He preached it directly to those in Paradise. (The first time it was to the living before His death.)
Now Nineveh was a very important city– a visit required three days. (Jonah 3:3)
Those people in Paradise –the Old Testament saints– were extremely dear to His heart. The three days He spent in the Paradise (Nineveh) is another view into the same three days in the grave (belly of the fish).
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water (1 Peter 3:18-20)
On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” (Jonah 3:4)
Forty days after Jesus’ death was the greatest change for mankind since the days in the Garden of Eden. It was Pentecost. At that time, God turned the world upside-down. He changed the entire system for approaching Him. There was a change in the Priesthood and the Law. There would be no need for sacrificial offerings –His was sufficient! He made a kingdom of priests out of everyone who believes in His Son so that there would never need to be men over others anymore. God came into and dwelled within men as His temple; they no longer had to come to Him in His temple.
The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. (Jonah 3:5-6)
Like the king, each and every person in Paradise humbled himself. Neither the best, nor the worst of any person’s actions or attitudes, counts as having any lasting value.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6)
Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. (Jonah 3:7-8)
Evil is just another way to say selfishness. And it is the very opposite of humility! When the people humbled themselves, they were confessing that only God was good.
Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. (Jonah 3:9-10)
This describes what propitiation is about. (Some translations call it atonement.) It is when God’s wrath was turned aside. It was headed straight for us and coming with full force, but He turned it aside and laid it fully upon His Son, Jesus.
…and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. (I John 2:2)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)