The entire rejection of the witness for God's first message
We have seen that the
judgments which fall upon the unfaithful witness, being
at length acknowledged by himself, are the means through
which the name of Jehovah becomes known and worshipped
among the Gentiles. Here begins the second picture of the
testimonythe complete and entire rejection of the
witness considered as the depositary of the first
message. He undergoes the judgment of God, and is cast
out of His presence into the depths of hades.
The just lot of
unfaithful Israel: the spirit of the remnant in Jonah's
This is the just lot of
Israel, unfaithful to the testimony of God, and incapable
of rendering it. Christ, in His infinite grace, came down
into this place, being rejected because He was faithful.
We most distinctly see the spirit of the remnant of
Israel in Jonah's prayer. Verses 7-9 of chapter 2 prove
it most clearly.
In fact the remnant of
Israel, although upright by grace, are but flesh; the
testimony is committed to them, and they fail. The flesh
being without strength, sentence of death must pass on
all that is of man. He is but vanity; and if he goes down
into death, who can raise him up? Who can make a dead man
the witness of God?
resurrection: Christ, the Faithful Witness, is also the
firstborn from the dead
But, blessed be God!
Christ went down into death; and, as Jonah was three days
and three nights in the belly of the fish, so also the
Son of man went down into the heart of the earth for the
same period of time. But who could prevent His rising
again? It was death here that was without strength, and
not man. Death combated with One who had the power of
life; and whether we consider the power of God, from whom
Christ had merited resurrection, or the Person of the
faithful witness Himself, it was not possible that He
could be holden in the bands of Sheol. He is not only the
faithful witness, but the firstborn from the dead.