Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 22, 2012

6. Hike the Bible – Mash’had

Approaching Mash'had on the Jesus Trail

The Hike the Bible series is currently covering points of interest along two hiking trails through Galilee, the 40-mile Jesus Trail and the 39-mile Gospel Trail. These two trails re-create possible routes Jesus may have walked when He left Nazareth for Capernaum near the beginning of his ministry (Luke 4:16-37).

Jesus undoubtedly traversed all or parts of these trails during His sojourns in Galilee. Click Jesus Trail vs. Gospel Trail for a comparative evaluation of the two trails.

Points of interest that I’ll discuss lie primarily along the Jesus Trail, because I think that trail is more interesting, and because it has more Biblically-relevant sites. After discussing the Galilean points of interest, this Hike the Bible series will continue with reviews of other major hiking trails in the Lands of the Bible.

Leaving Zippori on the Jesus Trail, you pass through Mash’had on the way to Cana. (Mash’had is not on the main Gospel Trail, although a side trail leads to it.) Mash’had claims to be the birthplace of the prophet Jonah.

The picture above shows the initial view of Mash’had as you approach it on the Jesus Trail. Most of the town is out-of-sight over the hill.

I don’t know how well-substantiated this birth claim is. Jonah, the son of Amittai, was from Gath-hepher (2 Kings 14:25), and Gath-hepher was in the territory allotted to the tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:10-13) in Galilee. The Pharisees were thus mistaken to say “no prophet arises out of Galilee” (John 7:45-52). Mash’had is likewise within Zebulun.

Jonah is a significant prophet. The narrative in his book is one of the most ridiculed accounts in the Old Testament. Jonah was thrown overboard into a raging sea and swallowed by a great sea monster. Yet 3 days and 3 nights later, the creature regurgitated him alive. Can you believe such a fantastic story?

Well, Jesus believed it! In fact, He equated His Resurrection sign to the Jews with the sign of Jonah to the Ninevites. Jesus said, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:39-40)

Jesus clearly believed Jonah’s experience was a historical fact since He based teaching about His Resurrection on it.

Christ went on to say, “The men of Nineveh shall stand up with this generation at the judgment, and shall condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” (Matthew 12:41)

Jesus viewed the repentance of the Ninevites in response to Jonah’s preaching as a historical fact, for He said they would condemn His listeners at the judgment, which Jesus obviously considered a real future event.

Additionally, in pointing to Himself as greater than Jonah, He was again testifying to Jonah’s historicity. For if Jonah never existed, the claim to be greater than a non-existent person is vacuous.

Isn’t it interesting how Jesus picked from the Old Testament some of today’s most disbelieved events to use in His teaching? He used events like Creation, Noah’s Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Bronze Serpent, and Jonah and the Great Sea Monster to support His teaching and to reveal aspects of His identity and mission. He accepted Old Testament events as the literal truth. His followers today should do likewise.

See my article Jonah and the Resurrection for more on Jonah.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the sixth installment in the Hike the Bible series reviewing major hiking trails in the Lands of the Bible.
Read the prequels:
1. Hike the Bible – Jesus Trail (with video)
2. Hike the Bible – Gospel Trail (with video)
3. Hike the Bible – Jesus Trail vs. Gospel Trail
4. Hike the Bible – Nazareth
5. Hike the Bible – Zippori

Read the sequel:
7. Hike the Bible – Cana (with video)

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith” (Jude 1:3)
Wednesday February 22, 2012 A.D.

Read my February 2012 newspaper column:
What’s Wrong with Polygamy?

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

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