The sign of Jonah, or: Did Jesus do only ONE Miracle?

This is my concluding statement from a discussion that took place on the newsgroup soc.religion.islam:

     Disproving Dr. Rauf's opinion that Jesus didn't do any miracles,
     but one - which he bases on "his interpretion" of Matthew 12:39

I hope this article will lay to rest this topic once and for all. 
I think the topic is exhausted and I don't have the impression Dr. Rauf 
[or anybody else, but so far it has been just between the two of us] 
is bringing up any new material or hard evidence on which to base these 
speculative theories. 

Dear Dr. Rauf,

Jesus speaks of his death a dozen times before it happens, he says so 
again at the appearances as the risen Lord, that he has been DEAD. 
I have quoted some of them for you earlier on, but I am sure you are 
well able to find all of them yourself if you really want to know.

Jesus does many miracles and says to the Jews, if you don't want to believe 
my words, then believe me at least because of all the miracles I am doing.
[John 10:37-38, just for the record]

All these hundreds of verses that I could present where Jesus is doing 
miracles [and which you no doubt know about] are completely insubstantial 
to you  as it seems from your argumentation.

All of your Bible interpretation hangs on ONE overliteralistically 
interpreted sentence of Jesus. But if there are 100 verses clearly speaking
of many miracles and there is one verse that looks a bit strange at first
sight, wouldn't you agree that the one strange one has to be interpreted in 
the light of the 100 clear ones? And not take the most extreme explanation
for the "odd" one and then say all the other 100 are just an illusion?

It strikes me especially strange that you insist so much on this literalistic
interpretation on this "no miracle but the sign of Jonah" phrase while in
most everything else you chose the "symbolic" interpretation over the clear
literal one, e.g. especially when Jesus speaks about his return and its 
clear signs you "symbolize away" the criteria for his true second coming 
so that you can apply it to Mr. Ahmad and declare him to be the returned 

Okay, one more effort here that HOPEFULLY can lay this whole thing to rest 
and show you that you are wrong even in regard to the verse that you solely 
rely on.
In article <4j2mh1$>, "Dr. Ijaz A. Rauf" 

| In the verses of the Bible, Jesus (AS) states to the seekers "None shall
| be given except the sign of Jonah" right? 

Wrong! Let me quote this verse again and in context. 

After Jesus had done many miracles [Matthew chapter 1-12] and had done an 
especially powerful one just in front of their eyes they react with charging
him with being from the devil.

Matthew 12:
22   Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, 
     and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.
23   All the people were astonished and said, 
     "Could this be the Son of David?" [i.e. the Messiah]

24   But when the Pharisees heard this, 
 [that the people on the basis of this miracle think he is the Messiah]
     they said,
     "It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, 
     that this fellow drives out demons."

After that there is a serious discussion of Jesus and the Pharisees about
spiritual power and the origin of Jesus power. And Jesus does not deny but
affirm that he has just done a miraculous work by the power of God:

28   But if I drive out demons     [as you have just seen!] 
            by the Spirit of God, 
         then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

And in the ongoing dispute Jesus has not much good to say about their
evil heart.

34   You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? 
     For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
35   The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and
     the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.
36   But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of
     judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
37   For by your words you will be acquitted, 
     and by your words you will be condemned."

38   Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him,
     "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you."

39   He answered, 
     "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! 
     But none will be given TO IT except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
              +++++++++++++ ^^^^^
40   For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge
     fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the
     heart of the earth.

You transformed the statement of Jesus in verse 39 into an absolute 
statement that 

"No miracle  (at all) 
      shall  (ever - whether past or present or future) 
   be given  (to anybody) 
 except the sign of Jonah."

All the (...) are added by me but capture what you are saying.

I hope it is already clear that this is NOT what Jesus has said. 

Just on the level of grammar, you disregard the FUTURE tense "will be 
given" which leaves plenty of room for past miracles. And then you deleted
"to it" i.e. the addressee of the statement and change it into "all people".

Let me give you an illustration that is giving a good parallel to the

(I hope you don't have such an evil brother, but let's just assume so.)
Imagine your mother has been working all day in the kitchen in preparing
several courses for the great feast to be held tomorrow. While you were 
out working hard in your new job and could sadly not support her at all, 
all during the day your younger teenage brother is squandring his time
idly and doesn't even get the idea to help his mother. Now, your mother
loves him nevertheless and when he comes in late afternoon and is hungry
she offers him some of the "surplus" of the prepared food that didn't
fit on the platter. Imagine now your brother cringes, disgust shows up 
on his face and he says: "You call that 'food'? I want SOMETHING TO EAT." 
Wouldn't that be just incredibly offensive and reveal an evil heart in 
your younger brother? 
Imagine the following reaction of your mother to your brother: 

"You will not get anything to eat until the festival dinner tomorrow."

Now, would you conclude that your mother clearly meant:

* None of your brothers and sisters as well as her husband will get 
  anything to eat either.
* This son - never before in his life - had eaten anything
  (or been offered anything to eat). 

That is about the most silly conclusion you could draw from all this,
don't you think so? But that is exactly what you do with Jesus statement
in a very similar situation. The mother did talk to her son only [your 
brother] when making this statement. Her stated "you" didn't include 
anybody else.

The "pre-left-overs" of the feast are offered to the family members just 
as the "pre-miracles" are offered to the Jews - and some take them
and others scoff at them. At the feast = THE miracle of Jesus in death
and resurrection - all people [all nations, not only Israel] will enjoy
its fruit, the forgiveness of sin and healing of the broken relationship
of God and the corruption of nature,though it will be fully realized only 
at the return of Jesus and the new creation of a new heaven and a new earth. 
But already now at Jesus first coming there are some "pre-miracles" handed 
out to show the feast is really coming up. 

I am not making that up, that is what the Bible tells:

  When the evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to 
  him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 
  This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

    He took up our infirmities
    and carried our diseases.

You find this in Matthew 8:16-17, quoting in turn Isaiah 53:4

And the 53rd chapter in Isaiah is one of the clearest passages in
the Old Testament predicting the suffering, death and resurrection
of the Messiah and that this will be for the forgiveness of sins. But
even the consequences of sin - including all evil and diseases - will be 
overcome in this victory on the cross too. And the miracles of Jesus are 
the first instalments of it. [If there hadn't been a feast mother wouldn't
have had scaps to pass out].

And just like the mother does, Jesus says to the evil people who see
the miraculous signs, but question his goodness and declare that he is 
demonic, that they will not get any other sign until the great one 
itself will come. Just as above this does NOT mean:

* ... that nobody else will get signs either. 
* ... that they (or others) haven't had any signs before. 

And just as the mother talked to your brother only, so Jesus here talks
to only those who ask him, which are the stubborn Pharisees. He was not
making a public announcement to all of the inhabitants of Israel. Or do
you really want to include the mother of Jesus and his disciples into
Jesus statements "you brood of vipers" and "evil and adulterous 

And just as your brother can refuse to even participate and eat at the 
feast, it doesn't even mean that they will "see" the sign of Jonah 
if they insist to stay on their evil ways. 

Believe me, the empty tomb was a shock for them. They got their sign of
Jonah. But what is their reaction? They devise a plan, pay off the guards 
(who reported to them all that happened) to keep quiet and tell that the 
disciples have stolen the body. Even though they knew that the sign is 
there, they keep on refusing it and to believe Jesus who told THEM 
beforehand that he will rise from the dead. [Matthew 27:62-64; 28:11-13].

Your reading of the one sentence in the "sign of Jonah" promise of Jesus 
leads you to make nonsense of nearly all of the gospels which are full
of miracles. Do you believe that the gospel writers [even taken just as
human beings] were complete idiots and could not understand what they
were writing themselves?

Can you see how ALL of your Bible interpretation is based on a 
completely unreasonably literalistic interpretation of one sentence 
of Jesus - taken out of context? 

I really, really hope this explanation will settle this issue once and
for all and this is "really dead" now and will not be resuscitated again. 

Without serious evidence to the contrary giving proof FROM the BIBLE 
that my explanation can not be correct, I at least will refuse to go on 
debating these speculations. 

Without serious new evidence I will just say: 
"To each his own interpretation." You ARE free to make your own. 
I believe it to be completely out of touch with the text, but you 
are free to disagree.

Best regards,

Jochen Katz

P.S: For all the Ahmadiyya who have a hard time to believe in any 
kind of resurrection at all [as Dr. Rauf has indicated earlier in this 
thread] I would recommend that they study the passage in the Gospel
according to Mark 12:18-27, where Jesus answers to the same unbelief 
when the Sadducees try to make fun of it.

The crucifixion
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