Mattityahu (Matthew) 16:15-17:
(15) He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
(16) Shim`on Kepha answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living Elohim.”
(17) Yeshua answered him, “Blessed are you, Shim’on Bar-Yonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
In many spiritual teachings, this portion of scripture is glossed over to recognize the heavenly-given inspiration of Kepha (Peter) in that Yeshua is Messiah and the declaration that “on this rock I will build my assembly.” (Mat 16:18) What we are missing here, as we are trying to rush and give Kepha the “keys to the Kingdom” (Mat 16:19) and building the “church” on his back, is the key to a better understanding of Kepha! It is given right there before our eyes and we are missing it – “Bar-Yonah.” Bar-Yonah/Bar-Jonah means “son of Yonah,” or in the English, “son of Jonah!” Now, given this information, let us study out the similarities between the two who traveled from Yapho (Joppa) to do the will of the Father:
Both Yonah and Kepha experienced test of turbulent waters:
Yonah (Jonah) 1:3-6:
(3) But Yonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh. He went down to Yapho, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid its fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh.
(4) But Yahweh sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was likely to break up.
(5) Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man to his elohim. They threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten it. But Yonah had gone down into the innermost parts of the ship, and he was laying down, and was fast asleep.
(6) So the shipmaster came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your Elohim! Maybe the deities (g-ds in KJV) will notice us, so that we won’t perish.”
Mattityahu (Matthew) 8:23-25:
(23) And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
(24) And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
(25) And his talmidim came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, save us: we perish.
– The language in common is striking between the two accounts. We can see the parallels:
1.) BOTH have moments of lacking faith – Yonah fleeing the word of Yahweh resulting in the tempest on the waters; and, Kepha and the talmidim doubting in their newly founded faith resulting also in a tempest.
2.) BOTH have men on board crying out for saving – The men aboard the ship with Yonah cry to each His own Elohim; and, the talmidim cry out to Yeshua.
3.) BOTH have men asleep – This is where Yonah fills the role of “type-and-shadow” of Messiah (not Kepha), and yet, sleeping, “3 days in the pit,” and prophesizing against a great city and stubborn peoples are the only ones.
Sinking into the Depths
Yonah (Jonah) 1:10-15:
(10) Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “What is this that you have done?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of Yahweh, because he had told them.
(11) Then said they to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm to us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous.
(12) He said to them, “Take me up, and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will be calm for you; for I know that because of me this great tempest is on you.”
(13) Nevertheless the men rowed hard to get them back to the land; but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them.
(14) Therefore they cried to Yahweh, and said, “We beg you, Yahweh, we beg you, let us not perish for this man’s life, and don’t lay on us innocent blood; for you, Yahweh, have done as it pleased you.”
(15) So they took up Yonah, and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased its raging.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 14:24-32:
(24) But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, distressed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
(25) In the fourth watch of the night Yeshua came to them, walking on the sea.
(26) When the talmidim saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It’s a(n)ghost/phantom/apparition!” and they cried out for fear.
(27) But immediately Yeshua spoke to them, saying “Cheer up! I AM! Don’t be afraid.”
(28) Kepha answered him and said, “Master, if it is you, command me to come to you on the waters.”
(29) He said, “Come!” Kepha stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Yeshua.
(30) But when he saw that the wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Master, save me!”
(31) Immediately Yeshua stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
(32) When they got up into the boat, the wind ceased.
This portion from Mattityahu offers as many similarities as the first, and yet a couple of quick parallels in common are these:
1.) Again, troubled, turbulent waters tests the men’s wills and faith – when faced with the pressure of the surroundings, both loose faith and begin to sink into the depths.
2.) There is a mighty hand to deliver them from death – Yahweh delivers Yonah after 3 days in the belly of the whale, Yeshua/Yahushua delivers Kepha from drowning with his hands.
3.) After the faith testing, the weather resolves and peace is restored!
Testing in Threes
Both Kepha and Yonah were tested in threes:
Yonah (Jonah) 1:17-2:10:
(1:17) Now Yahweh had prepared a great fish to swallow up Yonah. And Yonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
(2:1) Then Yonah prayed unto Yahweh his Elohim out of the fish’s belly,
(2) He said, “I called because of my affliction to Yahweh. He answered me. Out of the belly of She’ol I cried. You heard my voice.
(3) For you threw me into the depths, In the heart of the seas. The flood was all around me. All your waves and your billows passed over me.
(4) I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; Yet I will look again toward your set-apart temple.’
(5) The waters surrounded me, Even to the soul. The deep was around me. The weeds were wrapped around my head.
(6) I went down to the bottoms of the mountains. The eretz barred me in forever: Yet have you brought up my life from the pit, Yahweh my Elohim.
(7) “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Yahweh. My prayer came in to you, into your set-apart temple.
(8) Those who regard lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
(9) But I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation belongs to Yahweh.”
(10) Yahweh spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Yonah on the dry land.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 26:34-35, 69-75:
(34) Yeshua said to him, “Most assuredly I tell you that tonight, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”
(35) Kepha said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you.” All of the talmidim also said likewise.
(69) Now Kepha was sitting outside in the court, and a maid came to him, saying, “You were also with Yeshua, from the Galil!”
(70) But he denied it before them all, saying, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
(71) When he had gone out onto the porch, someone else saw him, and said to those who were there, “This man also was with Yeshua of Natzereth.”
(72) Again he denied it with an oath, “I don’t know the man.”
(73) After a little while those who stood by came and said to Kepha, “Surely you are also one of them, for your speech makes you known.”
(74) Then he began to curse and to swear, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately the cock crowed.
(75) Kepha remembered the word which Yeshua had said to him, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and wept bitterly.
* also found in Marços (Mark) 14:30-31, 66-72 & Luços (Luke) 22:33-34, 55-62
Both of these men where tested in threes, concerning their faithfulness and even their life:
– Yonah, by all accounts, dies in the belly of the whale after three days and nights – signified by the Hebrew word “She’ol“ שְׁאוֹל (H7585 – sheh·ōle’) meaning “ the grave, pit, abode of the dead.” Through his prayer for restoration and promise of fulfilling his vow, Yahweh restored Yonah’s life. This also, as previously referenced, a type-and-shadow of Messiah’s death and resurrection!
– Kepha has his life also tested in threes, but it is through the accusations of onlookers! As witnessed in the scriptures, Kepha is accused of being one of Yeshua’s talmidim, which he is, but as the prospect of suffering the same fate as his master grows, so does the ferocity of his denial. Kepha realizes the truth of Yeshua’s ominous warning to him resulting in much guilt and weeping. It also foreshadows the impending death and resurrection of Messiah Yeshua.
– Just as a quick aside: the phrase “cock crows” is a mistranslation. Despite being considered “clean” for eating, the handling of chickens is considered “unclean” resulting in uncleanness until evening. Chickens were not allowed anywhere on the temple mount or within the gates of Yerushalayim, thus the nearest rooster would have been at least 6 miles (1/2 of a Sabbaths day journey) from the temple. The Greek translation of the word “alektor” can mean “a rooster or a man,” most importantly, the Temple Crier who called the kohenim (Priests) to service both morning and evening.
Ministry from Yapho
In Hebrew, the name “Yapho” יָפוֹה (H3305 – yä·fō) means “beautiful” originating from the primitive root word “yaphah” יָפָה (H3302 – yä·fä) which means “to be bright, beautiful, handsome, or fair.” The town served as a port on the southwest coast of Yisra’el in the territory of Dan; became primary port of Jerusalem during reign of King Shelomoh (Solomon).
Yonah – Once spit out by the whale and reaching the shore at Yapho, Yonah made good on his promise to Yahweh. He went and testified against Nineweh (Nineveh). At the hearing/reading of the proclamation given by Yonah against Nineweh, all covered themselves in sackcloth and fasted. Yahweh then had loving-kindness upon them and turned back His anger and wrath from them. Although Yonah was dissatisfied with the outcome (He thought they should have been destroyed), the entirety of the city was rescued from certain death and destruction. For the fullness of the story – see the Book of Yonah (Jonah) Chapters 3, 4, & 5.
Kepha – Several important events happened in and around Yapho during Kepha’s ministry, included among them are the healing of Aeneas in Lud (Ma’asei (Acts) 9:32-35), the restoration to life of Tabitha (Ma’asei (Acts) 9:36-43), and the preaching of the Good News to Cornelius the Centurion and the gentiles (Ma’asei (Acts) 10). (See the study of Clean Eating – What was intended as food! for information on the misunderstandings of Acts 10). Listed below as a witness is the events of Tabitha:
Ma’asei (Acts) 9:36-43:
(36) Now there was at Yapho a certain talmid (apostle) named Tavita (Tabitha), which when translated, means “Beautiful and graceful”. This woman was full of good works and acts of loving-kindness which she did.
(37) It happened in those days that she fell sick, and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper chamber.
(38) As Lud (Lydda) was near Yapho, the talmidim, hearing that Kepha was there, sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.
(39) Kepha got up and went with them. When he had come, they brought him into the upper chamber. All the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Tavita had made while she was with them.
(40) Kepha put them all out, and kneeled down and prayed. Turning to the body, he said, “Tavita, get up!” She opened her eyes, and when she saw Kepha, she sat up.
(41) He gave her his hand, and raised her up. Calling the set-apart ones and widows, he presented her alive.
(42) And it became known throughout all Yapho, and many believed in Yahweh.
(43) It happened, that he stayed many days in Yapho with one Shim`on, a tanner.
There are glaring similarities between Yonah and Kepha, they were tested in their faith, life, and willingness to follow the words of Elohim/Messiah. Through their failings, we may receive the gift of hope – if they, chosen men of the Father failed and were redeemed and restored despite that, how much more you and I of the Body of Messiah! Many blessings to all who read this study, I pray that the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) uses these words to challenge and encourage you in your daily walk of faith.