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In contrast to a well-supported answer to the question "Does the Reward of Repentance in Jeremiah 18:8 refer to spiritual salvation (in Heaven) or homeland security (on Earth)?", we learn a prophecy from Jesus the Nazarene in Matthew 12:41 that Nineveh the nation will spiritually rise based on their repentance recorded in יוֹנָ֗ה Yonah | "Jonah" 3:10.

[Matthew 12:41] "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here." ( 12:41 ἄνδρες Νινευῖται ἀναστήσονται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτήν, ὅτι μετενόησαν εἰς τὸ κήρυγμα Ἰωνᾶ καὶ ἰδού, πλεῖον Ἰωνᾶ ὧδε )
  • [Question] Did Nineveh's style of repentance in Jonah 3:10 achieve both homeland security & spiritual salvation based on Matthew 12:41?
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    +1 good question :)
    – Tony Chan
    Aug 16 at 14:16
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Matthew 12:

41 "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."

Specifically, Jesus was talking about the individual repentant Ninevites. For those who had repented at the preaching of Jonas, they received spiritual salvation. This is good news and is encouraging for me to know. If everyone in the nation had repented, then the entire nation would be saved. This is good news. However, it does not support the idea that belonging to a particular nation itself is sufficient to be saved eternally.

Did Nineveh's style of repentance in Jonah 3:10 achieve both homeland security & spiritual salvation based on Matthew 12:41?

From the texts of Jonah, it seems to me that it was a time of great spiritual revival for every Ninevite (perhaps a few stubborn exceptions). Yes, by the grace of God, they achieved both homeland security & spiritual salvation at this time. Nineveh turned to corruption afterward and was punished.

This brings us to the two times in Jeremiah 18:

7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

The same repentance called for in Jeremiah 18:8 would receive spiritual salvation along with homeland security. Correct?

I believe so and it is good news but it is time-dependent and repentance-dependent.

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  • Please clarify - Did Nineveh's style of repentance in Jonah 3:10 achieve both homeland security & spiritual salvation based on Matthew 12:41? | Then the same repentance called for in Jeremiah 18:8 would receive spiritual salvation along with homeland security. - Correct? Aug 16 at 14:44
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    Good questions. I added.
    – Tony Chan
    Aug 16 at 15:08
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The direct answer to the question is "NO". It cannot be decided on the basis of Matt 12:41 (and its parallel verse in Luke 11:32) whether Nineveh was saved or lost. The text says nothing about that.

The point of the text in Matt 12:41 is the matter of initial privilege - the Jews in Jesus' generation were vastly more privileged compared to the Ninevites because of their possession of the "oracles of God" (Rom 3:2) and also had the personal presence of Messiah Himself!! Despite this, the Jews of Jesus time are rejecting Messiah (Jesus).

Exactly the same was true of the "Queen of the South" in Matt 12:42.

However, could we say that Nineveh achieved salvation and security? Very possibly but only on the basis of two facts:

  • Nineveh repented as per Jonah 3:5-10
  • The promises contained in Eze 18 and Jer 18:1-10 - if a nation, despite its wicked background, repents it will be built up and none of the evil it did will be remembered.

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