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This amazing coin set commemorates three biblical figures: Jonah, Elijah and Samson. It is not hard to understand why the coin 'Jonah in the Whale' was voted as "Coin of the Year 2012", beyond the apparently simple but fascinating design, beyond the hight quality of issue, there is a deep meaning that teaches us about God's forgiveness and mercy. Issued by Holy Land Mint is legal tender in Israel.
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Jonah in the Whale (Jonah in the Belly of the Fish)
The story of Jonah and the Whale, one of the oddest accounts in the Bible, opens with God speaking to Jonah, son of Amittai, commanding him to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh.
Jonah found this order unbearable. Not only was Nineveh known for its wickedness, but it was also the capital of the Assyrian empire, one of Israel's fiercest enemies. Jonah, a stubborn fellow, did just the opposite of what he was told. He went down to the seaport of Joppa and booked passage on a ship to Tarshish, heading directly away from Nineveh.
In response, God sent a violent storm, which threatened to break the ship to pieces. The terrified crew cast lots, determining that Jonah was responsible for the storm. Jonah told them to throw him overboard. First they tried rowing to shore, but the waves got even higher. Afraid of God, the sailors finally tossed Jonah into the sea, and the water immediately grew calm. The crew made a sacrifice to God, swearing vows to him.
Instead of drowning, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, which God provided. In the belly of the whale, Jonah repented and cried out to God in prayer. He praised God, ending with the eerily prophetic statement, "Salvation comes from the Lord."
Jonah was in the giant fish three days. God commanded the whale, and it vomited the reluctant prophet onto dry land. This time Jonah obeyed God. He walked through Nineveh proclaiming that in forty days the city would be destroyed. Surprisingly, the Ninevites believed Jonah's message and repented, wearing sackcloth and covering themselves in ashes. God had compassion on them and did not destroy them.
Samson and the Lion
Samson was one of the Judges of Israel. He Judged Israel for 20 years. Samson's mother received a visit from an angel, who told her she would give birth to an unusual son, a Nazirite, and not to cut his hair. Samson had great strength, he killed a lion with his bare hands, and later killed 1,000 Philistines with a jawbone of a donkey. He had romantic encounters with three Philistine women.
He fell in love with one of the women, Delilah. The five leaders of the Philistine nation went to Delilah, and demanded that she find out from Samson what made him so strong, so they could subdue him. She eventually found out it was because his hair had never been cut. While asleep, Samson's hair was cut off. Losing his strength, he was captured by the Philistines, who gouged out his eyes, and made him grind grain in prison.
Later, the Philistines stood Samson in the center of a temple during a celebration, his hair had now grown back. Samson was placed between the two main pillars of the temple. He asked God to strengthen him one more time "so that I may pay back the Philistines for the loss of at least one of my eyes." Then Samson pushed against the pillars with all his might. "Let me die with the Philistines," he prayed.
The temple crashed, killing more Philistines at the time of his death, than during his entire lifetime. His brothers brought him back home and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, where his father, Manoah was buried.
Elijah in the Whirlwind
Elijah was one of the important Biblical prophets, who lived in the 9th C BC during the times of King Ahab and his wicked queen Jezebel.
Elijah, a Tishbite from the region of Gilead, was a prophet in Israel during the reigns of Ahab, Ahaziah and Jehoram. All his life Elijah was active in the defense of God. His teachings brought him into constant conflict with the Kings of Israel, and on one occasion had to flee for his life. He fought against the cult of Baal, and clashed frequently with Ahab's wife Jezebel, who had introduced the pagan cult in Israel.
Elijah performed some extraordinary miracles as a prophet of God, he brought the dead son of a widow back to life, caused a jar of meal and a jar of oil to constantly refill during a drought, caused fire to come out of the sky and consume a burnt offering, ended a drought, and ran faster than King Ahab's chariot.
In Kings 19 the Lord revealed Himself to Elijah. Elijah parted the waters of the Jordan River, by striking it with his mantle, and crossed on dry ground with his understudy, Elisha. "As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlpool into heaven".
Elisha then picked up Elijah's mantle and became a prophet of God. Elijah remains one of the most intriguing of the prophets. In the New Testament, the angel Gabriel tells Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth will bear a son "with the spirit and power of Elijah".