Fishing for Christ Snack Lesson: Day Two: Whale Cookies

Tuesday: Snack
Elementary Bible Lesson: The Sign of Jonah: Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sin.
Memory Verse: Romans 6:23
Preschool Bible Lesson: Jonah: Obey God
Key Item: whale[1] cookies
Serve cut-out cookies shaped like whales or fish.
Snack Lesson:
[Hold up a cookie.] What shape is this?
Can anyone think of an account from the Bible that involves a whale, or some other really big fish? One bigger than a person? Perhaps even a fish big enough to swallow someone?
In the Bible lesson today, we're going to learn about a man named Jonah, who was swallowed by a large fish and was inside it for three days and three nights.
Additional Snack Items (optional):
To make the snack more substantial, we served tuna salad sandwiches and carrot sticks alongside the cookies. We also provided Kool-Aid to drink.

  1. [1]: Is a whale a fish?

    In Bible times, yes, the word that we translate fish could refer to pretty much any animal that swims in water. The notion that the word fish should be used only for the ones with gills (and that whales and dolphins are not fish but mammals because they breathe air from the surface) is a modern idea. By the time this modern classification scheme was invented, there were already a number of translations of the Bible into English, all of which had used the word fish in the traditional way[2][3][4][5][6].

    Most modern translators continue to use the word fish, mostly because English doesn't really have another common, well-known word for anything that swims in the water.

    We don't know for sure whether the fish described in the book of Jonah was a whale. There are several other kinds of large fish that it potentially might have been; but traditional Bible scholars generally consider a whale (probably a baleen whale) to be the most likely (unless it was a special one-of-a-kind fish directly created by God just for Jonah).

    For Bible School purposes, we just use the words fish and whale interchangeably, and we used whatever cookie cutters were handy: some of our cookies looked like (cartoon) whales and others looked more like some other kind of fish. This difference is not important. The word used in Jonah (Hebrew: דָּג) can refer to either a whale or some other kind of fish. (The word in Matthew, κη̑τος, is somewhat more specific: it refers to something monstrous that lives in the sea. This could include whales, very large fish, and various other real or imagined sea monsters.) We aren't told which specific kind of sea creature it was, because that doesn't matter. Whatever it was, it was large enough to open up its mouth and take in a man whole.

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