|Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.|
|But He answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and a sign shall not be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.|
|For just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.|
A sign is a miracle with some spiritual significance. The Jews always seek for signs (1 Cor. 1:22). Once again this gave the Lord the opportunity to reveal to the whole universe something further concerning Himself.
“The heart of the earth” is called the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:9) and Hades (Acts 2:27), where the Lord went after His death. Hades, equal to Sheol in the Old Testament, has two sections: the section of torment and the section of comfort (Luke 16:23-26). The section of comfort is paradise, where the Lord went with the saved thief after they died (Luke 23:43). Hence, the heart of the earth, the lower parts of the earth, Hades, and paradise are synonymous terms, referring to the one place where the Lord stayed for three days and three nights after His death and before His resurrection.