The very sighting is "a little short of astonishing" by itself. Factor in other astounding facts and this may be nothing short of a miracle.
This may even be a miraculous sign to us in these end times as it appears to coincide with the great fish (whale) that swallowed Jonah:
4 But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load.[a] But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.
6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”
7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”
9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, “We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.
17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
It is important to note that the Strait of Gibraltar is the only natural gap in the topographic barriers that separate the Mediterranean Sea, in which the whale was sighted, from the Atlantic Ocean.
The Mediterranean Sea itself is about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) long and covers about 2.5 million square kilometers (1 million square miles), while the Strait is only about 13 kilometers (8 miles) wide.
Note the narrowness of the Strait of Gibraltar in both the above map and the below aerial photo:
Please note on the map, the myriad of shorelines of the many countries that are bordered by the Mediterranean Sea.
There are various well populated resorts in the
Mediterranean Sea but none of the millions of tourists/beachgoers spotted the gray whale as it was only sighted at Israel.
There were no reported sightings of the whale from any of the other beaches or shores except at Herzliya Beach, Israel.
As such, it appears that land was still in sight as they were rowing "hard to return" to it.
Therefore, it appears as though the storm commenced soon after disembarking from the ancient port of Joppa which is in an inlet close to Herzliya beach.
As such, it appears that the modern day whale sighting was in the same geographical area that the whale of Jonah was located.
This is an astounding finding as the current day whale sighting is an astonishing rarity as would have been the whale's presence in the exact same location in Jonah's time.
For both whales to be recorded to be in the same locale is phenomenal.
The fact is that the whale sightings in the Mediterranean are scientifically impractical to begin with as gray whales are "extinct in the Atlantic Ocean" from whence they would have had to exit to enter into the Mediterranean.
Factor in that both rare sightings were in the same exact location out of the 27,320 miles of the bordering coastlines (not including the shorelines of the various large islands).
Add in that both whales would have had to navigate around multiple islands while journeying 2300 miles across the Mediterranean to reach the exact same destination near Jaffa/Joppa which is the complete opposite shore from the Strait of Gibraltar.
This broad expanse of the Mediterranean Sea proves what an monumental chance it is for both whales to be sighted at the same locale.
Out of the million square miles that compromise the waters of the Mediterranean Sea what are the odds that both would be found in the same site?
Additionally, what are the odds that both whales would enter the narrow 8 mile wide strait of Gibraltar from the ocean that they are not even indigenous to, to begin with?
So, out of the million square miles of the Sea with the all the bordering coastlines (as well as island shorelines)both whales were sighted in the same exact region with no sightings noted elsewhere.
This modern day whale was sighted from the beach, right off the shore, as was Jonah's whale.
According to the scientific authorities, it is highly unusual for a whale to be "so close to the shoreline".
Certainly this facts shows what appears to be even more of God's handiwork.
Let us remember, that scientifically, both whales were not even supposed to be in the Mediterranean to begin with!
It would surely seem that statistically the odds of the ancient whale of Jonah and the gray whale recently sighted, being in precisely the same area, would be astronomical.
This surely constitutes a miracle and thereby may be the sign of Jonah that Jesus spoke of:
Just as the Lord sent the ancient whale to swallow Jonah, He may have also sent this modern day whale for the purpose of signaling to His children, the closeness of the His return in order to remind us that we need to return to Him.
Our God so loves us that He provided us Biblical prophecies in order to understand the times in which we live and to realize that we are now entering the last days.
The religious leaders of Jesus's day, the Pharisees, ignored the ancient prophecies and were not watching for His first coming.
They were much too comfortable with their earthly, exalted position. They did not necessarily desire the Messiah to come at that time as it would interfere with their role in the religious community.
Had they been watching according to the words of the prophets, they would have known to the exact date, the day of His visitation.
Since they did not, they missed His first coming just as many in the modern day church may miss His second coming.
The majority of the Church and the Church leadership have not heeded the dictates to "watch" and are therefore unaware of the the closeness of His return in these end times.
If the Pharisees had been watching for the prophetic fulfillment of the Scriptures they would have realized that it was the time for the visitation of their Messiah.
The book of Daniel actually provides the timeline for the advent of the Messiah:
Many today appear way too satisfied with this life on earth to even want to listen when they are approached with the blaring signs of the return of Jesus (including the leaders of the church).
As such, a majority of the modern day Church of Jesus Christ can be equated to be modern day Pharisees.
Remembering what Jesus thought of the Pharisees should cause us to not want to be guilty of the same:
Those who ignore the prophetic Scriptures and the signs of the times will miss the return of our Messiah just as the Pharisees did His first visitation.
This may also be what the "sign of the prophet Jonah" alludes to as Jesus was addressing the Pharisees of His day for their disbelief, which resulted because they were not watching and were thus not aware even though Scripture provided them the exact timing, just as it is also signaling to us in these last days.
The prophet Jonah had been sent to Ninevah to warn their wicked society to repent, lest they face judgment.
Perhaps this bewildering modern day sighting of yet another whale is also a warning. The people of today's society in which evil abounds, may be being warned that it is time to repent as God's judgment is soon coming.
Just as Jonah remained asleep during the "tempestuous storm", so are many Christians remaining asleep through the tumultuous end time events that surround us.
It is time for the Church to wake up to all the many signs of the times that the Lord Jesus warned of and commanded us to watch for.
It appears that we have been presented with the prophesied "sign of Jonah" to forewarn us of just how very close we are, as we rapidly approach the end of the age.
May we allow this amazing sign to help us to realize that it is time to release our grip on the things of this world and instead focus on eternity, making sure we have repentant hearts and are covered by the blood of the Lamb, Yeshua Ha Mashiach.