Further Studies in Jonah
Read Jonah 2:10 and Jonah 3:1. Picture Jonah sitting on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, surprised, stunned, and confused. He had just been resurrected and disgorged by the great fish. What would he do now? Where would he go? He was soon to know.
“And the Word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time,” (Jonah 3:1). The great central theme of Jonah is the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Compare the experiences of Jonah and Christ:
- After Jonah had died and been resurrected, he became the great preacher to the Gentile city of Nineveh, which resulted in their repentance and conversion. So too, the Lord Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection became the Savior of men and women everywhere. Today, every creature knows the Gospel - Before Jonah’s experience, God dealt only with Israel. After his resurrection, Jonah took the message to the Gentiles. Before Christ died, the message was distinctly to the nation of Israel. (Matthew 10:5-6, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into the cities of the Samaritans enter not. But rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”) After the Cross, the middle wall of partition was broken down between Jews and Gentiles, and the message of “whosoever will” is preached universally throughout the world. (Consider Saul, the jailor, the Eunuch, and Nicodemus as examples)
Jonah as a Type of Israel
Jonah is not only a clear type of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the backslider running away from God, but he is also an unmistakable picture of the nation of Israel. Jonah’s experience was a remarkable affirmation of the words of God concerning the indestructibility of Israel (take for example, the burning bush). Jonah’s preservation was a miracle. Far more miraculous is the supernatural preservation of Israel for the last 2,000 years in the sea of the nations. (Consider Hitler, Stalin, and the Six-Day war) God chose this nation. He committed to them the oracles of God. He elected them. To Abraham, he said, “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (see Genesis 12:3).
Israel, like Jonah, failed. She turned from God; the Israelites fell into disobedience, idolatry and sin. He visited them in the same way He visited Jonah. He cast them overboard into the seething sea of the nations (in A.D 70). Like Jonah, the monsters of race, hatred, persecution, and suffering swallowed them up (see Deuteronomy 28:64-65).
The great miracle of Jonah was his supernatural preservation from corruption. The Jews, though they were in the place of death and were spiritually dead, have been preserved through all these centuries and not destroyed. This is the greatest miracle in human history. They have been persecuted and threatened, but never destroyed. Under the circumstances, any other nation would have been assimilated or destroyed in a few generations. This is not so with Israel; they are back in the land. God in His Word prophesied that this would be so. [Describe some of their achievements] In the future they will possess the land. They will be revived spiritually and will evangelize the world. The fig tree has budded. It is flowering profusely. Soon, fruit will appear.
Jonah then is a picture of Israel, disobedient at first, cast among the nation and swallowed, but never digested. When Jesus comes, she will be resurrected, as a nation placed in her land and, like Jonah, become God’s messenger to the Gentiles. Her presence in the world today is the greatest testimony to the truthfulness of the Word of God. They cannot be destroyed. Pharaoh could not drown them. Nebuchadnezzar could not burn them. Haman could not exterminate them. The lions would not eat them. The whale could not digest them. It was the greatest miracle of all times.