A few men in the Bible are defined by one wrong move. Most are not. David committed adultery, but he is not really defined by that time in his life. Moses hit the rock and was not allowed into the promised land, but his life is not really defined by that event. Judas Iscariot would be one that is defined by a single act in his life. And I’d say Jonah is defined by a single act in his life. There are other facets to Jonah’s life, but the thing you and I remember Jonah for is disobedience.
The book of Jonah is one of the few books in the Bible that ends with a question; a question God asks. Anytime God asks a question it is for the purpose of teaching the hearer a lesson by drawing out reason and sound thoughts from the hearer. The last question in the book tells you God’s purpose in calling Jonah was to deliver Nineveh. 120,000 small children would mean a population over two million. 2014 U.S. census put the percentage of the population under 5 years old at 6%.
God’s work is more conspicuous in the book of Jonah than in many other books. God prepared a whale, God prepared a gourd, God prepared a worm, God prepared and east wind, etc. You see the hand of God in nearly every event in Jonah.
He is a Type of Christ
- Death, burial, and resurrection
- Matthew 12:39-40
- Jonah drowns and his soul is in hell (Jonah 2)
- From Galilee
- 2 Kings 14:25. Jonah is from Gath-hepher, called Gitta-hepher in Joshua 19:10-13, a city near Galilee
- The Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus’ day rejected Jonah as a prophet as is evident in John 7:52 when they say there has never been a prophet from Galilee.
He Points to Future Judgment
- Nineveh is a prosperous city in the future and a headquarters for wickedness.
- Nineveh has a place in prophecy in that her destruction is foretold by Nahum and Zephaniah.
- Nahum unleashes a burden against Nineveh (Nahum 1:1). Nahum is a sequel to Jonah as both focus on Nineveh and what God is going to do there.
- In 630 B.C. Zephaniah 2:13-15 And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds; for he shall uncover the cedar work. This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.
He is sent to Gentiles
- The reason being that he was a prophet to the Gentiles. Daniel prophesied in a Gentile kingdom and is likewise rejected as a prophet of God by the religious leaders of Israel.
- With what the Bible says will come to pass in Nineveh, Jonah is a type of Jewish evangelists in the tribulation.