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The Jonah Type

by Tim O'Hearn

Jonah is listed among the Minor Prophets, even though there seems to be very little prophecy in the book. In fact, Jonah’s prophecy consists of one line to the city of Nineveh, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh will be overthrown.” Furthermore, that prophecy did not come true, because all prophecy is conditional and Nineveh repented of their evil. Jonah, as a book, though, may be more prophetic than the message given to the man.

A major category of prophecy is typology. This is when one thing is used to represent another. The author of Hebrews uses the Tabernacle as a type of heaven. (Heb 9) Jesus said Jonah was a type (picture) of him. In fact, Jonah is typical prophecy in more ways than the “three days and three nights.” The following table shows the similarities, not only of Jonah and Jesus, but also Jonah being a representation of the nation of Israel.

Jonah as a Type of Israel
Jonah Israel
Despised Gentiles
Opposed conversion of Gentiles (Chapter 4)
Rebelled against God (1:3, 4:9)
Was restored when he returned to God (2:10
Events at Joppa led to preaching to the Gentiles
Despised Gentiles
Opposed conversion of Gentiles (Acts 11:2)
Constant rebellion ended with the death of God’s son
May be restored if they obey (Rom 11:23)
Peter’s vision at Joppa led to preaching to the Gentiles (Acts 10)

Jonah as a Type of Jesus
Jonah Jesus

Through him many Gentiles were converted
Born near Nazareth (2 Kings 14:25)
Slept during a storm at sea (1:6)
Calmed storm by his order to throw him overboard (1:15)
Voluntarily “gave” his life to save others
Gentiles (sailors) loath to shed his “innocent blood” (1:14)
“Executed” by Gentiles (sailors)
Three days/nights dead to the world
A “sign” to Gentiles (Lk 11:30)

Through Him all the world may be saved
Raised in and preached near Nazareth
Slept during a storm at sea (Matt 8:24)
Calmed storm by his word (Matt 8:26)
Voluntarily gave his life to save all mankind
Gentile (Pilate) loath to shed His innocent blood (Matt 27:24)
Executed by Gentiles (Romans)
Three days/nights in the tomb
A “sign” to the Gentiles (Lk 11:30)