Most Bible teachers insist that Jonah is a type of Christ, because they both spent three whole days and nights in the middle of hell. But Jonah could also be an anti-type of Christ, the difference being obeying God with one’s whole heart, soul and body as The LORD Jesus did. But the prophet Jonah did not obey God this way. Jonah insisted that God was wrong in asking the prophet to preach repentance and salvation in Nineveh. He knew God was full of love and mercy for all mankind. But he did not want God to forgive Nineveh, because of what that nation had done to Israel. Jonah held these beliefs before he died and went to hell, and he held them after God resurrected him from hell. Again, the prophet stubbornly believed that heaven is a democracy where one can properly disagree with God and remain in heaven. (Excuse me, didn’t Satan himself try that?)
Yes even Jonah admits that he was dead—stone cold dead–three days and three nights in the pit of hell: “. . . I cried by reason of mine affliction unto The LORD, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and Thou heardest my voice . . . The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head—[just as a crown of thorns was placed on Christ’s head]—I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet thou has brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God (Jonah 2: 1 – 7).”
And yes, The Lord Jesus acknowledged that Jonah’s experience was “a sign” of His own coming ordeal: “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here (Matthew 12: 38 – 42).”
Many claim that Jonah repented while he was in hell. But The Bible does not say that. While praying in hell, Jonah spoke of “ observing lying vanities” and “forsaking his own mercy.” He promised to be more thankful to God, and to pay what he had previously vowed. But nowhere does he mention Nineveh or ask God’s forgiveness for his hateful attitude towards his enemies.
Now consider Jonah’s physical condition when “the fish . . . vomited out Jonah upon dry land (2: 9).” This prophet walks into Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, covered with fish vomit and the massive animal’s digestive juices eating into his body and his soul and spirit shambled and shuttering. Obviously, he gained everyone’s attention as he walked through the massive city for another 72 hours preaching repentance or judgment. Those physical and mental scars would stay with the prophet for the rest of his life. It would have been far better for him if he had just obeyed God with a willing heart in the first place.
Perhaps Jonah is the only evangelist who did not want his audience to be saved. But the goodness and mercy of God prevailed. The people of Nineveh repented and God granted the nation 70 years of forgiveness and renewal—because every generation must seek God on its own (see the Book of Nahum). But after Nineveh’s revival, Jonah is still furious with God: “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live (4: 1 -3).”
Shocking! Isn’t the whole point of knowing God is to want to be like Him? How could a man who had experienced actual death in hell, even pray to immediately die again? Modern day psychologists (who greatly influence theological preachers) could say he was just depressed. No this prophet was still in rebellion against God and against His will. I included The LORD’s linking of Jonah and Solomon above, because these could well be two Bible writing ex-believers who chose to go to hell, rather than to willingly obey God. Because the book that Jonah wrote ends on this note, we do not know conclusively where he ended in eternity. But we do know that Adam, Solomon and Judas are in hell today, because they refused to repent and obey God’s Word and His Will.
But why spend so much time on Jonah’s wish to rebel against God, his willingness to change from an apostle to an apostate? Because such fake so-called Christian leadership has thousands of such followers in these last days. In 2 Timothy, Hebrews, 2 Peter, Jude, and Revelation, Wholesale Christian Bibles fervently asks believers not to follow people or personalities. Each believer can be saved only by believing on Jesus Christ, not on people who claim to follow Him. Christians must test those who say they are preachers, prophets, etc. by God’s Word. And they must read it with dedication and obedience for themselves. Pray for God’s Will alone to be carried out in your life. And always seek to please God, not people. Don’t follow another human being into Hell!