The story of Jonah is one of the most well-known of all biblical stories, even though it has been a target of skeptics for hundreds of years. However, Yahshua Messiah confirmed the story as true and used it as the one sign that He was the Messiah to those who were looking for a sign.
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12: 40)
In Jonah 2:2, we find, “Out of the belly of sheol I cried and thou heard my voice.” And then in verse 6, Jonah confirms that indeed, “Yet hast Thou brought up my life from corruption, O Yahweh my Elohim.” Jonah’s prayer ended simply in verse 9: “Salvation is of Yahweh.” The very meaning of Yahshua is “Yah’s Salvation”!
Most scholars believe that Jonah lived about 900 years before Yahshua was born on the earth as a human infant. Jonah was a remarkable prophetic type of the mighty miracle that Yahweh would accomplish one day to bring an end to sin and bring salvation to all who would believe and accept Yahshua.
Only the power of Yahweh could prepare a great fish to swallow Jonah, and then three days later allow him to preach repentance to the lost people of Nineveh. The skeptics who claim this never could have happened obviously didn’t know Yahweh’s power! We can learn some powerful lessons in the book of Jonah. Through much of the Bible, Yahweh focuses on His people, Israel. Yet in Jonah, we find that Yahweh cares for those who are not His chosen people. He does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, but desires them to turn from their wicked ways and live!
Jonah put up a fight when Yahweh commanded that he go to Nineveh to preach to the people there who did not know the difference between right and wrong. Are we sometimes like Jonah? Have we ever not wanted to go where Yahweh leads us? Are we sometimes not concerned for the people that Yahweh cares for? Jonah ran away from Yahweh, but we must realize that we can never truly run from Him. Yahweh fills the entire universe. There is no place to hide from him.
Yahshua too confirmed that He was sent to the lost tribes of Israel, but he showed remarkable compassion even to those who were not of Israel, such as the Canaanite woman whose daughter was demon possessed. Yahshua was willing to help and heal anyone who demonstrated their faith in Him. Truly, when speaking of Yahshua, we can all agree that, “One greater than Jonah is here.” (Matthew 12:41)