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Types of Christ in the Old Testament

Jonah (Jonas) as a Type of Christ and His Resurrection

One way to tie together lessons from the Old and New Testament and show how the principles relate to us today. The little Book of Jonah has many lessons and principles that relate to our relationship with Christ.

'Types' point ahead and reveal the glory of Almighty God. The coats of skin with which God covered Adam and Eve; the sacrifices of Cain and Abel; many Old Testament characters; Noah's Ark; Egypt; Pharaoh; the ten plagues; the Passover; the Red Sea; the wilderness; the manna; the Jordan River; the Promised Land, etc. . . . ALL of these and more are 'types' and are written to help us better understand God's Word and warn us and guide us onto the right road. The Holy Bible has human authors, all that were under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim.3:16). When we read the Bible, we need to read it in a literal sense . . . but need to consider it also in a spiritual sense, seeking out what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us.

Jonah’s time in the belly of a fish is a “type” of Christ.The story of Jonah is a most unusual, and the most triumphant, type of Christ we have in the Bible. Jonah really was NOT a very triumphant sort of person, and there is NOT much at all about him that we could call “Christ like.” He really was a prophet of the true God, but when the Lord called him to go and preach to the Assyrians in Nineveh . . . one of the most brutal enemies the Israelites faced . . . Jonah rebelled and refused to go. He really did NOT tell God “No” in words, BUT his actions spoke volumes. Instead of traveling east by land to the Tigris river valley, Jonah bought passage on a ship sailing west in the Mediterranean and bound for what is now Spain. He refused to be God’s messenger to those bloodthirsty heathens.

Jonah and the sailors soon found themselves in the midst of a terrifying storm. The sea battered the ship unmercifully! The sailors had seen anything like it. They came to the conclusion that there had to be some Divine reason for their predicament. Some 'god' must be angry with them. They cast lots, seeking a clue as to the cause of this unnatural fury. The lot fell on Jonah. Jonah told them who he was, and what he had done to cause this fury upon himself and all those with him.

Jonah 1:10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. (KJV) . . . The sailors were exceedingly afraid. Even in the 'many god' paganism of the ancient world, the Name of the Lord was widely known and greatly feared because of the many accounts of His power and awesome deeds for His people, Israel.

Jonah 1:11-12 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. [12] And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. (KJV) . . . The sailors did NOT want to do it. But then they took up Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea. Then, to their amazement, the wind stopped, and the sea laid down flat and calm. Jonah 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. (KJV)

Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (KJV) . . . Jesus said it was a whale. During that time the prophet in great misery prayed to God with sincere repentance. God caused the fish to vomit Jonah out on the beach (2:10).

Let's consider Jonah as a 'type' of Christ. Matthew 12:40 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. (KJV) . . . There are several points that make it proper for us to consider "the sign of Jonah" for Jesus compared Himself to Jonah. Matthew 12:39 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: (KJV) . . . Even though Jesus was speaking of His burial, there are several other points of comparison we can make.

Because of the infinite love of God for a lost and wayward people, Jonah was sent on a mission of compassion: revelation, condemnation and redemption. 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (KJV) . . . To the Jew, it was shocking that God loved people in the Gentile nations (various ethnic groups). Even after Peter had been with Jesus for three years and had seen His infinite love manifested to the fullest, he could not quite grasp that significant fact, as shown in the story of Cornelius in Acts 10 and 11.

It is almost beyond my comprehension that God can so love men like Haman and Hitler that He sent His Son to die for them. But my humble gratitude goes out to Him that I am included in that list for which He died. We ALL are sinners (Rom.3:10,23).
Jesus not only came into the world to preach the Gospel, but that there might be a Gospel to preach. My friend . . . Jesus IS the Gospel!

As we study the Bible, we must consider both the type and antitype. A TYPE is a person, place, thing, or event that foreshadows a future person or event. An ANTITYPE is greater and clearer to understand. The type was a shadow, or promise of the revealed antitype to come. There are dozens of types of Christ in the Old Testament. Types and antitypes are not the same. The antitype is always superior to the type. If it were not, there would be no need of the type. The antitype is always clearer and more revealing. Jesus, the Antitype is always much MORE than the type. He is the Giver and the Gift; He is the Bread and the Water; He is the Manna and the One who gave it; He is the Sacrifice and He is the One who offered the Sacrifice, He is the Preacher, and He is the Message!

Jonah 1:12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. (KJV) . . . That raging sea is a symbol of the awful storm of God's Holy wrath that enveloped Christ when He willingly assumed responsibility for our sins (Ps. 42:7; 69:1,14-15; 88:6-7, 16-18).

Jonah’s willingness to be cast into the sea pictures Christ’s willingness to endure the storm of God’s wrath against sin, so that men might be delivered from having to endure that wrath eternally. Do you see what an awesome Saviour we have?

There was absolutely NO hope of safety for the sailors unless they threw Jonah into the angry sea. Likewise, there was absolutely NO hope of salvation for mankind unless Christ would bear the storm of God's wrath against sin at Calvary. Thank You Jesus!

Jonah 2:2-3 And said, 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. [3] For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. (KJV) . . . Just as Jonah finally gave in to God, and gave himself up. Christ was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (KJV) . . . Jesus was God! He could have called the angels to remove Him from what was to come. Matthew 26:53-54 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? [54] But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? (KJV) . . . Had Jesus called for the angels, He would have been like Jonah, fleeing from God's command, and too, He would NOT have offered the Sacrifice, pleasing to God. Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. [7] In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (KJV) Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. (KJV) . . . Christ was obedient to God and His Sacrifice was readily accepted by God on our behalf! Thank You Jesus!

Jonah was fleeing from the Presence of God because he did NOT want to do what God had asked of him. On the other hand, Jesus came from God because He wanted to do His will. Jonah deserved death for His disobedience. Jesus was delivered up for our offenses, but did NOT deserve to die.

When Jesus named Jonah as a type of Himself, what He had was trying to get across to the people then and now, is that Jonah was in the belly of that fish for three days and nights . . . and so too would Christ be in the heart of the Earth for three days and nights. We need to understand that "three days and nights," "on the third day," and "after three days" all refer to the same period of time. There are many who say He was crucified on Friday and rose on Sunday. That is NOT correct! See our article: www.hisservants.org/3_days,_3_nights_h_s.htm

Just as the big fish could not hold Jonah, neither could the grave hold our Saviour. After three days Jonah rose out of that fish and then he went and obeyed God as he should have done in the beginning. Jonah 3:1-3 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, [2] Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. [3] So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. (KJV) . . . Jonah obeyed this time! He proclaimed the message to lost people, and the whole nation repented! Jonah 3:5-6 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. [6] For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. (KJV)

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (KJV) . . . God loves ALL people.

After three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth, Jesus was resurrected!
Luke 24:1-3 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. [2] And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. [3] And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. (KJV) . . . He AROSE! Jesus rose again from the dead, just as He had said. Matthew 12:40 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. (KJV)

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (KJV) . . . Sorrow is not repentance. Even Godly sorrow is NOT repentance. Godly sorrow does cause a person to change his mind toward the sins of which he has been guilty, and make up his mind to stop them. When we have "Godly sorrow," we have respect for God, we want to do according to His will. This is important for us to remember in regard to true repentance. True repentance involves a change of life. If someone is regularly committing fornication, or adultery, or theft, or lying, or any other sin, he must, IF he truly repents, STOP living that way.

Jonah's story started with the entire ship in danger . . . men crying out for their lives and terrified because they were well aware of God’s wrath. So too, the world today is under God’s terrible displeasure. We ALL must face death and after death the judgment of God (Heb.9:27). We may not be physically tossed around and battered back and forth like Jonah and that ship, but we are but poor wretched sinners who are powerless to deliver ourselves from the real storms of life.

Consider the solution to this problem. For the sailors, it was very clear that one man must be cast overboard. If he would die, they would live. It was a terrible thing even to consider . . . offering another man’s life for theirs. It was NOT their idea.

What about God’s only begotten Son coming into this world, to offer His life as a ransom for OUR sins, and to suffer and die to atone for the sins WE have committed. God sent His Son to do just that, and Jesus the Son came willingly just as Jonah let the men throw him overboard.

But when the men had cast Jonah into the angry sea, there was an immediate calm. They were safe. They were saved. God’s wrath had been turned away from them, for the sake of the perishing prophet. Isn’t this exactly the message of the Gospel? Jesus, suffered under the angry wrath of God, bore upon Himself ALL of our sins so that God’s wrath against us is diverted. Our sins have been taken away and God is fully at peace with us (Rom.5:10).

There is no greater or more certain assurance of this than the absolute FACT that Jesus DID rise from the dead. Peace comes by faith, not by sight (2 Cor.5:7). Things may not always look as rosy for us as they really are IF we are in Christ (1 Cor.1:2; 3:1; 4:10). The FACT that Christ rose from the dead is our guarantee that God is truly, perfectly, everlastingly at peace with us. It is a deep soul-felt peace (John 14:27) that comes with faith in the Gospel. Isaiah 12:1 And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. (KJV) . . . That is what a living Christ, a resurrected Christ victorious from the grave, means to us.

Types of Christ in the Old Testament

Type of Israel, Jonah

Types . . . Eve Bride of Christ

Types of Christ's Death, Coats of Skin

Types of Christ's Death, Old Testament Sacrifices

Types of Christ's Death, Tabernacle

Types of Christ, Adam

Types of Christ, David

Types of Christ, Elijah

Types of Christ, Elisha

Types of Christ, Examples

Types of Christ, Isaac

Types of Christ, Job

Types of Christ and His Resurrection, Jonah

Types of Christ, Joseph

Types of Christ, Melchezidek

Types of Christ, Moses

Types of Christ, the Pillar of Cloud and Fire

Types of Christ, Samson

Types of Christ, the Rock

Types of Christ, the Brazen Serpent

Types of Christ, the Exodus

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