33. “Sharing the Gospel with the World”

Jonah’s book contains a strange account of a stubborn prophet, a great fish that swallows and regurgitates Jonah, the conversion of a whole city, and the rapid growth and death of a gourd. But this book also foreshadows the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as he said himself.

“The Book of Jonah: Foreshadowings of Jesus as the Christ,” David R. Scott, BYU Studies, Volume 53, no. 3
The book of Jonah has a deep, powerful message that has been obscured through the ages: that the Messiah would live and die to make salvation available to all humankind.

In images from Jonah’s storm–tossed sea experiences to those in his prophetic prayer of affliction while in the Lord’s great fish (belly of hell), the book contains a prophecy of Jesus’s future ministry. These Jonah images portray and prefigure Jesus’s prayerful agony as he accepted his bitter cup of suffering in Gethsemane, his being lifted up, and his feeling forsaken on Calvary. These were followed by the images of his death and spirit–world ministry. In Jonah’s miraculous third–day deliverance from the Lord’s great fish, readers can easily visualize the unmistakable image of Jesus’s rising from the dead with his third–day resurrection. Jesus himself called attention to this likeness when he referred to it as the sign of Jonah. The just as miraculous missionary image of Nineveh’s total conversion and era of peace among men and beasts in that worldly city provides images that symbolize the Lord’s second coming as the world’s Savior and Judge. This article outlines a chiasmus covering the whole book that centers on Jonah 2:6, in which Jonah sees salvation, “Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.”

“Jonah: Testimony of the Resurrection,” LeGrande Davies, Isaiah and the Prophets: Inspired Voices from the Old Testament, 1984, 89–104
“Jesus declared that the sign of Jonah would witness his three days of death and burial in the grave and then his return to the world of the living.” This article reviews how to reconcile ideas of whether the story is historically true or not and shows the story can be interpreted typologically. Latter–day Saints can find a parallel between Jonah’s experience and that of Alma the Younger, who was racked with eternal torment before being saved and strengthened by Christ.