Jonah delivered two major prophecies. The first is recorded in II Kings 14:25 – to enlarge the borders of Israel. It was a message of victory and power. He seemed to be very motivated to this kind of prophecy.
The second was recorded in the Book of Jonah to bring repentance and revival to the nation of Assyria – a Gentile nation, often seen as an enemy of Israel. Jonah very much did not want to bring this message. It was counter intuitive and contrary to his motivation and orientation. He said “No” to the Lord.
He had to overcome his own resistance to the message. When he did (with the help of a big fish), the message brought revival to the whole nation. The message about repentance was based on his own personal testimony of a miraculous “death and resurrection” experience. That was a form of pre-gospel message. He fulfilled an image of Yeshua (Matthew 12:40).
An entire nation came to faith. This was an initial stage of the future international Gentile church. It was a predecessor to Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles and establishing churches around the world.
In addition, the moral reformation in the nation of Assyria changed the whole society. They became the most powerful nation on the earth and dominated the history of the Middle East for the entire 8th century BC. They became a great “kingdom” power on earth.
Repentance, revival, testimony of Yeshua’s future death and resurrection, Gentile church, kingdom authority, changing history… all that resulted from one message! Jonah’s two prophetic messages were parallel, but the Assyrian message had more effect than the Israelite message. The message that required death to pride and ego produced more than the one of victory and power.
People are usually more motivated to the type of messages that fit our idea of victory, but often it is the message that requires denying oneself and one’s ambition is what has the greater results for the kingdom of God. Even Yeshua had to pray “Not my will but Yours…” at Gethsemane before the Crucifixion. Ultimately that self-denying obedience produced much more fruit than His healing revivals before the cross.
We may also see in these two types of prophecies the two parallel paths of Israel and the Church. The disciples of Yeshua wanted to “restore the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6) in the first century. However, Yeshua sent them out to the Gentiles “unto the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Perhaps they didn’t want to “give” the kingdom to the Gentiles, just as Jonah didn’t want to.
Thank God, today we have the opportunity to do both. We serve the dual restoration of Israel and the Church (Romans 11). Both are coming to their fullness as we approach the coming kingdom of Messiah on earth.