“God has made everything beautiful for its own time and He has planted eternity in the human heart…” (Ecc 3:11)

These days, to speak the truth, to open your heart to strangers, just to encourage them from afar, you need the courage of love. We have to learn to live with less (space, food, friends, toys…).. This is the simplicity of Christ, the greatest treasure on earth. I live in Africa. My children and grandchildren live in Texas. I have learned to secret to be contented in every situation, when I have too much food (I give to others) and when I have too little food (I decide to diet until provision comes). I have also learned to enjoy each day, as it is and not as I wanted it to be.

It is easy to complain about limitations. Complaining is like taking drugs, it is very addictive. Long ago I decided to live a life of thanksgiving. I cannot change my decision now, just because of some natural restrictions. In this life, I reached on top of mountains and I crawled to the bottom of dark valleys. One thing never changed: with Christ in me, I overcame all obstacles, exterior and interior. Even when I thought that I was going in circles, I made progress in life. Welcome to my world where endurance is the ground, thanksgiving is the sky, and all I see, is beauty everywhere! Jesus is Lord! I look around and I am amazed at Your beauty! Your glory is all I see!

(My husband took this picture… in 2018… me in a calm pretty old French village)



During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled ‘The Gospel according to Jonah’ (3) God’s Chastisement of Jonah. Her main text was taken from the Book of Jonah chapters 1 and 2, and Luke 15:1-7.


The story of Jonah is more than a children’s tale. It is more than an adventure about a great fish. It the revelation of God and His Grace towards men. It is the testimony of King Grace. Simply said, Grace means unmerited favor, undeserved Kindness for the sake of Christ! In the Book of Jonah, we shall find the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. The study of this Book from the Old Testament will help us see that the Bible is One. In the Old Testament the Gospel is revealed in symbols and shadows. In the New Testament, we see reality of the Gospel. There are many deep revelations here, about salvation and the call of God to ministry. All people can gain wisdom and strength from the study of the Book of Jonah, but in particular the backsliders. Praise the Lord!


Jonah was the son of Amittai. In Hebrew, the name “Amittai” means Truthful or Faithful. Jonah comes from a good Hebrew family. The Name “Jonah” means “Dove”. It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Jonah was a true Prophet of Jehovah God. God wanted to use him as an ambassador of peace. He prophesied during Jeroboam II, a wicked king of Israel. Jonah lived in a small town called Gath Hepher, located at the north border of ancient Israel. It was part of the inheritance of the Tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:13). (Today, the town does not exist. There are some ruins there, and a stone said to be Jonah’s tomb. The ruins are five Kilometers north of Nazareth). Jonah must have lived between 800 and 750BC. Assyria was Israel’s neighbor in the north. At that time, the Kingdom of Assyria was the greatest power in the world. Its capital, Nineveh, founded by Nimrod, was at its peak. (The Kingdom of Assyria was conquered by Babylon in 600 BC). Jonah’s ministry started immediately after the prophets Elijah and Elisha. It is possible that Jonah was a disciple of Elisha. 


The Book of Jonah is not a prophecy. It is the Prophet’s miraculous story, his testimony, and his relationship with Jehovah God. Jonah’s story reveals the way The God of all Grace deals with His people, even when they rebel against His commands. The greatest revelation in the Book of Jonah is that “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). In Jonah we discover the Gospel, the power of seeking Grace. It is not man looking for God but God seeking and finding the lost! “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai,,,” (Jonah 1:1). This is how the Book of Jonah starts. It is not Jonah’s word that matters. It is God’s Word that starts the story. God is always first! The Gospel is not man’s work but God’s. Grace always ignites the fire. But Jonah struggles with the Grace of God. He loves to experience grace for himself, but he does not what to extend that grace to others. The story of Jonah helps us to understand and appreciate the irresistible Grace of God in salvation and redemption. Throughout the story of Jonah, we see that God is all-powerful, kind, patient, and faithful. For not good reason, God loves Jonah from the beginning to the end! There is no other explanation for this love except the Grace of God!    


Jonah was running away from God. He took a ship that was going to the opposite direction. Initially, Jonah was not interested in anything concerning the ship or the mariners. This was not a vacation cruise. Having nothing to do, exhausted from all his rebellious plans, Jonah went to sleep. He knew that all the mariners were sinners and pagans. Soon, in the middle of the storm, Jonah realizes that God is chastising him for his rebellion. The revelation of God’s chastisement ended his desire to run away from God. Jonah does some things that are right: He openly confesses that He fears Jehovah God. He also openly confesses his sin. He tells them that he is running away from God. He takes the blame and wants to take the punishment for the tragedy. That is why Jonah tells them to throw him into the sea. He prophesies that the sea will be calm, and it was. The mariners believed that he was a true prophet. All these things Jonah did are good things. But his repentance was not complete. These are some things Jonah did not do: he did not pray for forgiveness, and he did not change his actions. He did not become obedient to God. He should have told the mariners: ‘Let us turn the ship and go to Nineveh! Let us serve Jehovah God!’ When a child is disobedient, it is not enough that he confesses his sin to his parents. He is to assure them that from now on, he will obey them. That is true repentance. Jonah fell short of the standard of true repentance. But God was making progress in the process of chastisement. Once Jonah fell into the depth of the sea and a great fish swallowed him, he finally broke down and truly repented. He ‘remembered God!’ He prayed to God! He finally declared that all salvation, from beginning to the end is of God! He now understands that even the times of chastisements are under the control of the sovereign God. The chastisement of God manifests God’s sustaining Grace.         

Jonah is the only man who is a believer in that ship. He is like the church sleeping in the midst of a troubled world. Selah! Once the mariners understood God’s love for Jonah, even coming in the form of chastisement, they too acknowledged Jehovah, Jonah’s God. Initially, they all prayed to their little gods who were not able to help them. Now they know that Jonah’s God is God Almighty, the Creator of the universe. The fear of God came upon them. That was the beginning of their wisdom. When Jonah told them to throw him into the raging sea, they did not want to do that. They looked at it as an act of murder. But the storm increased in power. At last, they prayed to Jehovah for mercy, and they surrendered Jonah to his God. The storm stopped immediately as a sign that God has received their ‘sacrifice’. They offered a sacrifice to God and made vows, possibly to serve Him from now on. This can be taken as a sign that became saved thru the witness of God’s chastisement, a revelation of God’s love for His child. Jonah behavior reveals that he was truly a child of God. That is why he repented. An unbeliever in the middle of a storm becomes more stubborn, more silent, and totally careless of the lives of others. In other words, troubles drive a believer to God and the same troubles drive unbelievers to the worlds.  


The word chastisement is defined as verbal strong rebuke combined with corporal punishment (flogging). It comes from a Latin word that means ‘to make pure’. God’s chastisement is the peculiar painful process by which God punishes rebellion among men until it ends, and obedience is restored. This is how a parent disciplines his disobedient child, for his own good. God is the Father of all believers in Christ. The purpose God teaches and trains His children is so that they become like Jesus. Chastisement is God’s way to work with His rebellious children. This peculiar work is done for His glory and for their own good. Chastisement is never pleasant. It is painful. But the effect is that the rebellious child repents of his sins and comes back to God the Father with a new heart and a new attitude. Chastisement leads to godliness, humility, and wisdom. God only chastises His children. It is a sign of fatherly love. It is a proof that the child belongs to the family of God! But God deals differently with the unbelievers. God punishes the wicked unbelievers to restrain their evil works. Even after the punishment, the unbelievers will not repent. Their punishment does not lead to salvation. But they stop doing evil work for fear of more punishment. In other words, God chastises His children and punishes the unbelievers.  

In the Old Testament, we see God chastising His people each time they become rebellious. Often, God chastises disobedient people thru men. For example, if a man slanders his wife for no good reason, he must be punished by the elders of the city. They shall flog him in public. He must pay compensation to his father-in-law, for spoiling his daughter’s name. The marriage is now permanent. He cannot divorce her all the days of his life (Deut 22:13-19). As you can see, discipline for sin is necessary. If the sin is not punished accordingly, the man will become a bad example as a husband, and many will imitate him. This will pollute the whole city morally. God is a disciplinarian!

There are many examples of chastisement in the Bible. The Lord chastises Jacob while in service to Laban. Joseph chastises his brothers in Egypt. The Lord chastises David for his sin with Bathsheba.  The most powerful example of chastisement in the Bible is the way the Lord chastises the nation of Israel over the course of its history. The Lord’s discipline eventually leads Israel back to faithfulness at the end of the age. In the Book of Leviticus 26, you see how God warns His people against rebellion. He promises that He will chastise them with greater intensity if they refuse to repent.  “And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins” (Lev 26:27, 28). In Hebrew, the word ‘chastise’ means to discipline and instruct, to teach and guide a people back to God. This painful instruction can involve some very hard lessons. It can even mean physical punishment, such as flogging. It always comes with verbal correction. God uses men to rebuke His stubborn child with words and deeds. God promised to chastise His people with plagues, incurable diseases, poverty, bareness, affliction or loss of children, defeat from enemies, constant stress and anxiety of life, and loneliness. If God’s people refuse to repent, the level of pain in chastisement increases, until it become ‘seven times’, which is the perfect number. If sickness, poverty, and loss of all good things do not work, and God’s child refuses to repent, God takes His child home. Untimely death is a form of chastisement. This is a fact: God never loses. God always wins in this matter because God is the perfect and excellent Father! Remember that God can use His Word to chastise us!

Wrong doctrines: Some say that God chastises His child all the time, just to make him to obey. They say that God chastises His children even when they are obedient, to prevent them from committing sins. Others say that God punishes His child for sins committed by others, or for sins committed in the past, before becoming saved. These teachings show God as a Father who is always angry and impatient with His children. These are wrong doctrine creating doubt and anxiety when thinking about God. These false doctrines hinder faith in the assurance of salvation.

Right doctrines: There are consequences for sins committed in the past. But these consequences are not God’s chastisement. God is the Perfect Father. He is longsuffering. He loves His child. God “does not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men” (Lam 3:33). Generally, He leads thru the Word and the Holy Spirit. Once the child rebels against His leading, God talks to the child to convict him of sin, to repent. If the child becomes stubborn and refuses to listen to the voice of God and the warning of his conscience, then God intervenes and chastises His child.

God always makes a difference between His children and other men. He deals differently with the rebellion of His children and the rebellion of the unbelievers. God is the Greatest Gardner. He knows how to cut off unfruitful branches and how to prune the fruitful ones. The result is a greater harvest for His glory! “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (Jn 15:1,2)

To understand God’s ways, you need to know the basics of salvation. A sinner becomes a child of God by His Grace and thru faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. None is saved thru good works. Salvation is not a reward. It is the free gift of God to men because of the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross. Christ took the punishment and the guilt of sins on the Cross. If you believe that Christ shed His Blood for you, then you are saved. You become a child of God. From that moment, there is no more condemnation for you. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:1, 2). This is fact. God has justified the believer in Christ! This is the work of Grace alone! Because the believer is justified by faith in Christ Crucified, there is no more condemnation for him. The child of God will not meet God as the Judge. Even if he rebels, God’s child will never meet God in the court room.  He will always meet God in His house, as his Father. Even when he disobeys, the believer will be chastised in God’s House and not in God’s Court room. The punishment for his sins was placed on Christ on the Cross. The sacrifice of Christ was accepted by God on behalf of the believer. God will never ‘punish’ His child for sins. But God retains the right to chastise His child when he rebels, to bring him back to Him.

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him” (PV 22:15). “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell (Sheol)” (PV 23:13, 14)

“Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor 5:5)

The unbeliever is punished by God to restrain evil behavior. He does not repent to become saved, but he will stop doing that evil deed. The unbeliever always meets with God as his Judge, in the court room, The unbeliever does not meet God as his Father, in His house. Both chastisement and punishment look the same outwardly, but they are not the same in the heart of God. God punishes the unbeliever in His anger and chastises His child in love. The effects of chastisement and punishment are not the same. The believer has godly sorrow and the unbeliever manifests worldly sorrow. The first leads to life and the second leads to death. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor 7:10). After his chastisement, the prodigal son returns home to his father, but the unbeliever remains in the world to the end, and then he goes to hell. The believer is always grateful for the discipline of the Father. But the restrained unbeliever remains bitter and ungrateful, holding grudges against God and the men He used to punish him.   


One of the greatest forms of chastisement is God sending the hunger and thirst for the hearing of the Word of God. The preaching of the true Gospel will become rare. People will attend churches where they are not saved. The people who cling to their religious idols and refuse to repent will become weaker and weaker. For those who hear the true Gospel, their hunger and thirst has been satisfied. That blessing is life!

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, But shall not find it. “In that day the fair virgins And strong young men Shall faint from thirst. Those who swear by the sin of Samaria, Who say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan!’ And, ‘As the way of Beersheba lives!’ They shall fall and never rise again” (Amos 8:11-14)


“Therefore, whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks [g]in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor 11:27-32). Knowing that God chastises His disobedient children, we should examine ourselves constantly. This does not mean we live in fear, but it means to be wise in our walk with God. You should know that the devil desires us to rebel against God. Separate yourself spiritually from unbelievers. The word of God says that if we humble ourselves and repent of any known sin, then we shall not be chastised by God. This warning is given especially as we take the Holy Communion. We should take the bread and wine in a ‘worthy manner’. It means to be sober and grateful as we remember the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Taking the Holy Communion carelessly, jokingly, ignoring a known sin, or without the fear of God, it is dangerous. God shall chastise His rebellious child with weakness of the body, sickness, and even untimely death. The believer shall go to heaven, but he may not have fulfilled God’s plan for his life! Selah!   


“You have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb 12:5-11)

God made a covenant of mercy and grace with David and his descendants. This covenant applies to all believers in Christ. This is God’s promise to us, His children: “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you” (2 Sam 7:14, 15). God treats King Saul as an unbeliever, but He treats David as His child. To an unbeliever, mercy is given temporarily. To the believer, mercy and grace are eternal gifts.  There are two warnings given to believers who pass thru God’s chastisement: despising the rod and discouragement during the process. Both these wrong attitudes are rooted in stubborn pride, anger, doubt, and foolishness.   

*To despise it means to look down on something; to hate something because you think it is a bad and useless thing. The believer may despise the hand of God who holds the rod in different ways. Men may chastise him with the rod. But behind the scenes, it is God that holds that rod. How does a believer despise the rod? By complaining about the chastisement, that it is useless. He complains that God is not fair to him. Like a naughty child, he says that the stripes are not painful, or that God does not know what He is doing. The rebellious child may refuse to repent and make amends with men. He may feel ashamed of his Father and His ways. He may reject the household of God. He may despise others who are disciplined too, trying to discourage them. Despising the rod of God will only prolong the chastisement. Repent and thank God for the rod! Say with the Psalmist: “Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Your word… I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me” (Ps 119:67, 75).  

*To be discouraged it means to faint, to become weak, to abandon the faith, to let go of God during trials. Do not be discouraged like Jonah who wished to die rather than repent! The believer should not be discouraged when His Father rebukes him. Many believers choose to backslide especially during seasons of discipline. They stop praying or coming to church. Jesus said: “we should always pray and not faint” (Lk 18:1). Others lose their assurance of salvation. They now believe that they have lost their salvation. We are commanded not to become worse in times of chastisement but to repent and come back to God. Many listen to the devil’s lies who tells them that God’s chastisement will last forever. They lose the hope that one day, it will end. You need to appreciate God’s care and love for you, especially when you go astray. God is a good Father. He will use chastisement to bring you back to Him. Do not be discouraged! Pray for grace and strength, trusting God to perfect the good work He has started in you!  Encourage yourself in God! Learn to be grateful! Thank God for all things, for the sweet and for the bitter. Never doubt His love for you. Nothing shall separate you from the Love of God in Christ Jesus! Remember God! Remember Jesus! Go and stay at the foot of the Cross. The pain is not forever! Once God’s child repents of his sin against God, he will be free. “I have borne chastening; I will offend no more; Teach me what I do not see; If I have done iniquity, I will do no more” (Job 34:31, 32). The purpose for the discipline has been fulfilled! Praise God!

“He sent a man before them—Joseph—who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons. Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. The king sent and released him, the ruler of the people let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions, To bind his princes at his pleasure, And teach his elders wisdom” (Ps 105:17-22). Do you remember Joseph? God allowed him to pass thru much pain. He was betrayed by his brothers. He became a slave and a prisoner. This painful process was under the supervision of God. The pain lasted some years. But at last, the pain was over. God has purified and trained His man to stand for Him in a wicked world. Joseph became the Prime Minister of Egypt. In that great position, he was now an ambassador for Christ. He saved his family who became a nation. He gained enough wisdom so that he could lovingly chastise his brothers.  

Never forget, once you are a child of God, trust Him always, even when you do not understand His ways. God uses pain to bring out praise out of you. “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself: ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, Like an untrained bull; Restore me, and I will return, For You are the Lord my God. Surely, after my turning, I repented; And after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh; I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, Because I bore the reproach of my youth.’ Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still; Therefore, My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord” (Jer 31:18-20)

“I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Ps 30:1-5).


“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Lk 15:1-7)

The religious leaders opposed our Lord. They hated that Jesus was caring for the religious outcasts. They called the thieves, prostitutes, drunkards, and tax-collectors, ‘sinners.’ Because they were religious, they thought that they are not sinners in need of a Savior. Pride made them reject Christ. That is when our Lord spoke this parable of the lost and found sheep. His purpose was to say that all men are sinners, and all men need Jesus Christ, the only Savior and Lord. Jesus revealed His amazing grace and love of His sheep.

There was a man who had one hundred sheep. It means he was a wealthy man. Most wealthy men hire poor shepherds to take care of their sheep. But this man, took care of his own sheep by himself. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who knows each sheep by name and is ready to die for them (Jn 10:11, 14). One day, a sheep got missing. She left the fold and went into the wilderness. Sheep are born foolish. They get easily confused. No sheep can find its way back to the flock. If the shepherd does not go to look for her, she will die. This wealthy shepherd could have forgotten about one sheep. If it is just money, the loss is small. But the Good Shepherd cannot abandon a sheep, no matter how little or cheap the sheep is. He leaves the ninety-nine sheep in the care of a helper, and he goes into the wilderness to find his lost sheep. The shepherd knows the sheep is a grave danger. The wild animals can kill her; she can fall in a deep valley, or she can die of starvation. A lost sheep is a dead sheep. The Good Shepherd searches for the sheep until he finds her. Please observe the patience and love of the shepherd. He does not give us until he finds his sheep. At last, he finds the sheep, dirty in the bushes, lonely, thirsty, hungry, and shaking with fear. Immediately he becomes happy. His joy starts with locating the sheep, that is still alive. He then carries the sheep on his shoulders. An adult sheep weighs about 100 pounds. It is not easy to carry her. But she is too weak to walk. The shepherd takes the burden of the sheep and carries her back home. The reason why the Shepherd sacrifices himself to seek and find the lost sheep, is one, for his joy and secondly, for the encouragement of the other ninety-nine. The remaining sheep now know that the shepherd loves them enough to save them even when they go astray. From now on, they will have peace of mind and assurance of their safety. They will be careful to obey and stay in the fold. Once home, the shepherd celebrates his victory with family and friends. The sheep on his shoulders is his reward! Jesus said that His purpose of coming to earth was to save sinners. He said: “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk 19:10). Appreciate the Grace of God in your salvation! Worship the Lord!



During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled ‘The Gospel according to Jonah’ (2), The foolishness of Jonah! Her main text was taken from the Book of Jonah chapter 1.


The story of Jonah is more than children’s tale. It is more than an adventure about a great fish. It the revelation of God and His Grace towards men. It is the testimony of King Grace. Simply said, Grace means unmerited favor, undeserved Kindness for the sake of Christ! In the Book of Jonah, we shall find the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. The study of this Book from the Old Testament will help us see that the Bible is One. In the Old Testament the Gospel is revealed in symbols and shadows. In the New Testament, we see reality of the Gospel. There are many deep revelations here, about salvation and the call of God to ministry. All people can gain wisdom and strength from the study of the Book of Jonah, but in particular the backsliders. Praise the Lord!


Jonah was the son of Amittai. In Hebrew, the name “Amittai” means Truthful or Faithful. Jonah comes from a good Hebrew family. The Name “Jonah” means “Dove”. It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Jonah was a true Prophet of Jehovah God. God wanted to use him as an ambassador of peace. He prophesied during Jeroboam II, a wicked king of Israel. Jonah lived in a small town called Gath Hepher, located at the north border of ancient Israel. It was part of the inheritance of the Tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:13). (Today, the town does not exist. There are some ruins there, and a stone said to be Jonah’s tomb. The ruins are five Kilometers north of Nazareth). Jonah must have lived between 800 and 750BC. Assyria was Israel’s neighbor in the north. At that time, the Kingdom of Assyria was the greatest power in the world. Its capital, Nineveh, founded by Nimrod, was at its peak. (The Kingdom of Assyria was conquered by Babylon in 600 BC). Jonah’s ministry started immediately after the prophets Elijah and Elisha. It is possible that Jonah was a disciple of Elisha. 


The Book of Jonah is not a prophecy. It is the Prophet’s miraculous story, his testimony, and his relationship with Jehovah God. Jonah’s story reveals the way The God of all Grace deals with His people, even when they rebel against His commands. The greatest revelation in the Book of Jonah is that “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). In Jonah we discover the Gospel, the power of seeking Grace. It is not man looking for God but God seeking and finding the lost! “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai,,,” (Jonah 1:1). This is how the Book of Jonah starts. It is not Jonah’s word that matters. It is God’s Word that starts the story. God is always first! The Gospel is not man’s work but God’s. Grace always ignites the fire. But Jonah struggles with the Grace of God. He loves to experience grace for himself, but he does not what to extend that grace to others. The story of Jonah helps us to understand and appreciate the irresistible Grace of God in salvation and redemption. Throughout the story of Jonah, we see that God is all-powerful, kind, patient, and faithful. For not good reason, God loves Jonah from the beginning to the end! There is no other explanation for this love except the Grace of God! 

The Book of Jonah is unique in its way. Everything that you expect turns to be upside down. You expect a prophet to be wise, to listen and obey God’s Word. But Jonah does the opposite. He runs away from God. The distance between Joppa to Nineveh (where God sent him) is about 500 miles. The distance between Joppa to Tarshish (where he was running to) is about 2500 miles. Jonah chooses a longer, much more difficult path than God’s, just because he refuses to obey. This is a lesson for all: the rebellious suffer and punish themselves. He is angry with God. Jonah has a close encounter with two groups of pagans: the mariners and the Ninevites. You expect these people to be wicked, to reject God’s Word of repentance. But the Mariners were kind to Jonah, and they prayed for mercy to Jehovah, the God of Jonah. Jonah went to Nineveh and warned them of destruction. He did not show any mercy in his speech. He did not even call the name of Jehovah. He did not share with them the greatest revelation he received while in the belly of the fish that “Salvation is of the Lord (Jehovah)!” Jonah cried out and said: ““Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Jonah 3:4). The word ‘overthrow’ means to be defeated, to be removed from power by force. This message was so simple. Jonah gave them ‘some crumbs’ of preaching. It is like he did not want to preach well. But even with that simple sermon, surprisingly, all the people of Nineveh, from king to the poorest person, they all repented at his preaching. “The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed, a greater than Jonah is here” (Mt 12:41). The lesson here is this: if you repent, God will use your testimony to convict others of the sin of unbelief!

The Book of Jonah is a mirror. We look at it and see the worse part of ourselves. Like Jonah, we are rebellious, stubborn, selfish, proud, hateful, uncaring, and foolish people. The purpose of the Book is for us to search our hearts, repent of our sins and be grateful to God for His Grace!

Jonah was a true prophet who was backsliding. He was running away from God. But none can hide from God. He convinced himself that God will not find him in the place where he will hide. He also thought that even if God finds him, he will be too far from his place of ministry. How foolish! Lessons: For as long as you think that you can run away and hide from God, you are a fool! For as long as you think that you are stronger or wiser than God, you are a fool! Please think of it!


Jonah was a true prophet. He was supposed to be wise, but in his rebellion, he became a fool. Jonah believed that God exists. But he doubted God’s Omnipresence, Power, Grace, Wisdom, and His Love for him. He deceived himself thinking that by running away from God he will be free. But to gain his ‘freedom’, he lost so much more. A backslider always loses more than he gains. In his rebellion, Jonah lost great benefits given to all believers. Jonah lost the voice of God. Once Jonah rejected God’s Word, God ‘spoke’ to him thru His works. God sent the storm to call Jonah back. If you refuse to listen to God’s Word, you will listen to His chastisement. Jonah lost his love for God and compassion for men. He did not care about the mariners who were suffering because of him. He did not care if all the Ninevites will go to hell. Jonah lost his desire to have fellowship with God and to pray. The pagan mariners were praying to their gods, but Jonah was sleeping. The captain had to force him to pray. Jonah lost his testimony as a believer and a servant of God. Nobody in the ship respected him for his words. He said that he fears God but by his actions, he denied his confession. He became a hypocrite. Jonah lost his desire to live and the joy of his salvation. He tells the mariners to throw him in the raging sea. He wanted to commit suicide, but he was afraid. He wanted to implicate the mariners. Several times Jonah says that it is better for him to die than to live and serve God. Jonah’s rebellion affected many people. In his rebellion, Jonah became a fool. He discovered that you may run from God, but you cannot hide from God. “You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail” (PV 19:21).     


“The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call on the Lord? There they are in great fear, For God is with the generation of the righteous. You shame the counsel of the poor, But the Lord is his refuge. Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord brings back the captivity of His people, Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad” (Psalm 14)

Atheism is defined as lack of faith in God or any deity. It is said that there are more than 500 million atheists in the world. Russia and China contribute greatly to this number. 76% of all atheists live in Asia followed by Europe. Sub-Sahara Africa and South- America have the lowest numbers of atheists. Only 2% of Nigerians say that they are atheists.   

*A fool is an unbeliever or a rebellious doubter. If he is saved, he is a man of little faith.  He rejects God’s Word and denies the doctrine of God.

Psalm 14 is written by King David. In it, we find the Biblical definition of a fool. “The fool says in his heart: There is no God”. A fool is an unbeliever. The most important knowledge we have is the knowledge of God. The most important relationship with have is our relationship with God. The greatest gift we receive is the gift of salvation, thru Jesus Christ, our Lord. A fool is one who rejects God and His Grace. He rejects the best and loves the worst. Fools cheats themselves! That is a fool!

For a fool to say that God does not exist, he has refused to study the Person of God and His Word. He jumps to his conclusions based on insufficient evidence. The fool ignores the basic evidence that God is alive: his conscience, the natural world, the history of man, and the survival of the church. God created man with a conscience, to know what is good and what is bad. The fool hates the warning and the restrain of his conscience, and the God who put it there. The fool ignores the beauty of creation because it reminds him of God. The fool ignores the evidence of history because God oversees history. Look at the great human achievements. Hospitals, schools, good governments, all these came from the ideas and labor of godly people.  Look at the Jews! They are not better than other nations. But God chose them to reveal Himself to them and thru them to other nations. The survival of Israel as a nation cannot be explained without acknowledging that God is with them. Look at the Church! When our Lord died, He left behind few disciples, most of them uneducated and afraid. Jesus promised that He will send the Holy Spirit, the Power from on high. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured down according to the promise of Jesus. The few disciples stood and boldly preached the Gospel. The Word of God in their hearts and mouths became stronger and stronger. The disciples multiplied. Many rulers tried to destroy the church but failed to do so. There is no other explanation than the fact that God sustains it.

*A fool is lacks knowledge, and wisdom. The Bible reveals foolishness as sin to be confessed and repented of. Foolishness relates to unbelief, doubt, and lack of the fear of God. We are born sinners and fools. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him” (PV 22:15). Our Lord describes the works of the flesh common to all men. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness (malice), deceit (betrayal), lewdness (sensuality), an evil eye (envy), blasphemy (slander, abusive language), pride, foolishness (reckless). All these evil things come from within and defile a man (make him unclean, unfit to worship God)” (Mk 7:21-23). It is only a child of God that can be free from the works of the flesh. This freedom comes thru the process of sanctification, done by the Holy Spirit and thru the Word of God.

*Fools do not think clearly. They are always superficial in their thinking. They do not understand spiritual things. One of the greatest gifts God has given to man is the mind. But like animals, fools are led by their emotions and basic instincts, and not their reasoning. They are not led by the Holy Spirit. In Hebrew, the word ‘fool’ is Nabal. The word means wilderness, wastefulness. The fool has dried all love for God and all wisdom for life in his brain. Like Nabal, Abigail’s husband, all fools are stingy, wicked, and rude (1 Samuel 25). Nabal was blind to the grace of God in David. But Abigail saw it and honored it. Fools ‘do not good’. Foolishness is madness. If the fool can kill God to prove himself right, he will do it.

*All fools trust their ‘hearts’ and not God. A fool makes decisions in his heart, without God. He is led by his lustful desires, fleshly impulses. He gives too much importance to his heart. By his imagination he has created in his heart a world where he is the king and the god of his domain. He approves of what he likes, and he rejects what he hates. He does not think of the consequences of his actions. He lives for the moment. In his world, God has no place. It does not matter how educated a man is. There are illiterate fools and highly educated fools. One thing is common with them all: they live their lives led by their fleshly desire. The more money they have, the greater fools they become. You see a man who has a PHD, but his personal life is a failure. He drinks, watches pornography, or he commits adultery. There are also religious fools who say with their mouths that God exists. But in their actions, they deny the God they confess. The unbeliever encourages himself in his sin, removing God from His position as the Judge of all men. The fool deceived himself saying that after death, there is no God and no judgment! 

*All fools have ‘gone aside’. They are all walking against the flow of the Holy Spirit. God looks from heaven to see if there is any good and wise man on earth. God does not look for wealthy or educated men. He is looking for any man ‘who seeks God, who tries to understand God’. God identifies and encourages any man who seeks God. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6). But ‘they have all gone aside’. They have left the right path and have gone astray. Anyone who follows them will end up like them, into darkness and destruction. All fools are rebellious men. That is why they are dangerous. Our Lord cursed the wicked religious leaders who rejected Him. He called them ‘hypocrites, blind guides, and fools’ (Mt 23:15:22). This curse establishes the fact that religious foolishness is a signpost to hell.  

*All fools are “corrupt” and become worse with time. A fool is actively corrupt in his deeds and unwilling to repent of his wicked deeds. They do not know to do good things.  In Hebrew, the word ‘corrupt’ means a waste, evil, something that God hates and will destroy. The fool has made himself corrupt. Corruption means using your position of authority to gain advantage or money from the people you lead. Because fools do not fear God, they are bullies, oppressors, greedy and selfish leaders. They are also cowards. Like the foolish Assyrian Sennacherib said to the people of God: “What makes you think your God can rescue you from me?” (2 Chr 32:14). But Jehovah rescued them by sending an angel who killed the whole army of Assyria. The fools take pleasure in doing wicked deeds. They are proud that they do not pray. Tyrants like Nabal, Haman, and Herod, are happy to persecute and oppress the true believers. The reason why they hate the believers is that somehow, they see the light of God in them and that proves them wrong in their unbelief.

*All fools become worse with time. Without the Grace of God foolishness is an incurable disease. Fools are never truly happy. They shall be disappointed, disgraced, and defeated by God! “Oh, that salvation would come out of Zion!” This has been the cry of all people who need to endure oppression from foolish leaders. Once God ‘comes down’ and miraculously delivers them from their oppressors, that is their vindication. It is more than enough proof that God exists, and that God is with them. Fools never have the last say! God does!

A fool is selfish. He isolates himself, going away from wise people. A fool is angry at the wisdom of the wise. He refuses to learn from them. “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart” (PV 18:1, 2). Foolishness is not accidental. The fool refuses to fear God and hates instruction. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Pv 1:7). “If a wise man has a controversy with a foolish and arrogant man, The foolish man [ignores logic and fairness and] only rages or laughs, and there is no peace (rest, agreement)” (PV 29:9; AMP). Sometimes, the only way to detect a fool is during a ‘controversy’ with him. In the court, the foolish man ignores all wisdom. He goes from one passionate extreme to another. He either gets angry or he tries to be funny. He is not balanced in his speech and behavior. At the end, with all that ‘drama’, there is no peace, no resolution. The Judge cannot make a wise decision to end the problem. The controversy, the difficulty remains unsolved. The fool is unrepentant. He has learned nothing from that controversy. The fool remains a fool. “Even though you pound a [hardened, arrogant] fool [who rejects wisdom] in a mortar with a pestle like grain, Yet his foolishness will not leave him” (PV 27:22; AMP). A fool is stubborn. He does not respond to any means, either teaching or discipline. His foolishness has become a second nature to him. Foolishness is addictive like drugs. “As dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly” (PV 26:11).


“Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mt 7:24-29)

Our Lord ends His Sermon on the Mount with this parable: there are two men, one wise and one foolish. Each one builds his own house. From the outside, both houses look strong and beautiful. They each enjoy their lives with their families. One day, the weather changes. Rain, floods, and wind blew and beat each house. Despite these troubles, the wise man’s house stands strong. The foolish man’s house collapses with a great fall.  What are the lessons for us?

The wise man is the true Christian. He has a good life on earth, and he prepares for heaven. He builds his house with a deep foundation, anchored on a Rock, which is Christ. That is why when the trials of life come, he is not shaken. The foolish man is the false Christian. He too wants to live a good life with his family, just like his neighbor, the Christian. But he builds his house directly on the sand, without digging for a foundation. When the Christian was digging the foundation of his house, he was laughing at him. He considers the foundation as a waste of time, effort, and money. The foolish man thinks himself wiser than the true believer. Outwardly, he behaves like the Christian. He too goes to church with his family. He too is involved in church activities. He reads the Bible, and he prays. But he never goes deep spiritually. He likes to listen to sermons about the love of God. But he hates sermons about the wrath, the justice of the holiness of God. He hates to humble himself; he hates repentance. His Christianity is more like cosmetic surgery. Behind a spiritual façade he is still proud and sensual. The way he carries himself shows that his heart has not been changed. He remains greedy, manipulative, and rude. The false believer is a foolish man.

The Lord is attracting our attention to the danger of religious self-deception. The false Christian is selfish. The reason why he comes to church is because he has heard about God. He knows that God is good and generous. He knows that God blesses people. He wants to be among those whom God blesses. But he is not truly interested to know God as a person. He doesn’t desire an intimate fellowship with God. What he wants is God’s gifts and blessings, not His fellowship. Digging the foundation for a house is a symbol of hard spiritual labor in the dark. The fake Christian refuses to pay the price for a deeper knowledge of God and His Word. He is a hearer and not a doer of the Word. He does not want to be like Jesus! He just wants to enjoy his life with his family, and he has found that the church is the best environment for that. How sad… He may deceive people, but he cannot deceive God who knows the hearts of men. Eventually, all his efforts to impress men with his Christianity suddenly fails. He does not have hidden resources of faith and strength. The fall of his religion is sudden, and it is complete. 

The rain represents the general trials of life: sickness, and losses and disappointments. The floods are a symbol of the world in general. The world is that system that runs without God in the center. The world tempts the Christians thru seduction or persecution. Sometimes, the attacks are stronger, like the floods after the rain. The wind represents the attacks of the devil and his demons. All men pass thru different trials in life. But one thing is sure: All men must face death. The wise man lives well, and he is prepared to die well. The foolish man lives well but he is not ready to die, to meet God and to face the judgment. And that is the greatest tragedy of all! May you take the warning! Examine your foundation! For as long as you breathe there is hope! Come to Jesus! Repent of foolishness! Be wise! Be like Jesus! Worship the Lord!  

The Lord warns us to the possibility of empty religion, of foolishness, or deceiving ourselves! Because fools are dangerous let us review some of their attributes: a fool believes he is right all the time, that is why he does not ask for help. He is blind to his foolishness. He behaves confidently. He loves to talk. A fool can be a good ‘lawyer’. He gossips and he flatters others. He hates to listen, and to be corrected. He hates responsibility, accountability, and instruction. He is a bad student. He repeats the same mistakes, frustrating his teacher. A fool is wicked and is not a good friend. If you are convicted of the sin of foolishness, what will you do? Go to the Cross. Repent! Ask God for forgiveness. Be led by the Holy Spirit! Because as a fool you deceived yourself, you loved talking and hated listening, now, do the opposite! “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath… be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:19; 22)

Once you discover that your ‘friend’ is a fool, what do you do?  Because foolishness is like a virus, separate yourself from him immediately. Stop talking to him. He does not listen to you. If it is in your power to do so, remove all responsibilities from him, isolate or demote him. In the last days there will be many dangerous and foolish people… “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!… Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith… but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was” (2 Tim 3:1-9)

The reason we study this subject is not just theoretical. Fools hate repentance. “It is an abomination to fools to depart from evil” (PV 13:19).   Foolishness is dangerous. Making friends with foolish people will damage your spirit. “The companion of fools will be destroyed” (PV 13:20).

The fool takes too much risk with his future. He says that there is no God. He forgets that one day he must die. He cannot control what he will see after death. He does not think of the possibility that he may meet the God he is rejecting now. The foul is gambling with his soul, with his eternal destiny. Look at the believers! The truth is that all Christians live better lives than the unbelievers. Their lives are cleaner, happier, and more productive. Oh, fool! Come to your senses and come to God before it is too late! God is calling you! Come home! Amen!

The Resurrected Christ rebuked His disciples saying: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Lk 24:25-27). Christ said that doubt and sluggish faith are foolishness. He preached to them the Gospel as found in the Prophets, including Jonah. How much I could have wanted to listen to our Lord, the Gospel according to Jonah!   


I was born in Romania. I came to Nigeria in March 1980. I was happily married to Dr. Richmond Leigh. Both of us were medical doctors. We have three children. When I came to Nigeria, I was an atheist. I told everyone that ‘I do not believe that God exists’. I had a crisis conversion in March 1986. I challenged God that if He exists, then in one month, He should ‘come down and manifest Himself to me’. That was my very first ‘prayer’. From the moment I said those words looking to the sky, I lost all my peace of mind. I entered into a cloud of deep depression. I felt like a criminal that has no hope. I saw myself as a sinner and the enemy of God. I saw death as the only ‘solution’ to my anxieties. On the 12th of April 1986, the Holy Spirit suddenly entered my dying soul. Instantly, I received the will to live, power, peace, and joy. I also received the faith that I am now born-again, a child of God. I started to read the Bible like it was bread to eat and water to drink. As you see, I was the original fool of the Bible. Once I got saved, Christ became my wisdom and my righteousness. To God be all the glory! Worship the Lord!   



During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled ‘The Gospel according to Jonah’ (1). Her main text was taken from the Book of Jonah chapters 1:1-17 and 4:1-4.


The story of Jonah is more than children’s tale. It is more than an adventure about a great fish. It the revelation of God and His Grace towards men. It is the testimony of King Grace. Simply said, Grace means unmerited favor, undeserved Kindness for the sake of Christ! In the Book of Jonah, we shall find the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. The study of this Book from the Old Testament will help us see that the Bible is One. In the Old Testament the Gospel is revealed in symbols and shadows. In the New Testament, we see reality of the Gospel. There are many deep revelations here, about salvation and the call of God to ministry. All people can gain wisdom and strength from the study of the Book of Jonah, but in particular the backsliders. Praise the Lord!

The Book of Jonah is one of the most criticized Books in the Bible. Over the years, many people said that the story of Jonah is not true. These critics do not believe in miracles. They are not willing to believe that a great fish (or a whale) had swallowed Jonah and he survived in its stomach for three days. As for me, I totally believe the Word of God! There are two main reasons why I believe Jonah’s testimony to be true. The first reason is because it is in the Bible. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). We must believe ‘all Scripture’ to be God’s Word. We cannot choose some parts and ignore others. The second reason is the fact that our Lord Himself spoke about the Jonah. He said that Jonah’s story is a symbol of His own death and resurrection. “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed, a greater than Jonah is here” (Mt 12:38-41). The sign of Jonah is the death and the resurrection of Jesus. For these two reasons, I believe that Jonah’s story is true.


In Hebrew, the name “Jonah” means “Dove”. It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Jonah was a true Prophet of Jehovah God. God wanted to use him as an ambassador of peace. He prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II, the King of Israel. “In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, became king in Samaria, and reigned forty-one years. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. He (Jeroboam II) restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He had spoken through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gath Hepher. For the Lord saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter; and whether bond or free, there was no helper for Israel. And the Lord did not say that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven; but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash” (2 Kg 14:23-27). King Jeroboam II was a wicked king. But God had compassion on the people of Israel. The Prophet Jonah prophesied that King Jeroboam II will restore some of the territories that belong to Israel and that the Assyrians have conquered. King Solomon conquered the area called Hamath and took it from the Assyrians (2 Chr 8:3). It is not 150 years since the death of Solomon. The Assyrians have taken the city Hamath back from Israel. Jeroboam II re-conquered them according to Jonah’s prophesy. This victory was to the glory of God and for the honor of Prophet Jonah.  

Jonah lived in a small town called Gath Hepher, located at the north border of ancient Israel. It was part of the inheritance of the Tribe of Zebulun (Joshua 19:13). (Today, the town does not exist. There are some ruins there, and a stone said to be Jonah’s tomb. The ruins are five Kilometers north of Nazareth). Jonah must have lived between 800 and 750BC. Assyria was Israel’s neighbor in the north. At that time, the Kingdom of Assyria was the greatest power in the world. Its capital, Nineveh, founded by Nimrod, was at its peak. The Kingdom of Assyria was conquered by Babylon in 600 BC.  Jonah’s ministry started immediately after the prophets Elijah and Elisha. It is possible that Jonah was a disciple of Elisha. Jonah lives in the northern kingdom. It is now 150 years since the death of King Solomon. The Kingdom was divided. The ten northern tribes are now called Israel. Their capital is Samaria. The people rejected God’s commands and worshipped idols. All their kings were wicked. Jonah lives during the time of King Jeroboam II, one of the most wicked kings. God sent His servants, the prophets, to speak to the people of Israel. Basically, the prophets had two roles: to warn the people to repent and to show them the mercy of God. Elijah and Elisha did that in the past. Now Jonah is to do the same. He prophesies that King Jeroboam II will witness the grace of God and have victory against the enemies. He restored part of the land Israel lost. Jonah knew how to warn the wicked and how God shows mercy. But now, he has to learn who this God is, in a personal way. It is not enough to know the doctrine. You must apply it! The first thing we see is that Jonah struggles with the Grace of God. Jonah knows that God is merciful and kind. That is how Israel survived all the attacks against it. Jonah knows that himself was saved by grace alone, and not by his works. But when God wants to show same grace to the wicked Assyrians, Jonah rejects God’s word. To him, grace is given only to him and his people, not to their enemies. How little Jonah knows about King Grace!


The Book of Jonah is not a prophecy. It is the Prophet’s miraculous story, his testimony, and his relationship with Jehovah God. Jonah’s story reveals the way The God of all Grace deals with His people, even when they rebel against His commands. The greatest revelation in the Book of Jonah is that “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). This is the Gospel of justification by faith, thru grace, and not by works. When God saves His child, He saves him to the uttermost. King Grace is in charge of salvation, from the beginning to the end. The story of Jonah helps us to understand and appreciate the irresistible Grace of God in salvation and redemption. We see that God is all-powerful, kind, patient, and faithful. Jonah is called ‘the worst missionary’. God commanded him to go on a missionary journey to Nineveh, to warn its citizens to repent so that they will not be destroyed. Nineveh was the greatest city at that time with a population of about 600,000. But Jonah runs away from God’s call. He chooses to be thrown into the sea and die than to bless the Assyrians. Jonah hates that God wants to show mercy to their enemies. It is possible that one of the reasons why God sends Jonah to the Assyrians is to rebuke and discipline His people. God has sent many prophets to Israel, but they rejected all of them. God now wants to show His people that the Assyrians will repent at the preaching of only one ‘little’ prophet.  God commands Jonah using three words: “Arise, go, and cry out!” For God to say ‘arise’ it means that Jonah was idle or maybe jobless. ‘Jobless’ prophet Jonah obeys God at the beginning. He ‘rises’ from his comfort zone but runs in the opposite direction.


*The first possible reason why Jonah refused to obey is because of his ignorance of God, His Grace and His ways. God’s command sounded ‘strange’ to Jonah. He could not imagine why Jehovah God will show mercy to their enemies. The truth is that in the Old Testament, Jehovah God manifested His mercy and Grace mostly to Israel. Generally, God did not send missionaries to the Gentile nations, to preach grace to them. Israel witnessed to other nations but not by going to them. The Gentiles who desired to know the God of Israel came to Jerusalem to see the Temple and God in action. For example, the Queen of Sheba came from far Ethiopia to have an encounter with the God of Solomon (1 Kings 10). People like Joseph, Daniel, Queen Esther or Mordecai, were ambassadors for Jehovah. They witnessed to the grace of God in foreign lands, not because God sent them as missionaries, but because they had to live there as strangers. It is true that in the Old Testament, God revealed Himself as the God of all nations, but generally, His Word was limited to Israel. God said to Abraham that “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” thru Him (Gen 12:3). But Israel struggled constantly when God blessed other nations the way He blessed them. It is only after the Pentecost, after the Holy Spirit came, that men and women went as missionaries, going to the Gentiles to preach the Gospel to them. “Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen” (Mt 28:18-20). Our Lord also said: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Practical application: God’s Word and His Ways are extremely different than ours. As children of God, we must trust and obey God’s Word even when we do not understand it. It is better to hold on and pray for a greater understanding and for the grace to obey than to choose backsliding. Faith is stronger than understanding. We walk by faith and not by sight or by our wisdom. Disobedience has terrible consequences. Harden not your heart when God commands you to do something for “obedience is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam 15:22).   

*The second possible reason why Jonah disobeyed God’s word is hatred of people and of God who created them. Jonah hated the Assyrians and he wanted them dead. He did not want them to be saved. What could be his excuse? The truth is that Assyria was one of the most brutal kingdoms of ancient time. They were extremely violent and wicked. They were like ISIS, a terrorist organization. For example, when they punished a traitor, they will bury the man in the hot sand of the desert up to his neck. They will pierce his tongue with a thorn and leave the man there to die. The Assyrian army moved slowly because the soldiers carried their families with them. When they conquer a city, they will kill all the men and the children. The women they will keep as slaves or wives. When a city was attacked, the people prefer the commit suicide than to fall into the hands of the Assyrians. Jonah’s native town Gath-Hepher, was at the border with Assyria. It is possible that Jonah experienced firsthand the cruelty of his wicked neighbors. That is why when God told him to go on a missionary journey to the Assyrians he refused and ran away. God sent him with a message of judgment. But Jonah feared that the Assyrians may repent, and God will show them mercy. Jonah hated them too much to give them any chance to live. He preferred to be punished by God and even die than to show grace to these wicked people. Jonah prophesied victory to Jeroboam II, a wicked king in Israel, because God told him so. God had compassion upon the people of Israel. That is why He prospered the wicked king. Jonah could accept that because Jeroboam II was an Israelite. But Jonah was not ready to show mercy to the Assyrians, an ‘uncircumcised nation’ hated by Israel.

Practical application: Hatred or people means hatred of God who created them! Hatred is a work of the flesh (Gal 5:20). Pray for the grace to be able, for Christ’ sake, to forgive and love your enemies!


“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up” (Jonah 1:1-4)

The word of the Lord came to Jonah. In the Old Testament, God speaks expressly to His prophets and expects instant and total obedience. In the New Testament, God speaks thru His Word and by the Holy Spirit. For the child of God, obedience brings blessings and disobedience invites discipline. God commanded Jonah: ‘Arise, go…’. Jonah heard the word. He decided to obey partially. He arose and went… but to the opposite direction. After the initial ‘rising’ Jonah goes lower and lower. “Jonah went down to Joppa… and down into the belly of the ship”.


He bought a ticket to a ship that was going to Tarshish, a city in the south of Spain. Jonah did not care where he is running to. He had no business in Tarshish. All he wanted was to be far from God. Two times in one sentence we are told that Jonah flees ‘from the presence of the Lord’. In Hebrew, the word ‘presence’ is also translated ‘the Face’ of God. Jonah did not want to see God’s face anymore. One of the greatest blessings for the people of Israel was that God’s face will shine on them. “The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance (face) upon you and give you peace” (Nu 6:25. 26). Jonah knew that the face of God brings life out of death, light in darkness, victory in war and favor in any situation. “For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; But it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, Because You favored them” (Ps 44:3). In other words, when King Grace looks at you, He blesses you! Jonah was ready to die, to suffer, to forsake all God’s blessings and His Grace, just because of a rebellious proud spirit. Selah! Backsliding is always a tragedy! A child of God does not lose his salvation, but he loses his peace, joy, fellowship with God, opportunities for service and many rewards. “The way of the unfaithful is hard” (PV 13:15). Jonah ran away from God. Many Christians get busy with secular work so that when God calls, they have an excuse that they do not have time. Rebellion is always evil. It is suicidal. There is no gain in it. Running from God never succeeds. It is like running from light. You will only end in darkness.  

Practical application: No man can hide from God. Jonah was running from the “God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (Jonah 1:9). Where can he run to? It is foolishness to run from the presence of God. This is because God is omnipresent. The Psalmist says: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You” (Ps 139:7-12). Rejoice that you serve the Omnipresent God!


“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt 5:43-48)

Let us study the general definitions of love and hate.

Love is an unselfish, warm, deep, strong, and tender emotion. Love always manifests in a relationship. Love is ready to sacrifice for the benefit of another. God is Love because God is a Trinity. God cannot love itself. Love must love another. Love is the eternal champion for ‘love never fails’ (1 Cor 13:8). Hatred is the opposite of love. It is a negative emotion, an extremely strong feeling of dislike, mixed with anger, bitterness, envy, and malice. It is a spiritual poison, wicked, ugly, destroying the soul and all relationships. Hatred leads to crime. It comes from feeling as a victim when another has hurt you and you continue to blame that one. Hatred is like holding a live coal in your hand, so that you throw it to your enemy. But it burns you before you can attack another.          

This command of our Lord is the climax of behavior for the Christian. As Jonah struggled to love the Assyrians, so many Christians struggle to love the people who mistreat them. We need the Holy Spirit to be able to obey this command. We should desire to pay the price to be ‘perfect’ as our Father in heaven is perfect. In the Sermon of the Mount, our Lord exposes the teachings of the Pharisees as total error. He contrasts these false teachings with the truth. He says many times: “You have heard that it was said… But I say to you…”. The Pharisees thought the people that this is God’s law: “‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy”. The truth is that nowhere in the Old Testament this sentence appears. This is a law the Pharisees made by themselves. The Jews considered themselves as God’s people. Any other person or nation, they considered to be cursed. The Jews called the Gentiles ‘dogs’ and thought of them as more inferior human beings than them. Over the years, this proud attitude brought a lot of hatred and discrimination against the Jews. When the Jews thought of a ‘neighbor’ they only thought about themselves. They never thought of Gentiles as neighbors to be loved, but as enemies to be hated. Jonah never thought that the Ninevites are his neighbors to be helped or loved. That is why he refused to extend grace to them. Jonah wanted that all Assyrians should go to hell. It is the same attitude that Jesus exposes here among the teachings of the Pharisees.

Why did the Pharisees commanded the Jewish people ‘to hate their enemies’? Some passages in the Old Testament, if wrongly understood, may lead people to think that God loves some people and hates others. For example: God commanded the Jews that when they enter the Promised Land, they should kill all the pagan inhabitants and take over their land. God told the Jews not to make friends with the Moabites. God said that if a man kills another, the victim’s family can pursue and kill the criminal, except he hides in one of the cities of refuge. In the Book of Psalms, we read of curses spoken upon wicked people. These are called ‘Imprecatory’ psalms. Imprecation means curses! For example: “Let their table become a snare before them, And their well-being a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see; And make their loins shake continually. Pour out Your indignation upon them, And let Your wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their dwelling place be desolate; Let no one live in their tents. For they persecute the ones You have struck and talk of the grief of those You have wounded. Add iniquity to their iniquity and let them not come into Your righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous” (Ps 69:22-28). These imprecatory psalms are written for people who have been oppressed and violated. It is their cry for justice. If we like it or not, this is God’s Word. In the New Testament our Lord curses some cities, the unfruitful fig tree, and the Pharisees. But at the same time, our Lord said we should love our enemies.

How do we reconcile all these scriptures? The only way for us to understand these apparently opposing scriptures is to see God in His position as Sovereign, the Creator of all things and the Judge of all men. God is holy and just. It is hard to see mercy in God’s Judgments, but God is also Love. God the Father sent His Son to die for some people, called the elect. Only God knows who these people are. The Gospel is preached to all. Believing in Christ means life. Rejecting Christ means condemnation and death. God has the right to bless and to curse. He has the right to condemn all unbelievers. This is God’s right! The problem is that the proud Pharisees put themselves in God’s place. They thought that all Jews are saved by God and all Gentiles will go to hell. They distorted God’s law. That is why our Lord cursed them and condemned their doctrines.


In the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord introduces the principle of Agape Love. He commands us that we should love not only our ‘neighbors’ but even our enemies. We are to hate sin and the devil, and we are commanded to love all men. This is the correct doctrine. It is not an easy doctrine to apply practically in our daily lives. But we must do it. What are some principles of Christians behavior?

*The way we behave towards others should not be a reaction to what these people say or do to us. God is Love and He is kind towards all people. He gives sunshine, rain, and the blessings of life to all, the good and the bad. It is not only the business of the godly that prospers. The business of the wicked prospers too. The people who reject Christ also marry and have beautiful children. This general kindness towards all men is called ‘The Common Grace’. You should not be jealous when the wicked prosper. It is still a manifestation of the general grace of God. But these natural blessings are not a proof that the man is going to heaven. The amazing effectual special Grace of God must call a man to become saved.  King Grace works in some people’s hearts, convict them of sin, brings them to repentance and to salvation. They become children of God and citizens of heaven. This saving grace does not work on all men. Men hate this doctrine. They refuse to believe that God saves some people and the others, He allows them to go to hell. Please remember that Grace is the unmerited favor of God! It is God’s choice and sovereign will to save some. May we fear God! May we worship God!

*The way we behave towards others is to be like Jesus! We want to be like our Master! We forgive and love others by choice, because our Lord did that! As a born-again believer you are a new creation! You see everything differently, thru the lenses of King Grace. When people insult you, you do not react with another insult. You show self-control and wisdom. You see that your ‘enemy’ is an ignorant tool of the devil. You pity him, forgive him, and pray for him to be saved. The reason a Christian does that it is because of the Holy Spirit in him, the Spirit of love, wisdom, strength, peace, and joy. Too many people live their lives in bondage to others. They react to what others say or do to them. Is it not true that each time you thought wicked things in your heart was in connection with a person? As Christians we must live in a higher realm. It is called the realm of Agape Love. The greatest example of Agape Love towards enemies was manifested on the Cross. Our Lord prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Mt 23:24). Apostle Paul said: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink…” (Rom 12:17-21). When Stephen was dying, he prayed for them who stoned him. He “knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Ac 7:60).

How can we practice such love? The only way you can love your enemies is to have the mind of Christ. You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. You need to be dead to all self-interest. For as long as ‘self’ is still active, you will fight back defending your reputation or your ideas. It is only by the Cross that you are able to become dead to self. Some people say that you should love your enemies so that they become your friends. That is not what Jesus teaches. If your enemies become friends or not, that is not your problem.

What then is the purpose for such a sacrificial love? It is to display the Grace and Love of the God who saved you to others. You are an ambassador of Christ. That is a great responsibility. Your behavior gives honor or dis-honors your King. This is how the Kingdom of God spreads. This is how revival comes. By living and loving like Jesus; by laying down our lives for the sake of the glory of God! May we be found to be holy and noble vessels for the Master’s use! Worship the Lord!                              


“The Lord had accepted Job. And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed, the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the Lord had brought upon him. Each one gave him a piece of silver and each a ring of gold. Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:9-12)

Immediately Job prayed for his friends who misunderstood and condemned him, who behaved as they were his enemies, God blessed Job again, with spiritual and material blessings. By the Grace of God, Job was able to change Pain into Prayer. God accepted that sacrifice and prospered him twice as much as he had lost! We must forgive the people who have hurt us in the past. We must pray that God blesses them. Our prayer is the ‘signal’ accepted and rewarded in heaven. God will restore all that the ‘canker-worm’ has eaten! There shall be supernatural prosperity manifested in our lives! Glory to God! Worship the Lord!  


“The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen…” (Rom 16:20, 24)

God the Father is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible. He is wonderful! Look at this pink flower in my garden. Red and white are basic colors. Pink is a combination of the two. Pink is a re-creation of colors, a luxury of love just to bless your heart. This humble flower lives only one day. By tomorrow, she is dry. But for as long as it is today, she is happy and grateful to fulfill the purpose for which God has created her! There is no inferiority complex or fear in this bloom. Can you see that?

God encourages me thru His creation. I remove my attention from what men can do and I gaze at only God can do. All the science of men cannot produce a pink flower like this out of nothing. Only God can! With all the economic and social problems around, the pink of this flower still remains pink. It’s color does not fade or become grey for lack of ‘fuel’.

Dear children, God speaks! May you listen! In all things today, remember God, remember Jesus, your Lord. He who woke up from ‘sleep’ and quenched the deadly storm, saying, “Peace, be still!” is still the same, yesterday, today and forever! Worship the Lord!



Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled Revival – The Living water (10) Worship in spirit and truth! Worthy is the Lamb! Her main text was taken from the Book of John chapter 4 and the book of revelation chapter 5. “Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (Jn 4:21-26)

We are still studying the wonderful revelation of the Living Water offered by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a symbol of eternal life, salvation, spiritual maturity, being filled with the Spirit, true worship, and revival. The simplest definition of revival is a repeat of the Book of Acts! The Living Water is offered by the Lord to the Woman at the well. The Samaritan woman is a sinner. She is also religious. She is seeking for truth, for meaning in her life. Our Lord directs the conversation to the point of the revelation of Himself. Please notice how He gently ‘increases and purifies’ the vision of salvation in her heart. Initially she sees him as a man, a needy man, a stranger, and a Jew. Then she sees him as a Prophet. Lastly, she sees Him as Christ, her Savior, and her Lord! He tells her about the true worship and then, He reveals Himself to her. “I who speak to you am He” (Jn 4:26). This is the exact moment when saving faith is born in her heart. She instantly believes that Christ is the Messiah. This is the moment when King Grace saves her soul! This is when, for the first time in her life, she drank the Living Water! From this moment in time, she is never the same person again! Halleluiah! As we read these words, we sense the power and the holiness of that moment. There is a wonderful anointing on this encounter. We feel it too as we read the story. Heaven rejoices when a sinner is saved. Our Lord said this: “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Lk 15:7). We join the hosts of heaven and cry: “Worthy is the Lamb!” (Rev 5:12). Glory to God!

WORTHY IS THE LAMB! (Revelation 5)

The Book of Revelation is unique. It is the last Book of the Bible. It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev 1:1). This Book shows us that Christ is God. He is at the center of the universe where He truly belongs. Apostle John wrote it while in prison on the Isle of Patmos. The Resurrected Christ invited him up, to come and see heavenly things.  “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this” (Rev 4:1). No man can see heaven without the invitation of Jesus who died for him. The chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation are some of the most important in the Bible. The word that appears most frequently is the word ‘throne’. The word ‘throne’ appears 62X in the New Testament out of which, 47X is in the Book of Revelation.  Everything that happens in heaven revolves around the throne of God, that is the center of worship in the universe.


In chapter 5, John sees God seated on the throne. He has a scroll in His right hand. There were writings on it, inside and outside. It was closed, sealed with seven seals. This scroll represents the Title deed by which God the Father has made God the Son the owner and controller of the Universe. “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Ps 2:7-9). In this scroll it is the history of creation and the plan of salvation. The names of all who are saved, all who are in the Lamb’s Book of life, are written there. Not only their names, but their destiny, their blessings, and future rewards. John weeps because none was worthy to open the seals and to read the scroll. For a moment, John experiences the conviction, and horror of sin. No sinner can open that scroll. Not even himself, though he is in heaven. For a moment, John experiences a world without redemption, without a Savior, without Christ. He weeps ‘much’. Sin is the tragedy of mankind. Sin must be punished by death and destruction. Even in heaven, with all the worship going on, John feels the deep despair of sin. That is why he weeps hopelessly.

What is the practical application? For a sinner to be saved, he must be convicted of sin. The Samaritan woman was convicted of sin when the Lord asked her about her husband. None can appreciate the Worthiness, and Grace of the Savior without passing thru the horror chamber of conviction of sin. It is only the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin. His work is to prepare the sinner for salvation. Any other regret or remorse is not acceptable to God. The Holy Spirit will bring you to a point where you see that you are lost, and you are going to hell. You will see your need for a Savior. At your lowest point, the same Holy Spirit will lift you from the miry clay of despair. Have you wept for your sins like John? Do you know something of the despair of being lost in sin? This is a necessary painful work so that you appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus on your behalf! This is the testimony of all saints!   


As John was weeping, one of the elders spoke to him: “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals”. It was not an angel that told him to stop weeping. Angels do not understand the pain of conviction of sin and the longing for a Savior. It was one of the 24 elders who sat before the throne of God. “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads” (Rev 4:4). These 24 elders represent the redeemed saints, 12 from the Old Testament and 12 from the New Testament. They symbolize the Church, the Body of Christ. In Christ, the Jew and the Gentile become one new man. Each gets saved thru faith in the Lord Jesus, and by His grace.  Each one of these elders was saved because Christ died for them. They are seated closest to the throne of God. They have white robes, a symbol of the imputed righteousness of Christ. They have crowns of God, given to them by Christ, because of their faithfulness in serving Him. One of the elders speaks to John. He tells him to weep no more. What is the reason for this hope and comfort? Somebody was found worthy to open the seals and read the scroll. That extraordinary Person is called “The Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David”. He alone has prevailed! The word ‘prevailed’ in Greek, is ‘nike’. It means to conquer, to be victorious, or to overcome the enemy.  Because of this victory, Christ alone is worthy to open the seals and read the scroll. He stands alone in Victory! Halleluiah!  


*The Lord Jesus Christ is called ‘The Lion of the Tribe of Judah’.

Just before his death, weak in his body but strong in faith, Jacob worshipped God and blessed his sons. “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff” (Heb 11:21). He blessed his son Judah in a particular way. The name Judah means ‘praise’. He prophesies that out of Judah (Praise), the Messiah will come. He will be like a Lion, the King of the jungle, totally fearless and strong. This is a symbol of our Lord Jesus Christ, who defeated the power of sin, death, and the devil. All people will obey and praise Him for this mighty victory! “Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Gen 49:8-10). What is the practical application? As the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Christ gives us strength to stand during trials and persecutions in this life! All the saints have this testimony: During trials of faith, the Lion roared, and the enemy ran away! Also, as a Believer, you need to be fearless like a Lion. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7). We are commanded not to share in the fears of the unbelievers. “Do not fear what they fear! It is the LORD of hosts whom you are to regard as holy and awesome. He shall be your fear, and not man” (Is 8:12, 13).

*The Lord Jesus Christ is also called The Root of David!

“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked” (Is 11:1-4).  “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” (Is 11:10). Because of sin, the house of King David, could have disappeared from the history of Israel. If God judged David’s sin with death, there was not a descendant left on the throne. But God did a covenant of Mercy and Grace with David and his descendants. God said that David will be a king forever; that he will always have a son to seat on the Throne. This is a prophetic promise. Our Lord Jesus Christ comes from the Tribe of Judah, from the house of David. While he was a Man on earth, many people called Jesus by His prophetic name: ‘The Son of David’. Isaiah sees that the house of David is almost destroyed but out of its roots, a Branch will come forth. This is the symbol of the resurrection power manifested in Christ. The Holy Spirit who led and strengthened Jesus, as a Man on earth has seven descriptions: The Spirit of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Might, Knowledge, the Fear and the Delight of the Lord. As the Branch of David, Christ comes with the authority of a judge. He will punish the wicked and bring peace on earth. Christ as the Lamb tells us to be patient during trials, gentle with our enemies and faithful with our testimonies. The Branch of Jesse brings peace to all nations, including the Gentiles. This prophecy foreshadows the Gospel! John saw Christ as a Lion and as Lamb. This is a combination of strength and gentleness. Men on earth are eighter strong in character or weak willed. No man can be strong and weak at the same time. It is only the Resurrected Christ that perfectly and harmoniously combines strength and gentleness. He is God and Man, King and Servant, The Lion and The Lamb. That is why all creation worships Him! In the Book of Revelation, Christ is called Lion only once, but He is called The Lamb 29 times. That means it is thru the weakness and sacrificial love of the Lamb, thru the power of the Cross, that Christ became worthy to open the seals of the scroll. The salvation, the victory on behalf of His people, was achieved at the Cross where “The weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength! (1 Cor 1:25). The worshippers cry not ‘Worthy is the Lion!” but they cry: “Worthy is the Lamb!”


To understand the heavenly worship, we need to study the title of our Savior as ‘The Lamb of God”. These are many symbols in the Old Testament announcing the sacrifice of the Lamb to release the people of God from their bondage of sin. In the Book of Genesis, God killed an animal to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve (Gen 3:21). The innocent animal died on behalf of the guilty pair. The word worship appears for the first time in the Bible when God tested Abraham. By faith, Abraham was ready to kill his son Isaac but God provided a ram as a substitute (Gen 22). To come out of Egypt, each household had to kill a lamb. The Blood of the Passover lamb smeared on their doors, protected them from death (Ex 12). Later, God told His people that they must sacrifice animals daily for the forgiveness of sins. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, Aaron, the high priest, had to enter the Holy of Holies with the Blood of the Lamb, to atone for their sins (Leviticus 16). From all these examples, we see that worship requires the shedding of Blood, Love expects death. Why? This is God’s law: without the shedding of Blood there is no remission of sins (Heb 9:22). Man was created by God to have dominion, authority, over all creation (Gen 1:28). But man disobeyed God’s law and fell into sin. From that moment, thru one man, sin entered humanity. Man has lost his authority over creation to the devil. Sin is a failure to obey God’s law and a falling short of His glory. Since Adam, all men were born sinners. But Jesus was different! Jesus came as a Man on earth, lived a life of total submission to God’s law. He died as a Substitute for men who believe in Him. There is no other Savior. Jesus died to set men free from the guilt, shame, pollution, and bondage of sin. That is why we praise Him forever!


John looked and expected to see the Lion on the throne, but he saw the Lamb.  “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Rev 5:6). The Lamb was wounded mortally but it was not dead. Bleeding to death, the Lamb still stood in the midst of the throne. This is a symbol of the power of resurrection, released thru the shedding of the Blood at the Cross of Calvary. The Lamb has 7 horns. The horn means victory power over the enemies. The number seven means perfection. The Lamb, though bleeding to death, stands and prevails over satan and death. The Lamb stands in the midst of the elders. In other words, Christ Crucified and Resurrected stands in the midst of His Church. It is this picture of weakness becoming strength, of death defeated and the resurrection power released, that makes the Lamb to be worthy of worship. It is because Christ suffered and died on the Cross for sinful man, that is why God the Father gave Him the authority to open the seals and to read the scroll. All men, dead or alive, are now under His authority. Finally, The Lamb is capable to rule and reign all humanity, and to fulfill God’s purposes. He is the only One who can bring the world to an end, in God’s time and God’s way. He is the only One who can start a new earth, populated with the people He died for.


“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev 5:8). In heaven, we see that the Living creatures around the throne of God and the twenty-four elders, who represent the church, they worship God in a particular way. Each has a harp and a golden bowl full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. The Harps represent praising and worshipping God with songs. The Golden Bowls full of incense mean prayers and intercession for God’s work on earth. In other words, we sing, and we pray! This combination of singing praises to the Lamb of God and praying for His work on earth has been called by many as ‘The Ministry of the Harp and the Bowl’. It is always powerful!

Here you see the wonderful combination of singing praises and obeying the Great commission to preach the Gospel to every nation in earth. “Sing praise to the LORD, who rules in Zion! Tell every nation what he has done!” (Ps 9:11; Good News Translation).  King David declared that God is ‘enthroned’ in the praises of His people.  “You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel” (Ps 22:3). The ‘enthroned’ is powerful. It means the King sits on His throne, ruling and reigning during praises. As we praise the Lamb of God, He gives us fresh testimonies. He fights our battles and takes the glory for the victories. Let us praise and pray as they do in heaven! Glory to God!


“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:5-11)

The Father exalted Jesus to the highest position in the universe because of the Son’s choices. Jesus chose to become a man. He chose to have poor parents. We do not choose our parents. Only Jesus did. Jesus chooses to be the lowest servant in a family, the one who washes the feet of others. Jesus chooses to die at thirty-three, a most painful and shameful death. When God the Father saw all what His Son did on earth, He became satisfied. He said: “Here is My Man!” He now gave Jesus, the Man, dominion over the whole universe. Jesus has the authority to rule and reign over all creation forever! A Man is the Controller of the universe! Like the Samaritan woman, call people to see ‘The Man’, the Savior of the world! The Holy Spirit witnesses to this story! Halleluiah!  

This is the song of praise around the throne in heaven: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev 5:12). Our Lord came to the earth as a baby, weak and needy. Now He receives all power! Christ was poor on earth. Now He receives riches. He was mocked and thought to be foolish. Now He receives all Wisdom. He died in weakness on the Cross. Now He receives all strength. He was ignored and dishonored on earth. Now He receives now the greatest honor. Christ left the visible manifestations of His glory behind when He came to earth. Now He receives all glory! Christ became a curse for us that we may be saved. Now, He receives all blessings, in heaven and on earth!


*The Lamb is wrathful against sin and evil!

“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:15-17)

*The Lamb is worshipped forever, and He comforts His people

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So, he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7:9-17)  

*The Lamb defeats all enemies!

“These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Rev 17:14)

*The Lamb is getting married to His Bride, the Church!

“And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” (Rev 19:6-8)

What is the practical application for us? We need to know and understand Jesus Christ as the Lamb upon the throne! We need to study the Word of God and pray for deeper revelation. Apostle Paul was also taken to heaven. The Lord told him that all he needs is His Grace! “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:8-10). The Lamb on the Throne works in our hearts only thru His Grace. He allows trials to come so that we become humbled. Then, He releases His Grace, as God’s strength in our weakness. This Grace is always ‘sufficient’ to stand and overcome all trials!

Worship on earth must be patterned after the worship in heaven. Worship must be done in spirit and in truth. It is only the born-again believers that are the true worshippers. You do not need a special place to go or to take a special bodily position. Worship is in your spirit. Also, you need to know the Word of God, to worship God in Truth! Worshiping God strengthens you! Immediately Jesus opens the first seal, trouble starts. It is called the Great Tribulation. Jesus gave the Book of Revelation to John, so that we are prepared for any trial, present or future. The glimpse of heaven and the people worshipping the Lamb is for our encouragement. We know that Jesus, a Human Being, and our elder Brother, is the Controller of the Universe.  For the believers, all suffering is going to end in glory; everything is going to be wonderful. Circumstances come and go. But worshipping God and His Christ is forever! Worship the Lord!


“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering” (Rom 12:1; TM)

This week my husband and I celebrate 46 years of marriage. This is my simple advice for the younger wives: be grateful to God for the gift of marriage! Many wives confuse spirituality with practicality. They feel that taking care of the home is not very spiritual. They feel used and misused. They develop inferiority complexes. They think that preaching in the pulpit or singing solo in the worship team are the only signs proving that they are women of God. That is not true! The Bible teaches us that there is a practical side to being spiritual and a spiritual side of being practical. For example, as a wife, I pray for my husband and our children. This is clearly a spiritual work. But cooking good meals for my husband is also a spiritual work, highly rewarded by God! When I fry the tomatoes and pepper for the Nigerian stew (as you know, it takes a long time, you need to be patient so it will not get burnt…) I play worship music on my radio and I pray. Cooking in the presence of the Holy Spirit makes me happy and the stew will be tasty. I never feel that my work in the kitchen is a low class type of ministry. Cooking tasty food for my husband is a practical expression of my spirituality and a demonstration of God’s grace to him, thru my kitchen ministry! Like pepper and salt, prayer and cooking they go together! What God had joined together, please do not separate! (You can smile now!) Glory to God!

(I wrote this letter in March 2020. My husband, Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh, is now in heaven. I do not need to cook for him anymore. He now worships Jesus, His Savior and His Lord, forever! But the wisdom of how to be a woman of God is still with me on earth. Dear daughters, I pray that you learn from it. To God be all the glory!)