Seductive, controlling and manipulative may be some of the words we think of when we hear the name “Jezebel” and often the term “Jezebel Spirit” is used to describe women exhibiting these types of negative behaviours. According to the dictionary, jezebel is an impudent, shameless, or morally unrestrained woman. (1) However, contrary to common belief, the spirit of Jezebel is certainly not just found in women and has more to do with suppressing the Word of God in the church and ultimately leading the children of God astray; a far more sinister plot with eternal consequences.
We first read about Jezebel in the Book of First Kings. She was a Phoenician Princess, daughter of King Ethbaal and Jezebel married Ahab, King of Israel. She was known for being in control over her husband and promoting Baal worship in the nation of Israel. During her reign she killed
many prophets of God (1 Kings 18:4). The Prophet Elijah heard about Ahab and Jezebel turning the nation over to Baal worship and rebuked Ahab for doing so (1 Kings 18:18). Elijah instructed Ahab to gather the children of Israel and the false prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel, where he met them and urged the children of Israel to make up their minds whether they will continue to serve Yahweh, or Baal (1 Kings 18:19-21). Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to show their
power, or the power of their gods rather, by whichever God answered them by fire – whether Yahweh or Baal (1 Kings 18:23-24). After a long showdown, and the prophets of Baal spending hours trying to entice their gods to come and show their power, nothing happened (1 Kings 18:26-29). Yet when Elijah called on the fire of Yahweh, He delivered in a spectacular way (1 Kings 18:30-39). The prophets of Baal were exposed as false prophets and the children of Israel
realised they had been deceived and cried out again to Yahweh as their God. Elijah didn’t let the false prophets escape but captured them and executed them. Ahab relayed the events to Jezebel and when she heard that her precious prophets of Baal were executed, she was furious and decreed that she was going to kill Elijah, causing him to flee. (1 Kings 19:1-3). Jezebel was not successful in killing Elijah, in fact in 2 Kings 9:30-37 we read how Jezebel was executed at the command of Jehu, who had been appointed King over Israel by Elijah.
The mention of Jezebel doesn’t just cease in the Book of 1 st and 2 nd Kings. We go all the way to the Book of Revelation and read where Jesus is speaking to John the Revelator, addressing the Church in Thyatira and warning them: “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those
who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:20- 23).
When John wrote the Book of Revelation, the prophecies in it were all due to come to pass on the Day of the Lord, which we know is now. Victorinus, an Early Church Father, enlightens us that Jesus is not just speaking to one particular church in each chapter, but He’s speaking to the
church as a whole:
Those seven stars are the seven churches, which he names in his addresses by name, and calls them to whom he wrote epistles. Not that they are themselves the only, or even the
principal churches; but what he says to one, he says to all. For they are in no respect different, that on that ground any one should prefer them to the larger number of
similar small ones. In the whole world Paul taught that all the churches are arranged by sevens, that they are called seven, and that the Church is one. (2)
Revelation 2:20 shows us that the Spirit of Jezebel will be present in the church at the end of the age. John says in Revelation 1:10 that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, so he’s telling us here that the things he prophecies aren’t literal, but symbolic. To understand what the true Spirit of Jezebel is and how it affects us in the church, we must understand the characteristics of Jezebel according to scripture.
Jezebel was Queen over Israel and took authority even over her husband. She introduced the children of God to the Baal Tyrian worship and encouraged the sacrifice to her foreign gods instead of Yahweh. She despised listening to the prophets of God and had no fear of God or His prophets, mocking them and having them killed, finally decreeing to have Elijah killed for exposing the prophets of Baal as false prophets. Remember, Jesus tells us that this spirit is in
the church, not in the world.
Jezebel taking authority over her husband, King Ahab, represents the soulish nature overtaking the spirit-man. Because Jezebel was in a place of authority and influence over the children of Israel, this is symbolic of the Pastors and teachers in the church, which is confirmed a few verses down in Revelation 2:24 where Jesus says, “as many as do not have this doctrine,”. Doctrine is teaching; so, we can see here that Jesus is warning us that the spirit of Jezebel is false teaching in the church. The Spirit of Jezebel hates hearing from the prophets of God who use the Word to bring correction. The prophet Elijah came to Ahab with a harsh word of correction rebuking him for straying from the commandments of God (1 Kings 18:18). Unlike “fluffy”, “prophetic words” in the majority of the church today, the prophets back in the time of Jezebel, and in-fact the prophets all throughout the Bible were sent to warn the children of God to repent and to turn from their wickedness or they would suffer an eternal fate of being separated from God. Where Jesus refers to Jezebel being sexually immoral in Revelation 2:20-21 and says He will cast her into a sickbed along with those who commit adultery with her in
Revelation 2:22; this is symbolic also. Jesus tells us in Luke 8:11 that the seed is the word of God and another word for “seed” in the Greek is “sperm”. (3) Jezebel’s name means “Baal is husband to” (4) and “place where the beast dwells”. (5) The beast according to Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:18 is referring to us, in our beastly nature: “I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they
themselves are beasts.” The beastly nature is the same as the carnal nature (6) and the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3:3 that the carnal nature is all the vices of the flesh. Paul reiterates in Romans that the carnal mind is at war with the Spirit of God and those in the beastly nature cannot please God. (Romans 8:7-8).
Baal’s name means “master babbler” (7) and is strongly connected in Hebrew to the root word for “Babylon” (8) which means “confusion” and “mixture in the (anointing) oil”, or in other words, confusion and mixture in the teaching. From these interpretations we can see that when Jesus says that those who commit adultery with her (Jezebel) will be cast into great tribulation, He is speaking of those in the church at the end of the age who have received her seed, which is a mixture in the teaching. But what is that mixture in the teaching? It is the church listening to teachers and Pastors teaching us that we are okay where we are at (in our beastly nature) and that we don’t have to change from the vices of the flesh.
Origen, a second century Early Church Father confirms here that Babylon means confusion in the teaching and goes further to say that anyone in the church who is in bondage to the vices of the flesh is being overtaken by the Babylon, or Jezebel mindset:
Frequently we have said that Babylon means confusion. For whoever is overcome by him is led away into confusion of his mind; he is transferred to Babylon. Let us look to our daily life. If at some time we see that a soul is confounded by sin, vice, grief, wrath, desires, or greed, let us know that that is one that the devil is leading off to Babylon. But if in the ruling part of the heart, tranquillity, serenity, and peace are bearing fruit, let us know that Jerusalem is living in it; for the “vision of peace” is within. (9)
The Apostle Paul also warns us in 2 Timothy that the time will come where the church will stray from the truth and will want teachings according to the lusts of their flesh: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
Tertullian, another second century Early Church Father explains heresy (false teaching) that was occurring in their day, which is exactly what’s happening now:
This heresy of yours does not accept certain Scriptures. And those Scriptures it does receive, it perverts by means of additions and diminutions. It does this to accomplish its own purpose. And such Scriptures as it does receive, it does not receive in their entirety. But even when it does receive any Scripture up to a certain point as entire, it nevertheless perverts even them by the contrivance of diverse interpretations. Truth is just as much opposed by an adulteration of its meaning as it is by a corruption of its text.
Tertullian is telling us that the heretics twist scripture to their own benefit. And just as we saw above, the Jezebel spirit in the church are teachings that cater to the beastly nature, and the Babylonian spirit creates a confusion in the teaching, or twisted teaching. We see this happening in almost every church today, where only parts of the word of God are read and taught, even verses in the same chapters are omitted from teaching.
Jesus warned us that the spirit of Jezebel would be in the church at the end of the age, but as we read before, it is a seducing spirit that wants us to feel good and not deal with our carnal nature. The spirit of Jezebel wants to read the scripture according to its own interpretation, not taking the whole of scripture into account. We are forewarned about these false-teachings and told by Jesus Himself that the consequences of being a part of this Jezebel-Babylonian church are eternal. The end of the age is here, and the Jezebel spirit is rife amongst the church, but do
you truly recognize it?
(1) Merriam Webster Definition “jezebel”
(2) Victorinus on The Apocalypse of John
(3) Wordstudy Dictionary: G4703 “Sporos”, equivalent to G4690 “Sperma”
(4) BDB Dictionary “Jezebel” H348
(5) H336 AHLB “where” & “beast” & H2083 “dwells”
(6) Thayers for “Carnal” or Sarx” G4561
(7) H1167 Strongs “Baal”
(8) H1101 Strongs & Brown Driver Briggs “Babel”
(9) Origen Homily 12 on Ezekiel
(10) Tertullian, The Prescription Against Heretics Ch XVII