The Jezebel Spirit // Part 1
This evening, let’s talk about something in church history that has become known as a “Jezebel spirit”. Where does it originate? What is it? Talk of the Jezebel spirit has a long history in the church. Actually, the term “Jezebel spirit” is not found in the Bible. The scripture that has prompted what we know of as a “Jezebel spirit” originates from Revelation 2:18-29 in Jesus’ words to the church at Thyatira:
I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 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.
These words were written long after the life ended of the only other woman we know of as Jezebel. Most scholars don’t believe there was another woman named Jezebel that Jesus was addressing but that He was using the name to identify a spirit that was operating in the church. To understand why Jesus used the name “Jezebel” you would have to know things about the original Jezebel. The story of Jezebel is found in the Old Testament in the chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel. Jezebel was a Gentile – the daughter of the king of the Sidonians. Her father’s name was Ethbaal, which means “with Baal”. She enters the story of the Israelites through her marriage to Ahab, king of Israel. 1 Kings 16:28-33 gives us an introduction to Ahab.
Omri rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Ahab his son succeeded him as king. n the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him. /// 1 Kings 16:28-33 (NKJV)
Ahab goes down into Israelite history as one of the most wicked kings to rule. The scripture we just read states that he did two basic things that set the tone for his evil rule:
- He continued the worship of counterfeit gods in Israel.
- He married Jezebel.
Ahab actually introduced Baal worship to Israel, probably because it was one of the gods of his wife. Jezebel had other characteristics that are important to remember:
1. She was an enemy of the messengers of Jehovah.
Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord…. /// 1 Kings 18:13
2. Jezebel was controlling.
But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, “Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat no food?” He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, “Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered , ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” Then Jezebel his wife said to him, “You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let you heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” /// 1 Kings 21:5-7 (NKJV)
3. Jezebel was spiritual.
She supported the prophets of Baal and Asherah (1 Kings 18:19)
4. Jezebel was brazen.
Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window. Then, as Jehu entered at the gate, she said, “Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?” /// 2 Kings 9:30-31 (NKJV)
5. Jezebel was an idolator.
Jezebel worshiped a god with the same name as Jehovah (Lord and Master) but it wasn’t the one true God. Her real god was herself and everything else existed to support that purpose. The characteristics of this real woman who caused Israel so much trouble are still at work in the church today. That is why Jesus equated the problems in the church at Thyatira with Jezebel so we could recognize its goals and methods. A couple of things that I would like to say before we finish:
A. Jezebel could not have operated without Ahab.
Weakness was not what attracted Jezebel to Ahab – Ahab’s strength and position were what attracted her. Their agreement over common goals allowed her to operate.
B. Jezebel is characterized by a lack of repentance.
While Jezebel is given time to repent of her ways, she did not. Handling a Jezebel with a Jehu spirit will destroy her but not accurately represent the true king of the church – Jesus.
C. Jezebel is a seductress.
Jezebel is looking for attention and followers. She will usually stop at nothing to get them and will attack the spirituality of those who oppose her. The Jezebel operating in a church must be confronted and dealt with biblically.
- Revelation 2:18-29
- 1 Kings 16:28-33 (NKJV)
- 1 Kings 18:13, 19
- 1 Kings 21:5-7 (NKJV)
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