At the beginning of his vision of the end times recorded in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John provides messages to seven churches of Asia –Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
We know churches existed in these cities during John’s day and in some ways he seems to be addressing situations taking place when he wrote this book while banished on the island of Patmos.
But the Book of Revelation was a prophetic vision of the end time — of future events that would culminate in the return of Christ.
Because of this, many believe the warnings that John sent to the seven churches are also prophetic and reveal demonic attacks the end-times churches will face.
One of these involves an attack by the Spirit of Jezebel.
In chapter two, John describes a situation taking place in the church of Thyatira involving a woman called Jezebel.
20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20 NASV)
She had usurped prophetic and government authority in the church and was teaching and leading members of the church down the path of sexual immorality.
I don’t believe the woman John described was actually named Jezebel, but I do believe she was being influenced by the spirit of Jezebel and this is the point that John is driving home.
By using that name, the apostle was pointing readers to another Jezebel — a Phoenician princess.
In 1 and 2 Kings, we read about King Ahab’s marriage to Jezebel. It was an arranged marriage intended to solidify a peace treaty between Israel and Phoenicia (1 Kings 16:31).
But this marriage was actually a thinly veiled invasion of Israel, not by physical troops, but rather spiritual demonic forces.
When Jezebel arrived to take her place at Ahab’s side, she brought with her — 400 prophets of Asherah (also known as Ashtoreth) and 450 prophets of Baal.
These false prophets represented two powerful gods in the Phoenician religious pantheon. Jezebel was leading a super-charged demonic force combining the spiritual wickedness associated with two other ancient deities.
Jezebel was there to take over a nation.
As Israel was preparing to enter the Promised Land, Moses spoke of the gods and idols they would soon encounter.
17 “They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,
Whom your fathers did not dread. (Deuteronomy 32:17 NASV)
The idols themselves were just stone and wood, the real problem was the evil spirits behind them that were fulfilling their desire for worship through these idols (Matthew 4:9).
Almost immediately, Jezebel set up two idolatrous temples — one at each of Israel’s capital cities — the centers of political power.
She established a Baal temple in Samaria and one for Asherah at the main palace where Ahab and Jezebel resided in Jezreel. The 400 prophets of Asherah ate with Jezebel at her table (1 Kings 16:32-33; 1 Kings 18:19).
I believe the Spirit of Jezebel is one of the principalities or rulers the Apostle Paul refers to when he talks about the believers battle against the satanic spiritual realm.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 NASV)
The word ‘rulers’ translated ‘principalities’ in the King James is the Greek word “arche.” It refers to ruling Satanic angels that have forces beneath them. In this case, Jezebel had evil spirits associated with the worship of Baal and Asherah in a supporting role.
The spirit of Jezebel is unique in that its goal is to invade and conquer countries and organizations such as churches by usurping authority from inside. It is a military coup versus an outward invasion.
Because of Jezebel’s association with female in both the Old Testament and New Testament, many focus the story on women. However, it is important to realize Jezebel is not a woman, but rather a demonic spirit that equally influences both sexes.
After Jezebel arrived she took her place at Ahab’s side. By all accounts she was an attractive woman (2 Kings 9:30). She used sex to seduce Ahab and it wasn’t just sex with her, I believe she arranged multiple partners for her husband Ahab.
25 Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife incited him. (1 Kings 21:25 NASV)
Jezebel seizes control
We have an interesting account in (1 Kings 21:1-16) that sets the groundwork for Jezebel’s eventual power grab.
Beside Ahab’s palace in Jezreel was a vineyard belonging to a man named Naboth. Ahab saw it every day as he passed out of his palace. The more he saw it, the more he wanted it.
The king finally approached Naboth asking if he would be willing to exchange his property for a better one the king owned or take the equivalent in money. Ahab offered Naboth a deal that he couldn’t refuse. But the farmer refused.
“The Lord forbid,” he said (v 3), “that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”
When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, each family received land as their inheritance into perpetuity. God forbid them from selling the land to anyone else (Leviticus 25:23-28), thus ensuring that future generations would not be forced into poverty.
Ahab didn’t handle the rejection very well. He was depressed, refused to eat and moped around the palace like a little child. When Jezebel eventually found Ahab, he was lying on his bed facing the wall (v 9). She asked him what had happened
After Ahab told his wife about Naboth’s refusal, Jezebel said, “Arise be joyful, I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
In their respected commentary on the Old Testament, C. F. Kiel and F. Delitzsch state that due to the word order in 1 Kings 21:7, this verse is more accurately translated, “I (if thou hast not courage enough to act) will procure thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
At that point, Jezebel sent a letter to the elders and nobles in the city where Naboth lived commanding them to find two people who would accuse the farmer of cursing God and the King. The two men delivered their murderous words, and the elders ordered Naboth to be stoned.
With the owner gone, Jezebel told the king to take the land. Who could stop him now?
This account reveals that Jezebel had seized control of Israel in four critical areas.
When the Spirit of Jezebel seeks to take over a nation, it tries to exert influence in four specific areas:
The break down of the family
In this incident, we see by this point the relationship between Ahab and Jezebel had degenerated from one of a husband and wife to that of a mother looking after her child. This was largely due to Ahab abdicating his God-given role as leader of the family and king of Israel.
As Ahab lay on his head pouting, facing the wall like a five-year old child, Jezebel stepped in like his mother vowing to make things better.
Ahab was no longer taking on his responsibility as a man and leader of the nation. The Jezebel spirit seeks to destroy the family structure as God intended it to operate with both a husband and wife.
How many families in America are fatherless through divorce or unmarried women becoming pregnant and forced to raise children on their own.
And it is not just America. England’s Office for National Statistics reported that in 2012, 47.5% of the children were born to unwed mothers. If that trend continues, they expect over half the births this year will be in the homes of unmarried women.
After the 2015 police shooting of Terrance Walker, 21, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke, a black man, responded to complaints that this was just another killing o af black man by a police officer.
Walker armed with a gun had showed up at a wedding his girlfriend was attending and the pastor called the police.
When police arrived, Walker fled. A body camera shows the young man stopping to pick up what police said was a dropped gun, when he was then shot and killed by the police officer in pursuit.
Instead of criticizing police, Clarke said the critics should be dealing with the real problem:
“The number one cause of this is father-absent homes. So what are we going to do in terms of having more-effective parenting, more role modeling, more engaged fathers in the lives of these young black men so that we don’t have this behavior.”
When asked to respond to criticism of the shooting by Walker’s mom, Clarke added:
“Well, what did his dad say? You know, we always hear what his mom says. You know, look, mom loves her son, we all get that. ”
Seizing political control
The second thing Jezebel did was seize political control. She sent the letter to the nobles (leading men) and elders in Ahab’s name using the Royal seal.
Jezebel was usurping the power of Ahab.
The seal was created by a signet ring with an image on it that was superimposed on a letter and other Royal documents by pressing it into wet clay or wax.
Jezebel now had enough control in Israel, she could make decisions in the name of the King. She had stolen the king’s authority. Lower levels of government intimidated by Jezebel meekly caved into her ostentatious demands.
Though in this instance Jezebel used Ahab’s seal to assert her authority, archaeological evidence suggests by the end she was operating under her own authority.
Dr. Marjo Korpel is an Old Testament scholar based in Holland. He analyzed an ancient seal discovered in Israel during the 1960s. He is convinced the lettering on the large damaged seal shows it actually belonged to Queen Jezebel.
Jezebel had her own seal.
This was the same conclusion that Archaeologist Nahman Avigad had come to after discovering the seal in an antiquities market in 1964.
The ornate seal was twice the size of most seals indicating a person of very high rank. It also used motifs common to women. Though damaged, Korpel believed it reads the “seal of Jezebel.”
In a news release announcing the find, Korpel said:
“The Bible portrays Queen Jezebel as a woman who, in the background, exerted enormous influence, including on her husband (1 Kings 21:25). She sees the opportunity to bend the country’s affairs to her will by devious means, including using her husband’s seal (1 Kings 21:8) to forge letters. Nonetheless, she now appears to have possessed her own seal, which enabled her to deal with matters independently of Ahab. Eventually, Jezebel came to a bad end. The prophets of Israel accused her of prostitution, murder, idolatry and sorcery. She is made to suffer a horrific death.”
Jezebel seizes judicial control
The elders at the gates represented the justice system in Israel (Deuteronomy 16:18) and served as the country’s judges. People with problems or disputes would bring their cases to the elders for a ruling.
In this instance, Jezebel manipulated the system using Israel’s law which prescribed the penalty of death for blasphemy (Deuteronomy 13:9-14) and the need for two witnesses to make the accusation stick (Deuteronomy 17: 6-7).
When Jezebel ordered the elders to find false witnesses she had corrupted the justice system to do her bidding. The judges willingly found false witnesses to ensure the verdict had the appearance of legality.
When we are praying for our county, we must remember to pray for our justice system, which can bring down verdicts that impact the spiritual nature of a nation – positively and negatively.
This is particularly important in both Canada and the US, where many contend that activist, un-elected judges are taking control away from our elected officials.
Jezebel seizes spiritual control
The last thing Jezebel tries to do is control the spiritual life of the nation. This spirit decides what is Christian and what isn’t and tries to manipulate people’s faith.
In her letter to the elders and nobles of the city, Jezebel ordered these leaders to proclaim a city-wide fast. These fasts were calls to repentance – in this instance over Naboth’s supposed blasphemy.
Notice how she tried to shame Israel for this supposed sin. The whole city had to repent. The spirit of Jezebel uses this tactic to blame and shame.
These calls were normally made by the prophets (see 1 Samuel 7:6). By her actions, we see that Jezebel had seized spiritual and prophetic control of the nation. On the outside, this call to repentance appeared so spiritual, but it covered up a horrendous blackness.
In our modern context, Jezebel desires to redefine what it means to be a Christian, moving people away from their true Biblical faith — a false Christianity.
The overthrow was complete. But it would not last, as God would eventually have the final word and deliver the nation from the Spirit of Jezebel (2 Kings 9:31-33).
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