Many of you read my note, “Identifying Judas.” We don’t hear a lot about Judas in the church today because we are very busy focusing on the Jezebel spirit. This focus has inspired me to write today about Jezebel and the Jezebel spirit. It’s not uncommon today for people to run around calling people “Jezebel” or referring to the “Jezebel spirit” without even the most basic understanding of what it means to be in the midst of a Jezebel. As believers and especially as leaders, we encounter a host of different spirits trying to attack our walk. The two main spirits that work to attack ministries today are Judas and Jezebel. As we’ve already looked at Judas, now we are looking at Jezebel. If we don’t rightly identify Jezebel, we don’t know how to handle her.
In the past year, I have correctly identified and dealt with the spirit of Jezebel no less than twelve times. This is scary when you think about it: if we boil that down, that is one Jezebel-infused person per month. If we divide it out, that’s one Jezebel approximately every thirty days. I don’t think this makes me a martyr. What it does prove is that Jezebel is alive and rampant, and trying to destroy legitimate ministries. Jezebel is out there. Ministers who tell me they don’t ‘have a problem with Jezebel’ are either lying, not active in ministry, or causing some sort of victory or division for the enemy on their own because people who are in ministry for real see Jezebel. They deal with her, encounter her, tackle her, and get rid of her.
The spirit of Jezebel is identified with a person to help us understand the spirit behind it. It doesn’t mean that Jezebel is only female, or that the spirit of Jezebel only influences one gender. The spirit of Jezebel also isn’t marked by the characteristics we grew up with to identify Jezebel. Jezebel is not some spirit running around influencing women to wear pants or red lipstick. In those days, there were no pants (for men OR women) and we have no indication women wore red lipstick yet. Make-up was worn as sun protection in those days and was worn by everyone – it was not unique to women in power. In fact, it was most often worn by slaves and those who worked outside. To start, we are going to look at Jezebel, look at her character, and understand her character profile so we can better identify and understand her spirit.
“In 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 provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him. In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken by Joshua son of Nun.” (1 Kings 16:29-34, NIV)
Jezebel was the wife of Ahab, king over Samaria. One of the reasons I am posting this passage is because we need to understand something: Ahab was wicked, wrong with God, led astray, and into all the wrong things long before Jezebel came into the picture. He was an idolater, advocated sinful ways, and worked hard to provoke the Lord all by himself, all on his own. Even marrying Jezebel is described here as being yet another stab against the Lord. Many people portray Ahab as some sort of weak, spineless man who was just led astray by the evil Jezebel. Jezebel entered the picture because like begets like. He picked Jezebel for a reason. Her strengths, her need for control, her spirit of domination attracted her to him. Something in him recognized something in her, and their spirits called each other out.
When a leader willingly unites to a Jezebel – and when I say “willingly,” I mean that they allow Jezebel to run rampant in their church or ministry without consequence or disfellowship, that tells me something about the leader as much as it tells me something about their Jezebel. If things must be done decently and in order, Jezebel shouldn’t be given some major position or title in a ministry. She or he shouldn’t become the “second in command” or the “head” of any ministry, division of ministry, or other, because that means that the leader in that ministry is an Ahab. Sometimes in our attempts to look good, be diplomatic, or have their own needs met, leaders tolerate Jezebel to avoid having to deal with the difficulties and pressures of ministry on their own. Ahab represents rebellion; Jezebel represents power and control. Jezebel works in companionship with rebellious leaders. This means leaders must check their own selves for rebellion because when Jezebel comes, Jezebel must be dealt with; not married. Alliances are extraordinarily relevant in ministry – as relevant as they would be in any other arena, including politics.
We also can learn here that, on the outside, Jezebel appears completely respectable. It says she was the daughter of a king, so she had the appearance of royalty. She was positioned because of who her father was and who her husband was: but not because of who she herself was. That’s how Jezebel works: he or she attaches herself to a leader. They get their identity from being connected to that person, rather than who they may be. Think about Jezebel in the church today: Jezebel comes in looking like the perfect model of holiness. He or she claims to be all about the things of God and won’t tolerate anything to the contrary. He or she criticizes others about what they may do that he or she feels just doesn’t “measure up.” They seem to have it “all together” and are deeply critical of people who don’t have what they perceive themselves to have. The spirit that works within Jezebel is not low self-esteem, contrary to popular opinion. In fact, it is the opposite: Jezebel regards himself or herself so highly, nobody measures up to where they perceive themselves to be. They degrade and demoralize others with their opinions, position themselves in the places of power, and, within the church are quick to defend themselves as having a “ministry of correction.” They are critical, judgmental, bossy, and offensive. They may never step foot in a pulpit; in fact, they may avoid the pulpit like the plague; but there they are, making sure everybody knows exactly what they think about whatever someone else did, someone else’s calling, or someone else’s ministry.
Jezebel is also a witch, operating witchcraft. We will talk more about this later, but it is relevant to note that Jezebel was clearly a pagan. She was not numbered among the people of God, and was deliberately selected because she was not God-fearing. This means Jezebel was operating in her spirit prior to her queenship. She knew about control, power, manipulation, and the like all before coming to power. Jezebel knows how to operate to get exactly what he or she wants, and it doesn’t just start with some sort of notable life connection or event; it is a part of working, distinguished whenever they succumbed to that spirit of witchcraft.
We go along a few chapters forward in the Bible before we see Jezebel mentioned again. Jezebel the person is closely tied in with the story of Elijah. This also tells us something: Jezebel tries to destroy the ministry of a powerful woman or man of God. Jezebel doesn’t pick on ministries already full of strife and discord, because the spirit is already there. In those instances, Jezebel marries and connects to that ministry of Ahab. Jezebel attempts to wheedle, control, and damage valid ministries through her different methods.
“After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of his palace. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD. While Jezebel was killing off the LORD’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another. As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?” “Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’” “What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? As surely as the LORD your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ I don’t know where the Spirit of the LORD may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the LORD since my youth. Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the LORD? I hid a hundred of the LORD’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!” Elijah said, “As the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today. So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the LORD’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.”
” (1 Kings 18:1-21, NIV)
We’ve now fast-forwarded three years in time, without a word about Jezebel until now, where we learn that she was killing the prophets of the Lord. Jezebel works quietly and slowly. After all, it takes time to destroy something someone has worked many years to build with the Spirit of God. Apparently Jezebel worked long and hard before she decided to tackle Elijah. Jezebel works slowly in his or her wake, and often has a trail of similar attempts and experiences behind him or her. By the time Jezebel has gotten to your work, you won’t be the first ministry they have attempted to destroy. Like with all spirits, there are some success stories to their destruction; and several that probably called it quits and she still tried to destroy after the fact. Jezebels have a long history within the church and among God’s people. They strike all different types of calls, all offices of the five-fold ministry, all ministerial appointments (bishops, elders, deacons), men as well as women, new ministries as well as the established, and big ministries as well as small ones.
Jezebel behaves one of two ways: she is either real welcoming and inviting, and those under her and a part of her are welcomed with her. Those who conform to her can stay; those who don’t are brandished as in contrast to the Kingdom. Everyone else is afraid of Jezebel’s power and influence; that’s how he or she manipulates and controls. People also tend to fear Jezebel’s influence. I know leaders affected by Jezebel come to fear their own reputations because of what they think Jezebel will say. There is a natural instinct to run and hide from Jezebel and those married to Jezebel rather than confront the problem. If someone is afraid of somebody under their ministry, that’s a classic sign Jezebel is on the loose. Jezebel turns from helpful to intimidating, unafraid to throw weight or influence around.
This passage reveals to us the true spiritual influence of Jezebel. It indicates eight hundred and fifty false prophets fed with her – feasting with her in power, feasting on the offerings of idols. They wanted to feast in the good places; not be fed by ravens, as Elijah was. Jezebel manipulates people intrigued by her so-called power and influence. It’s easy to be intrigued and bewitched by the gifts someone seems to have; to be moved by the people they claim to know or have known in the past; and to be taken in by lives and judgment. Jezebel comes with every influence known to man: he or she will give you all the money you need for your ministry; he or she will “pray” for you and make sure you get connected to all the “right” people (because all the people you are around now are wrong as far as she’s concerned, anyway); he or she will do anything you want…as long as you bow down and worship. The people said nothing because they were compromising themselves and they knew better. They all knew they were swayed with the appearance of Jezebel…and weren’t quite ready to stop playing with her just yet.
In the next sections, we see Elijah on Mt. Carmel, showing up the pagan priests, running and hiding from Jezebel because she put out a hit on his life, going back to the work of ministry, and God’s call on Elisha. It is another couple of chapters before we see Jezebel mentioned again. In her decree, however, we see Jezebel’s purpose: to destroy the work of the men and women of God. Jezebel does this by attacking as personally as they can.
“Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth. But Naboth replied, “The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat. His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?” He answered her, “Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, ‘Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. In those letters she wrote: “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.” So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them. They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, “Naboth has cursed both God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. Then they sent word to Jezebel: “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.” As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.” When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the LORD says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’” Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!” “I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD. ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin.’ “And also concerning Jezebel the LORD says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country.” (There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.) When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.” (1 Kings 21:1-28, NIV)
Now we get to see Jezebel in full-fledged action. The spirit of Jezebel operates witchcraft as, we properly understand, witchcraft is the spirit of power and control. Jezebel begins to operate this power by playing on the weaknesses in leaders. He or she comes in, looking helpful and indispensable. Jezebel will “handle” the situation in the leader’s name and on the leader’s behalf. He or she LONGS for the anointing, the power, the call on their leader. They will mimic it, attach to it, and yes, even operate in its name for their own end. When the leader doesn’t respond the way he or she wants, suddenly they aren’t handling things in the way that they “should be” according to Jezebel. They are accused of disgracing the office, not being a valid leader, and start sowing that seed here, there, and everywhere…all the meanwhile, Jezebel is busy at work, destroying lives, people’s reputations, and work to get what he or she desires, but is never destined to have.
Clearly Jezebel defies order. Jezebel wasn’t the king and had no right to handle anything, signing his name or using his seal of authority for herself. She manipulated until she could usurp and take what she wanted. Jezebels today hang around with leaders and claim all sorts of things: we shouldn’t need to use “titles,” we shouldn’t need this or that…and yet they declare themselves to be prophets, prophetesses, speaking for God, or delivering a word from Him. Jezebel misrepresents herself on purpose: because the spirit of Jezebel has no authority when it comes down to it. Jezebel is who he or she is because of who they cling to around them. Not tolerating order, Jezebel defies rules. There are certain things we simply don’t do in the Kingdom of God. There is a proper way to handle disagreement, false leaders and teachers, and how to approach an elder or leader in the faith. Jezebel defies this order. Jezebel will not be corrected or hear anything other than what he or she wants to hear. They will not submit themselves, nor accept their own gifts, callings, and place.
This tells us that Jezebel doesn’t just defy order; Jezebel works disorder, which is akin to witchcraft. In a recent note, I point out that the opposite of order IS in fact, witchcraft because it is the insistence that someone DOESN’T have to subject themselves to God’s order. The result is disorder, but the root is witchcraft, which operates by a rebellious spirit. The result is, every time, a division between the people. We can see from every passage about Jezebel provided that Jezebel worked division within the kingdom. She divided leaders, prophets, people of God, and ran fear in all of them. As long as everyone was busy pointing fingers at everyone else, nobody stopped long enough to see Jezebel as the root of the problem. The same is true in the Kingdom: Jezebel gets people into enough of a state that everyone looks at everybody but her. Jezebel comes in to create disunity, break up the presence of the Spirit and His order established within ministries, and then carry on with her raving sense of dishonor and disparity.
Those who make an alliance with Jezebel live to regret it, as they regret the defiance that brought them to unify with him or her. This was true with Ahab as it was with leaders today who come to a place of repentance and realize they never should have joined with someone carrying that spirit. What has been birthed from their union will lack God’s favor if they do not each repent from such an influence.
This time, we don’t hear about Jezebel again until 2 Kings 9, where le learn about her demise:
“Jehu got up and went into the house. Then the prophet poured the oil on Jehu’s head and declared, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anoint you king over the LORD’s people Israel. You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the LORD’s servants shed by Jezebel. The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her.’” Then he opened the door and ran….Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair and looked out of a window. As Jehu entered the gate, she asked, “Have you come in peace, Zimri, you murderer of your master?” He looked up at the window and called out, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. “Throw her down!” Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot. Jehu went in and ate and drank. “Take care of that cursed woman,” he said, “and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. They went back and told Jehu, who said, “This is the word of the LORD that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh. Jezebel’s body will be like refuse on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, ‘This is Jezebel.’” (2 Kings 9:6-10, 30-37, NIV)
Jezebel was all set to try and manipulate someone else. She was ready to put her best foot forward yet again: but this time, she met her match. When Jezebel is dethroned, she is dethroned so nothing can be found of her. The spirit of Jezebel must be killed – cut off, destroyed, and found no more. That’s the only way the spirit of Jezebel does not conquer.
Revelation 2:18-25 gives the sole New Testament reference to Jezebel, spoken of now in a person as spirit: “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come.” (NIV)
Even in the first century church, the church we tend to think had it all together (it didn’t, if we truly study the New Testament) had Jezebel. Jezebel back then fit the profile as it had in Jezebel the person: she was tolerated (clearly by an alliance, because she had assumed a position of power). She called herself something she was not. She misled the people of God through teaching and manipulation. Here it talks about sexual immorality and eating the food sacrificed to idols – in other words, she was an idolater, operating pagan sexual rites and encouraging the people of God to engage in witchcraft. She was given time to repent, she was handled properly by her leaders (yes, in the face of Jezebel, leaders must still conduct her disorder according to the Word), she was brought correction, but was unwilling to repent. The result would be God would allow her to be turned over to a reprobate mind. She would suffer and her children – just as was said of Jezebel – would be turned over to death. Here we can understand this to refer to those who are spiritual children of Jezebel – those who follow her as their false leader. She needed to be conquered, rather than conquer.
If you’re experiencing Jezebel…work in correction, according to the Word. When the word of correction is not heeded, cut Jezebel off before Jezebel gains following and works mischief and witchcraft in the house of God. Trust God for your reputation, the reputation of your work, and STOP TOLERATING JEZEBEL! God brings us help, assistance, and followers in ministry…but they don’t divide, conquer, and usurp. Stand on your spiritual authority and crush the serpent’s head manifested in the spirit of Jezebel!
(c) 2011 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.