I’m pretty sure we have all at some point in time heard the term Jezebel. Some use it to refer to a promiscuous women, others to a wicked spirit, still others to a song! So just where is all this coming from? This article will examine the historical person of Jezebel and also how the term is applied spiritually. Let’s begin:
The Historical Person of Jezebel.
In the Scripture we read of Jezebel mainly in the Book of 1 and 2 Kings. There is also a reference to her in the Book of Revelation, which we will get to later. For now let’s read 1 kings 16 : 30—33 “30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of YHWH more than all who were before him.31 And it came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him.32 So he erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria.33 And Ahab also made the Asherah. Thus Ahab did more to provoke YHWH God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him. Firstly we need to see that Ahab did what was wicked in YHWH’s eyes, and on top of that he married some Phoenician woman named Jezebel, oh but she wasn’t just some woman! Undoubtedly this marriage also had political implications, it provided both peoples with military protection from powerful enemies as well as valuable trade routes: Israel gained access to the Phoenician ports; Phoenicia gained passage through Israel’s central hill country to Transjordan and especially to the King’s Highway, the heavily traveled inland route connecting the Gulf of Aqaba in the south with Damascus in the north. This marriage also had spiritual implications. Jezebel was a Phoenician queen, she grew up in a culture and government steeped with idolatry. Her father’s name is EthBaal meaning “with/for Baal”, there is also strong evidence that he was a high priest of Astarte( the goddess of the Sidonians).
Let’s get some background of Phoenicia and sidon: Sidon was one of the oldest Phoenician cities, situated on a narrow plain between the range of Lebanon and the sea and in Gen_10:19 it is the chief city of the Canaanites, and Joshua (Jos_11:8) calls it Great Sidon. It led all the Phoenician cities in its early development of maritime affairs, its sailors being the first to launch out into the open sea out of sight of land and to sail by night, guiding themselves by the stars. A very prominent role was assigned to religion in the life of the Phoenicians. As a Semitic people, such a characteristic was but natural and they seem to have possessed it in large measure. Their religious ideas are important on account of the influence they had on the Hebrews, which is so apparent in the Old Testament. The worship of the Canaanitish Baal and Ashtoreth, or Astarte, led the Israelites astray and produced most disastrous results. There can be little doubt that the chief deities of the Phoenicians, as well as the forms of their cult, were derived from Babylonia, brought with them probably when they migrated to the West, but afterward modified by contact with Egypt and Greece. One of the most corrupting tendencies we notice was the ascription of sexual characteristics to the chief deities of their pantheon, such as Baal and Ashtoreth, which led to licentious rites of the most abominable character.
Baal (Phoenician בּעל, ba‛al) was the chief deity and was universally worshipped, being usually designated by the locality in each place: Baal of Tyre or Baal-Tsur, Baal-Sidon, Baal-Tars (Tarsus), Baal-bek, etc. He was regarded as the god of the generative principle in Nature, and his statues were sometimes flanked by bulls. He was identified with Zeus, and he appears on the coins under the Greek type of Zeus, seated on a throne, holding an eagle in the outstretched right hand and a scepter in the left. Sometimes his head is encircled with rays showing him to be the sun-god.
Ashtoreth (Phoenician עשתּרת, ‛ashto-reth) was the great Nature-goddess, the Magna Mater, queen of heaven (Jer_7:18), and as Baal was the solar deity, so she was often represented under the lunar aspect, Ashteroth-karnaim, “Ashteroth of the two horns” (Gen_14:5). Sometimes she is represented holding the dove, the symbol of fecundity, of which she was the goddess. She was commonly identified with Aphrodite or Venus. She, like Baal, had temples everywhere, and kings were sometimes her high priests, and her worship was too often accompanied with orgies of the most corrupt kind. The corrupt nature of the Phoenician worship has been referred to. It was also cruel, the custom of human sacrifices being common and carried to an extent unheard of among other peoples, such as the horrible sacrifice of 200 noble youths at Carthage when besieged by Agathocles. The sacrifice was by burning, the victim being placed in the arms of the statue of the god, heated for the purpose. In Phoenicia this god was Melqarth, or Molech, and the custom is denounced in the Old Testament (Lev_20:2-5), but other gods were also honored in this way. The religious feeling of the Phoenicians was undoubtedly deep, but sadly corrupt and depraved.
This is what Jezebel brought with her when she married Ahab, she seduced him into following her gods and also to incorporate this worship into Israel. Let’s look at what we can glean from Scripture concerning the acts and character of Jezebel. From Scripture we know she:
- Is a master seductress. ( 1Kings 16: 31-33)
- Works through religion and puts up a good front before others, to accomplish her wickedness. (“proclaim a fast” 1 Kings 21: 7-10)
- Hates and murders the true prophets of YHWH. She does not want to be exposed. ( 1 Kings 18: 14-15)
- Causes believers in YHWH to doubt and waver. She wants you to compromise. ( 1 Kings 18: 21)
- Encourages sexual sins and self–mutilation. ( 1 Kings 18: 28)
- Broke down the Altars built to YHWH (which is a sign of His authority and of prayer) ( 1Kings 18: 30)
- Has a clearly set up religious structure. (1 Kings 18: 19)
- Works through threats and slander. ( 1Kings 19: 1-2)
- Promotes fear and anxiety. ( 1Kings 19:3)
- Works unrighteousness and hates the righteous. Naboth and his vineyard! ( 1Kings 21: 1– 16)
- Promotes false prophets and soothsaying . ( 1Kings 22: 5– 19)
- Promotes fornication and witchcraft. ( 2Kings 9: 22)
- Removes inner beauty and purity and puts emphasis on the outer and fleshly. (2Kings 9: 30– 37)
Much more can be said of Jezebel but I think this will suffice for now.
The spiritual figure of Jezebel.
This woman’s acts of wickedness and treachery was so great that even her name Jezebel was used in reference to immoral acts and sins.
Revelation 2:20-25. “ ‘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. ‘And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality. ‘Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. ‘And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. ‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them– I place no other burden on you. ‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.”
This is the words of our Master Yeshua Himself. It seems that Jezebel is still pretty much alive today with all her acts of wickedness, ready to deceive and seduce the followers of Yeshua. I want to close with an excellent article by Norm Franz on this topic. In His message to the church of Thyatira, Yeshua (Jesus) praised them for their love and service and how their works of late where even greater than their earlier works (Rev. 2:18-19). It was an affirmation that I believe applies to the born again church throughout the ages up to and including today. However, in the above Scripture verse, once Yeshua (Jesus) has praised them for their good works, He also rebukes them for allowing Jezebel to teach her pagan doctrines among the body.
Most theologians acknowledge that this Jezebel probably referred to an individual woman within the congregation. And whether Jezebel was her real name or a just a symbolic name given to her by Yeshua (Jesus), there is a striking association to the demonic principality (spirit) of Queen Jezebel in 1st and 2nd Kings. Jezebel’s teachings were the same as Balaam and the Nicolaitans which were also being taught in the church of Pergamos (Rev. 2:14-15). They were a hodgepodge of Gnostic antinomianism which taught that, once a person was forgiven and saved by grace through faith in the atoning blood of Yeshua (Jesus), they could continue to live licentious lives in disobedience to God’s Commandments. In other words, because they were under grace they didn’t have to obey God’s Laws. This theology allowed them to celebrate pagan holidays and eat at their feast tables, which Paul described as eating and drinking at the “table of demons” (1 Cor. 10:20-21).
Thyatira’s Economic Base
The fact that this admonition was directed at the church of Thyatira has great financial significance as well. Thyatira was a commercial center that harbored numerous trade guilds and labor unions. Naturally their economic engine was commerce, but part of the fuel that made the engine go was their pagan holidays and the feasts that surrounded them:
“Although never a large city, Thyatira was a thriving manufacturing and commercial center during New Testament times. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of many trade guilds and unions here. Membership in these trade guilds, necessary for financial and social success, often involved pagan customs and practices such as superstitious worship, union feasts using food sacrificed to pagan gods, and loose sexual morality.” In other words, the purchase of food, gifts, decorations, and pagan idols needed to keep these feasts actually served to stimulate the economy. Since this activity created prosperity for everyone, social acceptance and advancement revolved around eating at these pagan tables and participating in the superstitious holidays surrounding them. To first century believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus), eating food that had been sacrificed (prepared) for the celebration of pagan gods was considered spiritual fornication. Consequently, it must be understood that, when God admonishes His people about “committing acts of fornication and eating things sacrificed to idols”, He is commanding us not to observe pagan holidays by eating at their feast tables.
In order to fully understand what Jezebel was teaching in the church of Thyatira, and how that spirit is manifesting in the church today, we must go back and explore Jezebel’s heritage. It was a history dominated by her father Ethbaal and the city gods of Sidon and Tyre.
Ethbaal means “with Baal”, and history records that he was both the king of Sidon and the high priest of Astarte (a.k.a. Asherah), who the Sidonians worshipped. In his quest to finance his pagan practices, he sought the lucrative markets of the seaport city of Tyre. To gain political control, Ethbaal kills King Pheles of Tyre, who was also his brother. Once he became king of Tyre, it appears that he also became high priest of Baal, who the Tyrians worshipped. At this point, Ethbaal not only brought Baal and Asherah together as father and mother gods of creation, but he brought money and politics together under the pantheistic roof of Baal and Asherah worship. This was the legacy that Jezebel inherited from her father, which is why the prophets of Baal and Asherah ate at her table (1 Kgs. 18:19). The Mystery of Babylon
It’s important to note that the integration of money and politics under the banner of Baal and Asherah worship did not originate in Phoenicia, but in Babylon. For example, Asherah is simply the Phoenician version of Babylon’s High-Mother-Goddess Ishtar. In Babylon she was known as “The Lightbringer” as well as “She who begets all.” She was considered the goddess of fertility, sensuality, love and war. Ancient Babylonian scriptures call her the “Light of the World”, “Torch of Heaven and Earth”, “Exalted Light of Heaven”, “Leader of Hosts”, “Opener of the Womb”, “Righteous Judge and Lawgiver”, “Guardian of the Law”, “Framer of All Decrees (Constitutions)”, and “Forgiver of Sins”. According to an old Babylonian text, Ishtar makes this declaration about herself:
“Bigger than the mountains am I.
The Empress of the gods am I.
The Queen of heaven am I.
The earth’s mistress am I.”
Ishtar, disguised as Ashtoreth, is the same “queen of heaven” that King Solomon’s wives seduced Israel with (1 Kgs. 11:4-6). Israel’s fornication with Ashtoreth (Asherah) played a significant role in dividing Solomon’s kingdom into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. Judah fell into pagan forms of worship to the “queen of heaven” in much the same manner that the church has today:
“The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven [Ishtar]; and they pour out libations to other gods in order to spite Me.” (Jeremiah 7:18 NAS)
In other words, Judah baked special cakes (buns) as part of their worship to the “queen of heaven” (Ishtar) in much the same manner that the church bakes Hot Cross buns to the fertility goddess “Eostre” during today’s Easter (Ishtar) celebration. It’s important to note that Israel observed the feasts of Baal and Asherah religiously under Ahab and Jezebel’s political rule. So when we see the prophets of Baal and Asherah eating at Jezebel’s table, it tells us that pagan beliefs played a central role in setting political policies.
Jezebel Controls Governments
This seducing Jezebel spirit has always used forms of Baal and Asherah worship to
control national politics. It is the same controlling and manipulating spirit that has influenced the political policies of every earthly government down to this very day. For example, in ancient Egypt, Ishtar manifested as Isis and was worshipped by her kings and pharaohs. These political leaders set government policy according to the values and superstitions of this pagan goddess.
In Greece, Ishtar became Athena (below), who was worshipped by the country as a whole, including her kings and government officials. In Rome, she was Minerva whose statue was displayed in government buildings, and whose religious doctrines played a significant role in establishing government laws and policies.
In Washington D.C. Ishtar appears as the freedom goddess atop the U.S. Capitol building (below). Her American name is “Columbia” and her political domain is the “District of Columbia” Unfortunately, her pagan doctrines continue to influence our laws and government policies in a way that is leading our nation and the nations of the world away from the commandments of God. Jezebel and the Mystery of Babylon
The spirit of Jezebel is obviously much older than her name sake “Queen Jezebel” of the Tanakh (Old Testament). This unholy principality is the ultimate seducing spirit, and her job is to teach doctrines of demons that are based on the deep things of Satan (1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:24). Jezebel’s strategy is to deceive the nations into sitting down at her table and to eat with the demon gods of Baal and Asherah. Jezebel is also the spirit behind the woman on the beast, and she is charged with propagating the financial, political, and religious Mysteries of Babylon that ultimately enslave the nations under the rule of antichrist. To this end, she has effectively seduced every earthly empire since Nimrod, and she is presently raising up Mystery Babylon of the last days before our very eyes without us even realizing it.
Jezebel in the Church
I think it is clear that the spirit of Jezebel did not originate in the church, but in the world. Unfortunately, most Christian leaders only address Jezebel’s surface manifestations of control, manipulation, rebellion, subversion, slander, gossip, claiming to be a prophetess, and so on. If they fail to expose the roots of this spiritual stronghold, they will never understand how she got into the church in the first place, or why she keeps coming back.
As long as Jezebel can keep us ignorant about the true foundations of the church, she can continue to wreak havoc among believers. For “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Pr. 11:3). This is why it is imperative that we expose the demonic doctrines of Jezebel and how they have come to permeate every area of today’s society. As we use the light of God’s Torah to expose the roots of the Jezebel spirit, we will not only rediscover our true foundation in Messiah, but we will also be equipped to throw Jezebel from the balcony of our lives. Only then will we receive authority to rule over the nations (Rev. 2:26-28).
Some of the fruit that will show in the life of a person controlled by this Jezebel:
Control ( Kicks against the authority of husband, tries to make him passive)
Domination and Manipulation
Seduction and beguiling
Finding fault with everything no matter how small
Hypocrisy and double mindedness
Pride and lust
Pretending ( in front of people you are nice and friendly but back at home the real you starts showing)
Gossip and slander
Speaking lies to your advantage
Beautifying the outward appearance but ignores the purity in heart and following Yeshua. (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
Breaking free from the grip of Jezebel is not always easy. You have to break all ties with her and confess your sins to YHWH. No more compromise! Areas in your life that are not yet submitted to YHWH should be submitted to Him. Finally, it is only by YHWH’s power and grace that you can loosen the grip of Jezebel. Trust Him and love and obey Him.