Understanding the Jezebel Spirit -
The Depths of Satan
In the second chapter of the book of Revelation, contained within God's admonishments to the church of Thyatira, we are confronted with a spiritual error that was polluting what was a very good church.
Jesus says to this church - “I know your works, and charity, and service, and faith, and your patience, and your works, and the last to be more than the first” (Verse 19).
The good fruits of this church would increase as time progresses, yet this church is admonished in verse twenty for “tolerating” a woman called Jezebel.
“Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.”
Jezebel was probably not her real name, but here this individual is called by a name that is designed to illustrate the character of the woman. God is associating her with the Jezebel of the Old Testament as a means of identifying her and the spirit she is harboring with a biblical villainess. In the Scriptures the name Jezebel is associated with “whoredoms and witchcrafts” (II Kings 9:22).
In verse 24 of Revelation two, Jesus mentions the doctrine she and her followers are promoting and likens it to “The depths of Satan.” I can imagine the shock and consternation of this good church upon hearing that they are permitting “the depths of Satan” to operate within their congregation. I am sure that any obvious errors would have been discerned and eliminated by these faithful followers of Christ; but the point is that the errors that had been embraced by so many members of this church were not discerned, even though they were so evil and contradictory to God’s word.
This is scary. How could something so satanic be operating undiscerned among so many believers? This should give us all something to ponder, and as the admonishments to the seven churches in Revelation were designed to apply not only to that age, but also to the ages to come, including our generation, we need to put ourselves among that thriving church of Thyatira and strive to understand what this spirit of Jezebel really is and how it operates in the church to deceive God’s people.
In order to accomplish this, we are going to take a look at that first Jezebel. She is introduced to us in I Kings 16:31. Ahab, who was king of Israel at the time was an evil king operating in gross apostasy. He was not allowing himself to be led by God’s word and blatantly disobeyed His commandments including the Lord’s admonishment not to marry a foreign wife. He married Jezebel, a Phoenician, who led him into Baal worship and we are told in verses thirty and thirty-three, that Ahab “did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him.”
So we see through this example that the spirit of Jezebel is brought into the church initially through apostate leadership; a leadership that does not regard God’s word as the final authority. Whenever the doctrines, interpretations or opinions of men are considered equal to or regarded above the word of God the church is in apostasy, or on its way. It is through the doors of apostasy that Jezebel makes her entrance into the church.
If God’s people do not know the word of God for themselves, or check what they are being taught by church leadership with the word, then they are candidates for deception. Unfortunately, many Christians do not study the word for themselves and therefore they can be pre-programmed by Jezebel influenced leadership. Apparently this was the case with Thyatira and why the teachings of this Jezebelian teacher were being tolerated. The people were being deceived and they did not know it, because they had allowed themselves to drift from wholly following the word of God to be influenced by the teachings of men.
I had a prophetic dream over twenty years ago and I still recall it as vividly today as when I first received it. In this dream I saw two men sitting at a table. Then one of the men produced a large pizza out of his mouth and handed it to the other man to eat. That was the dream. Now would you eat that pizza knowing where it came from? Yuck, no; yet that is what we are eating, when we take all of our teachings that are manufactured from the mouth of men and do not consult the word of God for ourselves. We are eating spiritual fast food and we will eventually pay for the lack of nutrients found in that man inspired substance.
So what we see from I Kings 16, Jezebel led the people into Baal worship, therefore the motive of this spirit is to move God’s people away from the worship of the one true God of Israel to a false god. This would be the highest form of blasphemy that anyone could commit and could be described as “The depths of Satan.” Apparently this shift in allegiance was beginning to operate in the church of Thyatira undetected because of Jezebel’s subtle methods of operation. It is vital for us to understand those methods in order to be delivered from the deceptions of this spirit.
Obviously today this spirit isn’t blatantly telling God’s people, “Hey, let’s go worship Baal.” We’d all catch on pretty quickly. The deception is skillfully camouflaged. This spirit operates in the church today to subtly erode allegiance to a pure, Biblical Christianity and seeks to replace it with a counterfeit version. The goal of this spirit is to eventually remove the Cross, dependence upon the atonement of Jesus with “another gospel.” The Apostles warned us of the intrusion of this spirit.
The Apostle Paul says in 11 Corinthians 11:3 and 4, But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. That simplicity is contained within John 3:16. – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by Me.
No one can be saved without the atonement, without faith in the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the dead. The atonement is denied whenever we are deceived into believing that Jesus is only one of many ways to God the Father and not the only way.
Paul continues. For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.
Eve was beguiled by Satan’s subtle deception, and the techniques that the Jezebel spirit uses are the same delusions and temptations that the devil used in Eden and attempted to use on our Lord in His wilderness temptation described in the fourth chapter of Matthew.
The Jezebel spirit is the spirit of Satan in disguise. This spirit is packaged and marketed to be a counterfeit bride of Christ to function in the church to lead God’s people into another gospel, and cause them to operate in opposition to the word of God.
So far we have learned that Jezebel’s motive is to destroy the church by shifting allegiance from the absolute truth of the Gospel to another version of it. The Jezebel spirit hates absolutes.
Now we are going to examine the strategies she uses for accomplishing her goals, and to do so we must return to Eden and take our place with Eve as she listens to the devil’s sales pitch.
We can see him in Genesis 3:1 as he appears to her masquerading as the very first theologian; and at the same time we observe his Jezebel trainee hiding in the bushes preparing to take notes on what is about to transpire.
We hear the devil begin the conversation by getting Eve to focus on something that God doesn’t really want her to dwell upon. Satan begins by asking her a question.
“Yes, has God said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:” Eve replies, “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, we shall not eat of it, neither shall we touch it, or we will die.”
The devil laughs, and shakes his head, “Oh, noooooo. You will not surely die.”
Now let’s pause a moment to consider what has just transpired. The devil has undermined the authority of God’s word. God makes an absolute declaration – you will die – and the devil contradicts it. Likewise, demonically influenced teachers will do the same.
We observe the Jezebel trainee writing in her notebook zealously. - “Distract from God’s objectives and undermine the authority of His word.”
The devil looks over at her as if to say, “You are doing very well, my dear, but there’s more.”
The Jezebel pauses to think, then brightens and begins to write again – “Teach them that there will be no consequences for their disobedience. Tell them that God does not punish and remove all fear of God – eliminating moral restraints.”
The devil smiles. She’s got it. Then he turns back to face Eve again. Now that the foundation has been laid, he is ready to proceed to part two of his deception.
“Evie, God knows that the day you eat from this tree, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing the difference between good and evil.”
We hear the leaves rustle in the bushes where the Jezebel is hiding as she stirs with excitement.
“Oh, this is good,” she exclaims to herself as she writes. – “Replace a humble child-like dependence upon God with self-reliance. Get them to focus on the exaltation of self and their own desires.” She stops to think a moment then adds, “Make them discontent with what God desires them to be. – substitute a true spirituality with materialism.”
She knows her boss is going to give her an “A” on that one.
Once the seeds of discontent have been planted, all the devil had to do next was step back and watch as Eve’s own lust began to take her over. We are shown from James 1:14 that – "Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
We can see the Apostle John nodding his head in agreement and he tells us in the second chapter of his first epistle verses fifteen and sixteen to – “Love not the world, neither the things in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Keeping James’ and John’s instructions in mind, we return to our place with Eve as she gazes upon the tree that now symbolically represents all that which is in opposition to the word of God.
God shows us what was transpiring in Eve’s being as we read in Genesis 3:6 - And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit of it, and did eat, and gave it also to her husband with her, and he did eat.
Here we see the lust of the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life operating simultaneously to strip her of her innocence and remove her from her position of intimacy with the Lord.
We observe the Jezebel watching from her place in the shrubbery. “My, my, that was easy,” she exclaims.
Now that her training was complete and she’d earned her degree, she is now ready to make her entrance through the doors of God’s church. Are you going to be ready for her? Is she already there? Let’s see.
We return to Thyatira where this spirit has already gained a foothold promoting herself as a prophetess.
We read in verse twenty that “She calls herself a prophetess.” She’s got this thing for the status of titles. She is a self-appointed prophetess, claiming an intimacy with God that is a façade. This is a carnal, religious spirit operating with a veneer of spirituality. Again, because so many Christians do not consult the word for themselves, and don’t have a concept of what true Biblical Christianity is supposed to be as it was taught by the original apostles of our Lord, they can quickly succumb to this spirit’s deceptions.
Verse twenty shows us that her purpose is to “teach and seduce” the Lord’s servants to “commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols.”
We can see the Jezebel spirit sitting in a pew pouring through her notes. We watch her make this notation – “get them to compromise with the world.”
The Jezebel spirit is a spirit of compromise. She subtly blurs the contrast between God’s
brilliant white absolutes and the devil’s obvious darkness with an easy gray road in-between.
I was visiting a church in California years ago. The young Jezebel influenced pastor was making fun of a book someone had given him called “What God Hates.” This pastor’s take on it was that God doesn’t hate anything. God’s word tells us plainly that there are many things He hates. Among them are the deeds of the Nicolaitans mentioned in Revelation 2:6. According to the historian Mosheim, the Nicolaitans were the Gnostics. Their doctrine also abhorred absolutes. They also viewed themselves as superior to the laity claiming a higher spiritual knowledge which was a farce as there is no knowledge higher than what can be found in Jesus Christ, in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
Another Jezebel influenced pastor I met told me and I quote – “We don’t have to obey God anymore, that’s Old Testament.”
Apparently Ananias and Sapphira believed the same lie and they were struck dead at the Apostle Peter’s feet for lying to the Holy Spirit. Check out Acts chapter five, verses one through ten.
One of the evangelical pastors I know was doing a sermon based on a book about the Prodigal son. He had the author’s name emblazoned on a screen above the pulpit with the title of the book. In the course of the sermon the pastor mentioned in an off-handed way that this author did not believe in the atonement. This supposedly “Christian” author that this pastor was promoting would be consider a heretic by our Lord and His apostles. The Jezebel spirit eagerly promotes heretics, yet this pastor’s mind was obviously veiled by this spirit and could not see what he was doing. If a dangerous theological cobra is slithering through the aisles of your church, you don’t entertain it, you kill it before it has a chance to destroy someone’s faith through its deceptions.
These are just examples of how the Jezebel spirit is slithering its way into today’s church.
Remember one of Jezebel’s tactics is to remove fear of God and to teach that He does not punish for sin, or that we will not reap the consequences of continuous, blatant sin. As a result her followers are prone to sexual sin, certain sexual sins become accepted in the church and we find ourselves “eating things sacrificed to idols,” that is, we are indulging in that which God’s word tells us to avoid for our good.
It has always been a characteristic of God’s true priests to put a difference between what is clean and unclean. God has never changed this requirement for the leaders of His church. God’s judgments were vented upon ancient Israel because her leadership came under the influence of this same “spirit of whoredoms” mentioned in Hosea 4:12, and 5:4, and reaped the violent consequences of their disobedience. This is what the book of Revelation shows us, that this pattern will repeat with the same consequences prior to the Lord’s return. And this is why it is so important that we learn to turn ourselves away from Jezebel’s enticements and be that victorious Philadelphian remnant that is promised to be kept from the hour of God’s judgments in Revelation 3:10.
In Revelation 2:21 God says, “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” God has warned her to repent. This word repent does not exist in Jezebel’s theology. She does not want to repent, therefore she does not teach it. Biblical repentance as it was taught by our founding apostles requires a turning from sin.
She refuses to repent and God says this –"Behold I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searches the reigns and the hearts: and I will give to every one of you according to your works.” In other words, God is going to make them reap what they have sown and their own backslidings will eventually come upon them for their correction.
This is exactly what the Jezebel spirit does not want you to know. She teaches that are no consequences for sin and God does not punish or chasten, so when God’s chastening arrives, her followers become disillusioned with the version of God she has taught them and they fall away from the faith just as the devil has engineered it.
God corrects His children as a loving Father, but He does correct. Hebrews twelve verses four through ten reminds us and Jezebel’s followers, that "You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as unto children, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of Him: For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?
But if you are without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then you are bastards, (illegitimate) and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness."
Not every bad thing that happens to us is the result of personal sin, but everything that happens to us works for the benefit of those who love God and are the called according to His purpose, as we are assured in Romans 8:28.
The Jezebel spirit wants your vineyard, your anointing. She wants to destroy a genuine intimate relationship with God. She wants to lift you up, to cast you down. She wants to substitute a desire for the spiritual things of God with a lust for wealth and materialism. This spirit is of the world and loves the world and she wants her followers to be conformed to her image and not the image of the Christ who walks above the waters of this world.
The cross and the atonement are downplayed in her theology, because the cross is accessed by humility and repentance. The Jezebel spirit is not a humble spirit. God’s grace is subjugated by charismatic works. Note her prophets stand before God trying to justify themselves before Him by their works in Matthew chapter seven, “Haven’t we cast out devils in your name and done many wonderful works?” and Jesus tells them that He has never known them in verse twenty-three. They have never been saved, because the need for atonement, the humble continuous submission to God’s plan of salvation, which eventually produces fruits of holiness in a genuine believer, had been eroded from their theology, and they are told by our Lord that they have been practicing lawlessness. This is why in Matthew chapter twenty-four, Jesus warned of false prophets that would be so deceptive that they could, if possible deceive even God’s elect. This should be a wakeup call for all of us and this shows us the extent of the deception that is occurring in these latter days and why it is so important to check out the theology of anyone who is being exalted in the body of Christ.
The Garden of Eden has been replaced by a wilderness because of man’s willingness to follow the devil’s instructions above the word of God. We see the walls of this church in Thyatira dissolve around us and we find ourselves standing in that wilderness, but we are not alone. Jesus is with us and we are about to learn how to resist the devil’s and Jezebel’s temptations by following our Lord’s example.
The devil comes to us in our need, we are hungry, or maybe we need money or we are lonely and the devil says to us, “Gratify that need.”
We hear our Lord reply, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." And that word instructs us not to follow the devil’s advice, the word of God must be the final authority of our lives.
We find ourselves standing with Jesus upon a great height and we hear the devil challenging us to jump because we are the children of God and no harm will come to us if we commit this sin of presumption. And we hear our Lord say, we shall not tempt the Lord our God - or we can reap the consequences of violating God’s natural laws of gravity and those things in His word that He has ordained for us to follow for our protection.
And from this pinnacle we are shown all the kingdoms of the world, kingdoms of status, knowledge, wealth, prestige, fame and materialism. And we realize that all these things our flesh desires can be ours if we merely abandon our place by Jesus’ side. This time we answer with our Lord, “Get away from me Satan, for we will worship our God alone.”
We watch the gold and the silver kingdoms of idolatry the devil has promised vanish into the sand like the temporal illusions they are. Then we turn and follow our Lord as He leads us back into the wilderness of this life. We know this journey is hard, but we know where He is leading us, and we can see the verdant, green hills of eternity waiting for us in the distance.
Copyright 2014 by H.D. Shively