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. –Revelation 2:20-23
The following is a summary of chapter 1 from Jonas Clark’s Jezebel: Seducing Goddess of War (2004). It is a charismatic/prophetic view of what psychiatrists might label “borderline personality disorder” or “bipolar disorder.” I like this because it gives a spiritual perspective from the Bible and personal experience.
In the Old Testament, Queen Jezebel (d. 843 B.C.) appears in sections of Scripture spanning from 1 Kings 16 to 2 Kings 9. She was the archenemy of the Old Testament prophets, and most notably Elijah, who was their leader. Jezebel is clearly the most wicked woman mentioned in the Bible: she was a demon-possessed, power-hungry queen witch that was Hell-bent on destroying true prophets of God. What is interesting about Revelation 2:20-23 is that it seems to mention the spirit of Jezebel in mystical terms, as a potentially demonic force that can attack pastors in the church, mentioned as “My servants.” Mostly, this demonic being can operate through feministic women, but attributes of control and manipulation, can obviously be found in men, and so with men we can change the name of it, and simply call it an authoritarian “control spirit.” Some prefer to call it a “spirit of witchcraft,” because one of the primary functions of witches is that of bewitching or controlling people’s minds with spells. In some cases, I think using the word “witchcraft” is appropriate, but I think its only necessary to use that word when the occult is involved. Most of the time I personally don’t think occultism is involved with the spirit of Jezebel in churches. And I think if we use the word “witchcraft” too much, then we might begin to lose sight of the “control spirit” that we are trying to identify and resist. So let us learn about this spirit of Jezebel, which I have previously read of as a demon spirit in Richard Ing’s Spiritual Warfare (ch 3) and Francis Frangipane’s The Jezebel Spirit–“in order that satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes”–then we can “resist the devil, and he will flee from us” (2 Corinthians 2:11; James 4:7).
Is the Jezebel Spirit a Real Demon?
It might be easy to think there is no such thing as a demonic “spirit of Jezebel.” After all, there is nowhere in the Bible where someone says, “In the name of Jesus, I command the spirit of Jezebel to come out!” And also, I have never found any of the Catholic or Protestant saints doing it–yet. Perhaps the time when Bloody Mary (d. 1558) was persecuting John Knox and the Covenanters–it would fall into this category of the Jezebel spirit coming against the spirit of Elijah. But I believe whether we call it by this or that term, it becomes obvious that a supernatural power of evil is at work, especially when it comes to false or demonic prophecy. So often is this spirit characteristic of the behavior of a witch, that many deliverance ministers like to call it “the spirit of witchcraft,” and maybe they are right for doing that. If that is true, in Greek the python spirit of witchcraft was cast out by Paul (Acts 16:16-18)–an annoying spirit that is like a boa constrictor. It accurately captures the essence of what Queen Jezebel in the Bible was: she was a priestess of Baal–a demonic idol and false god–and practiced a religion of prostitution…in short, she was a pagan witch. For people to say, “That woman has a Jezebel spirit,” they are not merely implying that the woman is controlling or manipulative–although that seems to be the primary character trait; they are also subtly implying that she is either a witch–literally or figuratively. Spiritually speaking, witches are women that bewitch, enchant, and control people’s minds to do their bidding; whether the occult is involved or not, and properly speaking it should be if the word “witch” is used: but a CONTROLLING WOMAN is essentially what we are talking about.
But there are several additional attributes that have to be identified if we are going to tag the phrase “Jezebel spirit” onto it. And I personally believe that there is a Jezebel spirit at work in today’s churches; and it animates unregenerate women to attack and control true prophets of God. Just as it is acknowledged in Scripture that there is “the spirit of Elijah” (2 Kings 2:15; Luke 1:17)–so also, I think we should acknowledge there is the spirit of Jezebel, and I think it is reasonable to assume that spirit is mentioned in Revelation 2:20. Perhaps there was a real, literal woman named Jezebel being referred to in the church of Thyatira in that text. But I think its unlikely. Revelation is a highly symbolic, mystical, and prophetic book. The NIV Study Bible says the name Jezebel is an epithet (a disgraceful label) to describe the character of a literal false prophetess in the church of Thyatira. I think this is probably very likely. It would be like calling an authoritarian person Hitler. And in so doing, I think its also speaking about a spirit of Jezebel, especially with how “she calls herself a prophetess,” just like Queen Jezebel in the Old Testament. I think this is referring to a spiritual Jezebel, and is intentionally calling for Biblically literate people to remember the Jezebel in the Old Testament, as that evil woman who stood against Elijah and the prophets, and it issues a warning that this spirit is a present enemy of the Christian church, is in your midst, and attacks godly pastors and prophets, and all church leaders.
DEVIL, IDENTIFY YOURSELF!
ATTRIBUTES OF THE JEZEBEL SPIRIT
For the purpose of spiritual discernment of the Jezebel spirit in your life, these points may be helpful for you in how to respond to a person possessed or influenced by a Jezebel-like spirit. Following Elijah’s example of godly, male leadership and chutzpah is the best thing you can do.
1. Ruins, destroys, and makes your life miserable through controlling behavior (p. 6).
2. Preys on controllable people by isolating them from others with a strong will (p. 7).
3. Exploits or uses people to attain selfish goals (p. 7).
4. Causes broken homes, marriages, relationships, and churches (p. 7).
5. Targets saints, pastors, prophets, and evangelists:–and attacks them (pp. 7-8).
6. Seduction: Emotional, Verbal, and Even Sexual. With kind words, bribes (gifts with strings attached), insincere compliments, office politics, smooth sayings, flattery, even promiscuous sexual behavior, etc–all sorts of things to “butter you up” so she can control you or get you to do something for her (pp. 9-11).
7. Sends Annoying, Intimidating, and Unwelcome Messages. By mail, voicemail, email, presents, letters, cards, and human agents such as family, friends, and acquaintances. These messages are basically a combination of “seduction” and “strife” with the chief end of “control.” Lots of “I love you!” butter-up things, laced with “why don’t you ever…” (argumentative; also guilt-tripping and condemning), with the chief end of “come on down to…” (do this thing I want you to do). If you don’t comply or cooperate with her demands, then she will continue to annoy and abuse you with unwelcome communications. This spirit is nasty; and is like a childish, spoiled, bratty little girl, who pouts and throws a temper tantrum when she doesn’t get her way. Regardless of who she is, she needs to see a psychiatrist and get counseling; deliverance counseling from a respectable, decent pastor would help too. Respecting your own privacy is key. Moving away to a private residence, getting a P.O. Box and keeping it private, and new phone numbers and keeping them private are the best things you can do to maintain your peace of mind in a situation like this (pp. 11-12). Elijah respected his own privacy; one of the reasons Jezebel never succeeded in killing him was because he kept his residence private and secretive (1 Kings 19:1-8ff). If she curses you, then love her by blessing her behind closed doors; but stay away! (Luke 6:27-28).
8. Creates Fear to “Punish” You If You Don’t Agree. This can even produce anxiety disorders and panic attacks in you if its long and drawn out. In order to control you to do whatever it is she wants–no matter how petty–she will create an environment of guilt and intimidation: “If you don’t do this, then…” Anger, temper tantrum, she’ll talk bad about you, ruin your life, make you miserable, etc, etc. “Its not over till I say its over…” Fear of her anger exploding; and you’re walking on eggshells all the time, based on whether or not you do what she wants (pp. 12-13). 2 Timothy 1:7: “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
9. Creates confusion by making you obsess about her outlandish attacks–so you can’t think straight (p. 14). 1 Corinthians 14:33: “God is not the author of confusion but of peace.”
10. Power Hungry Control Freak. She wants to control everything: the local government, the business environment, the family’s free time, holidays, and all manner of church activities. Anything is okay “as long as she approves” (p. 16).
11. Personal Prophecy Used As a Means of Control. “The Lord says you shouldn’t marry him”; or “God says you should join my Bible study, and remain a faithful church member, then you can…”; “God says,” “God says,” “God says…” And her “prophecies,” dreams, visions, and words of knowledge are not allowed to be discerned, evaluated, and judged as it says in 1 Corinthians 14, 1 John 4, and other Scriptures. She comes off as a perfectionist elite prophetess. If you question her revelations, then its seen as doubt and unbelief. This lines up with Revelation 2:20-23 (pp. 16-17).
12. Keeps People from Getting Too Close to People She Controls: Including Suitors, Fiances, and Spouses. She might even say, “Why don’t you forgive me?” if you are avoiding her. But that’s not the issue; the issue might be YOU JUST DON’T WANT HER TO DESTROY YOUR MARRIAGE! A marriage-breaking spirit; sinister (pp. 18-19).
13. Hinders any truly godly Holy Spirit outpourings among people in the church; resistant to Spirit-filled worship; and to people operating at high levels of spirituality (p. 20).
14. A matriarchal feminist who emasculates men; and makes them into sissies, who have no backbone (p. 21).
15. She wants to probe your mind to know your weaknesses–and then exploit them by creating a false sense of security by confiding in her (p. 21).
16. She always makes herself come off as super-spiritual, or always more spiritual than others, with an attitude of perfectionism and elitism (pp. 22-23).
17. She uses put-downs and undermines the quality of your faith–instead of encouraging you to grow in your faith, she just condemns you and undermines your relationship with God–with a sort of “you’ll never amount to anything in the kingdom of God” attitude (pp. 23-24).
18. She feeds on personal information, and especially on emotional pains that people have, and then she emotionally abuses them–and this prevents people from growing in their faith (p. 24).
19. She is a backstabber: “She will smile at you, give you a big hug and kiss, and then turn around and let you have it when you’re not looking” (pp. 24-25).
20. She is a selfish thief: she will steal your blessings, at first by “buttering you up” (emotional seduction or manipulation)–and then using your blessings for her own selfish purposes (exploitation) (p. 25).
21. She is a gold digger: because she is selfish, she seeks men with money and influence; or she will politic and campaign to the end that the man in her life has more than others–but whether or not she succeeds is another story (p. 25).
22. She is politically correct, and hides her true colors, her evil intentions, by demonstrating a kind, polite public persona. “Like a chameleon, Jezebel quickly adapts and adjusts to her surroundings in order to maintain her camouflage” (p. 26). But she always has a hidden agenda, and like a dirty politician, is frequently involved in slick, manipulative lobbying for her own causes (pp. 26-27).
23. She likes to flatter and control church leaders like puppets (p. 28).
24. Where congregationalism is practiced (democratic church government), she prefers to vote for, and lobby on the church board, for hireling pastors whom she thinks are easy to control (pp. 29-30).
25. Jezebel spirits can move through corrupt pastors, who seduce women by counseling them alone, and by threatening and intimidating other church members, that if they leave the church, God will be displeased. Such pastors don’t preach holiness. Adultery and sex scandals usually result (pp. 30-32).
26. She “feels that she’s more capable of handling situations than you are” (p. 32); and so, she is possessive, domineering, and basically a usurper–someone who tries to steal your authority and put herself in charge. She is a radical feminist and a matriarch (pp. 32-33).
27. She is anti-authority, rebellious, and generally an unsubmissive wife (pp. 33-34).
28. If you correct or rebuke her, she will definitely retaliate, and not repent, confess, or make things right. She will fight, fight, fight to get her way (p. 34).
29. As a parent, she smothers her children, and is extremely bossy–and she basically ruins her kids childhoods by making them emotionally dull, and unhappy. “Misery loves company” – The American Heritage Dictionary of Cultural Literacy says this phrase means: “People who are unhappy may get some consolation from knowing that others are unhappy too.” Jezebel likes to SPREAD THE MISERY! (pp. 35-38).
30. As with 2 Kings 9:30, Jezebel painted her face with the goal of seducing Jehu, a known enemy. She failed however, as Jehu called for her death. A Jezebel spirit, when operating through a woman, can cause thoughts of sexual and emotional seduction, flattery, and vain compliments:–with the chief end of getting her way, being in control of others, and even over other men who would naturally take charge (pp. 38-39).
31. Jezebel likes to make her public face look nice and kind and friendly so that she can hide how truly nasty, controlling, and mean-spirited she is–and so, she orders her little “servants” around to do her social dirty work for her (or him); and this is anything but godly (p. 39). It reminds me of Peppermint Patty from the Charlie Brown cartoons; but Jezebel is 100x worse than that.