In giving Laura a well deserved break, I (Dave) have decided to give this a shot. This is part 2 of The Jezebel Jury. If you haven’t already read part 1, I encourage you to click here to read it first.
We saw in part 1 that out of all the traits of the Old Testament Jezebel, the one trait that the woman Jesus named Jezebel in Rev. 2:20 was teaching and promoting sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols. This was done in complete defiance of the only “burden” the apostles put on the church, after a divisive argument about circumcision (see Acts 15:28-29). So when it comes to the “spirit of Jezebel”, I believe it is critical to go with the definition Jesus gave in Revelation. So why do so many define it based on the domineering traits of the Old Testament Jezebel?
Many see the story of King Ahab as a weak man controlled by a domineering un-submissive wife that uses her husband’s powerful position for her purposes. This perception is then used as part of their definition of a spirit of Jezebel. The scripture isn’t specific about this, so it may or may not have been true. However, I believe this view tends to overlook the true character of Ahab. He was the the most evil King that Israel ever had, before he married Jezebel! It’s my opinion that it was this evil in his heart that drew him to the wickedness of Baal worship and its sexual nature.
1 Kings 16:30-33 NIV “30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. 31 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. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.”
Ahab not only did the evil of his fathers, but he then went on to marry Jezebel, a priestess of Baal worship. While it is highly likely that this marriage was also for political purposes between two kingdoms, which was customary, it is also highly likely that Ahab, consumed with lust, purposefully choose Jezebel because of her close connection to Baal worship and its sexual debauchery.
Verse 32 & 33 says that Ahab set up the alters for Baal worship in Israel. I am sure Jezebel was right there encouraging him, but I do not believe she manipulated him into it. It was already a strong deception in his heart and she was right by his side.
There is no question that Jezebel was evil (I mean she was killing as many of the Lords prophets as possible and let Elijah know he was next). It is said when two people are perfect for each other they are a “match made in heaven”. These two were a match made in hell. Her wickedness was only matched by his.
Then there is Naboth’s vineyard that Ahab wanted. Interestingly enough, Ahab didn’t just take it, he offered Naboth a better vineyard or payment. Naboth rightly said he could not, as it was the Lords inheritance. It was forbidden for him to give it away even to the King. Ahab went away angry and sulked, refusing to eat (1 Kings 21:4). Many use this to show how week Ahab was and Jezebel “wore the pants of the family”. I see this a little differently. I think Ahab was confronted with God’s word that he knew was true and didn’t know how to get past the dilemma and get what he wanted! That’s why he didn’t just take the vineyard. Jezebel in many ways is “standing by her man” here it seems. Verse 7 “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.’” Jezebel devised an evil plan to set up Naboth to be killed without implicating her or Ahab. Once Naboth was dead, Ahab took the vineyard.
Many use 1 Kings 21:25 as evidence that Jezebel manipulated Ahab. KJV “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” NIV uses the term “urged on”. Did Jezebel manipulate him? Possibly, but I believe this scripture shows the type of relationship they had. Have you ever seen when one person is complaining about something, how another will be in agreement with them and the two stir each other up into a frenzy? This is what I see happening here. The bottom line is Ahab is responsible for what he did to Israel with or without Jezebel!
So to me, it seems obvious that the “spirit of Jezebel” affecting the church is best defined as Jesus did in Rev. 2:20, “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” It is teaching that sexual immorality is okay and so is eating food sacrificed to idols. The church is urged not to allow that to be taught in their local fellowships. Can you see this happening in America today, at least the sexual sin portion?
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there is a spirit of control that can affect relationships as well, but I do not believe this should be considered the spirit of Jezebel (who was very domineering). In some cases this may be why some accuse others of having the “spirit of Jezebel”. Often those struggling with their own control issues will accuse others of the very thing of which they are guilty. This is an area to be careful with as well. Our natural flesh can have control issues. Often we are just dealing with our fleshly nature. However, if we refuse to allow God to deal with us in that area when He points it out to us, we can open a door for demonic activity in our lives. Controlling spirits can affect the church greatly. Have you seen it? Deacon-elder boards controlling the pastor and what he preaches; pastors trying to control the congregation and boards; a congregation member withholding their financial support if they don’t get what they want. I like how the book Conquering the Game of Control by Craig Green states it. There are three types of control. Manipulation, intimidation and domination. A manipulator can control a dominator. A dominator can control an intimidator and an intimidator can control a manipulator. It’s like playing rock paper scissors. The only way to win is to not play the game!
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