Previously we have looked at Ahab and Elijah, and we have touched on Jezebel. Before we leave this part of the Scriptures we need to examine also the nature of Ahab’s wife, Jezebel. If there is a name more tied to infamy than any other, within the pages of our Bibles, it would be that of Jezebel. Jezebel makes her appearance in the book of First Kings as the wife of Ahab. Her infamy arises from the contest between her prophets and priests with the Prophet Elijah. After her demise in Second Kings, her name is only used one more time in the whole of the Bible, it arises in the second chapter of Revelation.
Her name is used as a disparaging label, applied to an influential woman in the Church at Thyatira. This use comes as a slap in the face. The original Jezebel was a truly wicked woman, who used the appearance of religion to manipulate and deceive those around her. It needs to be understood that ‘Baal’ worship was seductive to the Israelites of her day. Contrary to common misunderstanding, Baal Worship was a close counterfeit to Judaism. Even the name ‘Baal’, was deceptive. For in their language Baal means Lord, so if they worshiped Baal, they were worshiping the Lord. With Priests and Prophets involved, it was difficult to tell the difference. It looked respectable and authentic on the surface. But pull back a few layers and it was corrupt to the core.
True faith was based on God who had revealed Himself through the Scriptures. However, in a world where very few read and there were very few copies of the Scriptures, most people were dependent on the Prophets and Priests to guide them in the way of the Lord. But these men were false shepherds who did not search the Scriptures, rather they chose to endorse sinful practices and convinced people that their desires were good and they should serve the passions of their hearts.
Often their advice and messages were pleasant to hear and very encouraging. So much so they’re described as ‘ear ticklers’. As one person recently said to me, “They pour honey in people’s ears and tell them that they are nice people.” Their messages were uplifting but were without substance or godly guidance or heartfelt warning.
In coming back to Revelation we need to look at the Scripture’s damning words for Thyatira’s own Jezebel.
Jezebel exists in a Church that is renowned for its hard work and generosity. It put on a good show of loving the Lord and believed that they were believers. Yet the Church was being driven by an influential woman, who had no standards in herself and encouraged others to satisfy their desires. Not only did she encourage others in sin, but it also seems she was herself an adulteress. While there is no doubt that her ‘adultery’ was sexual, we should also remember that duplicity of spirit, and serving both God and self-interests is ‘spiritual adultery’.
Theologians describe this Jezebel as being Antinomian. This is a person who emphasizes the grace and love of God and rejects the notion that God requires us to live holy lives.
We exist in an age where the ‘Jezebel spirit’ is rampant. It is seen in Churches that put on a good show but have not the concept of discipleship and place little importance in the teaching and preaching of the Scriptures. They are Churches where human passions are excused and those who desire to honor God through prayer worship and the study of Scripture are scoffed at and are often maligned with frivolous and untruthful accusations.
God has a process for dealing with the Jezebels that exist in His Church. First He gives them time to repent, should they not turn to Him, He will deal harshly with them. God’s desire for those who are in Churches infected with the Jezebel spirit, is to be faithful and persevere. Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord, and it is not by might, nor by power, but by God’s Spirit that these difficult times are overcome. The one who is faithful and overcomes receives the great and wonderful promises of God given throughout the Bible.