Overcoming the spirit of Jezebel
In the final book in the New Testament, God commends the good and faithful church in Thyatira, but rebukes it for tolerating “that woman Jezebel”. It appears God is talking about a long-dead queen called Jezebel from the Old Testament. In reality, He is referring to the same destructive spiritual influences that queen Jezebel brought on God’s kingdom that also plagued the Thyatira church. The queen is of course, no longer around, but the spiritual powers that she worshipped are. God called their teachings the “deep things of Satan”.
Revelation 2:19-20,24-25 ESV “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols… But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan…
Who was Jezebel
First, let us look at the Biblical account of queen Jezebel so as to understand the “deep things of Satan” that influenced her behaviour.
1. Jezebel’s family served a goddess of sexuality and war
Before Jezebel’s father became king of the Sidonians, he served as a priest for Astarte (also known as Ashtoreth), a pagan goddess of sexuality and war. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:20 that pagan worship is to demons and not to God. Thus, Jezebel’s family worshipped and bowed down to a demon that promotes sexual immorality, conflict, and hostility. This demon continues to operate today. For ease of reference, let us call this goddess demon, the spirit of Jezebel.
1 Kings 16:30-31 ESV And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him… he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him.
1 Corinthians 10:20 ESV No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.
2. The same demon has corrupted other powerful men of God
Earlier in history, another king was led by his pagan wives to go after the same demon worshipped by Jezebel. King Solomon was no ordinary man, he was given supernatural wisdom and great blessings from God. Yet he too fell under impure spiritual influences from the “deep things of Satan” and did what was evil in God’s eyes. The spirit of Jezebel predominantly uses women to influence and corrupt men. The more powerful and influential the man, the better.
1 Kings 11:1-2,4-6,11 ESV Now King Solomon loved many foreign women… from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love… For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians…. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant.
3. Jezebel went against God’s people and His commandments
Queen Jezebel may have lived amongst God’s people, but it is clear that she never submitted to God Himself. We can see this by the 850 pagan prophets she invited to join her at meals and the pagan altars she encouraged his husband to build. Moreover, she even arranged to kill God’s prophets (although this did not go according to plan, because God saved 100 prophets, plus the prophet Elijah.) The spirit of Jezebel aims to conduct war against God’s kingdom on earth.
1 Kings 18:19 ESV Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.
1 Kings 16:32-33 ESV He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
1 Kings 18:4 ESV … Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord…
4. Jezebel participated in witchcraft
Queen Jezebel also dabbled in witchcraft and sorcery. Her prophets called upon “gods” (demons) for help and practiced blood sacrifices by cutting themselves.
2 Kings 9:22 ESV And when Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” He answered, “What peace can there be, so long as the whorings and the sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?”
1 Kings 18:28 ESV And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them.
5. Jezebel manipulated people to get her way
Queen Jezebel did not let anything get in her way, including the murder of innocent people. She controlled her husband’s decisions and acted with immunity on his behalf. She got people to lie on her behalf. By this, we see that the spirit of Jezebel promotes selfish ambition, lying, scheming and manipulation.
1 Kings 21:7-10 ESV And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. And she wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. And set two worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.”
1 Kings 21:14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.”
6. Jezebel also used charm
When the commander Jehu came to kill her, queen Jezebel tried to charm him with a suggestion of peace. This did not work on Jehu. In the end, he got her own court officials to throw her down to her death. The spirit of Jezebel will twist and turn things to its advantage. Like Jehu, we must stand firm against it.
2 Kings 9:30-31 ESV When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it. And she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out of the window. And as Jehu entered the gate, she said, “Is it peace, you Zimri, murderer of your master?”
The influence of the spirit of Jezebel today
The spirit of Jezebel is still on the prowl today, looking for someone to devour. It is divisive and specialises in using people to oppress other people, usually men. We must learn to resist such spiritual influences.
1 Peter 5:8-9 ESV Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith…
Most times, we may not even be aware we have been under the influence of a Jezebel spirit because it has also afflicted many families. Here are some typical traits of someone who is under the influence of the spirit of Jezebel, as observed through numerous people who have been afflicted by it.
- The person, usually a woman, will have a habit of manipulating others to get her own way.
- She will try to position herself as a “matriarch” or “big sister” or manoeuvre into any role of power, responsibility, and influence.
- She typically seeks to control people through family ties, emotional blackmail and relationship politics, and seduce people with her flattery, charm, beauty or sex.
- An attention seeker, she is prone to subtle or outright bragging and enjoys being revered.
- She is quick to point out and gossip about others’ shortcomings.
- Her words and conversations can be quite overwhelming or condemning.
- She will position herself as an innocent victim. Everyone else is at fault.
- To anyone who tries to stop or correct her, she can retaliate with aggressive or emotional outbursts.
- Such a person tends to create divisions, rather than foster joy, hope, and peace.
The effects on those around her
- There is little peace around a person who is enslaved to a spirit of Jezebel (2 Kings 9:22).
- People feel drained and tired by her emotions or manipulation. We can become enslaved to her moods; it’s a good day when she’s in a good mood and a bad one when she’s not.
The effects on male figures in her family
- She is skilled at influencing, manipulating or controlling men, who eventually “lose their voice” and become quiet and reserved. Trapped in silent frustration, these men may be mistaken for being “laid back”. The truth is that they have been overcome and subdued by a Jezebel spirit operating through a woman.
- She will exalt herself as an under-appreciated “saviour“ of the family and speak patronisingly about other family members.
- A wife who is under its influence will eventually take over as head of the household. She may even misquote her husband in order to get her way.
- She can be harsh on her own children and will use them to attain her objectives. They tend to want to rebel because of her overpowering influence.
- She is probably quite effective in running the household.
The effects on her church community
- A person who is under the influence of a Jezebel spirit is unlikely to truly submit to God or church authority.
- She will aim to hold onto or influence spiritual leadership,and subtly malign or challenge other spiritual leaders if she gets the chance. She is more interested in having people follow her than Jesus.
- If given the chance, she may proclaim false prophecies over the church and its leadership or introduce new age and witchcraft elements into worship.
- She may, though not always, lure church ministers into considering and committing adultery with her.
Here is how someone who’s been afflicted by the spirit of Jezebel may sound like.
1. Family of Jezebel influenced wives/mothers
“I live with a woman whose emotional or aggressive tirades I’m nervous to set off. Peace at home only lasts because I agree to all that she wants. I need to keep my mouth shut. Otherwise, there will be some conflict or hostility. It seems she enjoys subtly playing family members against one another. I’m not always sure when she is telling the truth or exaggerating something to gain sympathy. She says she loves me and yet she will openly tell people my inadequacies. She is hard to please but denies it. She makes time to look good in front of others, and expects me to keep up appearances too. She is quite controlling and will remind me how much she has done for me. Even when she gives me advice, I can’t help but feel it’s more about her own views than mine. I find our relationship draining and just want to escape at times.”
2. Jezebel influenced women (starting from pain and wound)
“I have experienced deep heartbreak in my relationships with men and have promised myself to never let any man control me. I have come to believe that all men are stupid or bad, and that I can’t trust anyone. It is better to attack first than to be hurt. On the other hand, I like the attention I get from men and may use men or my sexuality to gain power and personal satisfaction. It is not easy or even possible for me to really trust God at this stage.”
3. Jezebel influenced women (starting from witchcraft)
“I believe there are things in the unseen that I can use to influence people and my future. I simply want to fulfil my ambitions, become an influential force and secure love. Things like fortune telling, psychic readings or ouija boards are harmless. I might just get lucky to receive the right advice or prediction. Why not get the best advantage over people if possible? It’s respectable to be a master in the magic arts; look at Harry Potter.”
4. Friends of Jezebel influenced women
“My friend tells me she wants the best for me. She is charming and caring. She seems to know a lot and has an opinion on everything. It’s almost as if I can hear her voice inside my head sometimes. I find myself compelled to consult her first before I make any decision. Recently, I have felt a bit guilty. She has been unhappy that I haven’t shown her enough gratitude.”
How to overcome the spirit of Jezebel
Praise God that Jesus has defeated the work of all spiritual powers and demons! We can rejoice that the Holy Spirit who in us is greater than the spirits in this world. We just need to stand firm in our faith and not be shaken.
1 John 3:8 ESV … The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
1 John 4:4 ESV Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
There are first a few steps we must take to confront and get rid of the spirit of Jezebel.
> For the person under the influence of the spirit of Jezebel
The following confessions and repentance prayers should be done in agreement with at least one other faithful follower of Jesus Christ because when two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name, He will be in our midst with us. Any God-honouring prayer done in agreement by God’s children will be heard and answered in heaven. See Confessing to receive freedom.
Matthew 18:19-20 ESV Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
1. Submit our hearts to God
Christians are a prime target of the spirit of Jezebel because it seeks to do war against God’s kingdom from within it. It will exert the greatest influence on Christians whose hearts are only partially submitted to God.
As James 4:7 says, we need to submit fully to God before we can resist any spirit from this world effectively. God is the higher and ultimate Authority, and we would be foolish not to turn to Him for His protection and coverage. This is why Jesus died; to pay the price for our freedom. He is good and will never leave or abandon us.
James 4:7 ESV Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
2. Repent of all footholds
Next, we need to repent to God in order to remove all footholds that the spirit of Jezebel uses to enter and rule our lives. This includes any witchcraft that we have participated in, admiration for highly controlling dominant women, judgment or hatred towards men, ungodly inner vows (self-promises), bitterness and unforgiveness towards certain people etc. This will also involve removing idolatrous, mystical or witchcraft objects from our possession. If we recognise that we have allowed the spirit to use us to oppress, condemn, hurt, manipulate and curse others, particularly Christians, we should also go to God and ask Him for forgiveness.
Revelation 2:20,22 ESV But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel… and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,
3. Break ungodly soul ties
We ought to then break ungodly soul ties with all people and spiritual influences that lead us into witchcraft or to behave like a mini queen Jezebel. See Ungodly soul ties must be cut.
2 Corinthians 6:14,16 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
4. Command the spirit to leave
After we have removed all footholds of the spirit of Jezebel, we can then command the spirit to leave us in Jesus’ name and invite the Holy Spirit to come cleanse us.
Mark 16:16-17 ESV Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons;
5. Turn away from the old Jezebel-led ways
Now, the journey ahead will require discipline to resist all temptations from the spirit of Jezebel to go back to our old ways. We may have cast the demon out of our lives but it will still roam around trying to bring more havoc if we allow it. This cannot happen as long as we submit to God, keep our conscience clear and obey the Holy Spirit. Victory is wonderfully freeing and joyful.
Luke 11:24-25 ESV “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
We must renew our minds by reading the Bible and check that our hearts are truly submitted to God. We need to make a conscious effort to move away from bitterness and manipulation to kindness, compassion, and tenderheartedness. For this to happen, we must lean on the Holy Spirit.
In the past, we enjoyed a false sense of power from “being in charge” and influencing others. Now, we must resist that temptation and submit to God as the true Master of our lives. Cry out and repent to Jesus whenever we feel like our old ungodly patterns are revisiting us. Ask Him for help and He will answer us. Additionally, it is advisable to fast regularly every week and submit our fleshly appetites to the Holy Spirit as we study God’s Word. Our Heavenly Father is loving, kind, gentle and compassionate, He is worthy of our love in return.
Ephesians 4:27 ESV … give no opportunity to the devil.
Ephesians 4:28-32 ESV Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
> For those who spend time with Jezebel influenced people
First, let us rejoice that the Holy Spirit who lives in us is greater than the spirits in the world.
1 John 4:4 ESV Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
There may be some Jezebel influenced people, such as people who do not know Jesus as their Saviour, we will just have to tolerate or avoid. It is not wise to try to cast the spirit of Jezebel out of people without their free will. They too have to first submit to God and invite Jesus to save them and deliver them from their demon/s. Otherwise, any freedom they experience will be temporary and meaningless, leaving them in a worse state than before.
1. Pray for wisdom and protection beforehand
We do not fend off the spirit of Jezebel through our own human logic or strength, but by God’s powerful and mighty hand. Let us first start off with a clear conscience by confessing our own sins, and then pray for wisdom and for protection against the spirit that operates through other people.
Psalm 32:5,7 … I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone… For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.
2. Bind and silence the spirit on site
When we are in the presence of a Jezebel-influenced person, we can discretely pray under our breath to bind the work of the spirit of Jezebel against us and silence it in Jesus’ name. This should help make the person less manipulative.
Matthew 18:18 ESV Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
3. Stand firm against ungodly influence, manipulation and twisted words
There is always the temptation to fight back against Jezebel-led people but this will only mean that we will easily be manipulated by the demon’s tactics. At times, the demon will put words into oppressed people’s mouths, and they will say things they don’t really mean. As long as we keep this in mind, we can have a clearer understanding of what is really going on and not be swayed so easily. Through wisdom inspired by the Holy Spirit, we can choose to respond peaceably, gently, reasonably, and sincerely, even to our enemies.
James 3:17-18 ESV But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
God knows our distress and will keep us safe as we persevere and wait on His guidance.
Psalm 31:6 ESV I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord. I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
4. Test all prophecies
Women with the spirit of Jezebel may also practice “spiritual gifts” that have been corrupted by the “deep things of Satan”. Some examples being the gifts of discernment, tongues, and prophecy. The Bible tells us to always test all spiritual matters and abstain from all forms of evil.
1 John 4:1-3 ESV Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God…
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 ESV Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
5. Pray to revoke all ungodly words
As mentioned earlier, Jezebel-led people may say things under the influence of the spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit will guide us to speak truth, love, hope, and peace to others, the spirit of Jezebel will use people to do the opposite. It will use half-truths and words that hurt, confuse, or attack us. We may feel sad, guilty, unworthy, anxious or doubtful of our identity and God’s love for us as a result. We should, therefore, pray to revoke all ungodly words spoken over us after any conversation with any Jezebel-led person.
John 16:13 ESV When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Ephesians 4:29 ESV Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear
James 1:26 ESV If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
6. Find a time to lovingly confront and point to Jesus
Most women who are under the influence of the spirit of Jezebel are oblivious to how their destructive and unloving behaviours are, primarily because they operate through fear and control, not love. Fear blinds us and prevents us from seeing things objectively.
Deep inside them, they may have a vague idea that their behaviour is harmful but they may feel like they know no other way – perhaps they have had poor role models or believed in lies that God will not redeem them. They might have learnt that relationships are all about transactions, lies, control or bait and switch – and never encountered Christlike love before.
As followers of Christ, we are called to be the ones who loving confront, counsel and encourage them to repent and receive salvation from Jesus. This is our “holy calling”. Every person, no matter how oppressive, mean or manipulative, deserves to hear about the good news of Jesus Christ and experience a glimpse of His love through us. Let us not forget that Jesus said that He did not “come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” They may choose not to be saved, but at least, we have honoured Jesus by sharing His good news.
2 Timothy 1:8 ESV Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord… but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
Luke 5:31-32 ESV And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
On the other hand, there is much rejoicing for those who do turn to Jesus. As a start, we need to lead them in the steps of confessions and repentance listed above. Then they will need follow-up and discipleship to learn the true ways of love through Jesus. One day, they may also witness to other people who are oppressed by the spirit of Jezebel and share their testimony of how a friend helped them get set free in Jesus’ name.
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