Discerning the Jezebel Spirit in Church and Overcoming it
By Ron Phillips in Charisma Magazine (a monthly charismatic Christian magazine)
Spirit of Jezebel (Control) (Revelation 2:18-20, 26)
A war goes on in today’s church, and the battle lines are drawn. One of the most powerful spirits at work in this ongoing battle is the spirit of Jezebel or control. First Kings tells the story of the woman for whom this spirit is named.
Known as the wife of King Ahab and a follower of the false god Baal, the scriptures regarded Ahab’s marriage to this woman as a horrible sin: “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” (1 Kings 16:31, niv).
Jezebel ordered a “hit” on the innocent man Naboth so that she could obtain his prize vineyard. Not only was this murder, but it broke God’s land covenant with His people. In addition to her disrespect for ordinary people and their property, she hated the prophets of God. Scripture says, “While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.” (1 Kings 18:4, NIV)
Later, Jezebel pursued the prophet Elijah following the great contest where God sent fire from heaven and defeated the prophets of Baal. Her relentless pursuit drove the prophet into depression and suicidal thoughts.
Jezebel’s character was wicked, controlling, sexually immoral, murderous, and demonic! It is astounding that the same strong spirit was still operating in Revelation 2:20 and still operates in today’s church. In every congregation we find those who want to control, manipulate, and subvert the men and women of God.
Recognizing the spirit
This spirit is basically the spirit of domination or an unwillingness to cohabit peacefully. This is not about women or liberation, for this spirit can attach itself to a man or a woman. Many may think that this spirit is identified with sexuality, believing that a woman who looks a certain way is a “Jezebel” in her character. But this is not so. A wolf can easily hide in sheep’s clothing.
When you find a spirit of Jezebel operating, you will also find an “Ahab” nearby, or someone in leadership who is allowing the spirit access and control.
The strategy of Jezebel
The tool this spirit uses is manipulation. In 1 Kings 21, we learn that King Ahab would pout when he did not get his own way. He had seen a vineyard that he greatly desired, but the owner would not give up his precious property, even to the king. As King Ahab lay on his bed sulking, Jezebel assured him she would get him what he wanted. This powerful woman had introduced pagan worship into her kingdom, and now she was not below killing to obtain the things she needed to gain more power.
The seat of Jezebel
“Nevertheless 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,” Revelation 2:20.
When the spirit of Jezebel begins to manifest in the church, it seeks a high seat in the church or a place of dominance. Usually it will manifest in someone who wants to teach or lead, usually leading them astray! To find that place of leadership, Jezebel must look and act in a spiritual manner.
One of these spirits operated in Moses and Aaron’s day. Numbers 16 tells us, “Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men; and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?’” (Num. 16:1–3).
Korah was operating in the spirit of Jezebel, with Dathan and Abiram operating as his power core, and 250 other princes as a structure under them. Moses took immediate action—he fell on his face before God and prayed. Following his prayer, he confronted the spirit, saying, “Is it a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the work of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to serve them; and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking the priesthood also?” (Num. 16:9–10).
Judgment came to this Jezebel spirit—an earthquake came and took the three evil leaders and fire consumed all the rest.
The controlling spirit wiggles into the church, bent on destroying and undermining the very things that we hold dear as believers. Through manipulation, domination, and control, the spirit begins its battle against the body of Christ.
First, this spirit hates the prophets, the true leaders of God. She cannot control them, and when she tries to win their approval and fails, she will stop at nothing to try and kill them.
In addition, the spirit of Jezebel hates the preaching of the Word. She can’t cope with its message. She will try to either reduce the messenger or the message.
The controlling spirit also hates the praise of the church. During times of true, powerful worship, her carnality is exposed. In 1 Kings when the prophet Elijah prayed fire down from heaven against the prophets of Baal and Jezebel’s schemes, praise broke out (1 Kings 18:39). Jezebel had lost, and the praises of God filled the air.
A Jezebel spirit also hates the preeminence of Christ. There is no way to compete against it. The first time “preeminence” is mentioned is in Colossians 1:18: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (kjv). However, the second time we find the word, a Jezebel spirit is attempting to control a body of believers. “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not” (3 John 1:9, kjv).
Banish the spirit
If you sense this spirit is at work in your church, it is important to see the enemy as spiritual, not fleshly. Don’t hate the person being controlled by the spirit of Jezebel, recognize that it is a spiritual power—one that God must fight. Let your prayer be, “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (2 Chron. 20:12).
© Ron Phillips in Charisma Magazine