Jesus clearly warned His church against Jezebel’s false doctrines, but this ancient evil has succeeded in hiding behind the mask of control and manipulation while few recognize its deeper agenda. Indeed, most do not see Jezebel as the propagator of false doctrines that give the saints a license to sin.
The Greek word for Jezebel in Rev. 2:20 is actually a synonym for false teacher. Jezebel is teaching false doctrines. I believe one of the false doctrines Jezebel is pushing is a distorted message of God’s grace.
Here’s how it works: Jezebel first seduces you into immorality and idolatry—or drunkenness or homosexuality—by telling you it’s OK. After you’ve fallen into the trap, Jezebel's doctrine eases your conscience by telling you your past, present and future sins are already forgiven—that there’s no need to repent. In fact, Jezebel would not repent (Rev. 2:21)—and neither do those who are seduced by this spirit’s false doctrine. This is a dangerous, even damnable error.
Jezebel Would Not Repent
Despite its good works, love, service, faith and patience, Jesus had a few things against the church at Thyatira because its leadership allowed a false prophetess named Jezebel to teach and seduce His servants to commit sexual immorality and idolatry (Rev. 2:20). Jesus said:
“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” (vv. 21-23).
Jesus went on to give an encouraging word to the rest in Thyatira: “As many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden” (v. 24). That confirms that Jezebel was guilty of teaching false doctrines. But for those who did not embrace Jezebel’s false doctrine, Jesus encouraged them, “Hold fast what you have till I come” (v. 25). In other words, don’t give into this false doctrine—don’t be deceived.
Satan’s Twisted Scripture
Some argue that the spirit of Jezebel does not exist because it is not named specifically in Scripture, but it’s clear that the same demonic force was influencing both the Thyatira Jezebel and Old Testament Queen Jezebel. A study of Scripture shows the influence of this wicked spirit running from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation. (I dive deeper into this study into my book, The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel.)
Suffice it to say that Jezebel has, for thousands of years, seduced God’s servants, in part, with false assurances that God’s grace is sufficient without repentance. The Bible clearly states that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). But we have to confess our sin. When we sin, we also need to repent to maintain an intimate relationship with God.
The devil doesn’t have any new tricks. The Jezebel spirit perverts God’s Word, just like Satan did when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Satan told Jesus, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, 'It is written again, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God"’” (Matt. 4:6-7). Satan also tried to get Jesus to idolize him, and Jesus told Him, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve’” (vv. 9-10).
Much the same, Jezebel works to seduce you into sin by twisting Scripture. Jezebel’s teachings give you a license to commit immorality and idolatry. Jezebel will tell you that it’s OK to fornicate if you love one another because it doesn’t violate the one new commandment Jesus gave us (John 13:34). Jezebel will set you up to idolize your favorite preacher, possibly while working behind the scenes to seduce him into sexual immorality.
Much of the church is so fascinated with this demonic rock star’s mask of control and manipulation that it misses the subtle deceptive doctrines. And much of the church denies the existence of the Jezebel spirit. Jezebel is like the Lady of Kingdoms whom no one sees (Is. 47). But the Jezebel deception is slowly eroding, as spiritually discerning saints begin to see behind the mask of control and manipulation to the deeper agenda—false doctrines that pave a highway to God’s judgment.
Sitting Under Wrong Teaching
Jezebel would not repent—and she doesn’t want you to, either. With regard to Jezebel, the late David Wilkerson put it this way: “I want to say, in no uncertain terms, that it is dangerous to sit under the wrong teaching. False doctrine can damn you more readily than all the lusts and sins of the flesh. False preachers and teachers are sending more people to hell than all the drug pushers, pimps and prostitutes combined. That is not an overstatement—I believe it. Multitudes of blind, misled Christians are singing and praising the Lord in churches, enslaved by false doctrine. Thousands are sitting under teachers who are pouring out the doctrine of demons—and they come away saying, ‘Wasn't that wonderful?’”
Wilkerson wrote those words in relation to Jezebel’s false doctrines in 1988. It’s been 25 years since he sounded the alarm, and yet more believers today are being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine than ever before (Eph. 4:14). The Jezebel deception is real, whether you want to believe that a spirit of Jezebel exists or not. God’s people are indeed selling out to Satan with a distorted message that some so staunchly defend that they work to publicly assassinate the character of anyone who speaks against it, labeling them Pharisees and legalists—and worse.
Make no mistake: I love the grace of God, but grace must stand on truth to be true grace.
Beloved, be not carried about with different and strange doctrines (Heb. 13:9). Set your heart to endure sound doctrine rather than heaping up for yourself teachers that tickle your itching ears (2 Tim. 4:3). Stay true to the doctrine of Christ. It’s been said that the devil’s greatest deception is convincing people he doesn’t exist. If that’s true, Jezebel’s greatest deception is convincing people she’s all about control and manipulation while she’s subtly perverting God’s grace, even as a loving God longs for them to repent. Amen.