Allegheny Valley Church Of God
Elijah And The Jezebel Spirit
After the events of Ch 18 of 1 Kings, one would expect to find the beginnings of a major revival. There had just been an undeniable supernatural act of Jehovah in front of all the nation. The preaching of Elijah against the idolatry of the people and their sovereigns had been demonstrated as being truth by nothing less than God's consuming fire falling from heaven. The false prophets had been destroyed and rain began falling on ground that had not been watered for three and a half years. The prophet Elijah had been vindicated, and the true culprits had been exposed. Certainly, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel would be on their knees in fits of repentance, crying out for forgiveness and mercy from an offended God, and giving thanks to Him for His abundant mercy, right?
Conventional wisdom might expect that to happen, but conventional wisdom does not understand the nature of spiritual warfare, and that is exactly what Elijah was involved in. The obstinacy of Ahab and Jezebel was not merely due to some quirk in their personalities, but was due to the fact that they gave themselves over to the worship of demonic beings masquerading as gods. The apostle Paul states in Ephesians 6:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)
Did you ever wonder why friends and family keep rejecting the good news of the redemption purchased by the blood of Christ, sometimes with violence? Why do we see our public officials seemingly turning against the God of our forefathers, the founders of our nation? We must understand that, when we face organized opposition to the spread of the Gospel message, we are not fighting against individuals or organizations. We are fighting against spiritual influences and, depending on how entrenched these influences are in the hearts of those individuals leading the opposition, that battle can get unbelievably tough. Even the apostle Paul spoke of disparaging of his own life in Corinth, so much so that the Lord had to personally visit him to encourage him. Spiritual warfare is no game, it is a life-or-death struggle for life that Christians experience throughout their earthly existence. And the hottest battles usually begin when we are in our highest places.
We can assume that, after such a great victory, Elijah must have been on a spiritual mountaintop. What doubt could there have been in anyone's mind about the reality of Jehovah and the stupidity of worshipping idols made by men's hands that, at best are nothing more than lifeless pieces of wood and stone and, at worst, represent and manifest spiritual beings who are less than friendly to mankind. Yet we read that, instead of being convicted of sin, the heart of Queen Jezebel became so much more hardened against the prophet, his God and his message, that she promised to take his life before another day passed.
Obviously shaken by her threat, Elijah decided to flee to the wilderness. This time he is not commanded to, as the first time, but does so, not so much out of fear, but, more accurately, out of frustration and dismay. This man who had just been used in such a miraculous way to witness to his people; this man who had just caused the death of 450 prophets of Baal; this man who had stood up to the very king of Israel, was now running for his life because of a threat from one woman. What kind of power did Jezebel possess that the king and the false prophets did not? Why was she able to drive Elijah into the wilderness?
The person we encounter in this portion of scripture who begins to play a more prominent role in the narrative is the wicked Queen Jezebel. Of all the scoundrels in scripture, she is perhaps the worst, even worse than the Messiah's betrayer, Judas. At least he felt some remorse for his deeds but, to her death, Jezebel never felt one ounce of sorrow or guilt for her actions. Among the list of her crimes against God and His people are the seduction of the weak willed King Ahab, the attempt to systematically eliminate all traces of Jehovah worship from the culture of the people, and the establishment of a foreign and forbidden form of religion amongst God's chosen people. She was also responsible for the death of an innocent man in order to obtain parcel of land for her husband.
She was a priestess of Ashtoreth, elsewhere known as Astarte or the Queen of Heaven. Legend says that Astarte was a later manifestation of the wife of Nimrod, the aforementioned Semeramis. Nimrod, the first person powerful enough to try and establish a world kingdom, was openly rebellious toward the God of creation, and probably began the practice of worshipping the sun and it's earthly counterpart, fire. According to profane history, Nimrod, the great hunter, was torn to pieces by a savage beast. In order to maintain her position as queen, Semeramis deified her husband, who has since been identified with such deities as Bacchus, Zeus, Osiris, Ninus, and Zoroaster. To further promulgate his worship, it is believed that she claimed that her husband was resurrected in the person of her son, named Tammuz. (For a real deep treatment of this stuff, read "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hilsop.)
This whole Nimrod/Ashtoreth scenario is nothing more than a Satanic counterfeit of the Gospel-a counterfeit "seed of the woman" first mentioned in the third chapter of Genesis. This mythology was passed down from generation to generation until, during the time of the divided kingdoms, even God's people were involved in this idolatrous worship. In Ezekiel, Ch. 8, we read how even the women of Jerusalem were mourning for Tammuz at the gate of the Jehovah's temple and how detestable it was to the Lord.
As Tammuz was worshipped, so was his mother. The prophet Jeremiah alluded to the worship of the "Queen of Heaven" whose worship included the burning of incense and the making of cakes in her form. This mother/child religion has been prevalent in many diverse forms and different places throughout history. It is claimed that, when Jesuit Missionaries made contact with the peoples of the far east, they saw there representations of the mother/child deity almost identical to those found in Italy in the dark ages. Many believe that the harlot that sits upon the great beast found in the Revelation is a personification of the identity of the fountainhead of all false religion: Mystery Babylon-represented as a seductress.
Such was Semarimis/Astarte, and such was her priestess, Jezebel. The only other place we can find the name Jezebel, besides the narrative in 1 & 2 Kings, is in the letter to the church at Thyatira, found in the Revelation. There it states:
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20 NIV)
So we see that the name Jezebel is synonymous with anything that would lead astray and cause the destruction of the hearers. In Thyatira, she was responsible for teaching others that it was proper to mingle the things of God with the things of the Satan. We live in a time when it is very politically correct to be tolerant of those who are different, but the Word of God leaves no room for any tolerance whatsoever when it comes to worshipping God. Any mixing of false teaching that would cause the hearers to forsake their first love is tantamount to full blown idolatry, and will result in the same.
If we delve a little deeper into the Word, we will discover that false teaching is not merely a product of man's will. (Remember: We wrestle not against flesh and blood...) The apostle John warned us to "test the spirits, for not every spirit is from God." Paul stated that there would be those who would spread doctrines of demons to lead astray those who, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers that teach them what pleases them. What we are dealing with when we speak of Jezebel is, not so much the individual, but the spirit that possessed her.
This "Jezebel spirit", for lack of a better name, is in reality a very powerful principality that is still in operation. In fact, it's roots seem to go back to the time when Lucifer, the light bearer, the chief of all of God's creation, rebelled against the most high and tried to establish himself as king. This particular spirit of rebellion manifests itself by attacking the very core of God's creation-the relationship between men and women and the roles they have been assigned by the most High God.
We can see this gender role switching in the marriage of Ahab and Jezebel. He was the king, but in all things he seemed to be a very weak willed one. Unwilling to take the proper authority he had as king of God's people, and head of his own household, the indecisive Ahab often allowed his queen to dictate to him such wickedness as the aforementioned murder for the sake of obtaining a mere piece of property. This influence extended into the area of religion, as noted before, as the king allowed his queen to murder the prophets of God. He was even going to allow her to kill Elijah, if she could have gotten her hands on him, even after the tremendous display on Mount Carmel.
How much can we see this same spirit at work in the world today? Look at the rise of the feminist movement. Certainly, women have been mistreated for years and years because of the insensitivities of men, but now there is a concerted effort to equate the roles of men and women. The Bible states that in God's eyes there is no male and female when it comes to personal worth and salvation, but it also clearly states that "male and female created He them." The differences between the sexes go far beyond external appearance and body functions. The very core of our personalities and the ways in which we process thoughts are different, and for a very good reason: men and women were designed to complement one another. The core of society is the family, and the whole idea of the family revolves around a father and a mother, fulfilling their proper roles, raising children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Why do we have the kind of problems that result in violence and murder the likes of which have never been seen in any civilized society at any time in history? Because men have neglected their duty to be the responsible leaders of their families and, instead, have abandoned their wives to go on to "greener pastures." Women have been forced into the position of protector/provider that should exclusively belong to the male of the species. The late Don Bashan, while not being entirely correct about all things, correctly identified, I believe, three areas in which this Jezebel spirit is working to undermine God's plan for society.
I. INFILTRATE AND TAKE CONTROL OF LEADERSHIP IN ORDER TO ELIMINATE THE SPIRITUAL HERITAGE OF A PEOPLE
The marriage of Ahab and Jezebel was merely a political alliance between the king of Sidon, to the north, and the king of Israel. That kind of partnership has been common throughout history and, to the observer of that time, would not seem out of the ordinary. The alliance had a much deeper and spiritual effect, however, in that it sparked the beginning of an attempt to eliminate what was left of any kind of spiritual heritage of the northern tribes. Perhaps the most important aspect of the history of the Jews is that they were and have always been God's chosen people: their national history and heritage is rooted in the scriptures. It would be only natural, then, for Satan to attack that heritage and attempt to erase the spiritual memory of the people in order to posses them for his own purposes.
We can see the same kind of attack on the spiritual heritage of our nation. The United States was founded by men who professed and, in most cases, genuinely possessed a real faith in God and His Word. Even though some of them might not have been totally within the pale of orthodoxy, and certainly none of them were absolutely perfect, they still believed in a set of standards established by the God of creation as represented in the Judeao-Christian scriptures. Many have tried to deny this spiritual heritage, and, indeed, have succeeded in eliminating the thought of any moral absolute based on the Judeo-Christian ethic from the public thinking. This is why there is a generation of moral zombies being created in the void of any kind of teaching about right and wrong.
Instead of the Godly heritage of our founding fathers, this spirit at work in our nation has promoted an atheistic, secular evolutionary kind of heritage. At one time the teaching of Darwin's theory was outlawed, and for good reason: it has no scientific foundation. Even though no further proof of evolution has surfaced, and, in fact, proof quite to the contrary has been made known, now the sides have been reversed and, under the imaginary idea of freedom from religion, the creation model is forbidden to be taught in public schools. The Jezebel spirit is succeeding in it's attempt to eliminate from our national heritage any spirituality, and is replacing it with an attitude of moral abandonment.
II. PERVERT GOD'S DESIGN FOR THE FAMILY
As stated above, the union between Ahab and Jezebel was one that existed outside of the parameters set by God in His creation. She took the role of leadership, and he became the responder. This challenge of the authority of the male in the relationship is one of the most insidious and dangerous elements of the nature of this Jezebel spirit. It is at the root of all goddess worship, and, in reality, challenges the very nature of God the Father.
We have seen in recent years an attempt in our churches to change the supposedly male dominated language of the scriptures to a politically correct "all inclusive" language in which all mention of the male gender is eliminated. We have also seen certain groups, some of them within the mainline churches, sponsoring "re-imaging" seminars in which they attempt to re-define how they imagine God. Usually, these seminars are held by women's groups who reject the male orientation of God in the scriptures and, in it's stead, promote a form of goddess worship similar to that of the ancient Astarte. Again, the Jezebel spirit is at work.
It doesn't take much thinking to understand why the increased dominance of the woman in the family unit coupled with the lack of a strong male role model is detrimental to the upbringing of children. Without a father figure, willing to stand in the gap and provide for his family, both physically and spiritually, there is no foundation upon which to grow. We are to be thankful for Godly women who, when forced into the situation of having to raise children alone, come through with the help of God and do the very best they can. But I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of any man who has forsaken his family to answer the call of the wild, to search for greener pastures. The Lord Jesus himself said that it would be better for anyone who causes a child to stumble to drown themselves in the ocean than to face the Almighty Judge and have to answer for the neglect and abuse of his children.
It is the weak willed men of this nation who have abrogated their God-given responsibility to care for their wives and children who have allowed the Jezebel spirit to establish itself in our nation and have such a field day with our youth. Of course there are many other factors which could be discussed, but one of the foundational issues is that the heads of the households have deserted their posts in 20th century America, and we are paying a dear price. Millions of unwanted pregnancies, which find their end in either another child without a caring father, or a murdered preborn, occur every year because these irresponsible individuals that call themselves men will not have the courage to deal with the consequences of their behavior. The Bible says that a man that does not provide for his family, both the physical and spiritual needs, is worse than an unbeliever.
III. IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION AND ABSOLUTE CONTROL OVER OTHERS AT ANY COST
The final manifestation of this principality we call the Jezebel spirit is it's desire to confiscate the wealth and property of others for immediate gratification. We can see this in Ch. 20 of 1 Kings in the story about Naboth's vineyard. This man Naboth owned a piece of property upon which was a vineyard. This property was adjacent to the palace, and King Ahab desired to purchase it. Because of his desire to preserve his heritage, Naboth refused to sell the property to the king. Ahab became so dejected that he actually began to pout over the refusal. It was then that his wife suggested that there should be nothing withheld from the king.
She hired some scoundrels to falsely accuse Naboth of sinning, so that he would be stoned. Having accomplished this, she then told her husband to go ahead and take control of the vineyard. This event was so detestable to Jehovah, that he promised, through the prophet Elijah, that Jezebel's carcass would be eaten by the dogs.
Once again, this manifestation of this evil spirit jumps out at us every day from the newspaper and the television. In the book "Idols for Destruction" Dr. Schlossinger has a chapter that deals with the egalitarian attitude that permeates our society. That attitude is manifested in the fact that there are powerful people in high places that don't believe some should have more than others, and they supposedly want to take from the rich and give to the poor. What they really want, and this has been evidenced in the nightmare of communism, is to take from everybody and give to the state, which becomes a substitute for God.
Through agencies like the IRS, the DER, and other government bureaucracies, the ruling powers of this nation have confiscated millions of dollars worth of cash and property under the auspices of environmental or economic issues. This is just another way that the government has of taking greater and greater control of the lives of the people who live under it's authority, including the religious organizations that were once considered above governmental control. In every area, we see Washington trying to influence and restrict our everyday lives to the point that the EEOC is considering restricting our religious conversation in our places of employment under the guise of preventing harassment of those that might not share in our beliefs.
One could write an entire book just on this subject of the Jezebel spirit and how it is influencing every day life in the 20th century. The little we have said here is enough to establish our point-the message of Elijah and the opposition to that message is just as real today as it was over 2500 years ago. For us to ignore his warnings is to ignore the voice of God. We will also see, in the next chapters, how this spirit is just as wicked and vindictive now as it was then. It doesn't back down easily, and will probably only be conquered when Christ himself returns. But how can we "occupy" this planet without bowing to this spirit? We might get some encouragement if we continue to read how Elijah, the great man of God, reacted to the threat of Jezebel.