4.26.2018 - 'Intimidation, Manipulation, & the Jezebel Spirit' Pastor Brian Connolly
Of all the topics and points of focus we've covered in this season of Restoration U, perhaps the area of highest interest and anticipation, save Lindsey Dohm's testimony, was what Brian taught on last Thursday. The Jezebel Spirit and its frequent symptoms and products: intimidation, control, manipulation, etc. are likely something we've all experienced in our lives - we just didn't know that it was the Jezebel spirit in operation.
Jezebel's Motive & Strategy
If there was any mystery as to what Jezebel is up to it was cleared up Thursday. Brian, among other affinities and specialties, is quite good at pointing out the enemy's strategies, for the sake of waking people up and drawing them back to God. Prophets are typically wired to do this well. Brian all but supplied a word bank for the types of behaviors, attitudes, and motives that characterize the Jezebel influence: seduction, manipulation, control, intimidation, fear, domination, & even sexual promiscuity or immorality. These, consequently, are variables to produce and reproduce these detriments to the people Jezebel inflicts: feeling violated, doubt, confusion, anxiety, lacking authority, NOT operating in your gifts, missing your calling, being paralyzed with fear.
Brian described that most often this trickery, which can essentially be classified as witchcraft, manifests through women, although it can affect men and even child-to-parent relationships as well.
Jezebel in Scripture
The first time that we see Jezebel in scripture we get a pretty good glimpse at what she's after and how she went about presiding over the land as "chief puppeteer." As Brian informed us, she's after authority, and she gets to that position by flattery, manipulation, and control. (you can follow along in 1st Kings) Jezebel, a Phoenician woman, worked her way onto the scene and hijacked the throne from King Ahab, who would become memorialized as Israel's all-time most evil king. To summarize the 1st Kings story: through manipulation and preying on Ahab's insecurities and apparent weakness, Jezebel asserted her control over Israel and effectively took over all decision-making from Ahab. She then began to institute her will by leading the nation away from God and into idol worship. This, of course, was not OK with Elijah! He spoke up, warned Ahab, and then made a show of Jezebel's false prophets.
"And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” 1st KINGS 19:1-4
The man of God, Elijah, was beside himself in fear after Jezebel threatened his life. It would take a Jehu to oust her and strip her of her power. (also see 2nd Kings 9:30-37)
"At her mother’s urging, the girl said, “I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!” Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders. So John was beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother." MATTHEW 14:8-11
Above we see another example of the Jezebel influence, this time in the Gospel of Matthew. John, much like Elijah, was a messenger and a prophet tasked with bringing the hearts of the people back to God. The wife of Herod's brother, Herodias, whom Herod was seeing unlawfully, used deceit and cajolery to put John to death.
As you can see, the Jezebel spirit and the prophets of God do not have a very friendly relationship. They're incompatible. The job description of the prophet is to bring the hearts of the people back to God, while the goal of Jezebel is to lead God's people astray. Jezebel and prophets don't get along!
"Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols." REVELATION 2:20
The above scripture is the last time we see Jezebel mentioned in the Bible. In addressing the Church in Thyatira, Jesus strongly warns against tolerating Jezebel. We get a clue, too, of what the spirit is looking to accomplish: sexual immorality and idol worship - that sounds familiar! We can also take away from this scripture a key that Brian presented about how the Jezebel spirit tends to manifest - as a would-be prophet or one who seems or appears spiritual.
There are other examples in scripture where the Jezebel spirit was probably in operation, like in Luke 22:56, for instance. Through intimidation, the servant girl in the scripture pressures Peter to confess his familiarity with Jesus and, as we know, Peter folds and denies the Christ.
There are also historical examples of Jezebel attempting to deceive people and nations. The most glaring, in my view, was Mary, Queen of Scots in her attempt to squash the great European reformation with her intimidation, threats, and nefarious plot to ascend the English throne. The prophet and great reformer, John Knox, stood in the way of her scheme to lead the entire region into Catholic idol worship. Just as Jezebel sought after Elijah's head, so did Mary order the execution of Knox. Knox was sent into exile but just as Jezebel was eventually ousted by Jehu, Mary was executed by English authorities shortly after in similar fashion.
The ministry time that followed the service last Thursday was indeed powerful. Several people testified of being touched radically and being released from bondage. Others I noticed, too, were shaking, crying, and a few even fell to the ground after encountering God.
If there was a moral to the story or a take-away to the teaching, I believe that it would be to remember these two principles headed forward.
1. Resist its lure - We have to totally die to ourselves to repel this spiritual influence in our lives because one can't be intimidated if one is "dead."
2. Don't tolerate it - We shouldn't tolerate this spirit and its effects in our midst; Jesus says not to tolerate the spirit in his charge to the Thyatiran church. We have to take heed to this exhortation.
-This week we welcome Dr. Mike Hutchings of Global Awakening to Praise to speak on gaining freedom from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). See you Thursday!
Here are some book resources that we trust if you care to read/learn more about the topic of the Jezebel spirit.
Defeating Jezebel - Jennifer LeClaire
Unmasking Jezebel - John Paul Jackson
- JF D'Orsie - Communications Director - PCC