By Patrick Hawthorne
Nevertheless I (Jesus) have a few things against you (Church of Thyatira), 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 NKJV parenthesis/emphasis mine).
The above passage of Scripture has been gnawing at me for quite a while. How could a church that was obviously founded on a solid foundation of faith in Christ Jesus, a church who walked in good works, love, service, faith and patience become so corrupt in such a relatively short period of time? How could the leadership knowingly allow a woman who called herself a prophetess to come in and to actively deceive, through false teaching, many in the congregation? Then it dawned on me. The leadership was among the seduced. But how…how was this false teacher able to seduce them?
Jezebel of the Old Testament was a master manipulator and deceiver obviously under demonic possession. Pulling the strings of Ahab, she was able to entice him to do unimaginable evil in the sight of the Lord. In 1 Kings 21:25, we are told that there was no one like Ahab who SOLD himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord BECAUSE Jezebel his wife stirred him up. She seduced and manipulated him just as the false prophetess, Jezebel, seduced, manipulated, and stirred up the congregants of Thyatira; same spirit, different women.
I have been acquainted with a few people who have been so seduced by the Jezebel spirit that they are on the path or have already taken the path towards the seduction of others through their false teachings. In each case, these people were deceived into believing a tiny nugget of deception mixed in with a fair amount of truth. Building upon the deception, the truth was eventually weeded out until they were fully convinced that they were privileged holders of a new found truth. As for those who disagree with their teaching, they are now labeled as the deceived. The below is what I have observed as a pattern for the seduced to become the seducer.
- New revelation – In each situation that I have observed, all stated that they received a revelation from the Lord that was special to them. In some cases it came through dreams or visions. It mattered little that the Word of God did not support their belief; God spoke it (supposedly) to them and them alone.
- Anger – When sharing their new revelation, each of the individuals became angered when someone knowledgeable in the Word questioned the validity of their revelation. The usual response was that they had a heightened level of maturity greater than the others and that the others just could not understand until they adopted the revelation for themselves.
- Form of holiness – In each case the person took the position that their desire for holiness exceeded that of the church leadership they were currently under. This leads to number 4.
- Disgruntled with church leadership – In each case, these individuals began trying to sway fellow congregants that church leadership was either blind or intentionally ignorant to the truth. In each case the church leadership, especially the pastor, was considered to be dim-witted and out of tune with the Holy Spirit. Church leadership was the blame for intentionally ignoring the gift that God had placed upon these individuals.
- Leaving the church – Often, if these individuals cannot sway leadership, they leave the church in pursuit of those weak in faith and less knowledgeable of the Word, who will allow them to teach their perverted form of the Gospel. In some cases, if they cannot find a place they will create one. We see this in the resurgence of the Hebrew Roots Movement where the followers are put back under strict obedience to the Law of the Old Covenant to earn and maintain their salvation.
As I wrote above, these five points are simply personal observations that I have seen. The point is that, in each case, the deception involves satan’s tried and true method of appealing to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and/or the pride of life (1 John 2:16). His seduction methods never change.
The spirit behind the Jezebel seduction is one that each of us can easily fall prey to in one form or another. It may be as simple as an attitude of bitterness toward church leadership. Or, it may be as extreme as what I listed above. Whatever the case, we need to examine ourselves. If we are having problems within the church, let us first consider if the problem is with the church or if the problem really lies with us. Be blessed.