JEZEBEL, THE SIDONIANS, AND IDOL WORSHIP

In scripture, the infamous Jezebel who married King Ahab, the King of Israel, used her position of power to impose idolatry upon the children of Israel. Jezebel was a descendant of the Sidonians who were worshipers of Baal. According to 1 Kings 16:31, she was the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Sidonians.

She obviously was an instrument of Satan, just as many others throughout scripture who opposed the God of Israel were also instruments of Satan.

Yet there are some teachers who love to personalize Jezebel as a demon spirit, even though there is no scriptural grounds for doing so. Other than the historical record of the domineering wife of King Ahab, we have only one other reference to Jezebel in the balance of scripture. That reference is found in the book of the Revelation.

Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. ~ Revelation 2:20-21

This woman, Jezebel, to whom Jesus refers was a person – a self proclaimed prophetess teaching ungodly doctrine and practices. Notice that Jesus says, “I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.”

Jesus did not say of this self proclaimed prophetess, “she had a spirit of Jezebel.” Jesus simply called her Jezebel. Most likely because she had similar traits to Jezebel, the domineering wife of King Ahab in the Old Testament.

In both the Old and New Testament, the name Jezebel applies to a person and not a demon. And in both cases, the person Jezebel, had influence in leading God’s people into idolarty.

Now, with that said, allow me to ask you a simple question.

Have you ever wondered why so many Jews needed deliverance from demonic oppression during earthly ministry of Jesus?

Consider the following from Mark chapter one:

And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. ~ Mark 1:32-39

Israel had had a long history of demonic oppression because of their continual worship of idols. Jezebel was one of many people who were influential in the idol worship which filled the history of Israel. Throughout scripture, the land of Israel was often corrupted with demonic activity and many times God addressed this through his prophets.

For example, God had Ezekiel prophesy to the mountians and hills in the land of Israel concerning God’s judgment against the altars built to false gods.

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God tothe mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken, and I will cast down your slain before your idols. And I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel before their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars. Wherever you dwell, the cities shall be waste and the high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined, your idols broken and destroyed, your incense altars cut down, and your works wiped out.  And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the Lord. ~ Ezekiel 6:1-6 (ESV)

When God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt through the blood of the Passover lamb, he brought judgment on the foreign gods of the Egyptians.

For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. ~ Exodus 12:12

After Isreal left Egypt, their history was filled with idolatry. From the golden calf at Mount Sinai, to the exile by the Babylonians, Israel’s idolatry was a persistent problem. Israel’s idolatry is one of the major things that the prophets were sent to confront.

Consider the following from the prophet Amos.

Was it to me you were bringing sacrifices and offerings during the forty years in the wilderness, Israel? No, you served your pagan gods—Sakkuth your king god and Kaiwan your star god—the images you made for yourselves. ~ Amos 5:25-26

Stephen elaborates on the words of Amos in Acts 7:39 -43

Before Israel entered and possessed the promised land, the inhabitants of the land (which included the Sidonians from which Jezebel descended) were idolatrous people who worshipped demons, and committed all sorts of detestable sins in the sight of God. God warned the Israelites not to follow their ways.

Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) ~ Leviticus 18:24-28

When Israel went in and possesed the land, they did not drive out all the inhabitants of the land as God had commanded them. Among those who remaind in the land were the Sidonians.

According to the book of Judges, God used them to prove whether or not the Israelites would be faithful to God.

The Israelites, except for a remnant among them, were repeatedly unfaithful to the Lord, and refused to obey him. In due time they became worse than the Canaanites who possesed the land before them (see 2 Kings 21:9-12).

God’s promised redemption was to save Israel from their sins and cleanse them from their idols ( see Ezekiel 36:25-27). These words were fulfilled in their fullest sense when God sent his Son, Jesus, to the people of Israel.

The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. ~ Acts 10:36-38

Rather than magnifying “Jezebel” by personalizing demons with this name, and creating all sorts of characteristics that we feel the need to fight and struggle against, we should know that through Jesus Christ, we are delivered from all the power of darkness (Colosians 1:12-14),and we are redeemed so that we can now serve God faithfullly with a pure conscience (Hebrews 9:12-14).

Jesus came to set his people from thier sins, and to deliver them from the idolatry that had ravaged the nation through their ancestoral idol worship of the foreign gods – the false gods of the nations which previously inhabited the land. The Sidonians (from where Jezebel descended) were one of those nations.

Jesus not only gave his life to redeemed those within Israel who would repent and believe the gospel, he died to sanctify for himself a people from among the Gentiles as well. In his first epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul commended the Thessalonians because they had ” turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” 1 Thesalonians 1:9

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s