“Jesus does not address a specific woman of history named ‘Jezebel’, expose her and her lovers by holding a news conference at her boudoir, have a “kill her children” Sunday morning service for the people to witness a pile of dead infants and children so all the Ecclesiae can find out how to deal with false prophetess evil.”
Jesus speaks to the kingdom leaders at Thyatira who provide eldering oversight for the Ecclesia of that region. After several vital affirmations of their faithfulness, He points to one glaring inconsistency. (He speaks to the kingdom leaders of our time as well.)
“I hold you accountable for this: you allow this Jezebel woman to lead My people off course.”
Here, we learn that Jesus expects kingdom leaders to deal with wolves. She is a false prophet recruiting people to herself, consuming them in her ministry project at the expense of the assignments Jesus has given. (She has no assignment from Jesus, therefore, no right or authority to lead.)
The mixture of revelatory language with plainly-spoken statements is typical to all the messages of accountability Jesus sends to the Ecclesiae of Asia Minor recorded in John’s vision. He speaks simple, straightforward approbations. He speaks figuratively concerning Himself and subsequent description of spiritual conditions.
With regards to the Jezebel woman, we know He speaks from that revelatory perspective. He does not talk about a woman named Jezebel even though a real, physical woman may be operating in wolf behavior, contributing to this spiritual condition.
1. Jesus says this is what the eldering leaders at Thyatira should have already done. So, whatever He does with this condition is what should be done by ministry leaders at any time in history and the kingdom today.
Anything and everything Jesus says and does is what His representatives should say and do. As we follow the response of Jesus to this situation, we immediately realize that what He is describing is a spiritual response.
He does not say, for example, “She teaches error, so I will teach some Truth to knock down those errors.” He does not say, “She prophesies false words, so I will now prophesy correctly.” He does not say, “I will do something to counteract her influence and wolf behavior.”
No! He says, “I will deal with the entirety of the spreading leaven of this spiritual condition with swift, strong, public, and spiritual authority.”
2. Jesus does not respond to a person but a condition that involves and includes several people of various spiritual descriptions.
This condition involves and includes several metaphoric descriptions. “Lovers, children, the woman, and My servants” are identified clearly by specific spiritual behaviors. We will discuss why we know these are spiritual conditions next. To this present point, let us recognize that Jesus responds to spiritual conditions from a spiritual perspective.
He does not say, “She is having sexual relations with My servants, producing children by them, and maintaining a physical “bedroom and bed” or boudoir for these continued practices so she can remain pregnant” to describe a natural reality.
These are “false teaching and worship” practices. I add the words “false teaching and worship” to the practices He describes because I assume the activities are part of a spiritual condition. The fact that real people are involved in this spiritual conspiracy, and they produce observable behaviors because they embrace this condition, does not alter the fact that Jesus uses spiritual language. The elders could see the fruit of this conspiracy in real people but Jesus does not describe the actual natural behaviors when telling them how to deal with a Jezebel woman wolf conspiracy.
I do not say no woman was there acting as a false prophet. I do not say that the most obvious and observable aspect of the problem was spiritual. I say that Jesus does not address the fruit but the root when He says, “a Jezebel false prophet.” As I read His next words, I know that He is addressing something other than one woman named “Jezebel.”
3. Jesus responds to the internal conspiracy as a whole, not to a woman.
He begins with the identification of a Jezebel woman: “I hold you accountable for this: that You permit, allow, or tolerate the Jezebel woman.” (Discussion of whether or not we should translate “that” for what He holds them accountable or the Jezebel woman makes no difference. The argument surrounding “this woman” or “that woman” translations make this about a specific woman of history hold little significance to the discussion. The use of “this” with respect to the woman does nothing to prove the Jezebel woman is not symbolic.)
Jesus identifies a condition, not a person. How do we know that? Because His solution does not target a specific person but a systematic condition. His metaphoric language, that begins with His use of “a Jezebel woman,” involves more than one person. He responds to the spiritual conspiracy, not to a specific person.
“I will throw her lovers on her bed with her” is not the language of physical reality. Jesus is not going appear physically in that woman’s house, push a line of men one by one into a physical bedroom and pick them up by placing His arms around their waists to throw them on the mattress with her. This language is figurative.
Jesus does not say, “I’m going to cause this happen. Even if He were to say that, He would still be talking figuratively about a spiritual condition.” Will real people in Thyatira be exposed? Yes. Will a woman who teaches and uses recruitment prophecy be revealed? Perhaps. Jesus will make the lovers of this Jezebel conspiracy obvious, for sure! However, picking up some male human beings, throwing them on a bed in a bedroom in a woman’s house will not occur. There will be an observable scenario like the one Jesus describes, no public spectacle that accomplishes the indicated objective of putting several people on the same bed because He is talking metaphorically.
Jesus is saying, “I will uncover those who embrace this spiritual conspiracy. Everyone in the regional Ecclesia will be aware of who they are. Every lover will be recognized as a co-conspirator. Each of the people surrendering to her wiles will be identified as one of her lovers.”
Jesus describes a strategy to uncover an entire conspiracy because He is dealing with a spiritual condition, not with a specific woman.
Here we introduce “the Jezebel spirit” into the discussion. First, we all realize that this phrase is not in the text. Like other operations of demonic influence, we know what the demon is doing by the condition the demon produces. We do have the phrase, “the spirit of fear,” for example, and this phrase identifies the work of a demon that produces a spiritual condition of fear.
So, when we say, ‘A Jezebel spirit’ is operating in Thyatira and the elders are allowing it to influence the people of God,” we are talking about the very same thing Jesus says when He says, “the Jezebel woman.”
4. Jesus applies spiritual pressure and limitation to those exposed as her lovers (thus exposing her with them to the same spiritual condition), not a church trial presenting physical or testimony evidence, or setting a tribunal for correction.
We can certainly call a church trial. We can set a tribunal to deal with a wolf. If we are talking about a female leader actually doing what Jesus describes in His discernment of the situation, we could discuss how we are to deal with such horrifying breaches of kingdom culture. And, we should have eldering leaders with expertise and experience to confront someone who does these things as part of the kingdom of God.
Jesus does not discuss these judgment processes at all even though Paul has already clarified them as consistent with the role, authority, and judicial leadership of elders. Instead, He talks about dealing with a spiritual condition.
“I will apply pressure and severe limitation to her and her lovers while they are all there on the bed unless they repent of their mindset and behaviors.” (Note: Jesus Himself rehearses the meaning of authentic repentance.)
Having an elder’s meeting is not the response of Jesus to this situation, as it would be if He were dealing with one woman and her lovers (“who are My servants”).
The actions and activities of Jesus demand a response of repentance from the entire Ecclesia. He deals with both the spiritual conspiracy and the failure of the eldering leaders in allowing the influence of the Jezebel spirit in the kingdom. He says this will serve as an example of dealing with a Jezebel spirit wherever Jezebel wolves infiltrate the kingdom.
A very different eldering response would be followed when dealing with one particular person and those that have decided to follow her.
If you are convinced this is a specific woman of history named “Jezebel,” then you would assume that Jesus intends all false prophets, male or female, to be dealt with in the same way He deals with the problem in Thyatira. You would assume that He is setting an example for “all the Ecclesiae who will recognize that I am He who searches the hearts” as verse 23.
Let me add here that the phrasing about “time to repent and she refused” does fit both a real woman or the response to a Jezebel spirit conspiracy. This phrase could go either way, but the entire passage cannot fit both scenarios, and I am pointing out why the whole passage points to a figurative discussion.
5. Jesus says the condition He discerns and the elders should have recognized was a condition of the hearts of His servants who were willing victims of this Jezebel wolf.
In other words, the reason the eldering leaders failed to deal with this Jezebel conspiracy has more to do with their failures to challenge a popular leader within the kingdom than a failure to stop believers going to a Christianized brothel so a specific woman can remain pregnant all the time and have a lot of children.
We can either believe that this is a Christian Temple prostitution racket producing continuous pregnancies, based upon false prophecy recruiting through erroneous teaching, so severe in nature that the Son of God is willing to kill all the children born through this process, or we can learn the prophetic metaphors Jesus uses to deal with a spiritual condition produced by a regional principality infiltrating the kingdom culture with a “teaching.”
Jesus says this is a condition discerned in the minds and hearts that manifests in individual behaviors. He also makes it clear that the relationships designed by the King for elders should have made this conspiracy obvious enough for them to challenge it both spiritually at its source and personally in those that failed to repent of the errors of this teaching conspiracy.
This condition should have been evident to the elders. Jesus assumes they are aware of it. He designed a leadership relationship that makes this kind of conspiracy obvious. Elders and “My servants” are in accountability relationships. This is an eldering assignment concerning Jezebel wolf syndrome.
We must conclude from His wording that the elders could see that this teaching was contrary to the apostolic Didache. They were aware of that teaching as it was presented by Paul and the other visiting apostles, teachers, and prophets. They should have been able to discern deviations of this magnitude at the mind and heart level. They should have recognized that the “children” of this conspiracy were producing bad behaviors and lifestyle variables contrary to kingdom culture.
They should have tracked down this wolf at the points where it operated. Certainly, that would have involved confronted real people loving this teaching and the leaders teaching it, but the response of Jesus to the situation in kingdom wide, not personal.
I am not saying that wolves or Jezebel victims are never to be dealt with personally, by name, I am clarifying that the Jezebel woman of Thyatira is a conspiracy involving a Jezebel spirit, a spiritual condition produced by the demonic ruler of the region.
6. Jesus kills her children.
If we are to jump to the conclusion that the woman in Thyatira is a specific woman of history with the name “Jezebel,” we must assume that our Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, went to a region called “Thyatira,” found all the children the lovers impregnated Jezebel to birth, and “killed them one by one until they were quite dead.” (The Amplified Bible renders these words with the amplified meaning of “thoroughly exterminate them.”)
These words – “I will kill her children until they all dead” – are part of the same conclusion Jesus makes about His actions: “that all the Ecclesiae will know and recognize the I am the One who searches minds and hearts and rewards each according as his work as he deserves.”
Therefore, we are to assume that killing human children is the way Jesus would like every Ecclesia, every elder, every kingdom leader to deal with a woman who teaches and prophesies in a way that men impregnate her continuously with their babies. We must take the whole of His response to heart.
Find her boudoir. Bus all her lovers to her house. Line them up. One by one, throw them upon the bed where they impregnated the woman. Throw her on the bed as well. Now, apply the pressure and affliction to the lot of them.
Finishing that little task, gather all the children she has produced with said lovers. Take them to a public place so all the Ecclesiae know how elders deal with this sort of thing. Execute them all. Check the piles of bodies to make certain none still breathes.
For me, that settles the issue of metaphoric language. Then, add the rest of the language to that, and you hear Jesus confronting a spiritual condition as part of a strategy to rid the regional Ecclesia of gross error in teaching and prophecy.
7. Finally, Jesus identifies the entire issue at Thyatira as “teaching,” not a specific person.
The “teaching” to which He refers is a demon doctrine seeking to mix idolatrous animism and a gnostic understanding of spiritual reality into the Apostolic Didache. Some of the lovers received the “teaching” but not all. The lovers produced children with the spiritual condition, the offspring or fruit of the teaching.
All Jezebel spirit victims – individual, corporate, regional, or national – suffer the same erroneous conditions. An animistic and gnostic mixture infiltrates the culture.
We can discuss whether or not this leads to “the depths of satan” mentioned in verse 24, or that the “depths of satan” concern a separate condition operating in the region. (I assume the latter.)
The “teaching” Jesus identifies in verse 24 produces something Jesus uncovers when He searches minds and hearts. When He reveals a love for that error, He finds a Jezebel wolf false prophet spiritual condition. This is a Jezebel spirit functioning with wolf behavior, preying on the immature.
A regional cosmic dominator, ruler, or authority of hell creates this present darkness. This spiritual condition produced infiltrates the kingdom of God. When eldering leaders allow it, this teaching multiplies in influence, ideas, and imaging.
Jesus does not address a specific woman of history named Jezebel, expose her and her lovers by holding a news conference at her boudoir. He does not “kill her children so they are exterminated.” He holds no Sunday morning service for the people to witness a pile of dead infants and children so “all the Ecclesiae” of the world find out how to deal with false prophets.
Jesus uses figurative language to discuss the influence of a demonic principality as ancient as Eden, operating to beguile His servants and produce substitute inheritors.
The Authority of the Scriptures tells us what the Bible says, as the words were spoken and recorded, are guaranteed to be accurate and meaningful in commanding us in the will and ways of God today. All efforts to rewrite these red-letter words or any portion of the Bible so that It fits what we choose to believe is a rebellion against the King.
In the formation of modern church-anity or church growthism, teaching accommodates both Gnosticism and animism. Covetousness is idolatry. At the expense of what Jesus says, something more acceptable to the modern church fills the vacuum. It is a denial of that authority.
John records what he hears Jesus speak to all the Ecclesiae of the time of His accountability visits to the seven churches. Jesus speaks to “all the Ecclesiae of His kingdom” then. He speaks to all the Ecclesiae of His kingdom right now with the same authority and relevance. When we read this visionary account inspired by Holy Spirit and written by John to record his visions, we know we hear Jesus word for word. We must seek and apply what He says with the meaning of words as they came out of His mouth at that moment.
(Dr. Don Lynch has authored the book, Fathering: Transforming Individuals and Nations, in which he speaks to the application of Jesus’ words to the work of Jezebel in opposition to the spirit and power of Elijah.)