Christian Churches of God


No. CB156




The Woman Jezebel


(Edition 1.0 20100806-20100806)


In this paper we will review the historical facts of the woman Jezebel and look at the spiritual symbolism that is associated with her and those who are called by her name.



Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright © 2010 Diane Flanagan, ed. Wade Cox)



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 The Woman Jezebel


The Woman Jezebel

Jezebel was a woman that lived over twenty-eight hundred years ago. She was a Queen of Israel, and the Bible has much to say about her. We will look at facts about her from a historical viewpoint, the symbolism associated with her, and what is prophesied to those that partake of her line of thinking and actions in the future. Spiritually, Jezebel represents the false religious system that will continue through to the end times.


Historical information

1Kings 16:31 is the first scriptural reference to Jezebel. She is the daughter of King Ethbaal, the King of Zidon. Jezebel means: “Baal exalts” or “Baal is husband to” or “unchaste”.  From the meaning of her name, we understand immediately that Jezebel is a pagan woman and not a woman of God.


Jezebel marries King Ahab, king of Israel.

1Kings 16:29-33 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri began to reign over Israel, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Sama'ria twenty-two years. 30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all that were before him. 31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jerobo'am the son of Nebat, he took for wife Jez'ebel the daughter of Ethba'al king of the Sido'nians, and went and served Ba'al, and worshiped him. 32 He erected an altar for Ba'al in the house of Ba'al, which he built in Sama'ria. 33 And Ahab made an Ashe'rah. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. (RSV)


King Ahab was the first King of Israel to take a non-Israelite woman as his wife. Jezebel is described as the daughter of the priest of the Phoenician goddess Astarte (Bullinger, footnote to 1Kgs. 16:31). After he married Jezebel, Ahab made an Asherah (translated grove(s) in other versions).  An Asherah is something that was set upright in the ground and worshipped. It could be from a tree or stone, and was connected with Baal worship.  It is a phallic symbol such as an obelisk, minaret, or a steeple.


Jezebel is famous for her idolatry and cruel persecution of the prophets of Eloah. As we continue with the story of Jezebel and Ahab, the Bible tells us that Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord.


1Kings 18:3-4 And Ahab called Obadi'ah, who was over the household. (Now Obadi'ah revered the LORD greatly; 4 and when Jez'ebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, Obadi'ah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) (RSV)


During this time, God told Elijah to go to King Ahab. Elijah brought him up on Mount Carmel and requested he bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Ashe’rah that ate at Jezebel’s table. Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to bring down fire.


1Kings 18:24 And you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, he is God." And all the people answered, "It is well spoken."  (RSV)


There was no fire from the gods of Baal, but God answered Elijah and fire was sent from heaven to consume the sacrifice on the altar surrounded by water.


1Kings 18:36-40 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Eli'jah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that thou, O LORD, art God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back." 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God." 40 And Eli'jah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Ba'al; let not one of them escape." And they seized them; and Eli'jah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there. (RSV)


When King Ahab returned to tell Jezebel all that had happened, Jezebel sent a message to Elijah threatening his life.

1Kings 19:1-2 Ahab told Jez'ebel all that Eli'jah had done, and how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jez'ebel sent a messenger to Eli'jah, saying, "So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow."


For a more detailed version of this story, see the paper Trouble in Israel and Judah (No. CB105).


Jezebel clearly had no regard for Eloah, the one true God, or His prophets. Elijah was a powerful man of God; his name means Yaho is God of captivity. (Elijah or Eliah SHD  452 = "my God is Jehovah" or "Yah(u) is God"  8664 Tishbite = "captivity".) She encouraged and provided for false religion and led Israel and others to sin.


The next reference to Jezebel is the story of Naboth and his vineyard. (See Israel Fights Against Syria (No. CB143) and Lesson: The Battle of Christ and Satan (No. CB81).)  Jezebel tricks Naboth and has him stoned to death so her husband, King Ahab, can have his vineyard.


She seems to think nothing of using and killing people to get what she wants. She, like Satan, attempts to try taking other people’s lands, inheritances, or systems of law and order and using it for personal gain. She deceived many and led many people away from Eloah and His blessings. She was an idolatress and persecuted the Prophets of God (1Kgs. 18:4,13,19; 2Kgs. 9:7,22).


After Naboth was killed, Elijah confronts King Ahab about what he had done and King Ahab repents. 


1Kings 21:18-29 "Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Sama'ria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. 19 And you shall say to him, 'Thus says the LORD, "Have you killed, and also taken possession?"' And you shall say to him, 'Thus says the LORD: "In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood."'" 20 Ahab said to Eli'jah, "Have you found me, O my enemy?" He answered, "I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the LORD. 21 Behold, I will bring evil upon you; I will utterly sweep you away, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel; 22 and I will make your house like the house of Jerobo'am the son of Nebat, and like the house of Ba'asha the son of Ahi'jah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. 23 And of Jez'ebel the LORD also said, 'The dogs shall eat Jez'ebel within the bounds of Jezreel.' 24 Any one belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat; and any one of his who dies in the open country the birds of the air shall eat." 25 (There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the LORD like Ahab, whom Jez'ebel his wife incited. 26 He did very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the LORD cast out before the people of Israel.) 27 And when Ahab heard those words, he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about dejectedly. 28 And the word of the LORD came to Eli'jah the Tishbite, saying, 29 "Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days; but in his son's days I will bring the evil upon his house."


Even as evil as King Ahab was, he was able to repent and humble himself before God. That is something that Jezebel never did. She never repented of her sins before God (Rev. 2:21).


She uses people, even her own family, for her own gain or pleasure. She clearly used her own husband, King Ahab and his kingdom. After his death, Jezebel continued to rule through her son Ahaziah. When Ahaziah was killed in battle, she exercised control through her other son, Jehoram.


Elijah foretold her death (1Kgs. 21:23; 2Kgs. 9:10).  The prophet Elisha was told to anoint Jehu, King of Israel. Elisha told him the whole house of Ahab would be destroyed and Jezebel would be eaten by the dogs in Jezreel, and there would be none to bury her.


 2Kings 9:6-10 So he arose, and went into the house; and the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, "Thus says the LORD the God of Israel, I anoint you king over the people of the LORD, over Israel. 7 And you shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge on Jez'ebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD. 8 For the whole house of Ahab shall perish; and I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. 9 And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jerobo'am the son of Nebat, and like the house of Ba'asha the son of Ahi'jah. 10 And the dogs shall eat Jez'ebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her." Then he opened the door, and fled.


When Jezebel sees Jehu entering Jezreel, she greets him sarcastically as his master’s murderer. Jehu then confronts Jezebel in Jezreel and urges her eunuchs to kill the queen by throwing her out of a window. They comply, tossing her out of the window and leaving her in the street to be eaten by dogs (2Kgs. 9:30-35). Only Jezebel's skull, feet, and hands remained. Though this is very graphic, it clearly shows the power of Eloah and what will happen to the false religious system in the last days.


Spiritual symbolism and biblical references

The reference to Jezebel in the New Testament is found in Revelation. It gives us the spiritual application of the story of Jezebel and what she represented to Israel. The reference is found in the letter to the Church in Thyatira. The fourth church, Thyatira, mentioned in Revelation is given a strong warning regarding how they deal with the system of Jezebel. This warning is not just for a Church area in the time of Messiah. The seven Churches were physical churches, yet they span the time of the Church and they are to be viewed from an individual point of view and a collective point of view. Any one of those called now can have attitudes mentioned to any one of the seven churches. 


Revelation 2:18-29 "And to the angel of the church in Thyati'ra write: 'The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 "'I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jez'ebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her on a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her doings; 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyati'ra, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay upon you any other burden; 25 only hold fast what you have, until I come. 26 He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations, 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received power from my Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.' (RSV)


From The Pillars of Philadelphia (No. 283) we read the following explanation of Jezebel:

The Jezebel is the church that committed fornication with the kings of the earth. She is the great whore of Revelation, Mystery, Babylon the Great, and the Mother of Harlots. She is the mainstream church of the West who has a series of Protestant daughters and these daughters also represent the system of the Triune God. They will indeed die but they will return to the end Trinatarian system of the Last Days where it will be destroyed.


The problem can only be avoided by claiming that the text refers to the period in Rome in the time of Nero and not to the Church over time but the texts in Revelation show clearly that a church is being addressed. It can only refer to the Roman church system and her Protestant daughters. We can only be speaking of the Reformation period and we must be referring to eras of the Church each possessing separate consecutive authority. There can only be one light bearer at a time and one lampstand.


Jezebel represents the pagan religious system that allies or partners with Satan, and teaches “the deep things of Satan”. The false religions are referred to as a whore (Rev. 17:1, 15-16; 19:2) and we see the whore leads many astray as Jezebel did in real life.


A whore would be someone who is in an intimate relationship with someone other than her mate. Spiritually, it is idolatry. We are told to only worship ONE God, not a trinity or triune God; and not His son, Jesus Christ. We cannot have an intimate spiritual relationship with any other being than the One True God.  We should all know the first commandment:

Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me.”


We see from the meaning of the word whore, these people do not remain true to their mate, which is the Christ or to their God, Eloah or the worship of Eloah. They have chosen to follow a false system of worship.  Clearly, we can see from a spiritual sense that nations today are not obeying the One True God, His Laws and Calendar and the land has fallen into great wickedness.


From the physical we learn the spiritual. We can see how not obeying and worshipping the One True God has brought great hardship and suffering on many. Many are defiled and the name of God had been profaned. God has strong warning messages to those that participate in not obeying Him.


Just as Jezebel killed many of Eloah’s prophets and people, so have the false religious systems.   Revelation 6 tells us many have been killed or martyred for the faith over the ages; more will die prior to Messiah’s return.

 Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:


False Religious System

The false religious system is referred to as the Babylonian Mystery Religion.


Revelation 17:1-2 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who is seated upon many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the dwellers on earth have become drunk."


The great harlot who is seated upon many waters is the false religious system.  The verses following explain further the relationship that the kings of the earth and the beast power have with the false religious system.


Revelation 17:3ff.  And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; 5 and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations." 6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her I marveled greatly. 7 But the angel said to me, "Why marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her.


The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet robes, and she wore jewellery made of gold, precious stones, and pearls. In her hand she held a gold cup filled with the filthy and nasty things she had done. We see this is not one woman but the personification of the false system of worship governed by one main religious system through the ages that will be destroyed in the future.


The following is an excerpt from page 3 of the paper Introduction to Mysticism (No. B7_i).

We read:

“The Bible identifies it as Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots, and the Abominations of the Earth (Rev. 17:5).

This system is so great and powerful, that it is identified as the persecutor of the followers of Jesus Christ. Yet, she is the woman that has power and authority over the kings of the earth. Thus, she is seen as a religious structure being represented by a woman symbolic of a religious system in ancient theology.


Bullinger, in The Companion Bible, has this to say of the text in Revelation 17:5:

MYSTERY: The verse should be read, "And upon her forehead (she had) a name written, a secret symbol (musterion), BABYLON THE GREAT, the mother of the harlots and of the abominations of the earth." The name of the woman is therefore a secret sign or symbol of "that great city" which she personifies (v. 18)


HARLOTS = the harlots.


OF THE EARTH: Babylon is the fountainhead of all idolatry and systems of false worship. This is the mystery of iniquity (2Thes. 2:7) seen in all the great "religions" of the world. All alike substitute another god for the God of the Bible, a god made either with the hands or with the imagination but equally made; a religion consisting of human merit and endeavour. The "Reunion of the Churches of Christendom" and the "League of Nations" are two of the most arresting signs of the times (fn. to v. 5).


Thus, Bullinger, one of the most respected Bible scholars of Protestantism, saw the Whore of Babylon as essentially a Christian system, desirous of world domination. Islam must also follow in its train to achieve this aim.”


Mainstream Christianity does not worship the One True God, nor keep His commandments and proper days of worship.  The false religious system will continue to grow and will be powerful and strong; however, in the end it will be completely and utterly destroyed, like Jezebel.


This false system is also described as having daughters that come from her (Rev. 17:5).  Just as a physical mother may have sons and daughters, so to it is with this false system. The daughter systems share in many of the same triune and false beliefs as the mother. As previously described, this can be like the Catholic Church as the “mother” and the daughters would be the offshoots (i.e. Protestant, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, etc.)


Anciently, Jezebel led Ahab and then Israel into religious toleration and acceptance. Elijah and the other prophets of Eloah continued to warn the people to return to Eloah’s law and system of worship, yet many did not heed the prophets’ warnings. Likewise, the coming two witnesses will warn the people to return to Eloah’s laws and system of worship.


Eloah clearly tells us not to learn the way of the heathen (Lev. 18:3; 20:23; Jer. 10:2). Where there is no vision the people perish (Pro. 29:18). Do not let any person or organization ever lead you away from the worship of Eloah, and the keeping of His Laws.  


The Destruction of False Religion

As we read further into Revelation we see the consequences for those that partake of the system of Jezebel or Babylon the Great.


Revelation 17:15-18 And he said to me, "The waters that you saw, where the harlot is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. 16 And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the harlot; they will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, 17 for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and giving over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 18 And the woman that you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth." (RSV)


We see the woman sitting on or controlling multitudes of people. She rides the beast and the beast and whore use each other while it is convenient.  However, at a point in the not too distant future, the beast turns on the whore and kills that religious system. 


From Revelation 18 we see Babylon will fall; the false system will be destroyed.


Revelation 18:1-24 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.  2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.  3For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.  4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.  5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.  6Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.  7How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.  8Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.  9And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,  10Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.  11And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:  12The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,  13And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.  14And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.  15The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,  16And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!  17For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,  18And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!  19And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.  20Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.  21And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.  22And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;  23And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.  24And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.


We again see that those that hurt God’s elect will also be hurt or removed. We also see in Revelation 18 and 19 the saints mentioned in Revelation 6:9 will be avenged. At a point all individuals and groups of people will answer for their positive or negative actions


Revelation 19:2 because his judgments    are honest and fair.    That filthy prostitute    ruined the earth  with shameful deeds.    But God has judged her  and made her pay    the price    for murdering    his servants." (CEV)


Eloah will not tolerate false religious systems forever. Eloah is merciful. He gives people a warning, “come out of her my people be not partakers of her sins”, yet at a point in time He acts and moves forward with His plan.  Mercifully, the wrong systems and people that partake of them are blotted out and die. The people will be brought up in the second resurrection when the time is right for them to learn of Eloah’s Laws and live His way of life under the guidance of Jesus Christ.



The first Great Commandment focuses us on our love and obedience to the One True God.  We find in today’s world, toleration of various practices, religious and otherwise, are basically the norm. In a short time, we too, like ancient Israel will see where the toleration of beliefs and actions that are against God’s Law will lead us.


We have seen there was a woman in history that actually lived and died who had the name Jezebel. She did not obey Eloah or the laws of the land. She encouraged people to lie, kill and worship a false god. She put many of God’s elect to death yet as she tried to hurt the elect, she too met a violent and ugly death.


Though things will be more challenging in the future, God does nothing unless He warns His people through the prophets. As long as we obey Eloah and His Law we will be safe and protected.  We are to be a light to the world and people should know we are servants of the living God by our actions and fruit of the Holy Spirit. We are to be shining lights of Eloah who is holy, righteous, goodness, perfect and truth. We are to let our light shine and do as 1Corinthians 10:14 admonishes:

1Corinthians 10:14 Therefore my beloved, flee idolatry NASV


There is never a reason to fear or doubt; Eloah is a God of truth and never lies. As long as we obey Him, He will protect, comfort and direct us. Psalm 94, the psalm for the fourth day of the week, is very encouraging and helps us to keep our focus


Psalm 94:19 When my anxious thoughts multiply with in me, Thy consolations delight my soul.  (NASV)


We have not seen the end of persecutions; trying times are yet to come on the world but our safety and protection are sure if we obey Eloah and keep His Law.


Revelation 14:12 here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. NASV