Jezebel and the Church: God's Judgement of False Christianity
Updated: Feb 8, 2022
Students of Scripture know that some stories in the Old Testament are more than mere narrative: they are prophetic patterns. Paul tells us in Galatians 4:21-31 that the story of Abraham and his two sons is allegory: Hagar's son Ishmael represents Jerusalem enslaved; Sarah's son Isaac, born of a promise when she was past childbearing age, represents the Jerusalem above, which, according to Paul, is free and is our mother. Paul is telling us, through these stories, that God intends to have a Jerusalem to which all believers can claim citizenship. God's new Jerusalem is, in fact, the Kingdom of God, which will replace all the governments of this earth when Jesus returns.
There is another story which I think is relevant for our time. It is the story of the prophet Elijah and his nemesis, Queen Jezebel, found in First and Second Kings. Jezebel, a wicked woman, idolater, and murderer of God's prophets, marries Ahab, the king of the northern ten tribes of Israel. He erects altars to Baal, who Jezebel worshiped, and encouraged Israel to do the same. Jezebel had a special hatred for Elijah, who exposed her wickedness, and who destroyed many prophets of Baal (1 Kings 19:1). Elijah must run for his life, and hide in the wilderness, being sustained miraculously by God. He is told in a vision to find Jehu and anoint him King of Israel, and to pass the prophetic torch to Elisha. However, it is Elisha, through one of the "sons of the prophets" who anoints Jehu as Israel's new King. Jehu is commanded by God to strike down the house of Ahab, and is told that dogs will eat Jezebel (2 Ki 9:4-10). When Jezebel heard that Jehu was coming for her, she, "painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out the window." She assumed that her showy display would somehow move Jehu. But Jehu calls to her servants to throw her down, which they do, and she dies. Later, she is eaten by dogs, before she can be buried, fulfilling the prophecy (1 Kings 9:30-37).
There is another Jezebel in the New Testament's last book, Revelation. In the letter to the church at Thyatira, the Lord Jesus has some commendation for their love, faith, service and perseverance, but has this against them:
"[Y]ou tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds" (Rev 2:20-24). And so the spirit of Jezebel was still alive and had infected the early church. Is there a broader lesson here?
The history of post-apostolic Christianity is depressing. It became increasingly controlled by fewer and fewer men and corruption crept in. In the early fourth century, the Emperor Constantine partnered with the Church in order to secure his control over the Roman Empire. The Church, seeing the persecution would end and building funds would be provided, acquiesced. Constantine, a sun worshiper, murderer, and narcissist, called several church councils where official doctrine was debated and hammered out. Those that refused to abide by council decisions were driven out and persecuted. The church had become Jezebel--persecuting fellow Christians who did not recognize its authority.
In the fifth and sixth centuries, the Papacy arose to fill the void left by the Roman Empire, which had been destroyed by invading northern tribes. During the Middle Ages, the Papacy would persecute, rob, rape, and murder thousands of people. Later, it would invade the Holy Land in a series of so-called Crusades that left desolation and suffering behind, and in the end, failed miserably. In the fifteenth century, the Papacy would create the office of the Spanish Inquisition, which persecuted, tortured, and killed thousands more people. This evil church is described in Revelation 17 as a harlot "drunk on the blood of the saints". She sits atop a beast, symbolizing political power, and is entangled with the kings and merchants of the earth. This represents the Roman Catholic Church. And she has daughters, since she is called the "Mother of Harlots" (Rev 17:5). These are the Orthodox and Protestant churches that came out of her, but which continued her spiritual harlotries. Nationalistic Orthodox and Protestant churches are also responsible for much persecution and murders of innocents--especially in their support for wars, where Christians killed Christians in defiance of Jesus' commands.
However, like Jezebel, who meets her violent end by being thrown out of a window and eaten by dogs, these false churches will also meet theirs:
"And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth” (Rev 17:16-18).
For centuries, Babylon--the system of false churches in league with corrupt political power and corrupt commerce, has ruled over much of mankind--from the Papacy down to the many Protestant and Orthodox state churches in our time. We saw examples of this in the Trump administration. Pastors like Robert Jeffress and Franklin Graham seemed to enjoy their new found access to power. Jeffress actually invited Trump to his church where they played a musical version of "Make America Great Again" which, in a Christian setting, is utter blasphemy: the Kingdom of God knows no borders. Before the mob attacked the Capital building on January 6th, 2021, they held signs saying, "Jesus is Lord" and pastors were preaching and praying over the people. The mob, egged on by Trump, then attacked the Capital building and tried to stop the count of electoral votes. It should be obvious that this has nothing to do with Christianity but rather is a gross corruption of it. The fact that white evangelicals overwhelmingly voted for Trump--a narcissistic, immoral, abusive, conman tells us they have lost all contact with Jesus and his teachings. They have become a dangerous mob hungry for power and vengeance.
So given all the above, what does the future hold?
The masses of humankind are becoming more and more aware of how they have been subjugated and abused by these Babylonian systems of dominance and control. Investigations into the Residential School system are revealing the extent of the abuse and massacre of First Nations children--stolen from their families in an attempt to snuff out their language and culture. Conservative Christians, so-called, are protesting against mask mandates and vaccines during a pandemic! And although they are deeply embedded with right wing politicians, pay no income tax in violation of the US Constitution, which requires religion to be kept separate from politics. The white evangelical, racist, power hungry church in the US has become a harlot in the tradition of Jezebel, and will face a similar end.
The Roman Catholic Church now has a pope who believes in climate change and says he is there to help the poor and disenfranchised. Like Jezebel, he puts on a good show in his attempts to reform the church. He may be sincere, but it's much too late for this church. Catholicism has inflicted suffering and evil on humanity for centuries and cannot be trusted to reform itself. It must be taken down, and this is exactly what Revelation predicts. God will put it in the hearts of the political powers, represented by the "ten horns", to hate the harlot and completely destroy her and her harlot offspring: those Orthodox and Protestant churches that partnered with political and business power to dominate humankind. As I have written elsewhere, I believe this will come on a wave of a global people's uprising.
Like Jezebel dressed in her glory, looking down on Jehu from her window, the Pope looks down on us from the balcony of the Vatican. His attempts at reform will not be successful--that church is hopelessly rotten to the core. He and his church, along with its 'daughters'--Christian churches that have left Christ--will be hated by earth's peoples and destroyed. Soon after, we can expect the return of Jesus.