Bible Study with Jairus – Revelation 2-Part 4

Christians Can Defeat the Spirit of Jezebel by Reigning with Christ


The three main roles portrayed in the Old Testament are Priest, Prophet, and King. All of God’s people were called to draw near to God, like priests. All God’s people are invited to have God reign as king in their lives. This was God’s will for Israel, but they were afraid to speak directly to God, as a priest would. They asked Moses to speak to God instead of them (Deuteronomy 5:27), giving up their responsibility as priests. They also rejected God as their king and wanted to have a king like other nations, which God allowed (1 Samuel 8:7).

Kings complement priests and prophets complement kings. When the Israelites refused to draw near to God as priests, God raised up a king, David, to shepherd His chosen people. When the king (David) fell into sin, God sent a prophet (Nathan) to help him get back onto the right path of loving God.

Herein lies the key to Revelation 2. The letter to the church in Thyatira in Revelation 2 mentions the Spirit of Jezebel and the Spirit of the False Prophet. I believe these spirits are related to the failure of Ahab, Jezebel’s husband, to be a good king. When Christians stop acting like kings, false prophets like Jezebel will come in and make the king worse. But during these times of failure, there will also be true prophets, like Elijah, who will come in and anoint new kings, like Jehu, and defeat false prophets and ungodly kings. Elijah and Jehu worked together to prophesy against King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. They also helped fulfill these prophecies of judgment.

This is true not only in the Old Testament but also in the spiritual reality of the New Testament. The Spirit of Jezebel is operating in the church to produce bad kings like Ahab who cannot manifest the power of Christ. Meanwhile, the spirit of the true prophet Elijah is also operating to make people repent. As Malachi 4:5-6 (ESV) says, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”[1] When people refuse to accept the words of the true prophet, God will strike the land with a decree of utter destruction. The Lord’s discipline of the unrepentant people in the church of Thyatira resembles the judgment mentioned in Malachi. The Lord will first send the spirit of Elijah to call believers to repent. But when they refuse to repent, God’s judgment will come upon them.

When Christians neglect to get close to God, they lose their first love and their priestly status. This is what happened to the church in Ephesus. After a believer overcomes persecution and the spirit of death (church in Smyrna) and the teaching of Balaam (church in Pergamum), he/she gradually matures to the stage of reigning in life. If he/she continues to grow up into the Head, Christ, he/she will be given power over the nations, to rule them with a rod of iron. These believers will be rewarded with Christ, the morning star (Revelation 2:26-28). Believers will also become morning stars since they are the reproduction and manifestation of Christ. This is the heart of the spiritual warfare that took place in the Church in Thyatira. The purpose of the trials in the church of Thyatira was to produce victorious Christians who could reign victoriously in their spiritual lives as they rule and discipline the nations with a rod of iron.

Progressive Spiritual Growth Demonstrated in the Letters to the Seven Churches


As I mentioned before, the seven churches in Revelation could either represent seven churches in different time periods or seven different kinds of churches in the same time period. Through an inspiration from the Holy Spirit, I believe that the seven churches represent the concept of progressive spiritual growth. The progression of themes from the first church to the seventh shows God’s continually unfolding work as the church of Christ bands together and builds one another up through God’s help and discipline. On the other hand, the letters to the churches show the different evil spirits that continue to ensnare sinners, weaving a spider-like web. Throughout the section, the aspect of growth and the aspect of opposition continue building cumulatively. The church will progressively grow into the mature Body of Christ and produce many overcomers, represented by the male child in Revelation 12. Meanwhile, the evil kingdom will continue growing until it manifests as Babylon the Great, producing false prophets and antichrists. The two kingdoms are like two trains, constantly gaining new passengers, both headed towards a final collision point, which is the Battle of Armageddon. Armageddon is a defining moment in the history of mankind, and even in the history of the universe. Since Armageddon is so important, we can’t claim that the rest of the Bible has nothing to do with Armageddon. It’s all very relevant and tied together. God’s letters to the seven churches are His battle cry that summons His chosen people to participate in the battle of Armageddon.

These letters also prepare and perfect them spiritually for the upcoming battle. The seven letters describe seven aspects in which the churches need to spiritually prepare. It also mentions seven spirits of God and seven stars in Jesus’ hands. Jesus Christ’s seven character qualities provide seven essential provisions for the churches. He judges and exposes the evil spirits’ deception in seven key ways. These difficult exposures will help the church realize its own shortcomings so it can repent, access the seven characteristics of God, and manifest Him fully on earth.

The work of the Holy Spirit and the work of the evil spirits are both increasing in intensity from the first letter to the church to the last. The intensification of one is closely linked to the intensification of the other. God wants to make the church into the body of Christ, a pure bride without blemish. Meanwhile, Satan and the evil spirits want to make the church into the great prostitute, Babylon the Great. Therefore, Satan constantly enlists new and more powerful evil spirits to join his team in opposing the church. But God continues to help the church overcome the attacks of these evil spirits. Through his provision, he helps them overcome trials.

First, the churches and believers overcame the temptation to lose their first love (Ephesus). Then, they overcame persecution and the fear of death (Smyrna). They fought against the teaching of Balaam (Pergamum). Finally, they have arrived at the fourth stage described in the letter to Thyatira. Believers had to learn to resist the attack of the Jezebel spirit in the church. Just as the Israelites experienced more than forty trials in the wilderness, the church also experienced at least seven trials in Revelation 2-3. Trials always bring lessons of faith. We journey through the wilderness to a Holy Spirit-filled place of blessing. The church in Thyatira had matured to a point where it could confront the attacks and trials of the Jezebel spirit. If they could overcome the test of the Jezebel spirit, they would be able to rule the nations with a rod of iron.

The progressive spiritual growth demonstrated in the letters to the churches can be compared to levels in a video game. After you’ve completed the first level, the enemies in the second level will be even more powerful. But after you defeat the enemies in the second level, you will become stronger. We complete increasingly difficult levels in the “game of life” designed by God to eventually select those who are worthy of an eternal reward. People often say that the greater your anointing from God, the greater will be the attacks from evil spirits. But the greater the spiritual opposition, the greater the anointing that God gives to overcome these attacks. As the Chinese say, “the good always triumphs over evil.” The letters to the churches demonstrate the progressive spiritual growth of the church throughout history.

The Lord Has Eyes Like a Flame Of Fire and Feet Like Burnished Bronze

As the web of evil thickens like a spider web, unsuspecting believers will become prey. Let’s compare evil spirits to spiders. Evil spirits catch sleeping believers and tangle them up in their sticky webs of sin and false teaching. To these believers, Jesus reveals Himself as “the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.” (Revelation 2:18) Evil spirits can deceive some believers, but they cannot deceive the Lord whose “eyes are like a flame of fire.”  The reference to “feet… like burnished bronze” refers to the Lord’s judgment. Whether his judgment is against evil spirits or against believers who refuse to repent, God’s judgment is severe.

In some ways, the church in Thyatira seemed to be doing well. They were told “I know your works, your love and faith and service, and patient endurance,” and their latter works exceeded the first. (Revelation 2:19) So why did they later accept the teaching of the Jezebel spirit and false prophets? The Jezebel spirit uses these false prophets to do its evil work. The false prophets lure believers to commit sexual immorality and worship idols (Revelation 2:20). The Lord gave these false prophets of Jezebel a chance to repent. But Jezebel refused to repent (Revelation 2:21), so God judged her and threw her onto a sickbed (Revelation 2:22). Those who committed adultery with her and refused to repent were also thrown into tribulation (Revelation 2:22). God would strike down Jezebel’s children (her followers), so that the church would know that “I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:23).

What happened that led some believers to follow the Jezebel spirit? We know that the Jezebel spirit is against the spirit of Elijah. And the spirit of Elijah “will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.” So the church must have “turned her heart away from the heavenly Father” in order to be deceived by the Jezebel spirit. This explanation makes sense. There are many things that might have turned the believers’ hearts away from God. Here are some possibilities:

  • Busyness, both ministry busyness and secular busyness. This may have been what the Lord was referring to in verse 19. The church’s schedule was full of works, love, faith, service, endurance, and latter works that exceeded the first. When we are overly busy, we may unknowingly build new idols. even When our ministry is successful, our service to God may become an idol in our lives. Such idols keep our hearts away from God, thereby providing a bridgehead for Jezebel’s false teachings to attack us.
  • Another reason why we can be deceived by the Jezebel spirit is our interest in status and power. In the Old Testament, the historical Jezebel helped keep her husband Ahab in power by seizing Naboth’s vineyard. It is the same in today’s church. When we regard our status, power, reputation and position in the church as more important than the interests of other believers or God, we fall for the tricks of the Jezebel spirit. In every church, there are people who are greedy for power and profit. They are easily deceived and used by the teachings of Jezebel.

But not all the Thyatirans were deceived. There were some who were not in the know, who simply loved the Lord. To these people, the Lord said, “To the rest of you in Thyatira, 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 on you any other burden.” (Revelation 2:24).

Overcoming Hidden Weaknesses

We all have hidden weaknesses. These hidden weaknesses include greed, sexual immorality, and the desire for power, money, and fame. As we embark on the path of loving the Lord, we experience unceasing attacks from evil spirits and temptations from the world. John defines the world as “the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life.” (1 John 2:16). What eventually makes us fail is the weakness of our inner life that we are often unaware of. These unconscious weaknesses give the enemy a chance to attack us. As the saying goes, “Nothing happens for no reason.” Our goal is to be free from weaknesses, so we can proclaim with Jesus that evil has no claim on us (John 14:30).

We can only be victorious if we overcome first our sins, then the world, and finally our flesh, our ambition and our status. A worship leader I like very much talked about his experience with cheating. His weakness was revealed to the world, which prompted him to do things that he later regretted. After Ravi Zacharias, a well-known apologist died, it was exposed that he molested women. He mentioned that he was under a lot of pressure and could not solve the troubles caused by these pressures, so he turned to molesting women to comfort himself. Many American Christians admit to turning to sex, drugs and pornography in an attempt to find solace when facing pressure from the world. These are the hidden weaknesses we need to overcome. We must allow God to continue to work in our unsanctified souls through prayer and fill us with the love of Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

In the process of overcoming our weaknesses through the love of Christ, we often encounter hindrances. The sin of the flesh trips us up and we are encumbered by the strongholds of evil spirits within us. It is difficult to overcome these weaknesses. This was Paul’s experience in Romans 7. He said that he kept on doing the evil he did not want to do but didn’t do the good he wanted to do. But the story doesn’t end in chapter 7. In Romans 8, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set Paul free.

For a long time, I have been struggling to overcome a certain weakness of my flesh. I have frequently prayed for victory but have often failed. This weakness took root because I was poor when I was young. The spirit of poverty built a stronghold within me. I have never been able to overcome the attacks of the spirit of greed. I have prayed so hard, asking God to help me.

Then one night, I had a strange dream. I dreamed that I was flying while stepping on a ball made of dirt. As I stamped my feet to shake off the dust from my feet, I proclaimed with a loud voice, “I will certainly be able to overcome the world and all its attractions through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.” Although I often struggle and fail to overcome these weaknesses, I do not give up on praying for victory. I often pray that the Holy Spirit of God will fill me more, so that the unsanctified part of my soul will be sanctified by the life of Christ, and I will experience the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit in greater abundance. Although I am still fighting against the weakness of my flesh and the stronghold of the evil spirits inside of me, the Holy Spirit promises that with Jesus Christ strengthening me, I will surely overcome the world and all its attractions.

But I know that like the Israelites, many believers cannot defeat the enemy and drive the enemy out. When they hit a plateau in their spiritual life or when they experience more obstacles from the strongholds built by the evil spirits, they give up. The weaknesses continue to dwell among them, becoming a snare. Similarly, if we fail to overcome our spiritual weaknesses through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will experience the same snare. The failure of the apologist Zacharias is just one example of this concept. A person may be outwardly successful in his career or spiritual ministry, but still fail in his inner life and testimony.

In addition, our spiritual victory is inseparable from the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The “Holiness Movement,” birthed the Pentecostal Movement. This denomination is deeply influenced by the teaching of John Wesley’s “Second Blessing.” These believers not only pursued belief, salvation, and satisfaction in Christ, but also pursued sanctification, victory, and a “second blessing” from God. As they pursued a second blessing of victory, some experienced the baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit, leading to the start of the modern Pentecostal Movement. As I have mentioned several times, I was saved in a Local Church Movement where I pursued inner growth. But I observed that many believers could not overcome their spiritual difficulties because they did not have the supernatural help that only came through the Holy Spirit’s baptism.



The letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation illustrate the progressive spiritual growth of the church. Just like the Israelites made forty-two stops in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, each church experiences many trials along the way. These trials will make the church more mature, building us into a mature bride of Christ which can overcome the evil spirits and Babylon the Great.

[1] All Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.