There is a variety of opinions about what constitutes a Jezebel spirit, everything from sexual looseness in a woman to the teaching of false doctrine—by a man or a woman. The Bible does not mention a Jezebel spirit, although it has plenty to say about Jezebel herself.
Jezebel’s story is found in 1 and 2 Kings. She was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre/Sidon and priest of the cult of Baal, a cruel, sensuous and revolting false god whose worship involved sexual degradation and lewdness. Ahab, king of Israel, married Jezebel and led the nation into Baal worship (1 Kings 16:31). Ahab and Jezebel’s reign over Israel is one of the saddest chapters in the history of God’s people.
There are two incidents in the life of Jezebel that characterize her and may define what is meant by the “Jezebel spirit.” One trait is her obsessive passion for domineering and controlling others, especially in the spiritual realm. When she became queen, she began a relentless campaign to rid Israel of all evidences of Yahweh worship. She ordered the extermination of all the prophets of the Lord (1 Kings 18:4, 13) and replaced their altars with those of Baal. Her strongest enemy was Elijah, who demanded a contest on Mount Carmel between the powers of Israel’s God and the powers of Jezebel and the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18). Of course, God won, but despite hearing of the miraculous powers of the Lord, Jezebel refused to repent and swore on her gods that she would pursue Elijah relentlessly and take his life. Her stubborn refusal to see and submit to the power of the living God would lead her to a hideous end (2 Kings 9:29–37).
The second incident involves a righteous man named Naboth who refused to sell to Ahab land adjoining the palace, rightly declaring that to sell his inheritance would be against the Lord’s command (1 Kings 21:3; Leviticus 25:23). While Ahab sulked and fumed on his bed, Jezebel taunted and ridiculed him for his weakness, then proceeded to have the innocent Naboth framed and stoned to death. Naboth’s sons were also stoned to death, so there would be no heirs, and the land would revert to the possession of the king. Such a single-minded determination to have one’s way, no matter who is destroyed in the process, is a characteristic of the Jezebel spirit.
So infamous was Jezebel’s sexual immorality and idol worship that the Lord Jesus Himself refers to her in a warning to the church at Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29). Most likely referring to a woman in the church who influenced it the same way Jezebel influenced Israel into idolatry and sexual immorality, Jesus declares to the Thyatirans that she is not to be tolerated. Whoever this woman was, like Jezebel, she refused to repent of her immorality and her false teaching, and her fate was sealed. The Lord Jesus cast her onto a sick bed, along with those who committed idolatry with her. The end for those who succumb to a Jezebel spirit is always death and destruction, both in the physical and the spiritual sense.
Perhaps the best way to define the Jezebel spirit is to say it characterizes anyone who acts in the same manner as Jezebel did, engaging in immorality, idolatry, false teaching, and unrepentant sin. To go beyond that is to engage in conjecture and can possibly lead to false accusations and divisiveness within the body of Christ.