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Is Jezebel a literal person or a philosophy?

Allene from Georgia asked: “Revelation refers to a woman called Jezebel. Is Jezebel a literal person or a philosophy?”

Allene,

You’re referring to Revelation 2 and the letter to the church of Thyatira. It's important to remember that John was writing to a literal church, in a literal place. In that church, was a literal woman. Here’s the warning:

But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality (Revelation 2:20–21 ESV).

The church clearly had a problem with a woman who was claiming to be a prophetess and was encourage the church to participate in immorality. I believe it’s possible that the name Jezebel was a euphemism, indicating that she was like the Jezebel of the Old Testament. We do the same thing today. For example, someone who is a traitor might be called “Benedict Arnold.” That’s not his real name, but he's acting like Arnold acted. 

But this was a literal woman who was teaching in the church and leading the church astray. She called herself a prophetess, but her message was from Satan. She spoke the lies of Satan. God was challenging the church to repent and to remove her from their midst. 

So yes, Allene, Revelation 2 is referring to a literal person.

Thanks for your question, 

Stephen

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