Is Jezebel a literal person?

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


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, 


Add a Comment

How to use this page:

Here at Wisdom International, we believe that the Bible is God's Word. Therefore, it carries the authority of God himself and is the final authority by which we order our lives. 

Sometimes the Bible can be confusing and difficult to understand. But God desires to be known. Scripture answers the big questions of life and should seek to know and understand what it says. 

This section of our website contains Stephen Davey's articles and his ever-growing archive of answers to questions from people like you. If you have a Bible question and are seeking an answer from the Bible, use our contact form to submit your question for Stephen. 

If you have questions, the Bible has answers and we want to help you! Ask Stephen your question here

You can browse this section to read Stephen's previous answers and read all of his previous posts. To search and see if your question has already been answered, click on the search icon above.