Who is Jezebel in Rev.2:20?
The church is called the bride of Christ. The wicked women in the Bible each represent some facet of false religion and spiritual harlotry to us.
Jezebel is mentioned but she is no longer living in church history, she is an example from the Old testament of stumbling saints(2 Kings 9-10) It expresses a general principle seen in “Jezebel” (Revelation 2:20)
The Jezebel in the days of Elijah teaches us something about the Jezebel in the church in the book of Revelation. Jezebel who married King Ahab introduced a new religious system to Israel, which brought them into false worship, idolatry. At one point in the prophet Elijah’s ministry Elijah was discouraged and hid from Jezebel in a cave. So she chased the true prophets away.
Rev.2:20 is speaking symbolically of a actual woman that calls herself a prophetess, a teacher; one of power and influence in Thyatira. “the feminine in Hebrew often collectively expresses a multitude, a set of false prophets” (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
Her name was probably not Jezebel but she acted in the same manner. She corrupted the church and harassed the followers of God in that city, as Jezebel did to Israel. Jezebel was the wife of Ahab; that used the weakness of the king for her own means to establish the worship of idols instead of the worship of the true God. Jezebel went beyond the golden calf idolatrous worship which was called the true God in ox form.
A similar warning is found in Revelation 2:14-15 that is in reference to Balaam, a prophet in Israel's early history “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.”
The Lord in the Old Testament was in a covenant relation to Israel as a marriage, their transgression of worship was considered fornication, or adultery (Isaiah 54:5). The Jezebel in the church taught the Christians fornication, and eating things offered to idols. The fornication here is probably means idolatry, worship of other gods (or it could be both). The church learned to tolerate her.
Today you hear anyone who disagrees with a self appointed prophets ministry as having the Jezebel spirit. This is pure intimidation and actually the very opposite of what the text is teaching.
Revelation 2:21: “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
This refers back to the Jezebel in the Old Testament. She willingly resisted to repent. According to the Mosaic law, the punishment of idolaters was to be quick, but God would sometimes showed mercy by giving more time to repent; God sent Elijah to Ahab to pronounce a severe judgment upon him; Ahab showed signs of repentance, so God put off his judgment, and punishment pronounced against Jezebel was also suspended. God gave her more time to repent, she did not, instead she seduced her sons to the same sins(1 Kings 21).
Revelation 2:22 “Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.”
The harlot's bed becomes a sick-bed, one of disease or pestilence. Those who were seduced by her doctrines also shared in the judgment of her sin in a different punishment. They go into great tribulation, meaning great suffering; possibly referring to the Great Tribulation that is coming. The true Jezebel died a horrendous death being thrown out a window and was trampled. (2 Kings 9:22,30).She was known for her “whoredoms ... and her witchcrafts."
Those tin the church listened to this prophetess and were led away into a false spirituality- into idolatry. And they would reap the same consequencesunless repented immediately of their practices.