A corporate stronghold gets control of a city when the religious and political leaders all participate in a common sin such as pride, intimidation or manipulation to enhance their leadership. This corporate sin allows the evil spiritual power behind it to gain spiritual control of the city.

A Jezebel spirit is often given a place by civic leaders. Unfortunately, church leaders often collude with it by relying on manipulation and control too.

If Christian leaders have given the evil spirit permission to be there, it may claim that they have surrendered their authority to it on behalf of Jesus. It can refuse to surrender to the name of Jesus, because it claims authority given "in the name of Jesus".

Manipulation and Control

When we think of Jezebel, we think of seduction and witchcraft, but this spirit mostly works through manipulation and control, with a bit of intimidation thrown in. The Jezebel spirit has authority in any organisation or church where control and manipulation are at work. Those who submit to its leaders are opening themselves to the spirit of Jezebel.

This spirit can work through women, because they are sometimes skilled in manipulation. However, it is more likely to work through men, because they are often in positions of authority that they find hard to handle. They slip into manipulation and intimidation to keep the situation under control.

The Jezebel spirit uses Manipulation and Intimidation to Control people that are a threat to it (MIC). For that reason I often refer to it as the MIC spirit. Collusion between church and civic leaders allows the MIC spirit to establish a stronghold over a city or nation.

City leaders often use intimidation and manipulation to get control of a city and achieve their purposes. Many church leaders have unwittingly to use manipulation, intimidation and control to keep their people in line. This collusion gives the MIC spirit authority to control the city. This broad base of authority makes this spirit hard to beat.

Fruit of the Jezebel Spirit

The MIC spirit produces bad fruit.

1. Kills the Prophets

Jezebel always attacks people who resist her control and intimidation. She seeks to kill the prophets and other people who oppose evil.

2. Breathless

The Holy Spirit and the MIC spirit cannot work together. People in an organisation or church that is influenced by the MIC spirit will find themselves spiritually breathless, because the Holy Spirit is quenched. People with strong giftings will find themselves shut up in caves and unable to function.

3 Blocks Healing

The MIC spirit inflicts sickness on those who come under its power. Jehoram King of Judah married a daughter of Ahab (and possibly Jezebel). After Elijah wrote a letter challenging his immoral behaviour, he was struck with an incurable disease of the bowel and died (2 Chron 21:18-19).

Sickness is the favourite weapon of the MIC spirit (Rev 2:22). This Jezebel spirit seems to be able to resist the name of Jesus and block prayers for healing.

It refuses to surrender to the name of Jesus,
because it was put in place in the name of Jesus.

If Christian leaders have given the evil spirit permission to be there, it may claim that they have surrendered their authority to it on behalf of Jesus. It can refuse to surrender to the name of Jesus, because it claims authority given "in the name of Jesus".

This stronghold seems to have the power to resist the gift of healing. This is why many prayers for healing have not been answered. People have blamed God, but the real cause is the Jezebel spirit.

4. Fear and Dread

The MIC spirit has the ability to feed fear and dread into people who oppose it. After his victory on Mount Carmel, Elijah was attacked by fear and dread, and fled for his life (1 Kings 18:3).

People who are afraid are easier to manipulate and control. Fear allows ruthless leaders to gain greater political power.

5. Harshness

Churches influenced by the MIC spirit will be weak in pastoral care. Ahab sent Obadiah out to find hay for their horses (1 Kings 18:5). Ahab and Jezebel cared more for their horses than they cared about their people who were starving to death. They should have been killing their horses to feed their people.

In a church where the MIC spirit is strong, pastoral care will be poor. The leaders will be so focussed on their ministry and the tools needed to support it that people who are suffering and hurting will often be neglected.

6. Money Manipulation

Leaders influenced by the MIC spirit will be tempted to use money (or people with money) to get what they want. Ahab took gold and silver from the Lord's temple and used it to bribe the King of Aram to withdraw his attack against Israel. Using the Lord's wealth in this way is a serious sin.

7. Political Alliances

The MIC spirit loves political alliances. Ahab and Jezebel formed an alliance with the King of Israel to attack Damascus (1 Kings 22:4, 2 Chron 18:1; 22:5). Our only alliance should be with the Lord. Christian leaders should be careful about alliances with political authorities, because it can lead to compromise.

8. Compromise to Survive.

When they come under attack, the leaders influenced by the MIC spirit will compromise to survive. When Jezebel and Ahab were attacked by Aram, they offered their silver and gold and the best of their children to the invader to appease him. This appeasement led to further demands, which they eventually had to resist (1 Kings 20:1-12).

Compromise is always tested. Leaders who compromise to get things done will eventually be tested and required to compromise again. Even when he won a victory, Ahab could not avoid compromising with his enemies (1 Kings 20:30-34)

The MIC spirit makes leaders vulnerable to compromise with evil.

9. Political and Religious Collusion

Jezebel loved to collude with religious leaders. She had 400 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah sitting at her table every day. Their religious power strengthened her ability to intimidate people.

When religious and civic leaders collude together, they strengthen each other's power. The church should be acting prophetically and challenging the civic leaders.

10 Decline

The consequence of Jezebel's influence was that God began to reduce the size of Israel.

In those days the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel (2 Kings 10:32).

An institution that is controlled by the MIC spirit will shrink in size, even though good things seem to be happening. The leaders may appear to be effective, but the fruit will not follow.

Messages

Jezebel works in the background by sending messages to get her work done. These messages were mostly lies intended to intimidate. Sometimes they were flattery to entice.

When Elijah killed the prophets of Baal, she sent a message to him, warning that he would be dead in a day. That was a lie, because his life was in God hands, but it still had the desired effect (1 Kings 19:2).

She dealt with Naboth by sending a letter to the nobles and elders of his city. The letter lied about his character, but told the city leaders what to do. They carried out her instructions (1 Kings 21:9).

When Jehu came to kill her, she called out her message. This time she used flattery, but Jehu was too ruthless to be taken in (2 Kings 9:31).

The MIC spirit has stifled the gift of healing by delivering a negative message to Christians living under its influence. When a person who has been prayed for by the church dies, it prompts people to say, "God does not heal everyone" or "God could have healed them, but he chose not to". "It was God's will that they died". These words are not true, but grieving Christians often believe the negative message and blame God for the death of the person that they loved. By doing this, they unwittingly take offence at God.

In a city where the leaders have taken offence at God, the Holy Spirit cannot do many miracles. Nazareth took offence at Jesus, and he could not do any great work there (see Rock of Offence).

Negative Power

Mark 6:5 is an amazing verse. "Dunamis" the Greek word for explosive power is used twice, with a negative.

And he had no power (dunamo) in that place to do any mighty work (dunamis).

Jesus was the Son of God, who had come down from heaven. The Holy Spirit had come upon him when he was baptised. Yet in Nazareth, he had no power (dunamo) and he could do no mighty work (dunamis).

Why was Jesus powerless? The cause was the declarations made by the people for Nazareth in the previous two verses, denying that Jesus was the son of God, and denying his wisdom.

Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him? What are the remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son (Mark 6:2-3)?

Negative declarations by people with authority in a place can shut down the power of God.

The MIC spirit cannot shut down the power of the Holy Spirit. He is much too strong for that. What this spirit can do is speak messages to people in authority in a town or city. If they accept and declare the message, they have authority to shut down the power of the Holy Spirit. This is how she killed Naboth (1 Kings 21:9).

The MIC spirit gives a false message to the leaders of the church when people they have prayed for died. "God can decide not to heal a person" "God does not heal everyone". When the leaders declare these words, the power of the Holy Spirit isshut down. He has no power in the place nor can he do any mighty works there.

Church leaders have authority in the city. When believers are praying for people to be healed in Jesus name, their words from the past seep down and stifle the Holy Spirit. MIC created a Rock of Offence, which has quenched the Spirit's power.

Mode of Operation

The MIC spirit operates in several different directions.

1. Leaders

The leader of the organisation or church can be deceived into using manipulation and control to get their vision fulfilled. When they face opposition, they slip into intimidation to overcome it. A leader can use their spiritual authority to intimidate people into following their guidance. For example, they might warn the person that they will lose their "covering" if they reject their leader's advice. Usually it will be more subtle.

The leader's vision is good, so they believe that the end justifies the means. They get to build something for God, but he does not realise that he has unwittingly allowed the Jezebel spirit into the foundation of his work. It will keep popping out to harm it.

Leaders will often get their way by sending subtle messages to the people opposing their vision. These messages will often be delivered by loyal supporters. For example, when a person is troublesome, the leader might say the right words to the right people, to ensure they are side-lined. Or they can make sure that they do not knowing what is going on.

All church leaders should look at themselves and ask if their control of people is opening the doors for the MIC spirit. If it has been part of their life for a long time, they might not be able to see it and will need to ask a wise person who can see more clearly. That person will not be a wise friend who only sees good in them. It will more likely be that pesky wise person on the fringe who is often a nuisance, because they always ask annoying questions.

2. Loyal Supporters

The leader will have loyal supporters who back him. They may see the manipulation and control, but will turn a blind eye to support the cause. They will sometimes be able to dampen down the worst effects of the spirit of control and tone down the intimidation.

Obadiah was in charge of Ahab and Jezebel's palace. He managed to hide a hundred prophets in two caves. Yet he still had to do Jezebel's dirty work, and hunt down Elijah when he had prophesied the drought (1 Kings 18:3-5).

This is the dilemma faced by a close support of a leader under the influence of the MIC spirit. They will often have to choose between loyalty to their leader and doing the right thing.

3. Members

The members of the organisation or church have to submit to their leader. They must support the leader's vision, or move out. However, they do not get to flourish in their ministry.

There were a hundred prophets in the land in Ahab and Jezebel's Israel. However, they had to hide in caves. Israel was in tumult so it needed prophets, but they were not effective, because they were shut away in caves.

In an organisation or church where the MIC spirit has control, the gifts and ministries of many members will be stifled. If they are used, they will be distorted to support the leader's vision. Many will be frustrated and feel like they are shut up in a cave.

4. Opposition

People who oppose the MIC spirit will be attacked. These attacks can often be quite ruthless. Elijah had to cross the Jordan and go into the dessert and hide, because Ahab and Jezebel were trying to kill him. People who oppose the MIC spirit will often find themselves shunted into the wilderness.

Jezebel stirred up scoundrels to speak lies against Naboth when he refused to hand his vineyard over to Ahab. They accused him of hating God and the King. The MIC spirit will often use gossip and lies against those who oppose the leader it controls.

5. Prophets

Wise prophets can expose the MIC spirit, but they should expect intense opposition. When Jehoshaphat and Ahab got together to war against the king of Aram, the court prophets urged them on. When Jehoshaphat asked for a real prophet, Ahab said there was one called Micaiah but he always prophesied bad things.

Miciah said that he saw a spirit of deception agreeing to manipulate Ahab into war. Micaiah's words were fulfilled and recorded permanently when Ahab died. An arrow shot at random hit his back where he had no protection and killed him. He was actually slain by the manipulation and control of the MIC spirit that led him into the wrong battle.

Micaiah opposed the MIC spirit, but ended up in prison for his troubles.

Elisha intervened when Ahab and Jezebel's son sent to Baal Zebub for help when he was sick. He sent the messengers back with a message that he would die anyway (2 Kings 1:3-5).

Vulnerability

People who belong to an organisation in which the leaders (usually one leader) rely on manipulation, control and intimidation are vulnerable to the MIC spirit. This is true regardless of whether the organisation is a business, a government agency, a church, the city council, or a club or society.

Any church where control and manipulation are at work is not safe, because the MIC spirit has authority to resist the name of Jesus and shut down the gift of healing. We need to be alert:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith (1 Pet 5:8-9).

When the principalities and power have such a stronghold over a city, attacking them directly is unwise. We need to be careful about confronting the MIC spirit, because we may not have authority to deal with it, if civic and religious leaders have put it there.

In his book, "The Needless Casualties of War", John Paul Jackson gives a number of examples of sincere Christians taking on spiritual power that they did not have authority to deal with. Each one received a severe spiritual beating.

Jackson says that these spirits are hard to deal with because they operate in the second heaven, but that is wrong. They are hard to defeat, because they have been given a place by people with political authority.

One young girl had seen a demonic principality sitting on the dome of the college administration building at the place where she had begun studying. Within a week of engaging in warfare against the spirit, she was struck with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, and eventually had to leave her studies behind.

The management of the college had authority over it. They had far more authority than the young girl. They had given the spirit permission to be there, perhaps unwittingly. To attend the college, the girl had to submit to the college management. This put her under the authority of the spirit that controlled the college, so she was beaten up.

The city fathers and spiritual leaders have far more authority than ordinary Christians, no matter how strong their faith. When Christians stand against the MIC spirit, the greater authority of the leaders who have given this spirit a stronghold in a city, nullifies their limited authority. Civic and religious authority trumps the limited authority of ordinary Christians.

Tough Battle

The spirit of Manipulation and Intimidation for Control (MIC) is hard to beat. Elijah had God with him, but Jezebel outlasted him.

Elijah's front-on challenge against Jezebel failed. He stirred up a mob to destroy the prophets of Baal, but Jezebel was able to force Elijah to flee in fear (1 Kings 19:1-3). She was still alive and influential when Elijah was taken up to heaven.

When Elijah recovered, God gave him a strategy that would undermine Jezebel more effectively destroy her influence, without the need for head-on confrontation. He anointed Elisha has his successor, Hazael King of Aram to weaken Ahab's family and Jehu to destroy Jezebel (1 Kings 19:15-16).

This strategy took time.

Hazael did not becomes King of Aram until after Ahab and Elijah had died. After ruling for a dozen years, Ahab's son Joram went to war with Hazael. He was defeated and his injuries eventually caused his death (2 Kings 8:28-29). After Jehu became King of Israel, Hazael overpowered Israel throughout its territory, as the Lord reduced its size (2 Kings 10:32). Hazael oppressed Israel through his reign (2 Kings 13:22).

A new generation of leaders had to emerge and replace the old leadership before Jezebel could be removed. The young men surrounding Jehu were the next generation of leaders. They had lost respect for Jezebel, so they were glad to support Jehu as King (2 Kings 9:12-13).

When Jehu approached Jezebel's palace, some eunuchs threw her over the wall and she died when she hit the ground (2 Kings 9:32-33). They had been her loyal servants and political organisers, but they switched their allegiance to Jehu. Perhaps they had becomes disillusioned with her.

Jezebel gained authority when King Ahab and the other leaders of the nation gave her authority. She could not be destroyed until the people who had given her authority had changed their allegiance. This destroyed her corporate stronghold in Israel.

Jezebel's influence extended beyond Israel into Judah. Jehoshaphat had been a good king, but his son Jehoram married a daughter of Ahab (probably Athaliah). He walked in the ways of Ahab. He brought evil to Judah (2 Kings 8:16-18).

When Jehu killed the king of Judah, his mother Athaliah tried to seize control of Judah. She organised for all the royal family to be killed. This was the same method as Jezebel had used against Naboth. She ruled Judah for six years (2 Kings 11:1-3).

Athaliah was foiled by her niece Jehosheba, who hid a baby son of the king with the high priest. When he was seven years old, Jehoida the priest crowned Joash as king organised for the military leaders in Jerusalem to protect him. When he entered the palace and took his place on the throne, Athaliah was killed. This brought the influence of Jezebel to an end. Joash reigned for forty years (2 Kings 11).

God's strategy worked, but it took time, and the right people had to be in place. He used external player to destroy Jezebel's power base.For example, Joash had to be hidden until the time was right. Jehosheba was an outsider, but she was ready to act.

Corporate Stronghold

A corporate stronghold is put in place by civic or religious (sometimes both) submitting to a powerful evil spirit in the past, so it has to be broken by the current corporate leaders. If the religious and civic leaders of a city agreed to renounce the stronghold that is controlling their city it would lose its power. Unfortunately, they often will not humble themselves enought to do this. They are often unwilling to give up the power that control has given them.

Key to Protection

The key to protection is for two or three people in the organisation or church to stand together and resist the Jezebel spirit in unity.

The two or three must see. They will see what the spirits are doing. They will continue to submit to their leader, but in a different way. They will do what their leader is asking them to do, but they will see the spirit behind his request and silently resist it. They will submit to his requests, but not to the spirit behind them. They will pray for their leader's eyes to be opened, so he can see how the enemy is using him.

The two or three will agree.

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them (Mat 18:19-20).

Where two or three people are gathered in Jesus name, he is there in the midst of them. They can commit to supporting each other. They will be united by love.

The two or three will agree to watch over each other, and if one is being attacked, they will resist it together. They will agree that the MIC spirit has no right in their lives. They will agree in commanding the spirit to stop harassing the one being attacked.

By submitting to each other, two or three people can create an island of safety within a dangerous organisation.