BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS
1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
The country of the Gadarenes was on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. There Jesus met an unusually, indeed supernaturally strong and violent, demon possessed man, who was both feared and despised by his society. Every effort to restrain him had failed, and is appears that considerable efforts had previously been expended to provide more safety of the local community. He lived among the tombs and on the mountains, yelling continually and cutting himself with sharp stones and threatening all who came near. He had established a “no go area” around the tombs where few ventured.
In his commentary J C Ryle notes that the state of this man was pitiful, and yet terrible as well – for he showed to all the great hatred of Satan towards mankind and the full results of demonic possession. He showed the cruelty of Satan towards all who he can control, the power of Satan once he has been let into a life, and the extreme malice of Satan towards those he controls. The hatred of mankind by Satan must be grasped by the believer – for even though we may resist and defeat satanic forces, we must always respect their power and prayerfully deal with their work. James 4:7-10, 1 Peter 5:5-11, 1 John 4:4.
6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, 7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
Even though this person was demon possessed, when he saw Jesus from a distance he ran and worshipped him. This indicates that even when a person is demon possessed their free will can be used to express veneration for God and the desire to be released from the terrible bondage and afflictions that the satanic forces always cause to those they indwell. They cannot free themselves, for their will is chained, but they are not without their human soul and may reach out for help. They are responsible for their state and responsible for their response to the Gospel message, even when demon possessed. Satan is never able to control totally anything, unless he destroys it by drugs, violence, guilt, insanity or alcoholism. Even in the Great Tribulation the Anti-Christ with the best and greatest power Satan can give him loses control of the world. Daniel 11:36-45.
While we have the person prostrating himself before the Lord Jesus Christ, the demon within him asks the question, “What have I to do with thee Jesus Son of the most high God?” This underlines the important biblical truth about demon possession, that the person is separate from the demon – they do not merge, and at any point the demon possessed person may express their desire to be free of the demon by worshipping God in truth. They cannot release themselves from the demon, but they can seek release by a bodily action. They are still able to do this, even though the demon is within their body. It would appear from this incident, that the demons may inhabit the body, but if the soul is not destroyed by guilt, hatred, violence, drugs or alcohol, that individual is able to reject the demon by reaching out towards, or casting themselves at the feet of those who are Holy Spirit filled.
The demon ended his sentence with a rather strange request. He attempted to get Jesus to confirm that he was not going to place them under judgment. He did this by attempting to get Jesus to swear by God that he would not torment the demons. Seeing that Jesus is and always has been God, using God as a guarantor for such an oath would have been pointless. This also reminds us that Satan and his team of demons are not that bright regarding theology or even prophetic truth – they have been taught the truth but are wilfully ignorant of the relevance of the truth.
They reject obvious truths because they are inconvenient to them. This request was made in response to the Lord Jesus Christ telling the unclean spirit to come out of the demon possessed man. The demon knew that eventually he would be placed in the Lake of Fire by the Lord Jesus Christ, and that place of judgment would last forever. Revelation 20:10-15. Jesus does not immediately respond to the demon’s question/request, for He is God and He will do whatever he wills, and will make no deals or compromises with any demonic force, but will follow the divine plan. Jesus now asks the demon his name, and he says, it is a collective name “legion”, because the number of demons within this person are many.
The demons looked around for an alternative host. They saw close to them on the mountains a large herd of pigs who were feeding. The devils now asked permission of Jesus for them to be sent into the pigs, a scheme to which Jesus consented, as it suits the divine plan, not because it suits the demons, for it will not at all suit them, or the pigs. The unclean spirits went out of the man and entered the pigs with the results that the herd the pigs ran down a precipice into the sea and they drowned. Pugs should not be on this hillside, as they were banned within Israel’s borders, and so the owners of the pigs will be judged by this incident. The pigs themselves would rather be dead than demon possessed, and so the demons do not have any “hosts” for long, as the pigs commit mass suicide.
14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. 17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
Those who witnessed the swine’s destruction ran back to the city with the news. A crowd returned to find the ex demoniac sitting at the Lord’s feet clothed and in his right mind. The man who had been a life threatening risk to the entire community is sound, well and sane, but the people have lost their illegal investments. They will show by their actions that they value their pigs more than they value this man.
The people were afraid. The witnesses recounted the whole story to the owners of the pigs. It was too much for the owners and the general populace who gained from the money flow that came form the pig industry, and they pleaded with Jesus to depart from their region. The destruction of the pigs and the cure of the demoniac meant that Christ was too costly a guest. Ephesians 2:1-5.
18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
As Jesus was about to leave by boat the healed man begged to accompany him. It was a legitimate and understandable request, clearly showing his new life, but Jesus sent him home as a living witness of God’s great power and mercy. The man duly obeyed carrying the good news into the area of Decapolis, an area embracing ten cities. This man will be the herald of the good news and Jesus will follow him and many will hear and receive the gospel message through the impact of this man’s testimony. Matthew 28:18-20.
The disciples have joined Jesus in a boat, survived the tremendous test of the storm, and were now able to see another miracle. The Christian life is progressive, and we need to walk with the Lord through the storms of life to be able to see increasingly the power of the truth of His Word and build maturity in ourselves through its application.
Irrespective of the demon possession of a person, that person can still use their own free will to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour.
Demons have a very structured organisation with not all demons being of the same rank. It was therefore critical that Jesus talked to the head demon who had several thousand other demons under his control. It was the Lord’s way of reminding them all that he is and always will be “King of all human kings, and Lord of all angelic lords”.
If one exorcises lower ranked demons from a demon possessed person it is possible that a residual group of higher status demons may remain in that individual.
Demons like to be in control of people or animals who have a soul. It is therefore possible to have demon controlled animals.
Demons live forever, and they move from person to person, or person to animal. A believer cannot be demon possessed although they can be demon influenced.
One of the easiest ways for the unbeliever to receive a demon is to empty or destroy their mind. This is why in the gospels it says that once a person has been exorcised from an indwelling demon, unless they fill the vacuum formed by the exorcism, the demon will return and bring fellow demons with of them so that the future situation is worse than the past.
Countless multitudes still wish Christ far from them, for they fear his fellowship may occasion some social, financial or personal loss. Seeking to save their possessions they lose their souls. We need to ensure that we do not consider other things than God as more important in the life. Exodus 20:3 gives the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”.
All who have decided to accept of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and experienced His saving grace should remember what Jesus said to the cured man. Go home and evangelise, evangelism begins at home.
ANGELS – ANGELIC CONFLICT
1. There is an angelic conflict and it is intimately related to our presence in this world.
2. ETERNITY PAST
[a] Initially God created angels. At creation we are told that there was unity as all the angels sang in unison.
[b] Satan as Lucifer with the title Son of the Morning was the head of the angels. Isaiah 14. Ezekiel 28:12-15
[c] It is noted that the Lord Jesus Christ is now called Son of the Morning in 2 Peter 1 showing that the Lord replaced Satan as a result of His victory at the Cross.
3. FALL OF SATAN
[a] Satan became proud and attempted a coup d’etat against God in Isaiah 14:12-17
[b] When Satan fell he took one third of the angels with him. Revelation 12:9.
[c] The angels who exist forever therefore fall into two permanent groups
(i) Elect Angels who remained faithful to God (1 Timothy 5:21)
(ii) Fallen angels who chose to follow Satan who fall into two categories:-
(1) Imprisoned ones who were made inoperative at the time of the Flood (Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4)
(2) Demons who are currently operative (1 Corinthians 10:20,21, Mark 5:1-20)
[d] There is therefore a spiritual warfare between elect and fallen angels, which affects the human race. (Ephesians, 6:12, Revelation 12)
4. SENTENCE ON THE FALLEN ANGELS
[a] In eternity past Satan and the fallen angels were judged and sentenced to the Lake of Fire - Matthew 24;51
[b] It would appear that Satan appealed against his sentence and said "how can a God of Love sentence any of his creatures to the lake of fire?"
[c] The answer is in the character of God who is HOLY as well as LOVE. His holiness can only judge sin and rebellion.
[d] The lake of fire therefore was not created for man. Man ends up in the lake of fire due to his own negative attitude towards God.
5. MAN’S ROLE IN THE ANGELIC CONFLICT
[a] This sentence which was given before man existed has not yet executed and will not be so until the end of the Millennium in Revelation 20:10.
[b] There must be a long lapse of time before the sentence is executed with this period being taken up with the whole of human history. Therefore the purpose of the existence of the human race and its relation to God can only be explained as a testimony to the angels.
[c] Through the creation of man God provides a clear legal witness to Satan and his angels of their sin. The whole of human history is to prove certain points to the angels. Things can happen in your life as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and these can only be explained as a testimony to the angels.
6. FALL OF MAN AND VICTORY OF THE GOD MAN
[a] Man starts off lower than the angels. Hebrews 2:9 tells us that Jesus Christ made Himself a little lower than the angels.
[b] Although Adam failed to be victorious the Lord Jesus Christ replaces Adam in history and won the battle in His humanity. 1 Corinthians 15:22 tells us that in Adam all die, in Christ shall all be made alive.
[c] A new form of creature judges come into existence and will judge the angels 1 Corinthians 6:1-3
7. SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ANGELS AND MAN
[a] Angels and mankind have a number of parallels with human free will being tested in exactly the same way as angelic free will.
[b] Angels began in innocence and full obedience to God (Job 38:7 Ezekiel 28:14-15)
Man began in innocence (Genesis 2:25)
Angels sinned - rebellion of Satan (Isaiah 14:12-14)
Man sinned - rebellion of Adam (Genesis 3:1-7)
Angels are divided into two categories - elect or fallen.
Man is divided into two categories - believers and unbelievers. (John 3:36)
8. ADAM AND FREEWILL
[a] God created Adam and Eve, to show Satan that mankind, created lower than angels (Hebrews 2:6-7), would choose to obey God. Mankind therefore, by a choice of freewill, would decide whether to obey God and be blessed, or to disobey God and be judged (the same choice that Satan had).
[b] A test was instituted for man's freewill - obedience to God or disobedience. (Genesis 2:16-17). Adam - and therefore all mankind - sinned and thereby rebelled against God. All of mankind, therefore, is in the same condition of sinful rebellion as Satan.
[c] However, God instituted another test of freewill for mankind - will they choose to return to God through Jesus Christ, or will they choose to continue in sin and rebellion (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9).
[d] Anyone who chooses to return to God will be saved; anyone who chooses to remain in rebellion to God will be judged in the lake of fire, the same fate as Satan (Matthew 25:41)
[e] Therefore, by the work of Christ on the cross, and man's freewill faith in Christ, God has vindicated His love to save and His justice to judge.
9. RESOLUTION OF THE ANGELIC CONFLICT
Stage 1 - Salvation - by faith, man is saved and made positionally superior to angels (Hebrews 2:6-7)
Stage 2 - Christian Walk - by faith, the believer overcomes Satan (Ephesians 6:10-17)
Stage 3 - Eternity -in Christ, the believer will judge Satan and his fallen angels (Hebrews 2:8, 1 Corinthians 6:3)
10. THE CLOUD OF WITNESSES
Angels watch the human race. (1 Corinthians 4:9, Ephesians 3:10, 1 Timothy 5:21, 1 Peter 1:12). Elect angels rejoice
every time someone is saved (Luke 15:10)
11. THREE BASIC QUESTIONS
The angelic conflict answers three basic questions:-
[a] Why man? Inside man is a soul with mentality and freewill which when linked together resolves the angelic conflict, (Colossians 2:14-15, Hebrews 2). The cross is the real victory in the angelic conflict.
[b] Why sin? Sin resolves stage 1 of the plan of God (see paragraph 9). At the cross sin was judged and the barrier between man and God was removed so that man's relationship with God depends on his free will. Every time a person accepts Christ, elect angels rejoice. In the garden man was innocent and all he had to do was stay away from one tree. Now man is guilty he has to come to a tree (the cross). (Genesis 2:17, 1 Peter 2:24).
[c] Why suffering? Suffering resolves the issue in Stage 2. Suffering involves the promise principle. (1 Peter 1:7-8, Romans 5:2-4). Suffering is designed for blessing and is a further blow to Satan. It is to demonstrate the love of God in a way that cannot be done in eternity as in eternity there is no more sorrow, pain or death. (Revelation 21:4)
12. STAGES IN THE CONFLICT [SEE SATANIC ATTACK ON THE PLAN OF GOD]
[a] From the fall of man to the ascension of Christ the line of Christ and Jesus Christ himself were the target of attack. Once the ascension was a fact in history Satan was unable to attack the line of the Saviour.
[b] The resurrection, ascension and session of the Lord Jesus Christ caused intensification in the angelic conflict.
[c] Once Christ is glorified at the right hand of the Father the angelic conflict becomes intensified in the Church age.
[d] Every Church Age believer is now a target and because of this every believer has had special provisions made for him:
(i) Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (John 14:17)
(ii) Indwelling of Jesus Christ (John 14:23)
(iii) Completed canon of Scripture (1 Corinthians 13:10)
13. PROGRESSION TO THE LAKE OF FIRE
This explains the actions of the Lord Jesus Christ from the time he sat down at the right hand of the Father until the Last Judgment. Psalm 110:1 says “The Lord [God the Father] said to my Lord [God the Son], Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
[a] The first stage – Insurgency warfare – Pentecost - Rapture
During this time He calls out the personnel who will replace the angelic council members who have been condemned 1 Corinthians 4:8, 6:1-3, 2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 3:21
The angelic council comprises God and all the angels as seen in 1 Kings 22:19-23 and 2 Chronicles 18:18-23
[b] The second Stage – Rapture to Second Advent - Confrontation
During this time the new members of the angelic council are evaluated in relation to their divine and human good, rewarded [1 Corinthians 3:11-15], they lose their old sin nature and have a resurrection body. The rebellious members, Satan and his followers are cast out of heaven Revelation 12:4
[c] The third stage – Second Advent – Victory Stage
Christ casts Satan and the fallen angels into hell for a thousand years and rightfully asserts His authority.
[d] The fourth stage – The Last Judgment. The Lake of Fire was created for Satan and his angels Matthew 25:41
Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire with the demons and the unbelievers. Unbelievers join them in the Lake of Fire because they have not accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The old creation is destroyed and a new heavens and a new earth provided by God. At that point all knees shall bow and the promise of making His enemies His footstool will have been fulfilled.
14. THE BELIEVERS AND RESULT OF THE ANGELIC CONFLICT
The result of the angelic conflict:
Stage 1 - Salvation - saved mankind is positionally superior to angels;
Stage 2 - Christian Walk - through suffering the believer develops his faith towards Christ to such an extent that he thereby shows the fallen angels the certainty of their doom;
Stage 3 - Heaven - In eternity the believer in his resurrection body will be physically superior to angels.
Through the fall of man Satan obtained control of the world though not necessarily control of mankind.
What makes it possible for man to live in the Devil's world and not be under his control? - free will.
By using The Word of God you can make decisions that are completely against Satan and his concepts.
Satan is the ruler of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4, John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, Ephesians 2:2)
However we have the Bible - the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) We should know it and use it.
1. Occult practices such as astrology, divination and spiritism are condemned by the scriptures (Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:9-12). This was punishable by death in Israel. (Leviticus 20:27)
2. Demonism has exercised much influence in history (Ezekiel 21:21, Daniel 10:13). Evil is associated with the rule of demon possessed kings. (2 Kings 21:1-17)
3. The judgment of demons involved the destruction of demon possessed people and religious systems associated with idolatry (Isaiah 19:1-3, cf Deuteronomy 7:5)
4. Many nations have been destroyed for demon practices.
a) Canaanites (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)
b) Babylonians (Isaiah 46:1-7, 47:1-15)
c) The judgment of Egypt's first born included the judgment of demons (Exodus 12:12)
5. The return of nations to the battle of Armageddon is by demon influence (Revelation 16:13-16).
6. Satan and the occult forces will be imprisoned during the Millennium (Isaiah 24:21-23; Revelation 20:1-3).
7. Demons are called "hairy ones" (Leviticus 17:7), destroyers (Deuteronomy 32:17) and demons.
a) seek to possess men or animals (Mark 5:1-13).
b) deceive man into false doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1).
c) believe and tremble (James 2:19).
d) speak both truth and lies (2 Chronicles 18:21; Acts 16:17-18).
9. Satan rules the demon world (Matthew 12:24-28). Demons have a hierarchy (Daniel 10:12,13,20; Ephesians 6:12).
10. Sacrificing to idols is worship of demons (Deuteronomy 32:17, Psalm 106:36-38, 1 Corinthians 10:19-21).
11. The following activities can lead to demon possession (for the unbeliever) or demon influence (for the believer):
a) Submission to demons through idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:19-21) and occult practices such as mental telepathy, clairvoyance and spiritism (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).
b) Specific dedication of one's body to demons, such as the Hindu soma and shamanism.
c) Any practice in which you "lose control" of your mind and senses, such as drugs and alcohol (Galatians 5:20, the Greek word for "sorcery" is "pharmakeia"), meditation and trances, hypnotic rhythms in music and dance.
d) Sexual cults, such as the asherah (Judges 6:25-28, 2 Kings 21:3)
12. When people reject God, He may allow Satan and demons to administer discipline, even death (John 8:44, 1 Corinthians 5:5, 1 Timothy 3:6-7).
13. Demon influence can cause abnormal psychological behaviour, physical strength, sickness, etc (Mark 5:1-5, Job 2:6-8)
14. Jesus Christ has conquered all demon power (Matthew 10:8).
ANGELS: SATAN'S STRATEGY
1. Believers are warned against him and his tactics. (Ephesians 4:27, 6:11-13, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8)
2. We must be ready and alert. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
3. Satan is a deceiver and a counterfeiter. He uses deception - not obviously wrong or sinful - but very subtle changes to the truth (Genesis 3:1). Remember, a counterfeit looks like the original.
4. Satan is described as an "angel of light" - often seeming attractive and "good". (2 Corinthians 11:14)
5. His tactics
a) Towards unbelievers.
i) to blind them regarding the gospel. (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4, 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 1 0)
b) Towards believers.
i) Satan seeks to hinder our growth and witness. (1 Peter 5:8)
ii) Satan will mislead into false doctrine and legalism. (1 Timothy 5:14-15)
iii) He persuades believers to ignore the will of God through disobedience (Genesis 2:17, James 4:7-8)
iv) Satan often attacks our assurance of salvation so that we doubt God.
v) Worry (1 Peter 5, 7-9)
vi) Fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14-15)
vii) He accuses believers of sin both to God and to the believer (using guilt). (Revelation 12:9-10, Job 1:6-11
viii) He takes our focus off Christ by getting eyes on self (1 Corinthians 1:10-11), on people (1 Corinthians 1:12), on things (Hebrews 13:5-6)
ix) When we don't allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives, we open ourselves up to Satanic attack. (1 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Timothy 5:14-15)
x) The Lord will allow Satan to attack a believer as discipline for unconfessed sin. (1 Timothy 1:20 cf 2 Corinthians 12:7)
xi) Satan cannot indwell or possess a believer, only beguile them. (Galatians 3:1)
c) Towards the world in general.
i) The World - Satan tries to deceive the nations. (Revelation 20:71 0)