A question has been asked that requires more discussion about the demoniacs of Matt. 8:28-34, and so we continue from Part VI (b).
“28And he having come to the other side, to the region of the Gergesenes, there met him two demoniacs, coming forth out of the tombs, very fierce, so that no one was able to pass over by that way, 29and lo, they cried out, saying, `What — to us and to thee, Jesus, Son of God? didst thou come hither, before the time, to afflict us?’
32and he saith to them, `Go.’ And having come forth, they went to the herd of the swine, and lo, the whole herd of the swine rushed down the steep, to the sea, and died in the waters,” (YLT)
The question is what does the word “they” refer to in vs. 32? What entered into the swine?
The simple answer is nothing. Demons do not exist (see Part VI(a)), therefore Jesus did not cast out “demons.” Something else was happening.
Remember the curses God promised to the people if they turned from Him to worship idols / demons.
“15`And it hath been, if thou dost not hearken unto the voice of Jehovah thy God to observe to do all His commands, and His statutes, which I am commanding thee to-day, that all these revilings have come upon thee, and overtaken thee:
16`Cursed [art] thou in the city, and cursed [art] thou in the field. 17`Cursed [is] thy basket and thy kneading-trough. 18`Cursed [is] the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, increase of thine oxen, and wealth of thy flock. 19`Cursed [art] thou in thy coming in, and cursed [art] thou in thy going out.
20`Jehovah doth send on thee the curse, the trouble, and the rebuke, in every putting forth of thy hand which thou dost, till thou art destroyed, and till thou perish hastily, because of the evil of thy doings [by] which thou hast forsaken Me.
21`Jehovah doth cause to cleave to thee the pestilence, till He consume thee from off the ground whither thou art going in to possess it. 22`Jehovah doth smite thee with consumption, and with fever, and with inflammation, and with extreme burning, and with sword, and with blasting, and with mildew, and they have pursued thee till thou perish
23`And thy heavens which [are] over thy head have been brass, and the earth which [is] under thee iron; 24Jehovah giveth the rain of thy land — dust and ashes; from the heavens it cometh down on thee till thou art destroyed.
25`Jehovah giveth thee smitten before thine enemies; in one way thou goest out unto them, and in seven ways dost flee before them, and thou hast been for a trembling to all kingdoms of the earth; 26and thy carcase hath been for food to every fowl of the heavens, and to the beast of the earth, and there is none causing trembling.
27`Jehovah doth smite thee with the ulcer of Egypt, and with emerods, and with scurvy, and with itch, of which thou art not able to be healed. 28`Jehovah doth smite thee with madness, and with blindness, and with astonishment of heart;
29and thou hast been gropling at noon, as the blind gropeth in darkness; and thou dost not cause thy ways to prosper; and thou hast been only oppressed and plundered all the days, and there is no saviour.” (Deu. 28:15-29, YLT)
God promised them disease, pestilence, madness, blindness, fevers, inflammation, ulcers, and itches. He would curse their animals, their children, and the land they lived on.
The demoniac men of Matt. 8, and Mark 5 were literally mad, insane, cutting themselves.
We have to remember to identify who is speaking in the scriptures. The Bible is the inspired word of God. God’s word is true (Psa. 119:160). The Holy Spirit’s record of exactly what was said and of the events as they happened is true. However, just because the Holy Spirit reported the words that uninspired men spoke does not make their words truth.
When we are reading the words men said in the Bible we have to contrast their words with God’s word – test the spirits (1 John 4:1-3). First, were they inspired of the Holy Spirit? If so, we can believe their words. If not, then we have to keep in mind that men can be deceived, or at times deliberately lie. The Holy Spirit has recorded their words, their lies and false words that men spoke. So, just because the men and the people said they were possessed by demons does not make that true.
“… and he saith to them, `Go.’ And having come forth, they went to the herd of the swine,… (Mat. 8:32, YLT)
The Holy Spirit, God, His messengers, prophets, Jesus and His disciples and Apostles spoke in the cultural understanding of their times in terms the people were familiar with. Would it have been easier for the insane man (or men) if Jesus had sat with him and given him a lesson on medical science and psychology for why he was not really possessed of a demon?
Or, was it more to the point to show him, to let him see something he could believe, something that would convince him that Jesus’ power was greater than the power of the imaginary demons he believed in? Jesus showed him that He had all authority, and the man (or men) did not have to fear the “demons” any longer.
It would have been futile to spend time denying a falsehood when the people were convinced the demons existed. Better to show whose power was greater, and thereby abolish the power their belief in demons held over their minds. As in many other things, Jesus corrected them by example.
The result was that afterwards he was sitting with Jesus, “…clothed, and right-minded-…” (Mark 5:15). Right-minded, or sane.
Scripture does not contradict scripture. As the Holy Spirit has made clear that demons do not exist, then referring to demons in the miraculous healings of the New Testament was a method of showing the people that what they thought of as demons held no power. Jesus was correcting their false views with His power over all and healing them. Jesus healed their maladies, their blindness, their deafness, their legs and feet, and He healed their minds.
Excerpt from Caananite Theology Smashed by Duncan Heaster:
“Paul Volz took the idea further when he observed that in the early Old Testament passages where Yahweh is portrayed as doing the things expected of demons, He has “absorbed everything demonic… so that no demons were required any more in Israel” (6). And so there are no further associations of Yahweh with demons / idols but rather an overt mocking of their existence in the later Old Testament. Something similar happens in the New Testament. Initially, the Lord Jesus is presented as dealing with and overcoming real demons; but His miracles are so powerful that it becomes evident that they effectively don’t exist, and the later New Testament exalts in the supremacy of God over the demons / idols which in fact are non-existent….
The Old Testament way of deconstructing pagan ideas carried over into the New Testament. For example, it has been shown by many students that the Gospel and epistles of John are shot through with allusion to the language of surrounding Gnostic philosophy in order to show the infinite superiority of the true Gospel over the vain philosophy of the first century world in which John’s Gospel was first inspired (9). This is a New Testament example of what was done throughout the Old Testament Scriptures….” Source: http://www.realdevil.info/4-2-1.htm
Excerpt from Demons and Sickness by Duncan Heaster –
“Yet in the New Testament we read of demons being cast out– in fact, the New Testament is written as if the common idea of demons is correct. I suggest that the answer to this paradox lies in an understanding of the way in which God uses language in the Bible. George Lamsa comments: “”Cast out” is an Aramaic phrase which means to restore to sanity” (1). The evidence given above is proof enough that demons do not exist. If the New Testament speaks as if they do exist, and the Bible does not contradict itself, it follows that surely the answer is to be found in an analysis of the way in which God uses language. If we are clearly told that God brings our problems and that He is the source of all power, then the Bible cannot also tell us that demons– little gods in opposition to the one God– bring these things upon us. It seems significant that the word “demons” only occurs four times in the Old Testament and always describes idol worship, but it occurs many times in the Gospel records. We suggest this is because, at the time the Gospels were written, it was the language of the day to say that any disease that could not be understood was the fault of demons. “So far as the [1st century] populace was concerned, any disease involving mental disturbance, delirium or spasms was attributed to demons, believed to swarm in the air” (2). If demons really do exist and are responsible for our illnesses and problems, then we would read more about them in the Old Testament. But we do not read about them at all in this context there….
To say that demons were cast out of someone is to say that they were cured of a mental illness, or an illness which was not understood at the time. People living in the first century tended to blame everything which they couldn’t understand on these imaginary beings called ‘demons’. Mental illness being hard to understand with their level of medical knowledge, the people spoke of those afflicted as ‘demon possessed’. In Old Testament times, an evil or unclean spirit referred to a troubled mental state (Jud. 9:23; 1 Sam. 16:14;18:10); and in every Old Testament reference to evil spirits, they were sent by God, not an orthodox ‘Devil’. In New Testament times, the language of evil spirit/demon possession had come to refer to those suffering mental illness. The association between demons and sickness is shown by the following: “They brought unto him (Jesus) many that were possessed with demons: and He cast out the spirits with a word… that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Mt. 8:16-17). So human infirmities and sicknesses are described as being possessed by “demons” and “evil spirits”……
When they were healed, people “possessed with demons” are said to return to their “right mind” (Mk. 5:15; Lk. 8:35). This implies that being “possessed with demons” was another way of saying someone was mentally unwell – i.e. not in their right mind. Those “possessed with demons” are said to be “healed” or “cured” (Mt. 4:24; 12:22; 17:18), implying that demon possession is another way of describing illness. In Luke 10:9 Jesus told His 70 apostles to go out and “heal the sick”, which they did. They returned, rejoicing that, in their terms and frames of understanding, “even the demons are subject unto us through Your name”– again, demons and illness are equated (Lk. 10:17). Christ not only rebuked unclean spirits, but also wind and waves (Mt. 8:26) and fever (Lk. 4:39) – all impersonal things. Note that when people brought to Jesus a woman whom they said had been bound 18 years by satan, we read that Jesus simply said: “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity” (Lk. 13:16). ” Source: http://www.realdevil.info/4-3.htm
In Matt. 8: 28-32, Jesus issued the command that the evil spirits went forth because it was what the deceived and spiritually weak people would expect at that time. Jesus sent forth imaginary “unclean spirits” into unclean animals which were used for sacrifices to idols / demons by the pagan Greeks of that region. Rather appropriate wasn’t it?
The pagan beliefs in demons as spirit beings that cause men to sin and do wicked things has been around for centuries, and permeates all of Christendom. It has been meshed with the Scriptures through the promotion of false teachers and false prophets, church “fathers,” and Jewish rabbis and none of it is according to God’s word.
“19 ‘And this is the judgment, that the light hath come to the world, and men did love the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil; 20for every one who is doing wicked things hateth the light, and doth not come unto the light, that his works may not be detected;” (John 3:19-20, YLT)
“even as through one man the sin did enter into the world, and through the sin the death; and thus to all men the death did pass through, for that all did sin;” (Rom. 5:12, YLT)
Evil men love the darkness because it hides their sins. God tells us that is by man, specifically Adam, that sin entered the world. Who then is responsible for sin? We are! The unbelieving, pagan world always desires to pass the blame onto someone or something else.
The pagan “demons” are not real, and though they were part of the 1st century cultural beliefs of mankind, they never existed.
I want to ask you to think about the situation in the garden in Genesis 3. What does a very young child automatically do when caught red-handed in a wrong? Isn’t it common that they immediately point the finger at another child, brother or sister, and pass the blame onto them? “He did it, he did it”, they cry. And, what was it that Eve did in the garden but blame the serpent for her actions?
Legion And The Gadarene Pigs by Duncan Heaster – http://www.realdevil.info/4-3-1.htm
Geographical Distribution of Demon Possession – PreteristCentral