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✿ The power over demons was seen and witnessed most spectacularly during the earthly ministry of Christ. "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil" (1 Jn 3:8). Jesus rebuked and cast away the devil but He never once bound him. ✿ Also during the ministry of the early Church the power over demons was mightily manifest (Acts 8:7; 19:12). But the apostles or the disciples never once attempted to ask the devils to goto Hell. Because, the command of their Lord was simply to "cast out" demons (Mt 10:8; Mk 16:17). ✿ We must wait for the Millennium to see the devil and his angels(demons)bound in the abyss. An angel from Heaven with "the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain" will do it! Even after this the devil & demons will be released for a little while so people may be given a free choice (Rev 20:1-3). Here are six reasons, in particular, as to why Jesus allowed the demons to enter the herd of swine: 1. Jesus knew that their DOOM or end is predicted only AFTER the appointed time (after Millennium) 2. The devils cried out, asking Jesus, art thou come hither to torment us BEFORE the appointed time? (Matthew 8: 29) 3. The devils do NOT wish to go down to the Abyss/bottomless pit (prison for the demons) 4. The devils asked Jesus to cast them into the herd of swine. (Matthew 8: 31) 5. If we send the devils to go to Hell before their time, where is spiritual warfare for us? (Eph 2:2; 6:12). 6. Jesus wanted to permit the following will of God: ➤ God's purpose in allowing the devils to continue: (a). To develop character and faith in the believer (Jas. 1:12; 1Pet. 1:7-13; 5:8-9 2Pet. 1:4-9 Jude 1:20-24) (b) To keep the believer humble (2Cor. 12:7) (c) To provide a conflict for saints that they may be rewarded through overcoming (1Jn. 2:13; 4:1-6 Rev. 2:7,11,17,26-28; 3:5,12,21) (d) To demonstrate the power of God over the power of Satan (Mk. 16:17-20 2Cor. 4:7-11 Eph. 2:7; 3:10) (e) To use him in afflicting people to bring them to repentance (1Cor. 5:1-6 2Cor. 2:5-11 Job 33:14-30) (f) To purge man of all possibility of falling in the eternal future (Rev. 21) Jesus told Peter, "I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on the earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven" (Mt 16:19). This has no reference whatsoever to binding Satan. Is there Satan in Heaven to be bound or loosed? This passage just speaks of our heavenly authority on earth. And in matters of discipline we can declare guilt or innocence (Mt 18:17,18). That would be endorsed by Heaven. There are modern preachers practice the unbiblical way of binding the devil (rather casting the devil) and "the devil was bound" so many times! Who untied him afterwards? How is he free as ever? Was the knot loose? "Binding the strong man" simply means that we release people from the power of Satan to God by the Spirit of God and gather them with Christ (Mt 12:28-30; Acts 26:18). The Gospel is the power of God, and when it is preached in the power of the Spirit it releases people from the bondage of Satan (Rom 1:16; Acts 1:8). Before the captivating power of God, which is greater than that of Satan, the latter stands as if bound when souls are released (1 Jn 4:4; Acts 13:6-12). Another common unscriptural practice is to command the devil to go to hell or the bottomless pit. God has not asked us to do that. There is only one instance where Jesus told the devils "where" to go and that too at their request! (Mt 8:31-32). The devil is the prince of the air. If we can send him and all his army to hell today, where is spiritual warfare? (Eph 2:2; 6:12).
The demoniac story tells that a legion of demons begged Jesus not to send them into the abyss, but rather to allowed them to enter into the herd of approximately 2000 pigs (Mark 5:7-13). From history we know that a Roman legion could have been be as large as 6000 soldiers, and that is a lot of demons. From this text we learn that demons like to stay busy, occupy someone and dislike the abyss, which translated from the Greek abussos means nothingness. In Leviticus 11 we find God's instructions on proper diet for His people. The pig not only is mentioned in the context of unhealthy food, but throughout the Bible pigs are used as a symbol of filth and sin (Deuteronomy 14:8). In this story, the demoniac spends his time in a graveyard, among dead people and pigs. In the parable of the Lost Son, we find the son attending to pigs (Luke 15:15-16). Proverbs 11:22, Isaiah 65:4, 66:3, 66:17, all make unflattering references to pigs. Also Jesus in Matthew 7:6 compare the unbelievers with swine. By allowing the demons to enter the pigs, Jesus wanted to show His disdain for the practice of raising and consuming pigs. The loss of 2000 pigs probably bankrupt that village and understandably they were upset and asked Jesus to leave. It is very sad to know that the villagers were more concerned about their filthy animals and did not noticed or cared that the Bread of Life was walking among them. Jesus was extremely frugal, although had the power to speak into existence anything He wanted. On at least two occasions, after the miracles of feeding the people, He ordered that nothing be thrown away. The Bible details the exact number of baskets of food which were salvaged from the miracle feedings: 12 and seven (Luke 9:17, Mark 8:20). Knowing Lord's disposition to conserve food, a deeper implication of the story of the demoniac from Gadara cannot be ignored. Jesus without any doubt did not consider the swine to be a suitable source of food. Imagine Jesus who commanded the bread leftovers to be gathered in baskets, destroying enough pigs to feed a small army. Jesus allowed this huge waste of resource because He did not view pigs, which God had declared an abomination, as an acceptable diet.
Why did Jesus allow the legion of demons to stay in the area when they begged him? My take on this issue has slightly different focus from the usual explanation of this story. At the end we shall see that the story's focus is still relevant to us today. In summary the story tells us that Jesus is on a boat and steps into an area that apparently He had not visited but His fame had indeed reached this place. This demoniac is the first to meet Him not the residents of the area. To me this man knew that his only source of release from these demons was Jesus and he came to seek freedom. That freedom he was granted. But Jesus's mission was much larger He wanted the "free" residents to accept Him. The most precious thing on which their economy was based were the pigs, 2000 of them was no small number. When they came to confront Jesus they were made to compare and choose between two critical things - the healed demoniac and the death of the pigs. A normal person would have been drawn to the miracle right in front of them sitting at Jesus's feet. But something diverted their attention to the pigs. Firstly we need to realize that demons are spirits and there is no way they could drown. Secondly demons are after "infecting" humans not animals. Therefore what was the objective of the demons possessing the pigs which then die a few minutes later? What then happened to the demons after that? The simple explanation is that there was much more at stake than the pigs - the souls in Gadarenes. However the people had to chose to accept him. Unfortunately under the influence of the demons which had "drowned" they rejected the Savior and retained the 6000 demons who called the place home. Only one person chose to accept Jesus as his Savior and Jesus left him to be the missionary in that place. In short the drowning of the pigs was meant to bring the attention of those people to what was important - the Savior. The verbal exchange between the demons and Jesus was really about the people not the pigs. It was much like the story of Job and his misfortunes. God had granted Satan his request although with Job he lost, here he won.
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