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Author Topic: Demons and the herd of swine  (Read 625 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 14, 2012, 11:30:02 AM »



Mark 5

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.



It is a miracle that the poor possessed man "Legion" was freed from his bondage by the demons, however, why did Christ allow them to enter the swine?  Was He taking pity upon the demons....and then they made Him look bad when they killed off the swine, leaving the villagers miffed at Christ and asking Him to leave....thereby, robbing the villagers of possible salvation?



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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2012, 11:34:28 AM »

I figure Christ knew what he was doing and usually leave it at that, but I would be totally lying if I said I never had any problems with this story.  I kinda feel sorry for the Piggies!  So, I usually just treat it like I do all the OT killings.  What God does and why He does them is above my pay grade. 
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2012, 12:49:29 PM »

Pigs were seen as impure animals in Jewish culture. When the demons ask to go to the pigs, they are asking to return to their natural element, the dirtness of the world.

Pig raisers were seen as some equivalent of modern junkies, dirt people, living of dirt, selling illict items to other lost people like themselves.

Allowing the pigs to die was like burning a plantation of marijuana or any other plant used to make drugs.

The passage - asside from its spiritual meanings and put back in its cultural context - is about the destruction of a "meth lab".
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2012, 01:43:42 PM »

Whatever the reason, our priest spoke a homily on this Gospel reading a few weeks ago.  He said the demons were working on scaring the townspeople when they drowned the pigs.  They did succeed in that, but I wonder if that is why the LORD sent the healed person(s) into the city to tell them what the LORD did for him?  I will have to double check this, but years ago I remember I was told that the LORD visited that region again and was welcomed.
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 04:46:35 PM »

The thing that confuses me about this passage is, if the swine were effectively possessed by demons, wouldn't the demons have been in control of the swine, and if that is the case, why would the demons commit suicide? I read the footnotes in the Orthodox Study Bible and didn't see this addressed.
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2012, 08:04:07 PM »

Christ nor the demons killed the swine. My Priest told me that the Fathers said that the presence of demons was so negative and horrible that the swine killed themselves because they'd rather have been dead than have that much evil inside of them.
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2012, 08:11:22 PM »

Christ nor the demons killed the swine. My Priest told me that the Fathers said that the presence of demons was so negative and horrible that the swine killed themselves because they'd rather have been dead than have that much evil inside of them.

That is a good explanation. The only other angle I could come up with was that the demons committed suicide because of the pain of their own awful existence, but I think your priest's explanation by way of the Fathers is better.
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2012, 08:12:48 PM »

How can demons commit suicide? They are immortal.
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2012, 08:30:16 PM »

CYRIL; The multitude of unclean spirits seek therefore to be sent into the herd of unclean swine, like to themselves, for it follows, And they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them.

ATHAN. But if they have no power over swine, the evil spirits have much less against men who are made after the image of God. We ought then to fear God alone, but despise them.

CYRIL; But the Lord granted them permission, that this might be among other things to us an occasion of benefit, and the confidence of our safety. It follows, And he suffered them. We must therefore consider that the evil spirits are hostile to those which are subject to them, and this will be evident from their sending down the swine violently into the waters and choking them; as it follows, Then went the devils out of the man and entered into the swine, and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. And this Christ permitted to them which sought it, that it might appear from the event how cruel they are. It was also necessary to show that the Son of God has no less power to foresee than the Father, that equal glory might be manifested in each.

TITUS BOST. But the shepherds take flight, lest they should perish with the swine. Hence it follows, When they that fed them saw what was done they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country, and excited the like alarm among the citizens. But the severity of their loss led them to the Savior; for it follows, Then they went out to see what was done, and came to Jesus; and here remark, that while God punishes men in their substance, He confers a blessing upon their souls. But when they had set out, they see him in his right mind who had been long vexed. It follows, And they found the man out of whom the devils had departed sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed, (whereas before he was naked,) and in his right mind. For he departed not from those feet, where he obtained safety; and so acknowledging the miracle, they were astonished at the cure of the malady, and marveled at the event; for it follows, And they were afraid. But this thing they discover partly by sight, partly hearing it in words. It follows, They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed, of the devils was healed. But they ought to have besought the Lord not to depart from them, but to be the guardian of their country, that no evil spirits might come near them; but through fear they lost their own salvation, asking the Savior to depart. It follows, Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes rounds about besought him to depart from them, for they were taken with great fear.
http://www.josephkenny.joyeurs.com/CDtexts/CALuke.htm#8
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2012, 08:32:47 PM »

Remig., see Aurea Catena in Matt., p.327: The devils entered not into the swine of their own will, but their asking for this concession was that is might be shewn that they cannot hurt men without Divine permission. They did not ask to be sent into men, because they saw that He, by whose power they were tortured, bore a human form. Nor did they desire to be sent into the flocks, for they are clean animals offered up in the temple of God. But they desired to be sent into the swine, because no animal is more unclean than a hog, and devils always delight in filthiness.

It goes on: "And forthwith Jesus gave them leave."

Bede: And He gave them leave, that by the killing of the swine, the salvation of men might be furthered.

Pseudo-Chyrs., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: He wished to shew publicly the fury which devils entertain against men, and that they would inflict much worse things upon men, if they were not hindered by Divine power; because, again, His compassion would not allow this to be shewn on men, He permitted them to enter into the swine, that on them the fury and power of the devils might be made known.
There follows: "And the unclean spirits went out."
http://www.josephkenny.joyeurs.com/CDtexts/CAMark.htm#5
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2012, 08:37:44 PM »

Greg., Mor., ii, 10: For the Devil knows that of himself he has no power to do any thing, because it is not of himself that he exists as a spirit.

Remig.: They did not ask to be sent into men, because they saw Him by whose excellence they were tortured existing in human shape. Nor did they ask to be sent into sheep, because sheep are by God's institution clean animals, and were then offered in the temple of God. But they requested to be sent into the swine rather than into any of the other unclean animals, because this is of all animals the most unclean; whence also it has its name 'porcus,' as being 'spurens,' filthy, and delighting in filthiness; and daemons also delight in the filthiness of sin. They did not pray that they might be sent into the air, because of their eager desire of hurting [p. 328] men. "And he saith unto them, Go."

Chrys.: Jesus did not say this, as though persuaded by the daemons, but with many designs therein. One, that He might shew the mighty power to hurt of these daemons, who were in possession of the two men; another, that all might see that they had no power against the swine unless by His sufferance; thirdly, to shew that they would have done more grievous hurt to the men, had they not even in their calamities been aided by Divine Providence, for they hate men more than irrational animals. By this it is manifest that there is no man who is not supported by Divine Providence; and if all are not equally supported by it, neither after one manner, this is the highest characteristic of Providence, that it is extended to each man according to his need. Besides the above-mentioned things, we learn also that He cares not only for the whole together, but for each one in particular; which one may see clearly in these daemoniacs, who would have been long before choked in the deep, had not Divine care preserved them. He also permitted them to go into the herd of swine, that they that dwelt in those parts might know His power. For where He was known to none, there He makes His miracles to shine forth, that He may bring them to a confession of His divinity.

Jerome: The Saviour bade them go, not as yielding to their request, but that by the death of the swine, an occasion of man's salvation might be offered. "But they went out, (to wit, out of the men,) and went into the swine; and, lo, the whole herd rushed violently headlong into the sea, and perished in the waters." Let Manichaeans blush; if the souls of men and of beasts be of one substance, and one origin, how should two thousand swine have perished for the sake of the salvation of two men?

Chrys.: The daemons destroyed the swine because they are ever striving to bring men into distress, and rejoice in destruction. The greatness of the loss also added to the fame of that which was done; for it was published by many persons; namely, by the men that were healed, by the owners of the swine, and by those that fed them; as it follows, "But they that fed them fled, and went into the town, and told all, and [p. 329] concerning them that had the daemons; and, behold, the whole town went out to meet Jesus." But when they should have adored Him, and wondered at His excellent power, they cast Him from them, as it follows, "And when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts." Observe the clemency of Christ next in His excellent power; when those who had received favours from Him would drive Him away, He resisted not, but departed, and left those who thus pronounced themselves unworthy of His teaching, giving them as teachers those who had been delivered from the daemons, and the feeders of the swine.
http://www.josephkenny.joyeurs.com/CDtexts/CAMatthew.htm#8
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2012, 08:48:24 PM »

Also the man's name was not legion ,that was what the demons called themselves, it was they who answered Jesus.
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2012, 09:00:58 PM »

Pigs were seen as impure animals in Jewish culture. When the demons ask to go to the pigs, they are asking to return to their natural element, the dirtness of the world.

Pig raisers were seen as some equivalent of modern junkies, dirt people, living of dirt, selling illict items to other lost people like themselves.

Allowing the pigs to die was like burning a plantation of marijuana or any other plant used to make drugs.

The passage - asside from its spiritual meanings and put back in its cultural context - is about the destruction of a "meth lab".

thats always been my understanding also.
I thought the pigs killed themselves cause the rather b dead then possed.
Kinda killed 2 birds withone stone. got rid of the demons and the pigs!
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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2012, 03:22:44 AM »

I have also heard that it has do with the fact that the swine were unclean then.

Also, they asked Him to leave because the multitude from Gadarenes were afraid. The thing we learn from this event is that fear estranges us from God. So, the multitude chose to remain in their delusion instead of repenting because of fear, which is not good. Not sure if they ever changed after that, but the point of the story is to illustrate how fear works, among other things.
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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2012, 07:52:17 PM »

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
5:1-20 Some openly wilful sinners are like this madman. The commands of the law are as chains and fetters, to restrain sinners from their wicked courses; but they break those bands in sunder; and it is an evidence of the power of the devil in them. A legion of soldiers consisted of six thousand men, or more. What multitudes of fallen spirits there must be, and all enemies to God and man, when here was a legion in one poor wretched creature! Many there are that rise up against us. We are not a match for our spiritual enemies, in our own strength; but in the Lord, and in the power of his might, we shall be able to stand against them, though there are legions of them. When the vilest transgressor is delivered by the power of Jesus from the bondage of Satan, he will gladly sit at the feet of his Deliverer, and hear his word, who delivers the wretched slaves of Satan, and numbers them among his saints and servants. When the people found that their swine were lost, they had a dislike to Christ. Long-suffering and mercy may be seen, even in the corrections by which men lose their property while their lives are saved, and warning given them to seek the salvation of their souls. The man joyfully proclaimed what great things Jesus had done for him. All men marvelled, but few followed him. Many who cannot but wonder at the works of Christ, yet do not, as they ought, wonder after him.
http://bible.cc/mark/5-12.htm this site has several respected commentaries at the bottom of the page .
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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2012, 08:05:43 PM »

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

Matthew
8:28-34 The devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Saviour; they neither have, nor hope for any benefit from him. Oh the depth of this mystery of Divine love; that fallen man has so much to do with Christ, when fallen angels have nothing to do with him! Heb 2:16. Surely here was torment, to be forced to own the excellence that is in Christ, and yet they had no part in him. The devils desire not to have any thing to do with Christ as a Ruler. See whose language those speak, who will have nothing to do with the gospel of Christ. But it is not true that the devils have nothing to do with Christ as a Judge; for they have, and they know it, and thus it is with all the children of men. Satan and his instruments can go no further than he permits; they must quit possession when he commands. They cannot break his hedge of protection about his people; they cannot enter even a swine without his leave. They had leave. God often, for wise and holy ends, permits the efforts of Satan's rage. Thus the devil hurries people to sin; hurries them to what they have resolved against, which they know will be shame and grief to them: miserable is the condition of those who are led captive by him at his will. There are a great many who prefer their swine before the Saviour, and so come short of Christ and salvation by him. They desire Christ to depart out of their hearts, and will not suffer his word to have place in them, because he and his word would destroy their brutish lusts, those swine which they give themselves up to feed. And justly will Christ forsake all that are weary of him; and say hereafter, Depart, ye cursed, to those who now say to the Almighty, Depart from us.
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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2012, 11:04:20 PM »

they made Him look bad when they killed off the swine, leaving the villagers miffed at Christ and asking Him to leave....thereby, robbing the villagers of possible salvation?
I understand the slaying of the swine to be a moment of judgment for the villagers. They could either see Christ's great wonder worked in that man whom they had forsaken, or they could lament the loss of their worldly goods (pigs, by the way, are unclean in Judaism; this represents something here!)

They chose to only look at the creatures they lost. Their idolatry and hardness of heart blinded them.

"And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light..."
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« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2012, 11:28:49 PM »

they made Him look bad when they killed off the swine, leaving the villagers miffed at Christ and asking Him to leave....thereby, robbing the villagers of possible salvation?
I understand the slaying of the swine to be a moment of judgment for the villagers. They could either see Christ's great wonder worked in that man whom they had forsaken, or they could lament the loss of their worldly goods (pigs, by the way, are unclean in Judaism; this represents something here!)

They chose to only look at the creatures they lost. Their idolatry and hardness of heart blinded them.

"And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light..."

Yes, this is a great response.  Even the nasty pigs couldn't stand the demons.
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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2012, 11:44:33 PM »

Greg., Mor., ii, 10: For the Devil knows that of himself he has no power to do any thing, because it is not of himself that he exists as a spirit.

Remig.: They did not ask to be sent into men, because they saw Him by whose excellence they were tortured existing in human shape. Nor did they ask to be sent into sheep, because sheep are by God's institution clean animals, and were then offered in the temple of God. But they requested to be sent into the swine rather than into any of the other unclean animals, because this is of all animals the most unclean; whence also it has its name 'porcus,' as being 'spurens,' filthy, and delighting in filthiness; and daemons also delight in the filthiness of sin. They did not pray that they might be sent into the air, because of their eager desire of hurting [p. 328] men. "And he saith unto them, Go."

Chrys.: Jesus did not say this, as though persuaded by the daemons, but with many designs therein. One, that He might shew the mighty power to hurt of these daemons, who were in possession of the two men; another, that all might see that they had no power against the swine unless by His sufferance; thirdly, to shew that they would have done more grievous hurt to the men, had they not even in their calamities been aided by Divine Providence, for they hate men more than irrational animals. By this it is manifest that there is no man who is not supported by Divine Providence; and if all are not equally supported by it, neither after one manner, this is the highest characteristic of Providence, that it is extended to each man according to his need. Besides the above-mentioned things, we learn also that He cares not only for the whole together, but for each one in particular; which one may see clearly in these daemoniacs, who would have been long before choked in the deep, had not Divine care preserved them. He also permitted them to go into the herd of swine, that they that dwelt in those parts might know His power. For where He was known to none, there He makes His miracles to shine forth, that He may bring them to a confession of His divinity.

Jerome: The Saviour bade them go, not as yielding to their request, but that by the death of the swine, an occasion of man's salvation might be offered. "But they went out, (to wit, out of the men,) and went into the swine; and, lo, the whole herd rushed violently headlong into the sea, and perished in the waters." Let Manichaeans blush; if the souls of men and of beasts be of one substance, and one origin, how should two thousand swine have perished for the sake of the salvation of two men?

Chrys.: The daemons destroyed the swine because they are ever striving to bring men into distress, and rejoice in destruction. The greatness of the loss also added to the fame of that which was done; for it was published by many persons; namely, by the men that were healed, by the owners of the swine, and by those that fed them; as it follows, "But they that fed them fled, and went into the town, and told all, and [p. 329] concerning them that had the daemons; and, behold, the whole town went out to meet Jesus." But when they should have adored Him, and wondered at His excellent power, they cast Him from them, as it follows, "And when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts." Observe the clemency of Christ next in His excellent power; when those who had received favours from Him would drive Him away, He resisted not, but departed, and left those who thus pronounced themselves unworthy of His teaching, giving them as teachers those who had been delivered from the daemons, and the feeders of the swine.
http://www.josephkenny.joyeurs.com/CDtexts/CAMatthew.htm#8

One day someone will do an English translation of these texts.
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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2012, 11:50:18 PM »

they made Him look bad when they killed off the swine, leaving the villagers miffed at Christ and asking Him to leave....thereby, robbing the villagers of possible salvation?
I understand the slaying of the swine to be a moment of judgment for the villagers. They could either see Christ's great wonder worked in that man whom they had forsaken, or they could lament the loss of their worldly goods (pigs, by the way, are unclean in Judaism; this represents something here!)

They chose to only look at the creatures they lost. Their idolatry and hardness of heart blinded them.

"And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light..."

If only the Church Fathers above spoke such clear and concise English and made clear the the main point of this story in their ruminations.
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« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2012, 11:59:35 PM »

they made Him look bad when they killed off the swine, leaving the villagers miffed at Christ and asking Him to leave....thereby, robbing the villagers of possible salvation?
I understand the slaying of the swine to be a moment of judgment for the villagers. They could either see Christ's great wonder worked in that man whom they had forsaken, or they could lament the loss of their worldly goods (pigs, by the way, are unclean in Judaism; this represents something here!)

They chose to only look at the creatures they lost. Their idolatry and hardness of heart blinded them.

"And this is the judgment, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light..."

If only the Church Fathers above spoke such clear and concise English and made clear the the main point of this story in their ruminations.
I agree, he does a great job clearing up the muck.
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« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2012, 01:08:47 AM »

Yes, this is a great response.  Even the nasty pigs couldn't stand the demons.

In the man, the demons made him cut himself and break bonds.

In the pigs, the demons made the pigs harm themselves unto death.

Who do the demons really inhabit in the end of the story?

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?"

"And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

"When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' 'And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 'Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first."
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 01:17:53 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.
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« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2012, 01:12:05 AM »

I agree, he does a great job clearing up the muck.
Fr. Hopko said it first. Albeit with an emphasis on the villagers as the "real demoniacs".

Actually, I'm sure St. Chrysostom or someone talked about it first.

And of course Jesus did it.

So it's been done.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 01:12:52 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2012, 01:17:07 AM »

Fr. Hopko was my mentor when I first starting inquiring, yes he's pretty great at making things ultra clear and understandable. His podcasts have been a life saver. Now certain theologemoun he says I vehemntly disagree but on the whole he's someone I keep going back to on issues.
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“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

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« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2012, 01:19:45 AM »

Now certain theologemoun he says I vehemntly disagree
One of the marks of a great theologian.

Origen
St. Cyril
St. John Chrysostom
St. Isaac of Syria

etc
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« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2012, 01:22:25 AM »

Now certain theologemoun he says I vehemntly disagree
One of the marks of a great theologian.

Origen
St. Cyril
St. John Chrysostom
St. Isaac of Syria

etc

Surprisingly I do agree with him about the imminent Second Coming of Christ.

But that's a good point.

I still have respect for Origen, he was a genius.
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“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
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