The Gadarene Demoniac

By Ron Graham

“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,” Mark 5:1,2.


Jesus and His disciples took a trip across the Sea of Galilee to the opposite coast close to the city of Gadara for one purpose. A man with an unclean spirit needed Him. Each person on the face of this earth is important to Jesus, and this man who was possessed by a legion of demons was no different. History tells us that a Roman Legion consisted of something in the neighborhood of 6,000 men. Some Bible teachers say there were probably much fewer than 6,000 demons and perhaps the demons used the large number as a ploy as an attempt to intimidate Jesus by lying about their number. After all the demons were only following Satan’s example, he being the father of all lies.


In order for a Rabbi, in those days, to effectually cast out a demon he had to first ask for the name of the demon. Jesus didn’t ask the demon how many were inside the man but He did ask him his name. The demon refused to give Jesus his name or the names of any of the others with him. The demon, from the beginning of the encounter with Jesus, was trying to get the upper hand, which of course was futile. When Jesus obliged the demons by fulfilling their request to be sent into the herd of swine, Jesus wasn’t concerned with the herd of swine so much but in eliminating the demons from the scene. Jesus accomplished what He set out to do by releasing that demonic possessed man from his torture.


Demons must seek embodiment, because for a demon to be without a body to inhabit places them in idleness which is the same for them as being in Hell. Demons hate humans and have a deep seeded desire to destroy us. Why do they hate humans? Because we are created in the image of God. They can’t destroy God or even touch Him so they embody humans whenever possible to destroy us. In that way they are able to destroy the image of God Himself. 


Christians can’t be embodied by evil spirits, there is no more room inside of us because the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in us and He takes up the entire area. Not to mention the fact that demons are terrified of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, and the demons fear God and appropriately so. But believers can suffer demonic attacks, and sometimes come under demonic oppression. These attacks can deplete a Christian’s joy and drag him/her into a state of uselessness. A Christian without joy is a Christian who has become of no effect for the Kingdom of God. They’ve lost their saltiness. Since Satan no longer owns us, he’ll settle for destroying our effectiveness.


On the other hand, those who remain in unbelief have a huge invisible target on their heads and demonic entities are always contriving ways to enter those individuals. Satan is behind many sinister devices which allow humans to be embodied (everyone who is not born again belongs to Satan) drinking alcohol to excess or partaking in mind altering drugs as well as getting involved with “seemingly innocent” distractions such as Ouija boards, séances, dungeons and dragons, and of course the not so “seemingly innocent” distractions such as witchcraft, mysticism, and the occult, even New Age practices which included many on the aforementioned list. 


What Satan wants is for humans to come to a point in life where their common sense tells them that to believe in such things as demons, evil spirits, or even Satan himself is foolishness. People have been bombarded with silly characterizations of Satan, and from times past they’ve contrived the idea that he was sort of a comical character. He comes on the scene dressed in a red suit with cloven hoofs, a long pointed tail, horns, and he carries a pitchfork. The devil prefers to be thought of in this way. If people think of Satan as a comical character they lose their fear of him….he becomes as real as Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck. When the fear is gone then a person is wide open for a demon to enter and take up residence inside them. All humans should have a healthy fear of Satan and his minions for they are indeed quite real. 


We’re not told how the Gadarene Demoniac was embodied, but we are told he had supernatural power and interestingly he was continually trying to harm himself. Actually he wasn’t the one doing the harming it was the demons who wanted to destroy him. How long he lived in among the tombs and up on the mountain we aren’t told, but we are told that the folks around the area tried to subdue him with chains and that he was able, with his incredible strength, to break those chains. They could not contain him.


I hear about people cutting themselves and even turning it into some sort of an addiction. That’s one of the things the demoniac did to harm himself, he cut himself with sharp rocks. “And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones,” Mark 5:5. Could it be that there is even more demonic activity surrounding us today than we are aware of? Why would healthy young boys and girls, and adults too, want to cut themselves until they bleed and scar up their bodies? What else could be behind this unhealthy and seemingly satanic activity? Would perfectly sane people actually indulge in such arcane practices? Not hardly. But demon possessed people could and would perform all sorts of unnatural acts of self-destruction. Time to insert a little controversy, and, as always, I’m ready for the onslaught of emails from irate readers. Piercing and tattooing may well be demonic in nature. Okay, I said it now let me have it.


(Side note)

If you want to find out God’s feelings on these subjects, read the Torah. No, we aren’t still under the Law, but you will find there a plethora of information on just how God views these and other abominations as well. You might say something like “Yes, well, our culture has changed we’re different than those folks who lived back then and who got into all sorts of Baal worship. Tattooing and piercing is a way to show our independence, a way to show who we are as Christians. We now have a freedom in Christ and as such all things are lawful.” Then of course I’d have to say, “All things are lawful but all things are not expedient”. Jesus Christ, our Creator God, is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Get it? 


People both young and old are becoming more and more involved in what they deem “pleasurable activities” which speak of a complete lack of morals that to the born again Christian observer seem to be totally demonic in nature. How is it that the demons have been given such a free rein in the lives of so many? People are, in unimaginable ways, opening their minds and allowing unfettered demonic involvement in their lives.


Jesus cast out demons and even gave His disciples this ability. Demon possession was without a doubt something quite prevalent in those days. That culture certainly didn’t dismiss demonic possession as fantasy. Demons were real and burdensome to many people and Jesus knew it. The reason Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee that day was for the sole purpose of healing one demon possessed individual. Today the world seeks many avenues to the demonic; it’s as if there’s a store on every corner of every town in which the worldly can attract and be supplied with a demon. One more thing, though demons are pervasive we mustn’t attribute every weird or unexplainable experience to them.


Witchcraft, (Wicca) has become main stream in recent years, as well as many other occult practices, and it now attracts even highly intellectual people. There are now many places that supply the once shunned paraphernalia attributed to performing occult rituals. A Google search on the internet with the intent of finding ways to attract demons will soon produce pages replete with occult sources. Why anyone would want to attract a demon to enter their mind rather than use this same effort to seek God is beyond me.


Demons hate humans and they will do their utmost to destroy any human that opens a door and allows them access to embody them. Their only purpose is mischief and destruction; they aren’t capable of feeling or conscience. Their hatred of human kind is incredibly intense.


The Emerging Church/Contemplative Spirituality is just another avenue to the occult. When people incorporate a prayer mantra into their new spirituality they are opening their minds to a spirit guide. The promoters of these heresies actually promote the concept of allowing a spirit guide access. One might just as well say demon guide, and let me be perfectly clear, once you’re possessed by this evil your chances of ever being un-possessed are slim to nil.  


Did the Gadarene Demoniac want that legion of demons living in him? Do you think he set out to find a new spirit guide to help him through life? My guess is his answer would be no. But many people today are now actively inviting demons in and they’ve made it so simple to become possessed that demons hardly have need of any type of deception whatsoever. The doors are open for them, and the red carpet is laid, come on in goes the cry.


What happened to the man when Jesus had cast out those demons who had taken up their residency in him? He wanted to stay with Jesus, not to see what else Jesus could do for him, but because he was so overwhelmed with the gladness of being set free from demon possession, and he was so full of love for Jesus that he never wanted to leave him. Demons hate and destroy lives, Jesus loves and builds lives.


Jesus wouldn’t allow the man, once he was healed, to stay with Him. Why? Because the man now possessed a great witnessing tool, which consisted of his very own testimony. Jesus told him to go and tell everyone he could about the great things God had done for him, and how God had compassion on him, so he did as Jesus commanded.


Jesus is the reason Christians are no longer available for demon embodiment. When Jesus Christ died on the cross He defeated Satan and his followers. We must remember though, it was Jesus who defeated Satan not us. “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee,” Jude 1:9. Even Michael the archangel rebuked the devil in the name of Jesus Christ. Michael didn’t try to battle Satan on his own power but through God’s power. Christians must do the same.


Demons are fallen angels. Just how much strength does an angel have? “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they [were] all dead corpses,” 2 Kings 19:35. One angel killed one hundred and eighty five thousand Assyrian men in one night. When the angels rebelled along with their leader, Satan, did they lose their strength? Not likely, just their place in Heaven.


We being mere human beings have no strength of our own to fight against the powers and principalities of darkness. We must always be covered with God’s power and might, and in that sense the demons can’t touch us. Left on our own accord, there’s no way in which to fend off demonic attacks which will most certainly buffet us. Only through the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can we be covered and protected from a demon or demons possessing us. “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name,” Luke 10:17.


The Gadarene Demoniac was released from his prison of torture by the only One who had the power to accomplish that feat, Jesus the Christ. Many today are held in that same torturous state by evil maniacal demons bent on destruction. The total relief which that man experienced when Jesus released him must have given him new life. Isn’t that what Jesus is all about? He gives those who seek Him new life. Satan and his minions of evil can have no power over the believer if we are truly in Christ. Are you in Christ?


Imagine the power Satan has over those who aren’t cleansed by the blood of Christ.


God bless you all,


Ron Graham