The Gadarene Demoniac

The power on display as others marvel in wonder. Overcoming any adversary with sheer strength without the hint of mercy. Dominating all people and nations leaving trembling victims in his wake. An unstoppable power forcing all to their knees. This is how governments across the world portray themselves. But praise God the Prince of Peace was not so.

Inhabitants of Gadara

In the gospel, according to Luke 8:26-39, (v1), we’ve come to a place called Gadarenes (Gadara) a country on the east of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. In the verses, we’re going to look at sets a scene in the hilltops of the country. Before we begin let’s look at what the name means. The Greek word for Gadarenes is Gadarēnos (gä-dä-rā-no’s)

Gadarenes = “reward at the end”

also called Gergesenes, was the capital of Peraea, situated opposite the south extremity of the Lake of Gennesaret to the south-east, but at some distance from the lake on the banks of the river Hieromax

Γαδαρηνός Gadarēnós, gad-ar-ay-nos’; from Γαδαρά Gadará (a town east of the Jordan); a Gadarene or inhabitant of Gadara:—Gadarene.

Luke 8:26-27 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

How this sounds like each one of us before coming to know Christ as our Saviour. I don’t mean to say every one of us was demon-possessed (while some were), but we all “met him” and each one of us were destitute and naked “and ware no clothes” this man literally had no clothes. We also were dead in our sins keeping company with others who too were dead in their trespasses against God “in the tombs”. The bible doesn’t tell us precisely how long this man was in this state of possession. All we know is that he “had devils long time”. The lifestyle of this man was completely defiling in Leviticus God tells the Israelites to stay away from the dead or they will be defiled.

Leviticus 21:11 Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

The demoniac man was secluded walking among dead people. In the gospel of Mark, we have more details Luke doesn’t tell us about in Mark’s account it says that he was “in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones” (Mark 5:5). The torture and pain felt must have been great, the darkness and despair caused him to inflict wounds upon himself. This could be a glimpse of the darkness the book of Revelation refers to in chapter 16, God’s “fifth angel pours out his vial upon the seat of the beast” this caused the people to “gnawed their tongues for pain” (Revelation 16:10).

Jesus, thou Son of God Most High

Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.

The demoniac man falls down before the feet of the Saviour, in the gospel of Mark it says that the man ran to Jesus and worshipped Him (Mark 5:6). Does the Lord Jesus tell the man to go away? No. The grace of the Saviour He sees a man in desperate need and helps Him. I hope we all learn from the Lord’s example to help those who are in need. I can only imagine this man must have been dirty and smelled rancid. And the Lord never turns him away.

Notice the demon cried out saying “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not”. This is significant as it speaks to the pre-existence of Jesus Christ as the Word (John 1:1, 1:3) the one who created all things (Psalm 102:25-27, Isaiah 44:24, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:10-12, Revelation 4:11). The demon acknowledges by saying “thou Son of God most high” he knew that Christ is the Son of God, God manifests in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).

In the gospel according to Matthew, he says “Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” Legion knew that there was a time when all the demonic forces would be tormented forever in the lake of fire with the devil (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 19:20, 20:10) and begged the Lord Jesus not to be tormented.

Luke 8:29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)

What is thy name?

The power of the Word of God in all its splendour with all authority Jesus Christ commands the unclean to depart and the sprit has no choice but to come out of him. This man was completely in spiritual bondage incapable of being free even though they attempted restraining him with fetters he would brake them but was never truly free from bondage. Before Legion is cast out the Lord asks “What is thy name?”

Luke 8:30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.

This demonic spirit seems to be comprised of many devils as the name Legion implies. If we dive into the Greek the meaning of Legion is:

legiōn

I. a legion, a body of soldiers whose number differed at different times, and in the time of Augustus seems to have consisted of 6826 men (i.e. 6100 foot soldiers, and 726 horsemen)

λεγεών legeṓn, leg-eh-ohn’; of Latin origin; a “legion”, i.e. Roman regiment (figuratively):—legion.

From this, we can conclude there were many devils in this man.

Luke 8:31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

The devils were terrified at the fact of being cast out “into the deep” deep is another word if we take a look at the Greek meaning:

abyssos

I. bottomless

II. unbounded

III. the abyss

A. the pit

B. the immeasurable depth

C. of Orcus, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons.

ἄβυσσος ábyssos, ab’-us-sos; from G1 (as a negative particle) and a variation of G1037; depthless, i.e. (specially) (infernal) “abyss”:—deep, (bottomless) pit.

The bottomless pit is also spoken of in the book of Revelation there’s an angel who is given the “key of the bottomless pit” (Revelation 9:1) he proceeds to open the pit and smoke comes out like a “great furnace” (Revelation 9:2) and locusts came up from the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:39-40). These locusts which are released to wreak havoc upon sinful mankind have a king over them according to Revelation 9:11 an angel who goes by the names Abaddon in Hebrew and Apollyon in Greek. These names give us more insight as to who this angel is when looking at these names in the original languages.

Abaddon in Hebrew

I. Abaddon = “destruction”

A. ruin

B. destruction

C. the place of destruction

D. the name of the angel-prince of the infernal regions, the minister of death and the author of havoc on the earth

Apollyon in Greek

I. Apollyon = “Destroyer”

A. the angel of the bottomless pit, the Destroyer

Herd of many swine

Luke 8:32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.

Here we see that the people of Gadara kept a herd of swine, it’s been said that the country of Gadara was a Hellenistic people those who were influenced by the Greek culture. The reason why they are considered to be Hellenistic is that according to the Old Testament Law God commands the children of Israel not to touch any swine for it’s unclean (Leviticus 11:7, Deuteronomy 14:8).

Also, notice that the devils had no authority before the Lord “they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them”. They asked permission to enter into the swine and the Lord Jesus allowed them to enter into the swine. This is more proof that believers who have the Spirit of God indwelling inside them cannot be demon-possessed, there are Christians who believe a devil can co-inhabit a person with the Holy Ghost. This belief is erroneous and not possible for the true child of God. After the Lord permits the devils to depart this man it says in the following verse.

Luke 8:33 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.

The devils knew there’s coming a time in which they will be destroyed in the lake of fire, the time is not yet I supposed the devils were just buying time and just wanted to escape their judgement for the moment. The response of the people in the Gadarenes was unwelcoming, they only cared for the swine it was most likely the way they made profits herding swine. They should have rejoiced at this miracle performed by the Lord Jesus, seeing that God was in their midst and that this man was made whole again (Luke 8:34-37).

What Jesus has done for you

Luke 8:38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,

The response of this man is how every child of God should respond because we also have been saved and had those bonds removed from us. The Demoniac man wanted to continue to stay in the presence of the Lord but was sent away “but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee”. Just as the Lord Jesus has sent us out to proclaim the good news of salvation to the lost, this man also was sent to bring the glad tidings to others that they may know the saving power of God.

The remarkable highlight of these verses is that while a miracle was performed, a man released from demon possession the Lord Jesus says: “Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee.” the man goes out to proclaim “how great things Jesus had done unto him”, can you see the connection?

More proof that Jesus Christ is God, rest well in knowing that the one who made all things is inside of you believer and He will continue to uphold you till the day He comes for His bride.

Luke 8:39 Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

Some other verses proving that Jesus Christ is God (Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1, 1:3, 8:58, 14:9, 20:28, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:15-17, 1 Timothy 3:16).

Ravening wolves (False Teachers) Matthew 7:15

Acts 20:29 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”

Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

TEACHERS

They’re all around, teachers, we find them in all sorts of environments and institutions; places such as universities, technology firms, cooking school, language class their purpose is education. There’s no other place teachers can greatly serve than providing for the edification of the church, the body of The Lord Jesus Christ.

Elders who’re in the midst of the believers in the local gathering also bear the responsibility of being apt to teach (1 Timothy 3:2, 2 Timothy 2:24, Titus 1:9, 1 Peter 5:2) themselves being in a position of responsibility to the LORD as shepherding the flock. Also, young men who’re given the gift of teaching by God and raised up by the Holy Spirit to teach, become overseers or possibly both. As faithful men teach faithful men (2 Timothy 2:2).

Hebrews 13:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.”

They bear a tremendous responsibility as those who’ll give an account to the LORD for their service of guiding the flock of God. That’s a heavy burden to have on your shoulders, and not all men are cut out for that responsibility. That’s why it’s vital that they’re raised up by the Holy Spirit, we’re talking about spiritual matters, not someone answering a job post by sending a resume, God does the raising up.

Handling the word of God is a great responsibility one to be taken seriously as they who handle God’s word will give a greater account to God Himself one day. Elders and teachers, but today we’re going to look at what constitutes those who would be false teachers.

FALSE PROPHETS

In the Old Testament the nation of Israel dealt with false prophets in their dispensation, as we are no longer in the days of the Old Testament it’s important to note that the OT has a tremendous amount of teachings and types we can learn from. In our day and age, we’re no longer under the Old Testament law, we’re now under the New Testament, under grace.

Looking at the OT scriptures we remember how Elijah dealt with the false prophets of Baal in (1 Kings 18:21–18:40) as he issuing a challenge telling them to choose a bullock and lay wood upon an altar, calling upon their god (Baal), but he would call upon the name of the LORD proving that the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob is the one true God.

Other false prophets such as Hananiah who spoke a lie unto the people of Israel telling them the yoke of Nebuchadrezzar shall be broken in 2 years and they will not serve the king of Babylon, speaking of the children of Israel’s captivity. But the prophet Jeremiah warned the people that this was not true but a lie (Jeremiah 28). The LORD said for this false prophesy Hananiah “broken yoke as wood” the yoke will now be made into iron around their necks (Jeremiah 28:13–28:14).

Ahab, son of Kolaiah, and Zedekiah the LORD was angered because they falsely prophesied a lie in the name of God and were slayed at the hands of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. That’s the price false prophets paid when speaking lies in the name of the LORD (Jeremiah 29).

FALSE TEACHERS

Today we’re no longer dealing with false prophets as prophets are no longer used by God in our dispensation (Luke 16:16). Teachers raised up by the Holy Spirit are now used by God for the edification of the saints we come to understand what God expects of us through His word the complete canon of scripture.

2 Timothy 3:16–3:17 “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

God used the major and minor prophets in the Old Testament to provide revelation of His word as they didn’t have a tangible Bible as we do today. They had some scriptures such as the five books of Moses (Genesis — Deuteronomy) and as time went on the scriptures were given through holy men of God moved by the Holy Ghost.

2 Peter 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

And just as Israel dealt with false prophets we as the Church have to beware of false teachers, we’re constantly told in scripture they would be prevalent in these last days, men of old creeping in, bringing in damnable heresies.

A few of many false teachers

The Lord Jesus had given this solemn warning concerning the Pharisees bringing to mind leaven. Leaven was used in bread in order to make it rise, but leaven also spreads throughout the bread put a little and the entire bread rises. The same happens with false doctrine.

Matthew 16:6 “Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”

God would always tell the children of Israel not to eat leaven bread as the OT scriptures have many pictures or types of spiritual things.

Some types are Abraham willing to sacrifice Issac his son and the ram caught in the thicket a picture of the Father giving His Son the Lord Jesus as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:8–22:13). Wonderful picture of the cross of Calvary (Jesus died for me!).

Joseph as a provider for the nation of Israel as they were in a great dearth (famine) suffering in hunger, then coming into a land with provision, food for them saving them from starvation (Genesis 45). A picture of us spiritually dead, no food for our souls in a dry and barren place until we’re saved by the Lord Jesus and He provides food for us.

Moses as the deliverer of God’s chosen nation Israel from the hard bondage of Pharoah in Egypt as he brings the people through the red sea being baptised unto Moses (1 Corinthians 10:2). Just as anyone born of God, were baptised unto the Lord Jesus.

Exodus 12:15 “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.”

Paul speaking to the church at Galatia warned them of the leaven as sin to be avoided (Galatians 5:9). He said the same to the believers in Corinth telling them to purge out the leaven which made its way into the local body of believers (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Leaven

LEAVEN, n. lev’n. L. levo, Eng. to lift.

1. A mass of sourdough, which, mixed with a larger quantity of dough or paste, produces fermentation in it and renders it light. During the seven days of the passover, no leaven was permitted to be in the houses of the Jews. (Exodus 12)

2. Anything which makes a general change in the mass. It generally means something which corrupts or depraves that with which it is mixed.

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16)

LEAVEN, v.t. lev’n.

1. To excite fermentation in; to raise and make light, as dough or paste.

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (1 Corinthians 5)

2. to taint; to imbue.

This is what false teachers do they taint God’s word many cults like (Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist) will say they believe God’s word and will use similar words and meanings as Christians but if you press them on issues of salvation you’ll notice it’s not enough for them to just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation (Acts 16:31).

Cult members feel the need to work for their salvation, for them just believing is too simple for them. satan knows salvation is simple, it’s so simple that he can’t take anything from it, therefore, he tries to get individuals to add to salvation thereby perverting the Gospel.

2 Timothy 4:3–4:4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

The above verse speaks of those who will not hear the truth of God’s word and they twist God’s word to suit their own needs. Most Bible-believing Christians know of the more popular false teachers out there, preaching a prosperity gospel. But how many are aware of those preaching erroneous doctrine such as:

  1. Losing salvation
  2. Second baptism of the Holy Spirit for salvation
  3. Born again Christians being possessed by demons/unclean spirits
  4. Speaking in tongues for salvation
  5. Laying on of hands (healing)
  6. Modern-day Profits/Apostles

WHAT DO WE DO?

This may be obvious but it’s never too old to hear, staying in God’s word with the help of the Holy Spirit will always preserve you. God guides us as the good shepherd. By staying in the word of God we can prove all things, holding fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

By placing our dependence on the LORD He will never steer us wrong, He holds us up and establishes upon a rock, a solid foundation which is His truth; that being the Lord Jesus Himself.

CAN BELIEVERS BE DEMON POSSESSED?

Not long ago I’ve come across a video of a baptism of a young lady she was baptised by a known street preacher. What struck me was this young lady had professed to be saved as she was standing in the water waiting to be baptised, and the next moment was having “a demon cast out of her” in the middle of her baptism.

Bob Larson “Casts Out Dustly The Demon”

Now we have to ask ourselves a few questions. Can a truly born-again Christian be possessed by a devil? And if so would that mean that God is not powerful enough to keep the true believer who’s sealed by the Holy Spirit from such? Another possibility is that a person who’s truly possessed by a devil cannot be saved because darkness cannot dwell with light. A believer cannot be walking in the Light and possessed by satan at the same time.

1 John 1:5–7 “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. ”

Though demons can enter and possess any unbeliever, they cannot enter into the body of those who belong to the Lord. There are a number of reasons why this is so. The Bible says that the one who indwells believers (Holy Spirit) is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

Those who have trusted Christ have been delivered from the possibility of demonic possession. Paul wrote.

Ephesians 2:2 “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

True believers do not live any more under their authority, that is under the authority of satan. When a person is saved they belong to the LORD, not satan.

Colossians 1:13, 14 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

Believers have nothing in common with darkness or Satan. The Holy Spirit, and a demonic spirit cannot co-exist in the same person.

2 Corinthians 6:15 “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

We have no biblical example in Scripture of a believer in Jesus Christ being demon-possessed. All cases of demonic possession were with those who were unbelievers and after became saved by the Lord Jesus.

Sometimes the following passages are cited as support of believers being possessed. Paul ordered the church of Corinth to deliver a believer over to Satan. What many don’t understand is this person was put out of the local body of believers not that the man who was put out was possessed.

1 Corinthians 5:5 “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

The Bible speaks of two other individuals who were also delivered over to Satan. Again meaning placed outside of the local fellowship of believers. Not that they were demon possessed.

1 Timothy 1:20 “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

People Taken Captive is another passage speaks of people being taken captive by the devil.

2 Timothy 2:26 “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

The people under discussion in this context are not believers. Consequently, there is no Scriptural support for the idea that Christians can become demon-possessed.

What about stories of believers and demons? When people give examples of believers being possessed, there are a number of questions that immediately arise, “Were these victims of demon possession really believers?” “Were they actually possessed with a demon or is there another possible explanation for their behaviour?” Since the Bible gives no support that a believer can be possessed by a demon, some other explanation must be in order.

Permanent indwelling of Holy Spirit. The issue is clear. It is not whether a professing Christian can be demon-possessed, but rather can a genuine, “born again” Christian become demon-possessed? The Bible teaches that those who have trusted Christ are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13,14 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

You’re a new creation. Believers are a new creation in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Body temple of Holy Spirit. The body of the believer is now a temple of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

Cannot separate the believer from The Lord. The Bible says that nothing can separate the believer from the love of God.

Romans 8:38,39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Specially mentioned are the angels and principalities angelic orders. Not even they can separate a believer from the love of God. All of these things would make demon-possession an impossibility for the believer.

The Bible never teaches a Christian can be possessed by a demon. The believer is “in Christ,”- one of His. Every example in the Bible of a person being demon-possessed concerns an unbeliever there are no examples of believers being possessed.

Furthermore, we must be careful not to depend on stories of believers and demon-possession many other explanations are possible. The Christian, who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, need not fear demon possession. Yet, demons do attack believers in various ways, therefore, it would be wrong to say they cannot have any effect on the Christian.

CONCLUSION

We can speak at great lengths concerning foundational truths ie salvation, baptism etc. This is here is not meant to go into great depths on those subjects, it was merely to point out that there are false teachers out there spreading heretical doctrines. Like the Bereans, they searched the scriptures daily to see if those things were so (Acts 17:10–17:11).

Doing the same we need to stay in God’s word so that we’re not tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. The LORD preserves His saints and will never lead them astray.

God bless