Why did Jesus permit the demons to possess swine?

Author: BibleAsk Team


The Story of the Demoniacs

When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”  And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water.

Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region” (Matthew 8:28 – 9:1 also Mark 5:1–20; Luke 8:26–39).

Why Did the Demons Ask Jesus to Possess the Swine?

One of the demoniacs declared that Christ was the “Son of God” and begged Him, “I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not” (Mark 5:7). The evil angels were fearful of their destiny (Matthew 8:28-29) and that they may be sent to the abyss (Revelation 20:1). So, they begged Christ to allow them to enter into a herd of pigs. And when the Lord gave them permission, they did and the pigs rushed down into the lake and drowned (Matthew 5:13). The Scriptures don’t directly state why the evil angels asked for that but it could be for the following reasons:

  1. The evil angels didn’t want to leave that area. “And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country” (Mark 5:10).
  2. Satan aimed to turn the people of this region against the Savior by destroying their natural resources.
  3. The evil angels wanted to possess unclean animals because they were unclean themselves.
  4. The the evil angels wanted to embody animals instead of getting sent to an empty place of torment.

Why Did Christ Permit the evil angels to Possess the Swine?

The Scriptures again don’t give a direct answer but it could be for the following reasons:

  1. If the pig owners were Jews, the Lord wanted to punish them for going against the clear instructions of Moses in raising pigs for the sake of monetary profit (Leviticus 11:7).
  2. If the pig owners were gentiles, the Savior wanted to show them His authority over the dark powers of the devil and His ability to deliver and set free all those who seek Him (Luke 4:18).

Whatever the case, the ultimate result of this miracle and the ministry of the transformed men, who previously had been known throughout the district as demoniacs, together with news of the herd of pigs that perished in the sea, served as nothing else could possibly have done to change the people of the region to accept the Lord (Mark 5: 19, 20).

The Savior bade the delivered person “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:17-20). The result was that when Christ came back to that area, multitudes of people came out to meet Him wanting to listen to His teachings and receive healing (Matthew 14:34–36 and Mark 6:53–56).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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