Thoughts from Matthew 8…
Sometimes, the most difficult lessons are when you think that you are finally safe. You come through a valley of trouble and emerge on the other side, bruised, but glad to be still alive. But then, few things are tougher than that moment when you realize — the battle isn’t over yet!
We don’t know what Jesus and His disciples were thinking, but they had just finished a very long day. Jesus was teaching the crowds, facing opposition from the religious leaders, and enduring rejection from the people. Once night fell, He and His followers set sail across the Sea of Galilee. Exhausted, Jesus went to the back of the boat and fell asleep, only to be suddenly awakened by the frantic disciples. A sudden storm was overwhelming the boat and they were sinking! Jesus stood up, rebuked the storm, and then scolded His faithless disciples. The storm stopped, and He showed that He is king over anything nature can throw at him! (see here).
It is now late into the night as they pull onto the opposite shore.a But the quiet stillness of the evening seashore is shattered by the screams of men running at them. The two men are insane and very violent, with superhuman strength. Their naked bodies are covered with scars from where they cut themselves, and they may have been dragging broken chains from where the townspeople tried to subdue them.
I can’t even imagine the shock and terror from the disciples as they come to this scene! They have already survived the storm in order to get here, but now Jesus has another lesson from them. He was greater than the storm, and He is about to show them that He is also greater than the supernatural forces coming at him!
And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
Jesus is confronted by the demons
And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.)
Jesus and His disciples had sailed across the Sea of Galilee that night, through a storm (see here), and landed on the opposite side of the lake. They left from Capernaum, in the Northwestern part and ended up in the region of Gadera, on the Southeastern shore. By crossing over, Jesus had left the political region of Galilee, consisting mostly of Jews, and ruled by Herod. But east of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River, in modern-day Jordan, was the confederacy of ten cities known as the Decapolis. Although there were Jews who lived in this region, it was primarily inhabited by Gentiles. The demon-possessed men in this scene were most likely Gentiles, as were the local farmers and townspeople. This readily explains why the farmers had been raising pigs, even though they would be unclean to the Jews across the lake.
As soon as Jesus stepped out of the boat, he was immediately confronted by two lunatics.b All three Gospel accounts combine to show a terrifying sight for these two men:
- They wore no clothes and lived in the tombs
- The townspeople failed to subdue them
- They had superhuman strength: they broke the chains and shackles
- They were cutting themselves and crying out night and day
- None could pass that way
“… the whole country around is burrowed with limestone caverns and rock-chambers for the dead, such as those which were the dwelling of the demonised. From these tombs the demonised … came forth to meet Jesus.” – Edersheim7
We don’t know the history of these two men, but several demons had taken possession of them. This is a unique scene in the ministry of Jesus Christ. He encountered demons elsewhere, but this is the only recorded instance where men were possessed by several demons. This scene was also unique by the possessed men’s physical strength, insanity, and violence that we see here.
The demons, also known as “fallen angels”, or “evil spirits”, are angels who followed Satan in his rebellion against God. They were cast out of Heaven and now inhabit the earth, awaiting their final judgement. See here and here for more details.
These men were violent, insane, and beyond the control of any people. But as much as they might have scared others, the presence of Jesus Christ terrified them!
The demons screamed in His presence — it was not time yet! They knew who Jesus was, that He was the Son of the Most High God, and they knew their future. Jesus will return in judgement at the end of the world and throw them into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:10).
It is interesting to note that demons lost control whenever they encountered Jesus. They could not be silent, but would start screaming in terror at His presence!
This also shows that the demons don’t know everything. They know that God has a great judgement planned for them, but they do not know the timing. Nor did they know why Jesus Christ showed up on their shore that day. Satan and his followers are not omniscient, and they can do nothing without the permission of Jesus Christ.11
There are several popular movies and television shows that portray demons as the ultimate horror to mankind. These pictures of demons often show horns, forked tails, of other scary features. But they are fueled by the artists’ imagination and not by Biblical facts. Demons are indeed horrible, but they shrink in terror at the very presence of Jesus Christ!
Jesus sends the demons into the pigs
Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters.
And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
Nowhere else is it recorded that men were possessed by several demons. Nowhere else did the demons converse with Jesus as He commanded them to come out of the men, and nowhere else were the demons granted permission to enter into a herd of animals.
Jesus asked the name of the demons and they replied that their name was “Legion”. A legion was the largest Roman military unit, consisting of up to six thousand soldiers. Therefore, the name “Legion” was a title for the group of demons that possessed the men, and not a proper name of a specific demon.
We don’t know the actual number of demons, but the title of “Legion” gives an idea of their scale. The did not need to compare to a Roman legion in number, but there were enough to possess the herd of two thousand pigs. These two men must have had thousands of demons!
The demons were afraid that Jesus would send them to their place of punishment, into “the abyss”.c Instead, they requested to enter the herd of pigs nearby. The frantic pigs then ran into the water and drowned!d
Why did Jesus allow the demons to enter the pigs? One of the best answers is provided by Warren Wiersbe:
“Why send them into the swine? For one thing, by doing it that way, Jesus gave proof to all the spectators that a miracle of deliverance had really taken place. The destruction of the pigs also gave assurance to the two men that the unclean spirits were actually gone. But more than anything else, the drowning of the two thousand swine was a vivid object lesson to this Christ-rejecting crowd that, to Satan, a pig is as good as a man! In fact, Satan will make a man into a pig!”5
“… to the south of Gersa is a steep bluff, which descends abruptly on a narrow ledge of shore. A terrified herd running down this cliff could not have recovered its foothold, and must inevitably have been hurled into the Lake beneath.” – Edersheim7
“The fact that the demons destroyed two thousand pigs is nothing compared with the fact that Jesus delivered two men from the powers of Satan.” – Warren Wiersbe4
Jesus is met by reactions from the people
Fear and rejection from the locals
The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.
When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear.
The pig keepers rushed back to town to tell what had happened. Then, the entire town came to Jesus. They were afraid when they saw the man (at least one of them) with clothes on and now healed and normal. After seeing what Jesus had done and how the men had been saved, they begged Him to leave.
Jesus had destroyed their pig business! But even more than that, they recognized His power and it terrified them! These madmen had terrorized the town, and Jesus had ended it with one command!
“It is not necessary to suppose, that their request that Jesus would depart out of their coasts was prompted only by the loss of the herd of swine. There could be no doubt in their minds, that One possessing supreme and unlimited power was in their midst. Among men superstitious, and unwilling to submit absolutely to the Kingdom which Christ brought, there could only be one effect of what they had heard, and now witnessed in the person of the healed demonised – awe and fear!” – Edersheim7
“Jesus never remains with people who do not want Him. Men are permitted to choose in such circumstances whether they will receive Him or not.” – H.A. Ironside3
Adoration and obedience from the healed man
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.
So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
The townspeople wanted Him to leave, but there was one man who appreciated what Jesus had done. The man who had been possessed was now healed, was wearing clothes, and had his sanity back. He wanted to leave with Jesus and travel as one of His disciples, but Jesus had other plans for him. He was to go back home and tell what God had done for him.e
It is interesting to note that when Jesus healed many Jews, He often commanded them to be quiet, such as the leper in Mark 1:40-45. But He commanded this Gentile man to go home and tell everyone what Jesus had done for them. There are many explanations for this difference, but the primary reason is related to the groups of people that would hear the message. Jesus was already ministering to the Jews, and His fame was to the point that He could not even enter the cities without being overwhelmed by the crowds (see here). But this was an opportunity to share the good news with the Gentiles across the Jordan river. Jesus would later come and have a very effective ministry in this area, and this man’s message may have helped to prepare the people (Mark 6:53-56, John 10:40-42).
This man wanted to stay and learn from Jesus, but He sent him back as a missionary!
“A man who had been the temple of demonic power now becomes the temple of the living God – and his voice which had terrified this region, screaming the message of pain and despair and blasphemy and demonic worship now preaches the gospel of grace and truth and deliverance and freedom.” – Stephen Davey11
It is easy to get caught up in the scene of a popular Bible story such as this, but then forget what this can teach us. Jesus is showing that He has every right to His claim as the Messiah. He is greater than sickness, greater than nature’s might, and now He shows that He is greater than the supernatural!
What does it mean today that Jesus is the Messiah? It means that Jesus is King! He is greater than any forces that come against us! He is greater than any problems that come our way!
But God’s work will also make people uncomfortable. Just like the pig farmers, we may cause people to lose business or otherwise make their lives difficult. But the mission of Jesus Christ is to save souls, not to promote commerce!
And finally, we need to be open to where Jesus directs us. We may want to serve Him in one way while He is directing us elsewhere. Just like the healed man, we may want to leave everything to follow Him, while Jesus is telling us to go back home and tell others about Him. How is Jesus directing you?
2 Corinthians 2:15-17
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
Previous post: He is King over Nature
Appendix: What does the Bible say about demons?
There are a lot of stories and depictions of demons today. They are often pictured as hideous monsters with horns, and sometimes with a forked tail. Their power and abilities vary, based on the stories that are told.
Most of these pictures of demons, however, are based on superstitions or imaginations, and not based on Biblical truth. The Bible does not give complete information about demons, but the information that it does contain shows a much different picture than the popular image.
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall with regard to devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. The demons are equally pleased by both errors, and welcome a materialist or magician with the same delight.” – C.S. Lewis
The best understanding of the demons’ origin is that they are the angels who followed Satan in his rebellion against God (see here). They were cast out of heaven with Satan and now serve his purposes on earth. God promises to cast them into Hell with Satan at the final judgement (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:10).
We see from Scripture about some of the ways that demons affect mankind:
- They are part of idol worship (1 Corinthians 10:20)
- They can influence people to disobey God (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)
- Then can spread false doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1)
But the most significant is the ability of a demons to possess a person. The demons inhabit and take control of the individual, subjecting their will to that of the demon. The symptoms of demon possession range from the extreme cases such as the the violent, superhuman, and insane rantings of the madmen at Gadara, to the very secretive possession, such as the attendee of the synagogue (Mark 1:22-28, Luke 4:33-36).h However, all of the demons reacted in terror to the presence of Jesus Christ.
The demons are very knowledgeable about God’s Word, and they immediately recognized Jesus as the Son of God. In James 2:19, James uses the demons as an example of the fact that we need more than simply belief in God. The demons already believe in God!
Demons are noticed the most in Scripture during the ministry of Jesus Christ and shortly afterward. Commentators have offered different reasons for why we do not see as many occurrences of demon possession in the Old Testament or in modern times, but the most likely explanation seems to be that demon possession could often go unnoticed during the other periods of history. But when Jesus Christ was on earth, His presence inflamed the demons into revealing themselves.f Otherwise, like the worshipper at the synagogue, they could quietly exist without anyone knowing about them.
For those who know Jesus Christ, we have the confidence of knowing that God’s children cannot be possessed by demons. God’s Spirit is within us (Romans 8:11) and He promises to never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). We are the temple of God which cannot coexist with Satan (1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 6:15-16).
How can we fight back against demons? There are many stories involving mystical procedures or incantations in order to defeat a demon. There is even discussion among some Christians regarding spiritual warfare in order to cast out demons of sickness, etc. None of these ideas are Biblical.
But the Bible does say that we are fighting against the power of Satan. Ephesians 6:10-13 says,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
When we follow Jesus Christ, we are involved in a struggle against the forces of Satan. He is our true enemy. The Bible tells us to stand in the power of The Lord, taking on His armor.
Ephesians 6 shows that we defeat Satan by obeying God with prayer. Only He is powerful enough to defeat the forces of evil, but He has already promised us the victory!
“The problem is, we’re given little information beyond the Gospels on how exactly to confront a demon. In fact, what we are given is the directive to focus our attention, not on the devil but on Christ – keeping our eyes on Him. (Hebrews 12:1-2). We’re also told to resist the Devil by drawing near to God – not by coming up with some clever way to beat the Devil; instead, we’re told to draw our minds and our hearts close to God and the Devil will then flee from us (James 4:7).” – Stephen Davey11
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
1 John 4:4
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
For more information
For more information, I recommend these links from gotquestions.org:
- Who is Satan?
- What does the Bible say about demons?
- What does the Bible say about demon possession?
- What does the Bible say about spiritual warfare?
- Is there activity of demonic spirits in the world today?
- What are principalities and powers?
- Can a Christian be demon possessed?
- Can a Christian today perform an exorcism?
From other sources:
- Answers In Genesis, Are Demons Active Today?
- Randy Alcorn, What role can Satan and Demons Have in the Life of the Believer?
Also the following series from Wisdom for the Heart:
- Stephen Davey, Angelmania, 6/10/2001
- Stephen Davey, Legends, Fables & Biblical Origins, 6/17/2001
- Stephen Davey, Guardians and Gallant Warriors, 6/24/2001
- Stephen Davey, The Fallen Cherub, 7/1/2001
- Stephen Davey, Unmasking the Serpent, 7/8/2001
- Stephen Davey, What to Wear to War – Ephesians 6:10-14, 7/15/2001
- Stephen Davey, Dressed Up to Kneel Down – Ephesians 6:14-18, 7/22/2001
 Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold The King, Kregel Publications, 1980, Matthew 8:18-34, pages 125-128
 H.A. Ironside, Ironside Expository Commentaries, Matthew 8, The Works of the King
 H.A. Ironside, Ironside Expository Commentaries, Address 29, Christ Triumphs over Demons, Luke 8:26-40
 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Matthew 8:18-34, pages 28-29
 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Mark 4:35-5:20, pages 101-103
 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament, David C. Cook, 2007, Luke 8:22-39, pages 162-163
 Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book III, CHAPTER XXV: AT GERASA, THE HEALING OF THE DEMONISED (St. Matthew 8: 28-34; St. Mark 5: 1-20; St. Luke 8: 26-39.), https://www.ccel.org/ccel/edersheim/lifetimes.viii.xxv.html
 Doug Bookman, Life of Christ, Audio Series, Lecture 7. http://www.jesus.org/life-of-jesus/harmony-of-the-gospels/14-jesus-saturates-galilee-with-his-message.html
 Doug Bookman, Life of Christ, Audio Series, Lecture 8. https://www.christianity.com/jesus/life-of-jesus/harmony-of-the-gospels/15-the-unpardonable-sin-and-a-shift-to-parables.html
 Stephen Davey, When Pigs are Preferred, Mark 5:1-20, 12/27/1987
 Stephen Davey, The Madman of Gadara, Luke 8:26-39, 4/21/2013
 John MacArthur, Jesus’ Power over the Supernatural, Matthew 8:28-34, Nov 16, 1980
 John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, SP Publications, 1983, Matthew 8:18-34, pages 37-39
 John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, SP Publications, 1983, Luke 8:22-39, pages 226-227
 Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book III, CHAPTER XIV: A SABBATH IN CAPERNAUM (St. Matthew 8:14-17; St. Mark 1:21-34; St. Luke 4:33-41.), https://www.ccel.org/ccel/edersheim/lifetimes.viii.xiv.html
 Stephen Davey, Unmasking the Serpent, 7/8/2001
[a] Contrary to the typical picture of this scene, Jesus likely encountered the demons at night. They had left Capernaum in evening (Mark 4:35) and encountered the overnight storm while on the Sea of Galilee. Even accounting for the delay of the storm, it would not have taken them all night to cross the lake and so they would have arrived in Gadara at night.7
[b] The two notable discrepancies between Matthew’s account and Mark and Luke’s account are easily explained. First, Matthew tells of two demon-possessed men, while Mark and Luke only tell of a single man. Apparently one of the men was more prominent than the other. Although Jesus healed both men of the demons, we only know what happened afterward to one of them, as recorded by Mark and Luke.
The other difference is the name of the setting. Matthew’s account places the setting in the “country of the Gadarenes”, while Mark and Luke’s account place the setting in “the country of the Gerasenes”. Both of these names refer to the same place. The nearest town was the small town of Gersa, but was in the region of Gadara. Gadara was one of the ten cities of The Decapolis, the independent confederation of 10 cities on the eastern side of the Jordan River.
[c] Luke 8:31 says that the demons begged Jesus not to send them into the abyss. From 2 Peter 2:4, we learn that God has bound up certain disobeying angels in hell, awaiting their judgement. Revelation 20:1-3 tells that Satan will bound up in the abyss for a thousand years, until he is briefly released. These references indicate that there is a place of punishment for the demons while they await their final judgement and are sent to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10). It appears therefore that the demons feared being sent to this place of imprisonment before the time.
[d] One of the mysteries of this passage is why the demons requested to be sent into the herd of pigs, knowing that they would kill the pigs. Some commentators have proposed that demons were surprised that the pigs would stampede into the lake, but demons are very intelligent and it is hard to believe that they wouldn’t know what would happen. The most likely explanation is that they feared that Jesus would imprison them in the abyss (see above), and the temporary hosts of the pigs would allow them to escape.
[e] Warren Wiersbe pointed out that there are three prayers in this passage:
- The demons requested Jesus to send them into the pigs
- The townspeople requested Jesus to leave them
- The healed man requested that he could follow Jesus
Jesus answered the prayers of the demons and the townspeople, but not that of the healed man!4
[f] We do not see nearly as much evidence of demon possession today as has been recorded in the New Testament. Even the Old Testament rarely speaks of demon possession. Why do we see so much more demonic activity in the New Testament times? The leading answers among Bible commentators have been the following:
- Some see the demonic possession in the New Testament as a direct response to the coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, powers of Satan increased their presence at the same time that Jesus was on earth (Edersheim15). While this may explain an increase of demonic activity during the time of Jesus Christ, it would be wrong to exclusively limit demonic activity to only that specific time.
- Some have limited away demonic activity to only ancient cultures and third-world countries today. The implicit belief behind this statement is often that the demon possessions were led by the superstitions of “backward” cultures and have no place in our modern society. While this statement is initially too arrogant to even repeat, there is a grain of truth to this. It is not modernization (or the lack thereof) which may lead to demonic activity, but we do see a rise in reports about demons in parts of the world where the gospel is largely absent. The truth to this claim is that the presence of the gospel deters the effectiveness of demons in the society.
- Many expect that there is demonic possession today, but it is diagnosed as mental illness, epilepsy, or other ailments. While there may be truth that we can misdiagnose a real demonic activity, it is dangerous to attribute all physical and mental ailments to the work of demons. Believers have suffered these same ailments, nor are there always spiritual reasons for every physical problem.
- The conclusion that I have followed here is actual a combination of many of these explanations. We do have demon possession today, but it is often disguised and is the most dominant in places where the gospel is absent. It is important to remember that Jesus cast the demon out of a man in the synagogue, so they may not show any external symptoms. The demons may have no reasons to call attention to themselves. In the New Testament, it was the presence of Jesus Christ which often caused the demons to lose control and to scream at Him.
[g] Many Bible scholars have pointed out the parallel between the Gerasene men cutting themselves and crying out, and the prophets of Baal cutting themselves and crying out when facing Elijah (1 Kings 18). Both scenes require self-mutilation at the hands of demon worship.10
[h] Definition of Demon Possession: “A demon residing in a person, exerting direct control and influence over that person, with certain derangement of mind and/or body. Demon possession is to be distinguished from demon influence or activity in relation to a person. The work of the demon in the latter is from the outside, in demon possession, it is from within.” – Charles Ryrie16