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Luke 8

31 And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

  1. Why did the demons need to go inside the pigs? Would that be the only way to avoid abyss? Why not request to roam around in a desert or sit on a tree?
  2. Why then did they kill the pigs? I thought they wanted to live in a body.
  3. Why did Jesus send them into pigs instead of sending to abyss where they belonged?
  4. Am I to make some spiritual/moral sense of this story or is it just a historical record?
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3 Answers 3

In the case of the devils wanting to have permission to enter the pigs rather than be cast into no particular place it seems to be under a simple desire of destruction. The demons are enraged to destroy and in this story we clearly see the bounds of the destruction they seek are under the power of God. They are tied to a divine leash, not being permitted to destroy without boundaries.

The reason why Jesus actually permits them might be as an opportune time to prove to those watching that the demons were not imaginary but as they left the man who then had peace of mind, external evidence showed that they were real by immediately destroying the pigs.

Furthermore we see the curse for sin brought on man includes a curse upon nature and even animals. Jesus did not make his primary mission to protect the rights of animals or upholding good environmental practices but to put an end to the power of the Devil by his death:

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil —(NIV Hebrews 2:14)

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  1. The owner lost the pigs, but did not complain, an illustration that the earth and its fullness belong to God. He allowed demons to kill his pigs.Why would the earthly man complain.
  2. There was no need to cast demons to hell because judgement time was not yet. God keeps his word and promise. He has destined time for everything.
  3. If the owner was Jewish, Jesus was telling him he is not even obeying the Mosaic law, which, Jews claim to be serious about. Why keep unclean animals.
  4. Being unclean like the pigs attracts demons to you. Teaching that we need to live a clean life.
  5. If the owner was a gentile and not subject to the Mosaic law, Jesus was showing him that, he can be destroyed by demons if he does not turn to Jesus who has power over them.
  6. He wanted to build the faith of the victim whom he turned into an evengelist to his family members immediately he healed him. Go and tell your family members what the Lord has done....
  7. He comfirmed the fact that; the devil came to steal, kill and destroy but Jesus came to save lifes of people not pigs that have no life after death.
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Welcome to C.SE! This is a great response to a rather unfocused question. Normally, we'd like to see more reference, but in this case, there is such a wide (yet specific) range, that I think your answer format really worked here. – Affable Geek Sep 22 '12 at 1:29
Ad 1. The owner DID complain (locals asked Jesus to leave), but his fear of Jesus was much stronger than his urge to complain. And who knows - this unpleasant situation might have lead to his conversion (but this is not in Bible, so it is just a speculation). Anyway, this doesn't mean this isn't a good answer. – Pavel Nov 15 '12 at 9:59
    • (a)It nowhere states that they needed to go into the pigs, most likely it was a want rather than a need (see c), given the proximity of the pigs to their location.

    • (b)All other instances Jesus and His disciples are merely said to cast out the demons, not designating them specifically to the abyss. Also, Matthew 8:29 seems to make it clear that even demons know their judgement is not to happen till the appointed time, which Matthew 25:41 reveals the destination and the time, which is the eternal fire on the last day, when all are judged as further shown in detail in Revelation 20 and elsewhere, there are some discrepancies about the fallen angels mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6, as being angels who willingly left heaven to mate with women as seen in Genesis 6:1-4, these are considered different from those who were cast down from heaven in Revelation 12:7-9, the ones who went willingly and who spawned the Nephilim are considered those who are mentioned bound with chains, as the writer's have taken this explanation within those two verses, from the Book of Enoch, you'll have to find the specific references as I don't remember their locations, but it is a recommended read anyways. This place I believe to be the abyss of which the demons speak, and in fear of being bound till judgement (as the angels in those verses are stated as waiting) rather than being free to roam. Though demons may know of this holding place that does not mean they are suppose to reside there. There is also a theory from the book of Enoch but not quoted in scripture that demons are not fallen angels but rather they are the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim, being hybrid creatures destroyed in the flood now their spirits are left to roam this earth till judgement, thus explaining their desire to rather be in control of a body, as angels are never recorded in scripture as possessing humans but rather having the ability to take a human form as seen many times in the old testament and new, and one warning in Hebrews 13:2. Though that proposition is not specifically from scripture, so do with that as you will.

    • (c)I think they prefer to posses a body as stated in Matthew 12:43-44 referring to the body as a house, and unrest seems to come in roaming in a disembodied state.

  1. Killing the pigs is a perfect way to defiantly abuse the grace bestowed upon them, causing the death of the pigs and upsetting the farmers who in turn opposed Jesus staying with them. Basically seizing the opportunity to do their job as demons wreaking havoc.

  2. See 1.(b).

  3. I think it is merely historical, any moral connection to pigs being unclean I believe is conjecture, as it is believed that even Jesus is ushering in the new covenant where animals and food are no longer considered unclean Mark 7:19. Though it could be possible, I think it's more implicit than explicit within the text.

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