One of the major evidences within the book of Mark that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is His power over the unseen forces of this world - the host of demons. Thus far in our study we have seen Jesus' power over demons:
Mark 1:22-28 - Jesus casts out a demon in the synagogue.
Mark 1:32-34 - Jesus cast out many demons.
Mark 1:39 - Jesus was casting out the demons.
Mark 3:11 - The unclean spirits would cry out, "You are the Son of God."
Mark 3:14-15 - The twelve given authority to cast out demons.
Mark 3:22 - Accused of casting out demons by power of Satan.
Why this emphasis upon the casting out of demons? If Jesus is the One who will remove the curse of sin and overthrow the forces of Satan, then He must be able to break the power of the supernatural world. He came to purchase men from their slavery to sin. He came to destroy the works of Satan:
1 John 3:8 (NASB) the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
And in the casting out of demons, He was giving samples of this principle. In our text this morning we see Jesus' authority over the spirit world:
Mark 5:1-20 (NASB) And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 And constantly night and day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out and gashing himself with stones. 6 And seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said^, "What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!" 8 For He had been saying to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" 9 And He was asking him, "What is your name?" And he said^ to Him, "My name is Legion; for we are many." 10 And he began to entreat Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now there was a big herd of swine feeding there on the mountain. 12 And the demons entreated Him, saying, "Send us into the swine so that we may enter them." 13 And He gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea. 14 And their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came^ to Jesus and observed^ the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the "legion"; and they became frightened. 16 And those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 17 And they began to entreat Him to depart from their region. 18 And as He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was entreating Him that he might accompany Him. 19 And He did not let him, but He said^ to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you." 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone marveled.
These verses describe one of those mysterious miracles that the Gospels frequently record - the casting out of a devil. Of all the cases of this kind in the New Testament, none is so fully described as this one. Of all the three Synoptic Gospels, none give this story so fully and minutely as Mark.
In the third chapter of Mark's Gospel, our Lord's miraculous works were attributed by His opponents to the power of Satan (verse 22). Our Lord responded sternly by calling this accusation blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and, as such, was the one unpardonable sin (verses 28-30). From this point on, Jesus began to speak to the crowds in parables in order to veil or conceal the gospel from those who had blasphemed the Holy Spirit (Mark 4:lff). At the conclusion of this day of teaching by parables, the Lord had instructed His disciples to cross over the Sea of Galilee to the other side.
Mark 4:35 (NASB) And on that day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side."
Notice what Jesus says here, "Let us go over to the other side." To us that is no big deal unless we understand Jewish culture. To the Jews "the other side," of the Sea of Galilee was an expression used to describe the Decapolis. The Jews thought of the Decapolis as a place to avoid - an area dominated by evil gods.
The disciples launched the boat and began to travel to pagan territory and soon found themselves in a terrible storm. As they struggled against the waves, the disciples were terrified. The Jews thought of the sea as an abyss where evil spirits lived, and they were right in the middle of it, in the midst of a fierce storm.
Rebuking the wind and waves, Jesus calmed the storm and showed His disciples that He had power over nature and over the supposed gods of the Abyss.
After their stormy night on the sea, the ship landed, perhaps late in the evening, on the other side of the lake in the Decapolis area, probably near the town of Kursi. The first person they encountered was a demon-possessed man, so wild that "no one could bind him anymore." If, indeed, it was late at night, the scene must have been an eerie one with the nerves of the disciples already worn thin by the terrifying experience of the storm.
Mark 5:1 (NASB) And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes.
Did this happen in the Gerasenes, Gadarenes or Gadara? Matthew, Mark and Luke all refer to a different place. No one is sure where this happened or where Gadara is or was. The present town of Gadara is 30 miles from the water. That would be a long way for pigs to run into the water, and to make it worse, the land between modern day Gadara and the water is flat - no cliffs - and no caves. Up in Kursi on the northeast portion of the Sea of Galilee there are, in fact, some small caves that a man could hide in and small cliffs for the pigs to fall off of. So this is possibly the place where it happened. The Arabic name of Kursi is probably related to the Greek name Gerasa and is probably the location.
The whole region was known as the Ten Towns (Decapolis), because it was originally a place where ten major towns formed an alliance for mutual protection. The Decapolis is mentioned by name only three times in the New Testament. While there is evidence of Jewish communities in these cities (most had synagogues, although these were constructed long after Jesus' time), it seems clear that this area was considered pagan by those Jews who were devoted to Israel's God and His Torah as the guide for their lives.
In Jewish tradition, the Decapolis was known as "the land of the seven," representing the seven pagan nations driven from Israel in Joshua's day. Jews believed the area was dominated by the devil. The pagans were known for worship of fertility gods, and many of their practices were detestable to God's people.
Bargil Pixner, a noted scholar on Galilee, has pointed out an ancient religious tradition that helps clarify the Jewish view of the pagan Decapolis. He noted that in the Talmud and in the writings of the church fathers, the people of this area were described as belonging to the seven pagan Canaanite nations driven out of the Promised Land by Joshua and the Israelites (Josh. 3:10; Acts 13:19). These nations worshiped Baal and ate (and sacrificed) pigs (Isa. 65:3-5, 66:3). Apparently, the pagan practices of the people of the Decapolis and their anti-God values seemed to be continuations of the practices of the Canaanites, who used sexual perversions and even child sacrifice in their worship. It is probable that the people of Jesus' day, who took their Scriptures seriously, viewed the Decapolis as very pagan. Although we do not know how many Jews actually believed that the people of the Decapolis were the descendants of the Canaanites, the fact that there is a link between the blasphemous practices of these two peoples helps establish the validity of this Jewish view.
Mark 5:2-5 (NASB) And when He had come out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 And constantly night and day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out and gashing himself with stones.
Jesus now faced something the like of which He and His disciples had never seen before. This was not just a possessed man, but a man terribly possessed, living a life of misery and torment. Firstly, he lived among the graves. The belief of the time was that graveyards were places where evil spirits lived.
Secondly, he had superhuman strength. All attempts to restrain him had failed. Fetters and chains were torn apart like string, and no one was willing, even as part of a group, to try to restrain him. He was a terror to all.
And thirdly, he wandered among the tombs and went up into the mountains crying out and cutting himself with stones. He was often, no doubt, seen from afar, a wild and desolate figure, and he would undoubtedly have been a person of wide renown. The cutting of himself with stones may simply have represented self-hatred, a not uncommon feature of such possessed people, or it may have been connected with demon rites (1 Kings 18.28; Leviticus 19.28; Deuteronomy 14.1).
We have a picture here of an individual in total bondage. He was so tormented that he couldn't even live around people. He was out of his mind. He lived by himself in the tombs. Confused and full of suffering, he would cry out night and day as he gashed himself with stones, seeking to find some relief for his pain.
We can only imagine what was going through the minds of the disciples as their ship landed and as this demon possessed man rushed to them. It was like something from the sci-fi channel. They probably thought of quickly getting aboard ship and pushing off. Peter may have clenched his fists or picked up driftwood with which to defend himself.
In chapter 3 Jesus had spoken of Satan as a strong man who must be bound in order to "rob his house." The actions of Jesus in casting out demons had been paramount to binding Satan. Now, in our text we find that attempts had been made to bind this man, but they had all been unsuccessful. People could not bind him with chains or fetters, but Jesus will bind the demons that haunt him with a word.
In Matthew's account he mentions two demon-possessed men:
Matthew 8:28 (NASB) And when He had come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs; they were so exceedingly violent that no one could pass by that road.
Mark and Luke mention only one demoniac, probably because he was the most severe and dominant, and since that was all that was needed to explain their story of Christ's authority over the spirit realm.
Mark 5:6-7 (NASB) And seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!"
He had superhuman strength, he was self-destructive, and he was dangerous. But when the man sees Jesus, even with all the power that "binds" him, he comes and falls at Jesus' feet. This is a testimony to the surpassing power of Jesus.
That this is a demon, and not just some mad man, is evident by the depth of his spiritual insight. Instantly, he recognized the Lord Jesus to be the Son of God. There was a source of spiritual insight beyond human capabilities here.
"What do I have to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?" The disciples had just asked themselves a question when the stormy sea was immediately stilled at the rebuke of Christ, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" Now this demoniac answers their question: "Son of the Most High God."
This man came running to Jesus and called Him by name, using the phrase demons always employ: "Son of the Most High God." This is very revealing, because it is the highest name a nonbeliever can know or use to refer to God - "the Most High God." It is used all through the Old Testament by members of the Gentile nations. Israel knew him as Jehovah - "Lord." Everyone else knew Him as El Elyon, "God Most High." This is how the demons refer to Him.
This man had almost certainly never had any contact with Jesus, and there was no way by which he could know Him, and yet he recognized Him for what He was. This was not just a deeply disturbed, mentally ill man. There was that within him which recognized, and acknowledged with fear, Jesus, the Son of the Most High God.
In Matthew's account he includes the comment, "Have You come here to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8:29). This reveals to us that demons had an intuitive knowledge of their impending doom. The demons were worried that their judgment was coming now. They understood that Jesus Christ is the Judge. In this case, "the time"has nothing to do with chronological time but rather with the concept of an event the time of judgment at the consummation of the Jewish age. Jesus talked about the judgement of the demons in:
Matthew 25:41 (NASB) "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
This judgement was to take place at the end of the Old Covenant age; after the Jewish temple was destroyed.
Revelation 20:9-10 (NASB) And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Here the final destination of the devil and his demons is recorded as being in the lake of fire before the New Jerusalem - which is the New Covenant - is seen coming down out of heaven from God. The demons appear to have realized that the time of the final judgment had not yet come, and that they half-taunt Jesus to see what it is that He intends doing.
Mark 5:8-9 (NASB) For He had been saying to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" 9 And He was asking him, "What is your name?" And he said to Him, "My name is Legion; for we are many."
The demon said his name was Legion. A legion was 6000 men. Whether or not there were actually 6000 demons in this man, we don't know, but I'm sure it means that there were a whole lot of demons in this man.
Mark 5:10 (NASB) And he began to entreat Him earnestly not to send them out of the country.
The phrasing of "send him out of the country" is somewhat strange. The Greek word chora, translated here as "country," has a broad range of meanings, one of which is: "the space lying between two places or limits." It could be translated "region." What region is meant? the countryside outside of Kuesi? Kursi itself? I see this as referring to the Decapolis? It was a pagan area.
Luke adds a significant explanation by interpreting the meaning behind this request:
Luke 8:31 (NASB) And they were entreating Him not to command them to depart into the abyss.
In Jewish thinking, spirit beings were assigned to certain geographical territories. It appears that these demons want to stay in the Decapolis, a territory that worshiped demons.
Mark 5:11-13 (NASB) Now there was a big herd of swine feeding there on the mountain. 12 And the demons entreated Him, saying, "Send us into the swine so that we may enter them." 13 And He gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.
Do you know what these pigs did? They did a swine dive! These demons recognized His power over them and so they ask permission to enter into a nearby herd of pigs. The implication is that without His permission, they would have been powerless to accomplish this. Do you see what this means? They were under the authority of Christ!
However grotesque this scene may appear, it is certainly awesome; the demonic force that has ravaged the demoniac's existence for so long takes possession of the pigs, which are immediately overcome by convulsions, making them stampede over the edge of the cliff to plunge into the lake's waters below and drown. It hardly needs saying that there is no way to rationalize this narrative; it does not concern itself with even a violent form of schizophrenia, but rather with a power that is awesomely demonic.
The drowning of these pigs has caused a great deal of discussion amongst Bible students. Had our Lord achieved such a miracle today, He would have been in deep trouble. First of all, the EPA would have been investigating the pollution of Lake Galilee with decaying pigs. Then, the PETA would have been up in arms over such cruelty to animals.
I have seen the question asked, "What right did the Lord have to inflict this loss on the owners of the swine?" That's easy to answer. As Lord, He has the right to make use of His creation any way that He deems best, and this includes not only pigs, but people:
Romans 9:19-23 (NASB) You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23 And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,
God can do whatever He wants with His creation and whatever He does is right.
Here is another question that must go unanswered: What happens to the demons once the swine rush down the hillside and drown in the waters of the Lake? One question that we can answer is: Why did the demons go into the pigs? The possession of the pigs would prove that the multitude of spirits had left the man. Actually seeing the pigs flee would be seen as adequate proof. It would give certainty to both the man and the watchers. Josephus tells of an exorcist, called Eliezer, who "placed a cup or foot-basin full of water a little way off and commanded the evil spirit as it went out of the man to overturn it, and make known to the spectators that he had left the man." (Josephus: Antiquities 8.48)
Mark 5:14-16 (NASB) And their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the "legion"; and they became frightened. 16 And those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine.
The herdsmen have fled the scene in terror at the awesome spectacle and gone to town to report it to others. Upon returning, they see something not simply terrifying but utterly astounding: This is a person transformed into a new man. He is dressed and "in his right mind." As in several previous healing narratives (e.g., paralytic, leper, man with the withered hand), the miracle here, too, is the restoration of "wholeness," which pictures salvation.
Notice the transformation of the demoniac. Whereas he had been a slave, he was now delivered from demon possession. While he was once wild and uncontrollable, he was sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus. When once he was an instrument of Satanic opposition against the Messiah, now he is a witness to His power. Once naked, he is now clothed. Once a menace to society, now a messenger with words of deliverance and healing. According to Luke 8:27, at the beginning of this encounter the man wore no clothing. Now he is seated and clothed.
Notice the response of the towns' people: And they fell at Jesus' feet and worshiped Him. No, that's not what our text says:
Mark 5:17 (NASB) And they began to entreat Him to depart from their region.
Jesus - get back into your boat and get out of our country! In both the accounts of Mark and Luke, the primary motivation is described as that of fear:
Mark 5:15 (NASB) And they came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the "legion"; and they became frightened.
Luke seems to base this fear solely upon what happened to the demoniac, not on the loss of their pigs.
Luke 8:35-37 (NASB) And the people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. 36 And those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well. 37 And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district asked Him to depart from them; for they were gripped with great fear; and He got into a boat, and returned.
Luke tells us that the people of the city feared greatly when they came out to where Jesus and the ex-demoniac were and saw the evidence of what they had been told by the herdsmen who had entered the city. The pigs were sacred animals to Decapolis pagans. No doubt they were shaken and scared to see a Jewish rabbi displaying such power over the spirits of their area.
As these people began to piece together the previous events, not only of the destruction of the pigs, but also the deliverance of Legion, they began to sense that there was One far more awesome, much more to be feared, than Legion. They had no doubt been familiar with Legion. Who was this with such power that this demoniac was now clothed and sitting at Jesus' feet?
Luke records that he was "sitting down at the feet of Jesus." In Jewish thought this pictured someone who was a disciple. This former demoniac is now a disciple of Jesus.
Mark 5:18-19 (NASB) And as He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was entreating Him that he might accompany Him. 19 And He did not let him, but He said^ to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you."
We see two surprising features in this pericope. First, Jesus refused this man to follow Him. Second, Jesus doesn't prohibit him from speaking openly about the miracle (remember, the "Messianic Secret" is a prominent theme in Mark). Why would Jesus refuse to allow him to follow and then permit him to speak openly? Jesus knew that his witness would be much more powerful among those who had known him as a demoniac. By going to his own people in the Decapolis, the former demoniac would be talking about Jesus to the very same people who had chained his hands and shackled his feet. He would explain the miracle to the very same people who had heard him cry out day and night among the tombs and in the mountains.
The commission of our Lord is considerably different from His instructions to the Israelites whom He had delivered. They were instructed to keep quiet about what Jesus had done for them. In Galilee and Judea there were Messianic hopes that would have been quickly fanned into flames if the miracles of Jesus were too widely publicized. There was no such danger in Kursi, and thus the mercy of the Lord was to be heralded.
Mark 5:20 (NASB) And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone marveled.
The man went away in obedience to Jesus and declared the message of which he was the living proof. Jesus told the man to tell everyone what "The Lord" had done...
Mark 5:19-20 (NASB) And He did not let him, but He said to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you." 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone marveled.
The man goes and tells everyone what "Jesus" had done for him. Mark wants us to make the connection between "Jesus" and the "Lord."
Jesus told this man:
Mark 5:19 (NASB) And He did not let him, but He said to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you."
This former demoniac became a missionary to the entire Decapolis - this region with its ten major cities. And the next time that Jesus came to this region, they did not ask Him to leave. In Mark 7:31 Jesus is going to return to the Decapolis. And this time the people will be ready to listen. A crowd of 4000 people will gather to hear Him preach.
Later, before the siege of Jerusalem, the Christians in Jerusalem would flee to Pella. This was one of the towns of the Decapolis. And perhaps they, too, would find a more welcome reception because of this man's words.
We are like that man. We weren't possessed by a legion of demons, but we were living in the tombs, spiritually speaking. We were dead to God, separated from Him by our sins. We, like this man, have been cleansed from the impurity that once polluted us. And now, we have been called to go to our people and tell them what great things the Lord has done for us. Are you being as obedient as this former demoniac was?
What purposes did Mark intend to achieve by the inclusion of this event? Mark employs this event to authenticate the claims of Jesus to be the Son of God and Israel's Messiah. While the Jews had not denied the works of Jesus were supernatural, they had declined to admit they established His deity. Rather, they attributed the power of Jesus to Satan (Mark 3:22). The confrontation of Jesus and the demoniac made it clear that Jesus was no servant of Satan. Far from this, He had stormed the gates of Hell and prevailed. Even the demons confessed that He was the Son of the Most High (Mark 5:7).
That sets the stage for us to consider the compassion of Christ in the display of His authority. Here was a man who could do nothing for himself. He had no interest in Christ, because his mind was filled with hatred, bitterness, anger, lust, greed, and every vile thing imaginable. He had no will that would desire Christ or turn to Christ, because he was under demonic governance. No one could talk this man into turning over a new leaf or even to consider the gospel. He would not listen. He could not listen. But the authority of Christ stopped him dead in his tracks. Though inwardly clawing in the other direction, Jesus Christ subdued this man by His power. With irresistible might, He conquered the mind, will, and heart of this man. His omnipotence claimed him for His own!
I want you to see one last thing before we close this morning. Look at the opening words of verse 21:
Mark 5:21 (NASB) And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered about Him; and He stayed by the seashore.
Jesus and His disciples took a night voyage across the Sea of Galilee, enduring the storm, the hardships of the night, and the rejection of the people to help one man. A whole day and night of round trip travel to see the salvation of this one miserable man.
Jesus did not avoid the people living in darkness. He went to them and pierced the darkness of their sinful lifestyle with the light of God's message of salvation and love.
Jesus wants us to follow his example in confronting the darkness in our own world. It would be easy for us to isolate ourselves in safe Christian communities and just let the outside world destroy itself. But Jesus modeled another way for us, as His followers. He left the familiarity of His community and confronted evil on its own turf.
Such a display of God's power still can, and does, happen today when we
confront the darkness in our society with the message of what God, through
Jesus, has done for us. We see the power of God in salvation!
For further study, compare Isaiah 65:1-17 (particularly the LXX version) to Mark 5:1-20 and notice the parallels. When we compare our text to Isaiah 65, we see that this story is meant to demonstrate that the strong man is being bound by the kingdom of God coming on the scene, but not everybody is going to understand that - and those who oppose it are destined for the sword.
Isaiah 65:1- (NASB) "I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, 'Here am I, here am I,' To a nation which did not call on My name. 2 "I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts, 3 A people who continually provoke Me to My face, Offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks (The LXX says, "and burn incense on bricks to devils, which exist not."); 4 Who sit among graves, and spend the night in secret places; Who eat swine's flesh, And the broth of unclean meat is in their pots. 5 "Who say, 'Keep to yourself, do not come near me, For I am holier than you!' These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day. 6 "Behold, it is written before Me, I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will even repay into their bosom, 7 Both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together," says the LORD. "Because they have burned incense on the mountains, And scorned Me on the hills, Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom." 8 Thus says the LORD, "As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, 'Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,' So I will act on behalf of My servants In order not to destroy all of them. 9 "And I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, And an heir of My mountains from Judah; Even My chosen ones shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there. 10 "And Sharon shall be a pasture land for flocks, And the valley of Achor a resting place for herds, For My people who seek Me. 11 "But you who forsake the LORD, Who forget My holy mountain, (The LXX reads, "and prepare a table for the devil, and fill up the drink-offering to Fortune.") And who fill cups with mixed wine for Destiny, 12 I will destine you for the sword, And all of you shall bow down to the slaughter. Because I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not hear. And you did evil in My sight, And chose that in which I did not delight." 13 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry. Behold, My servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty. Behold, My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame. 14 "Behold, My servants shall shout joyfully with a glad heart, But you shall cry out with a heavy heart, And you shall wail with a broken spirit. 15 "And you will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, And the Lord GOD will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name. 16 "Because he who is blessed in the earth Shall be blessed by the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Shall swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My sight! 17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.
Verse 17 - this is exactly what Christ is doing, and He is doing it in a land that is occupied by Israel but is unclean - filled with demons. And Jesus is binding the strong man. Jesus has come to set them free.
This story is meant to demonstrate that the strong man is being bound by the kingdom of God coming on the scene, but not everybody is going to understand that - and those who oppose it are destined for the sword.
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