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Legion, The Evangelist:
Can a True Believer Have a Demon?

Can a Believer Have a Demon?
Can a Demon Have a Believer?

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TEVIT AND TEVYAH
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Legion: Evangelist?

Mark 5:1-17 Y’shua and his disciples reached the territory of the Gerasenes on the other side of the lake, and when he disembarked, a man with an unclean spirit at once came out from the tombs towards him. The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him any more, even with a chain, because he had often been secured with fetters and chains but had snapped the chains and broken the fetters, and no one had the strength to control him. All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones.

Catching sight of Y’shua from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet 7. and shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Y’shua, son of El Elyon? I command you by the god, do not torture me!" For Y’shua had been saying to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit." Then he asked, "What is your name?" He answered, "My name is Legion, for there are many of us."  And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the district.

Now on the mountainside there was a great herd of pigs feeding, and the unclean spirits begged him, "Send us to the pigs, let us go into them." So he gave them leave. With that, the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand pigs charged down the cliff into the lake, and there they were drowned. The men looking after them ran off and told their story in the city and in the country round about; and the people came to see what had really happened.

They came to Y’shua and saw the demoniac sitting there, the man who had had the legion in him, properly dressed and in his full senses, and they were afraid. And those who had witnessed it reported what had happened to the demoniac and what had become of the pigs.  Then they began to implore Y’shua to leave their district.

 

A Hog Farm Runs Through It

Who would have thought that the first evangelist could have been demon-possessed?  The story above is about the poor wretch known to us only by the name of his demon(s), Legion.  After Y’shua and his disciples survive the dangerous deluge on the lake and the near sinking of their fishing boat, after he commands the wind and waters to cease their fomenting, they all safely make landing in the province called Decapolis, which means, “Ten Cities.”   Matthew’s account of Mark’s story placed the event at Gadara, on the east side of the Sea where, even to this day, there stands a high hillcrest and a deep gully.

Close by is a cemetery.  In those days, the dead were not buried ‘6 feet under.’  The custom was to refresh the dead body with ‘aromatics’ (arwmata) so that it wouldn’t smell so bad, since loved ones visited for up to seventy days after the death.  Like today, cemeteries were thought to be the haunts of carcass-eating demons and wild animals.  Tombs were good shelters for the homeless and the mentally ill.  There were no rescue missions then. 

There is a hog farm nearby.  Swine are unclean animals; religious people would not go near pigs much less herd them or eat them (Leviticus 11:7,8).  Being close to both a cemetery and a pig farm, there would be serious issues of hygiene and a terrible stench.  The disciples are already shaken up from the storm.   It is pitch dark still, adding even more suspense, even horror, to the scene.

 

How the Story Goes

In the eerie half-light, out of the cemetery flies a hideously unclean, naked, wild man.  Screaming like a banshee and swooping down like a giant fly, he’s right on them.  Some of the disciples fall back moaning in horror; others go for their weapons.  But it all happens too quickly for defensive measures!  Like a slave on the run, the wild man goes for broke, running madly at the band of clean men.

Suddenly, he crashes to the foul mud before Y’shua, the only man in the world who cares for him.  For he has recognized Y’shua, even in the darkness, and cries out for help: “aaaAAAHHH!  Y’shua Son of Elohim, what use am I to you?”[1] 

Is the wild man insane or savant? Y’shua perceives him to be demonized; filled with unclean spiritual parasites feeding off his vitality and tormenting him to lunacy.  “Come out of the man, you unclean ghost!” commands the Divine Authority.  The head demon takes control of his host’s throat in a desperate attempt to preserve his property: “No!  I command you by the g-d, torment me not!”

Y’shua knows that, though the words are still pouring from his mouth, the desperate man isn’t speaking them: a foul legion is.  He uses this opportunity to teach his followers about demons.  “What name have you taken?”  The demons screech, “Legion, for there are many in here!  Your presence is untimely! If you must, cast us not out of our country, into the abyss (Matthew 8:31), but into those hogs!  Send us into those hogs!”[2] 

The Legion takes its time departing the flesh of the man, then, in the attempt to enter in, the unsuspecting animals are quickly crazed and bedeviled.  They dash madly from the field, off the cliff, and into the sea.  Within minutes, the hogs drown, but the demons do not.  They go forth in search of another body.

It is certain they eventually find what they seek, all five thousand of them.  When the next demon-crazed host dies, they find another, then another, then another.  Centuries pass; millennia.  Today, there is madness, lawlessness, and depravity in the Christian Century. Why did Y’shua let the Legion of demons loose?

Superstitious Nonsense?

Not many years ago, stories referring to demonization were dismissed as being just the ancients’ way of explaining illnesses.  For modern, educated people, the realm of demons is superstitious nonsense.  However, the theological and even the scientific communities are consenting to the possibility of unseen powers that affect human behavior and health.  The Bible and other biblical literature testify not only to the reality of unclean spirits, but they also instruct us from whence demons and ghosts originate, what they do to humans, and how human infestation might be remedied.  Demonology is a broad, dirty subject.  But every believer needs to know about how to be free of demons; if you are fervent in matters of faith, you may rest assured they know about you!

 Most religions, including some so-called Christian groups, voluntarily summon demons to come into them and empower them for some kind of service or mischief.  We have heard of groups that openly worship Satan; law enforcement officials tell us that such groups are common.  Others call upon demons thinking they are good angels. For instance, a popular television program features a demonized host who channels messages from other demons disguised as loved ones who have “passed over.”  Instead of receiving comfort, those who try to contact the dead quickly find themselves in bondage to occult despair, for the ghosts of the dead supposedly called up are demons in disguise.  Conjuring is strictly forbidden in Scripture and for good reason.  When one calls on demons, they will certainly come and demonize. Here is the verdict from the Torah:

When you have entered the country given you by Yahweh your Elohim, you must not learn to imitate the detestable practices of the nations there already. There must never be anyone among you who

makes son or daughter pass through the fire of sacrifice:

          (exploits children through ritual behavior),

who practices divination:

          (attempts to discover any knowledge by occult means),

who is soothsayer :

          (attempts to tell the future),

augur:

          (reads signs, cards, astrological signs),

sorcerer:

          (exercises power through witchery or magic),

 weaver of spells:

          (attempts to take power by special prayers or potions),

consulter of ghosts:

          (contacts demons disguised as dead people),

mediums:

          (contacts supposedly holy angels),

necromancer:

(attempts to call up dead people up).

For anyone who does these things is detestable to Yahweh your Elohim; it is because of these detestable practices that Yahweh your Elohim is driving out these nations before you.  You must be faultless in your relationship with Yahweh your Elohim. For these nations whom you are going to dispossess have listened to soothsayers and mediums, but Yahweh your God does not permit you to do this. From among yourselves, from among your own brothers, Yahweh your Elohim will raise up a prophet like me; you will listen to him.  (Deuteronomy 18:9-13)

Now we are in the land that Yahweh has apportioned us, these prohibitions are all the more binding to those in covenant.  Notice that there is an alternative – that is, the Father ordains righteous prophets that tell the truth.

As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet."  (Jeremiah 28:9)

Setting the Table for Unclean Swallowers

Often the unsuspecting, including children, invite demonization by ‘playing’ with occult items, viewing occult scenes in films, or participating in computer games designed to open channels for demons.  Have you heard of the child’s game “Black Betty”?  You have never heard of it?  Ask your children.  During the game, the children chant to call up unclean spirits.  Though the game seems innocent, any occult involvement is tremendously dangerous and may have life-long consequences even if done in innocence.  Children are easy targets. 

During an evening Bible study at a church, I learned that “Black Betty” was in session in the women’s room.  One of the participating children flew out of the restroom in terror when a demon manifested.  She told me all about it immediately.  Yet the other children did not come out, nor were they terrorized; they were friendly with such phantasms, that knew them and were known by them.

 Set the table and the swallowers will always arrive on time.

Strong negative emotions or immoral behaviors also open channels, especially resentment, rebellion, betrayal, immorality, hatred, jealousy and blasphemy – iniquities that the Bible constantly warns us to guard against (2 Timothy 3:1-5).  Why are these and their resulting actions so harmful? Because sin is exponentially increased in the human being by the demons they invite in.  One month the dabbler is zealous, the next jealous, the next consumed by jealousy, the next demonized by a legion of unclean spirits of jealousy.  One day the gossiper speaks behind the back, the next he is obsessed with the lie, the next he is demonized by swallowers.  The gossip is bound in chains of sin while spiritual parasites eat him from inside to outside.

Demons need not be invited in at all; if one is foolish about matters of faith, they may just come on in, thriving on one’s mental or physical disease just as bacteria blossom in an open wound or vermin flourish in filthy surroundings.  Most demonic entities are not like the big guys with the scary sounding names you see in Hollywood movies like “Ghostbusters” or “Men In Black.”  Most are small and nameless, running in packs like rats: insidious, sneaky, dangerous.  They may crawl into an unprotected individual through any tiny crack and stay until they are cast out or their host dies.  Where there is one, there are many.  If they are expelled or the host dies, they go looking for a new host. If someone calls them up for a word, they come right on in.

Can a True Believer Have Demons?

One of the most divisive questions in popular Christianity is, “Can a believer have demons?”  The question may be expanded: “Can a person who has confessed Y’shua as Master and even been baptized in the Set-apart Spirit be demonized?”  The answer we often hear is, “No, because evil can’t exist with good – the Holy Spirit prohibits it.”  Such a false belief has helped keep unclean spirits in business while putting many, many believers out of business. 

Yes, a believer can be demonized.  In fact, it’s impossible to find a believer that is not at least oppressed by evil spirits.  Why? 

Because we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against rulers of darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)

While the natural man is unconcerned with spiritual cleanliness, the spiritual man is occupied with exposing and fighting evil.  Sometimes we lose the match.  Sometimes we are a no show in the fight and become prey.  Demons prefer one True Believer to a hundred Muslims or a thousand heathens.  True Believers taste better because they are cleaner.

 “Can a believer have demons?”  Let me show you something you may have missed by returning to the man in our text.

Legion was a demonized believer.

Look to Mark 5:6:

When he (who had the legion) saw Y’shua from afar, he ran (to him) and worshiped him.

No matter what translation of the Bible, the original word is prosekunhsen.[3]  It is the same word employed for the worship of the Wise Men (Matthew 2:2), the worship of the Disciples (Matthew 14:33) and the worship of the women at the tomb (Matthew 28:9).

Proskun(ew):

  1. to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence
  2. among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence
  3. in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication. (Strong’s)

The man recognizes Y’shua right off as the Son of Yahweh, he is a believer in his mission and the One who sent him, and he worships, as the every other believer

Demons may bow but surely they cannot worship Y’shua.  Neither would any demon dare approach him.  Behold the man who, by what is left of his own will, rushes to Y’shua and worships him.  The demons do not want their host to do that! 

Maybe the legion did indeed enter in through the door of mental disease.  Perhaps the man had been an abuse victim.  Maybe a loved one had died and he, in despair, tried to conjure up the ghost from the tombs; or maybe he’d been engaged in mortal commandment breaking, like tale-bearing or sexual deviance.  After all, Y’shua calls the spirits “unclean.”

Do not be fooled, junior pneumatologist!   A true believer may still have a legion of demons, especially those who simply choose not to believe they exist.  The unclean certainly love those who believe that lie; but the lesson today is that the man recognized his infirmity and sought out the only one who could relieve him.  Likewise, we should learn be able to recognize the enemies of our spirits and we should learn how to dispense with them accordingly. 

The Walled City: Kowloon, Hong Kong, China

We understand how the skeptic, the pew-sitter, the carnal, intellectual, the ignorant, or the hobbyist might invite demons; for where there is sin, they will come in.  But how can a true worshiper of Yahweh become demonized; the one who is seeking the high road of faith through study, good works, set-apart living, assembly, commandment-keeping while eschewing evil and avoiding sin?  How do demons get in them?  Dr. Kraft’s story of the Walled City is the best illustration I know of to explain such a thorny question.[4] 

We are in the “Walled City” of China (Kowloon).  Barely a drop of daylight gets through the cracks in this six square acre hellhole of ramshackle towers built of old boards, rusty iron and gray concrete.  Small factories, shops and residences are stacked as high as you can see.  One never knows whether he is indoors or outdoors in the Walled City or whether it is raining or not.  For water constantly drips down through the gray from way up who knows where, from crevices and cracks, through rusty wires and mesh traps as high as you can see.  Darkness, dampness, dirtiness – garbage and human and animal waste are piled shoulder-high everywhere.  The smell is overpowering. 

The Walled City is filthy, inhabited by thousands of addicts, pimps, prostitutes, dope dealers, as well as the common folk who live and work here.  And rats.  Legions of rats living in total comfort, fearless of eviction.  Why are there so many rats in the Walled City?  Because where there is garbage, there are rats.   The foul smell wafts over the countryside like a promise of rodent heaven, drawing vermin like a magnet from all over China into the Walled City.  The garbage is the primary problem; if it was properly disposed of, there would be no rats.

Every person is a walled city.  The garbage within us draws life-sucking, fourth-dimensional parasites.  Whether we accumulate it ourselves by living in sin, or whether the garbage of others has made us the victim, the garbage is the problem.  Even the most fervent, set-apart believer is a victim of sin. 

Y’shua, who never sinned, was nevertheless sin’s victim.  Can a believer have cancer?  Yes.  Can a believer can survive cancer? Yes. Like cancer, demonization is a wasting disease.  Can a believer be demonized?  Yes; in fact, every fervent believer has been oppressed and in some cases possessed by them.  They make all suffering worse and all sin more pleasurable, at least for a short time.  They make a believer say things and do what they later regret. They destroy relationships.  They exacerbate and prolong diseases.  They multiply the garbage.  They crawl upon believers in the night.  They destroy sanity.  We must not sweep the mess under the rug; the enemy is real and we must flee to the feet of the only one who can save us – the Son of Elohim, Y’shua Messiah.

Financial Crisis in the Decapolis Looming

The swine herdsmen fled into Gadara as the hog minions flew madly off the cliff.  Pigs flew this day.  Somebody lost a bunch of money, and word got around.  Quickly, a delegation was formed to arrest the man who had been responsible for the demise of all that valuable livestock.  But when these people got to the boat dock and saw the well-known demoniac now sitting at Y’shua’s feet, and once they heard about how he got there and why the swine stampeded, and once they learned Y’shua’s identity as the mighty Son of Yahweh, they could only beg Y’shua to leave the district. 

On might think these people would beg Y’shua to stay and cleanse and heal everybody in then county.  But no, hogs were the currency in that state, and an elíte of hog-fattened businessmen spending it.  If Y’shua went to casting out demons in the Decapolis, no doubt the bottom would fall out of the pork bellies market.

The First Evangelist

As for the man formerly known as Legion: of course, he wants to go with Y’shua back to the relative cleanliness of Galilee.  He longs to be close to his Master and learn more of the Great Power that had setting him free.  Certainly, he previously knew Messiah.  Certainly, he had been baptized in the sea, else the disciples would have baptized him there and then, and the Evangelist would have reported the event.  So now, he no longer worships bound in chains of nether darkness from afar; he is confirmed in his belief, having met the Master and received from His Compassion

Yes, “Legion” is free indeed.  How could he possibly go back to the foul haunts, unclean people, devilish situations, endless temptations, and repressing, insidious trials that had led him into the chains of demonic bondage in the first place? 

“Oh, Son of Yahweh, entreat me not to leave thee: your sweet fellowship, your liberating presence!”

“My Son, you have rested at my feet long enough! 
The fields are white with harvest;
now you are ready to reap men.”

The new man is now commissioned to go forth as an evangelist, a herald of Good News.  He is sent forth into his harvest field. 

“Go back to your own house and people and testify to them how Elohim has pitied you and all that he has done for you.” 

Any promoter will tell you that two keys to getting your message out are testimony and linkage.  You tell your people your story of how your Savior has rescued you.  That is what witnessing is all about.  That is how we begin to make disciples. 

Have you ever noticed the great zeal of a special someone who has received a supernatural healing or deliverance?  That person wants to tell everybody.  The former “Legion” not only returned to his own, but he became a traveling evangelist, testifying through the entire Decapolis of what Y’shua had done for him – set him free from the bondage of mental illness plus the five thousand or so demons that had taken up residence in his body.

Our Turn to be Free

 Maybe it is our turn to be free!  Along with hundreds of others whom I have witnessed being set free, I too have been set free and, like them, I am ever working to keep free.  Y’shua my Master, is setting me free daily as I determine to yield myself to his authority, compassion, and commandments.  i have learned that if I stay out of the walled city, if I keep his commandments and ordinances, if I heed his voice and word, I REMAIN CLEAN, and so may you, my reader.

Yet the folks around us, especially believers caught up in the tribulation of life, desperately need the ministry of restoration: they need to be restored to their own ownership and be bound to no creature but the divine Master. 

Maybe you, reader, have nagging and unrealistic fears or expectations that you cannot overcome; nightmares that never go away; physical ailments that linger and threaten your life.   We must learn again that “Perfect love casts out all fear” – we need to be cleansed of falsehood. 

Maybe you were abused in childhood or marriage and you’ve never been able to get over it or move on.  This is indicative of demonic interference.  Does your depression never lift?  Does your infirmity never heal?  Can you not stop tale telling, slandering, lying or coveting?  Do you hate someone or hold a grudge?  Are you still upset over something that happened years ago?  Are you trapped in habitual sin or filthy habits like pornography or gambling?  Do you consider yourself a failure, or is it that you cannot seem to get anything done?  Do you have migraine headaches or chronic allergies or infections?  Do you hear voices or feel clammy hands upon your body?  You too desperately need restoration. 

Do you have an aversion to assembling with like-minded believers? Do you hate someone in the assembly without a real reason?  Are Y’shua’s blood, or torture stake, or word repugnant to you?  Do you find the name Y’shua or Yahweh repulsive or unpleasant?  Can you not pay attention to a Bible-based sermon?  Do you constantly yawn or cough when hearing the Word read or spoken? Do you have an inordinate jealousy of, hatred for, or attachment to, another person, thing, or idea, that is destroying your love of the Savior, polluting your service, and taking up your time?  If so, you are undoubtedly harboring unclean spirits.  You may or may not have a legion on hand, but one unclean spirit is more than enough for most.

Today there are tremendous ministries to help in the quest for freedom.  After all, Yahweh / Y’shua is the deliverer and he is ever present.  His power for deliverance and healing is available to anyone who will seek it out.  Perhaps many you know, and surely some reading these words, have had incredible results.  Now is the time to seek your own restoration.  Why not start out on the road to complete freedom right now as we appeal to our Heavenly Father for a clean conscience.



[1] ti emoi kai soi, lit. “What [to] me and [to] you?” – the exact words of Y’shua to his mother in John 3:4.

[2] The abyss is a pit under the earth from where demons escape upward; in this case they came through the caves in the cemetery (Revelation 9:1,2).  A legion consists of three to five thousand entities.

[3]  Prosekunēsen: no matter the slant of the English translator, the word behind the translation means “worshiped.”

[4] Kraft, Charles. Defeating Dark Angels.