In today’s study from Matthew 8:28-34, we take a look at demons and discuss their origins.
The Reality of Demons
vv.28-34 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. (29) And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? (30) And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. (31) So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. (32) And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. (33) And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. (34) And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
Here we see demons mentioned for the first time in the New Testament. The same account is found in Mk 5:1-20; Lk 8:27. Mark and Luke just deal with one of these men, Matthew deals with both of them (v.28). But they are dealing with the same event.
The Word Demon
The word demon is found more than 75 times in the New Testament. It is usually translated “devil” in the King James. They are also called familiar spirits, unclean spirits, evil spirits, seducing spirits and wicked spirits.
There are a number of theories on their origin. 1. They are spirits of deceased wicked men. However, this cannot be because the Bible says that the unsaved dead are in Hell. Psa 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
2. They are spirits of a pre-Adamic race. This view comes about because of the word translated “replenish” in the KJV in Genesis 1:28, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” However, the Bible says that Adam was the first man. 1Co 15:45 “And so it is written, "THE FIRST MAN ADAM BECAME A LIVING BEING." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
3. The only biblical answer, in my opinion, is that they are fallen angels. These are the same angles that rebelled with Lucifer (Is. 14:12-17; Ez. 28:12-18; Rev. 12:4, 9). Matt 25:41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”
Two Types of Demons
The Bible indicates that these fallen angels are either chained or unchained.
1. Chained Demons: Many believe that these chained demons are the ones that are referred to in Gen. 6. Peter said in 2 Peter 2:4 “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;” Jude said in Jude 6 “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Also, compare Rev. 9:1-2, 11.
2. Unchained Demons: These demons have a certain amount of freedom for the present time. The Psalmist said in Psa 78:49 “He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.” Also, Paul told the Ephesians in Eph 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The Man’s New Condition
Moving on, I want us to notice the new condition of the man after the exorcism in Mark. Mark said in Mark 5:15 adds one other “Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.”
It is a picture of the new birth. 1. He’s sitting. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to His every word. 2. He’s clothed. The garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness. 3. He’s in his right mind. Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Also, compare 2 Cor 10:3-5. 4. He’s witnessing. We are also told something interesting in Mark 5:18-20. He was telling others what Jesus had done for him!