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Author Topic:   Why did Jesus kill the Pigs?
Phat
Member
Posts: 10026
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 1 of 42 (164268)
12-01-2004 3:36 AM


Listening to Christian radio this morning, I heard a sermon about
Jesus and the demoniac of Gaderene.
Matt 8:28-34

28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?"

30 Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs."

32 He said to them, "Go!" So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 33 Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.


Also mentioned in Luke:
Luke 8:26-39

26 They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes,
which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" 29 For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
30 Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"
"Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. 31 And they begged him 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 them, 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.
34 When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, 35 and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. 37 Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 "Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.


Some observations:
The Demons beg Jesus to send them into the pigs and He says Yes.
The people beg Jesus to leave the region and He says Yes.
The ex-demoniac begs Jesus to let him come with Him, and Jesus says No.
Whats up with this cruel tale of pig murder?
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AdminNosy
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Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 42 (164320)
12-01-2004 10:35 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
PurpleYouko
Member (Idle past 206 days)
Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004


Message 3 of 42 (164388)
12-01-2004 2:14 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
12-01-2004 3:36 AM


Pigs huh?
Also why were there pigs in a jewish comunity? or were these people in the village actually romans or something.

Always wondered that. lol

PY


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Brian
Member (Idle past 2546 days)
Posts: 4659
From: Scotland
Joined: 10-22-2002


(1)
Message 4 of 42 (164391)
12-01-2004 2:46 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by PurpleYouko
12-01-2004 2:14 PM


Re: Pigs huh?
Hi,

I always wondered what the poor pig farmer had done to deserve having his livelihood taken away!

Perhaps it was because pigs were unclean that they were seen by the story teller as an appropriate vessel for the unclean demons.

Brian.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 10026
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 5 of 42 (164435)
12-01-2004 5:00 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by PurpleYouko
12-01-2004 2:14 PM


Re: Pigs huh?
Listen to this excerpt from the news which I could not post a link to so I copied here:
When Pigs Swam

by Alan J Stein

After WWII, the local population surrounding Kirkland started dwindling almost as quickly as it had grown five years earlier. The Kirkland Chamber of Commerce took notice of this and did not like it one bit. How do you get folks to move to Kirkland when all the jobs are in Seattle? Simple. By promoting the city as a bedroom community. Work there, live here. And how do you let everyone know where Kirkland is located? How else? Throw a party!

And throw a party they did. In fact, Kirkland's first summer festival was so big and so much fun, that newspapermen swooped in from around the country. It was broadcast from coast-to-coast over the radio. Newsreels of it were later shown in movie theatres everywhere. All of this frenzy stemmed from one of the events: Pig-swimming races in Lake Washington.

To understand this bizarre media phenomenon, you have to look at the pulse of the nation in 1946. People had just come out of a war which involved many sacrifices and hardships. Prior to that, they had persevered throughout a decade of economic hardship. The summer of 1946 was the first summer in over 15 years that people had a chance to collectively blow off some steam and laugh at the quirky things in life, such as racing pigs in a lake. Art Needham was the chairman for the summer festival committee, but the idea of racing pigs came from Ray Daughters, swimming coach for the Washington Athletic Club. The race was to be one part of the August 17 weekend festival, but once the news outlets picked up on the story, it quickly became the star attraction.

Initially, there were a few complaints about animal cruelty, and a representative from the Humane Society was asked to comment. He visited Kirkland and complimented the committee for the fine handling of the event, pointing out that pigs can actually swim quite well, a fact that most people were unaware of.

Local pig farms, along with other groups and individuals, entered their best swimmers. KOMO radio entered a pig named Omak. Pacific Farms' entrant was Rose of Normandie. The Seattle American Legion enlisted Old Sarge. Ray Daughters signed up his own pig, Salome. Even well-known radio comedian Bob Burns, who joked about his Arkansas Razorbacks on his broadcasts, planned on coming to town and entered his own porker, Wafford. As the race neared, newsmen started covering the city. On July 30 a trial run of four pigs was previewed by newsreel cameras, radiomen, newspaper reporters and photographers. Having newspeople in town over the next three weeks only added to the already growing interest over the coming festival.(Kirkland News)

So...It is a fact that Pigs CAN swim. What happened at Gadarene?
Brian writes:

I always wondered what the poor pig farmer had done to deserve having his livelihood taken away!

Or maybe Jesus was allowing justice on a community that had excommunicated the demoniac and left him to die rather than helping him. They cared more about their own livelihood, which Jesus allowed Satan to destroy. Why else would Jesus "allow" the demons to do such a thing? Why not just zap them into the abyss?

This message has been edited by Phatboy, 12-01-2004 05:07 PM


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Tal
Member (Idle past 3264 days)
Posts: 1140
From: Fort Bragg, NC
Joined: 12-29-2004


Message 6 of 42 (172710)
01-01-2005 8:50 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
12-01-2004 5:00 PM


Re: Pigs huh?
I've read some spiritual warefare theories on this subject. I would first say that Jesus told the demons to go into the pigs because the demons asked nicely. The demons then drove the pigs off the cliff to get as far away from Jesus as fast as they could.

This passage could suggest that demons need something to cling onto, or else they are "open game" for angelic attack. This is all pure speculation of course. But if you look at other scriptures, such as when Daniel's angel was confronted by the prince of persia, you find that there indeed to appear to be "rules" or "laws" that these spiritual beings follow to interact with each other.

The bible also talks about principalities, both angelic and demonic. Daniel's angel obviously had to fight his way out, whereas the demons were either not in their territory, or the demonc prince of the region and his staff ran like girls when Jesus paid a visit.


Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8
www.1st-vets.us
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commike37
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 42 (172873)
01-01-2005 10:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
12-01-2004 3:36 AM


It depends on whether you want the demons possessing another man or just some pigs. The Bible doesn't advocate animal rights activism (well, OK, you shouldn't unjustly kill or abuse animals, but animals don't come before humans).
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Nighttrain
Member (Idle past 1581 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004


Message 8 of 42 (176405)
01-12-2005 11:19 PM


I`ve always been fascinated by the hidden meaning of parables in the Bible. Even the disciples were pretty dense, needing Jesus to explain what they meant. With the discovery of the pesher technique among the Qumran Scrolls, It seems there are many attempts to disguise the true meanings of statements by inserting either a key number, word or contemporary meaning.

In a land ruled by both an overlord (Rome) and a political appointee (tetrarch Herod Antipas), and continual religious and nationalistic fervour,it seems logical that spying would be conducted on a grand scale. IOW, you watched what you spoke or got the chop. Though the Gadarene pigs` tale might seem straightforward, both the reference to 'Legion' and the number of two thousand may convey a less-than -subtle attempt to make fun of the rulers. Even the choice of an unclean animal in quantities might be another sly reference. Another oddity is that Matthew and Mark use 'sea' (KJV) while Luke uses 'lake'. If Jesus met the demon-possessed man when he landed,and the pigs ran into the 'sea', the nearest city was Gadara, approx. forty miles inland across the Yarmuk River. Long way for 'the whole city' to come to meet Jesus.
Finally, there is the oddity of two men possessed in Matthew, while only one each for Mark and Luke. Different cures?


    
Abshalom
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 42 (176470)
01-13-2005 5:55 AM


Similar Discussion Thread
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3b451dc8350f.htm

After reading the initial questions and the following responses at this other forum, I see that the parable of the possessed pigs raises questions that literalists find hard to answer with anything other than faith.


  
Abshalom
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 42 (176538)
01-13-2005 12:09 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
12-01-2004 5:00 PM


2000 Piggies Went All the Way Home
My first thought on this pig thing was “2000 pigs! That’s a helluva lot of swine.” Is it reasonable to think that an ancient swine herder could sustain 2000 pigs in Jordan? But I was able to find an example of one small farm family who actually does keep just about exactly 2000 head of swine: http://www.awionline.org/farm/wilson.html. And they’re able to do it by rotating the herd through 18-acre pastures on a seasonal basis.

So that issue solved, I had to move on to the second red flag. I had thought that pigs were known for their intelligence, to wit:
“Professor Stanley Curtis of Penn State University found that pigs play and excel at joystick-controlled video games. He observed that they are ‘capable of abstract representation’ and ‘are able to hold an icon in the mind and remember it at a later date.’ Professor Curtis says that ‘there is much more going on in terms of thinking and observing by these pigs than we would ever have guessed.’ Pigs are much smarter than dogs, according to the research, and even did better at video games than some primates. Says Dr. Sarah Boysen, Curtis’ colleague, ‘[Pigs] are able to focus with an intensity I have never seen in a chimp.’ http://www.goveg.com/feat/Pigslife/experts.asp.

So, I thought it unlikely that an entire herd of 2000 pigs, even if possessed by demons, would follow each other over a cliff and into a lake. Well, seems that issue is resolved as well here: http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/pigs/4603.html, where we find that “Pigs also have a strong flight reaction and will run when threatened. Pigs prefer to stay in close visual and physical contact with each other for security and have a tendency to group heavily when forced.” That could explain why the herd of 2000 pigs stampeded together into the Sea of Galilee (or whatever lake it was).

But then I thought, Phatboy already showed us that pigs can swim? (http://www.bcc.ctc.edu/cpsha/esj/whenpigs.htm). So what’s up with all 2000 of those critters drowning in the parable? Well, it seems that under certain conditions, overheated pigs will die of shock when doused with cold water: http://www.carc-crac.ca/common/Factsheet%20Transportation%20Pigs%20English.pdf.

So now I can resolve that a small group of swine herders could indeed care for 2000 hogs on twenty acres of lush pasture, hogs will bunch together and stampede over a cliff, and when overheated, the hogs may indeed perish from shock when hitting cold water.

That leaves only the questions of:

Why was Jesus visiting a bunch of heathen hog farmers when there were still good observant Jews to convert to his new religion? I’ll bet that was disconcerting to Brother James.

Why did it take 2000 pigs to host the demons inhabiting one man (or in the case of Matthew’s version, two men)?

Why would Jesus do this work that resulted in the despoiling of the Sea of Galilee by 2000 bloated, rotting hog carcasses? And since he came to fulfill the entire Law, not one jot or diddle less, why would he cause someone to make themselves ritually unclean by carrying off the foul hog carcasses?

And finally, why would Jesus honor the wishes and pleadings of the demons to inhabit the pigs rather than casting them directly back into the Abyss of Hell in the first place?

I guess I have some more research to do!


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Jon_the_Second
Member (Idle past 17398 days)
Posts: 33
From: London, UK
Joined: 11-07-2004


Message 11 of 42 (176876)
01-14-2005 3:10 AM


Pagan connection
Has anyone noticed the similarities to the Pagan Eleusinian Mysteries which had ritual pig washing in the sea?
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Nighttrain
Member (Idle past 1581 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004


Message 12 of 42 (177130)
01-14-2005 8:19 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Jon_the_Second
01-14-2005 3:10 AM


Re: Pagan connection
Dunno, Jon, to me the Mysteries seemed to involve ritual washing of both the participant AND the pig before sacrifice.
From http://www.classics.upenn.edu/myth/hymns/eleusis.php#sea
we have---(Purification and Sacrifice:
On the second day the participants walked to the sea near Athens and cleansed themselves and a small pig. Upon returning to the city, participants sacrificed the pig.)
While the Gadarene/Gerascene sacrifice didn`t involve the one/two men involved.
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Phat
Member
Posts: 10026
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 13 of 42 (509033)
05-18-2009 6:53 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Jon_the_Second
01-14-2005 3:10 AM


Re: Pagan connection
Jon writes:

Has anyone noticed the similarities to the Pagan Eleusinian Mysteries which had ritual pig washing in the sea?

I had to look this one up! ;) Eleusinian_Mysteries

Are you suggesting that the death of the pigs was some giant ritualistic sacrifice?


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Peg
Member (Idle past 2517 days)
Posts: 2703
From: melbourne, australia
Joined: 11-22-2008


Message 14 of 42 (509136)
05-18-2009 11:33 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Abshalom
01-13-2005 12:09 PM


Re: 2000 Piggies Went All the Way Home
Abshalom writes:

Why was Jesus visiting a bunch of heathen hog farmers when there were still good observant Jews to convert to his new religion? I’ll bet that was disconcerting to Brother James.

the accounts dont really say that he was there to visit hog farmers...they were travelling all around the territory preaching and in this case they boarded a boat and went to 'the other side'. Thats all it says. Perhaps the 'other side' just happened to be this particular field where they would have to travel thru to get to the city.

Abshalom writes:

Why did it take 2000 pigs to host the demons inhabiting one man

when Jesus asked the demon its name, its reply was Mark 5:9 "But he began to ask him: 'What is your name?' And he said to him: "My name is Legion, because there are many of us."

who knows how all those many demons inhabited the man?? But it seems that they can inhabit a person in multiples or singularly.

Abshalom writes:

Why would Jesus do this work that resulted in the despoiling of the Sea of Galilee by 2000 bloated, rotting hog carcasses? And since he came to fulfill the entire Law, not one jot or diddle less, why would he cause someone to make themselves ritually unclean by carrying off the foul hog carcasses?

Wouldnt the carcass of any animal that ended up dead in the water be eaten by sharks and other fish and even birds?

Also, Jesus cannot be held accountable for what the demons may have done themselves. And if the people who were farming them were Jews, then they were already ritually unclean (if thats the case then it could explain why Jesus did not object to sending the Demons into the herd) However, if they were not jews, the mosaic law would not have applied to them anyway.

Abshalom writes:

why would Jesus honor the wishes and pleadings of the demons to inhabit the pigs rather than casting them directly back into the Abyss of Hell in the first place?

Probably for the same reason that he did not restore the kingdom of God to the Jews when he was on the earth.
Look at what the demons said in vs 29 "And, look! they screamed, saying: "What have we to do with you, Son of God? Did you come here to torment us before the appointed time?"

Jesus was working to Gods timetable, not his own. Also look at what the Jude wrote in Jude Vs6 "And the angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day"

There will be a day when the demons will be put into the abyss, but that time was to be in the future and at Gods direction.


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purpledawn
Member (Idle past 1045 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 15 of 42 (509196)
05-19-2009 9:57 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Phat
05-18-2009 6:53 AM


Roman Connection
The book of Mark was probably written soon after the Jewish War of 70CE. Here is another option I found for the meaning of the story, which would make more sense in reality.

JESUS CASTS DEVILS OUT OF THE SWINE: TRUTH OR SUN MYTH RETOLD?
Williams Harwood has some interesting things to say about this teaching in light of historical facts. "Since the fall of the city a few months earlier [in 70 C.E.], Jerusalem had been occupied by the Roman Tenth Legion [X Fretensis], whose emblem was a pig. Mark's reference to about two thousand pigs, the size of the occupying Legion, combined with his blatant designation of the evil beings as Legion, left no doubt in Jewish minds that the pigs in the fable represented the army of occupation. Mark's fable in effect promised that the messiah, when he returned, would drive the Romans into the sea as he had earlier driven their four-legged surrogates." - William Harwood, Mythologies Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus. Unlike Gerasa, Gadara was the scene of a a great massacre of Jewish rebels by the Roman troops in 69 C.E. Like the pigs, the fleeing rebels were driven into the water. "Vespasian sent Placidus with 500 horse and 3000 foot to pursue those who had fled from Gadara..." (Sn 4) "Placidus, relying on his cavalry and emboldened by his previous success, pursued the Gadarenes, killing all whom he overtook, as far as the Jordan. Having driven the whole multitude up to the river, where they were blocked by the stream, which being swollen by the rain was unfordable, he drew up his troops in line opposite them. Necessity goaded them to battle, flight being impossible... Fifteen thousand perished by the enemy's hands, while the number of those who were driven to fling themselves into the Jordan was incalculable; about two thousand two hundred were captured..." (Sn 5) - Flavius Josephus, War of the Jews, Bk IV, Ch 7. Josephus reports that as a result of the battle "the Jordan was choked with dead", and "even the [Dead Sea] was filled with bodies." (War of the Jews, Bk IV, Ch 7 Sn 6).


"Peshat is what I say and derash is what you say." --Nehama Leibowitz
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