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A House of Horrors

As cable and streaming services continue to feature horror films this month, the Bible contains a villain unlike any depicted by Hollywood. The backstory of this man from Gerasa comes to the surface as Jesus asks a series of probing questions. Apparently, this man left home as he was afraid that he might hurt his wife or children. Subsequently, he moved out to live alone in a series of catacombs.

They came to the other side of the sea to the region of the Gerasenes. And as soon as He got out of the boat, there met Him out of the tombs a man [under the power] of an unclean spirit. This man [a]continually lived among the tombs, and no one could subdue him any more, even with a chain; Mark 5:1-3.

According to John Mark, this man exhibited uncontrollable fits of rage, possessing supernatural strength. Sensing some sort of demonic possession, Jesus doesn’t stop his inquiry until discovering this man’s spiritual condition. Based upon the context of Mark 5:13, this Legion which spoke to Jesus was like something out of the Exorcist. The actual number of demons inside this man was two thousand.

For he had been bound often with shackles for the feet and [b]handcuffs, but the handcuffs of [light] chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he rubbed and ground together and broke in pieces; and no one had strength enough to restrain or tame him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always [c]shrieking and screaming and [d]beating and bruising and [e]cutting himself with stones, Mark 5:4-5.

The number of demonic influences living inside this man is incomprehensible, even for Hollywood. Nonetheless, this sets the scene for one of the most memorable exorcisms in the Bible. Mark spends a total of 20 verses on this man living in a house of horrors, waking up from nightmares in a graveyard. Yet, in this story, there were no human murders, just a herd of hogs that drown in the Sea. This account reveals how Jesus can transform one man’s house of horrors into a peaceful sleep and in his right mind.

by Jay Mankus

Snuffing Out Life

One of the largest and longest snakes known to exist on earth is the anaconda.  Native to the tropics of South America, some of these species have been discovered in the Florida Everglades over the last decade according to Animal Planet.  Similar to a reticulated python, this non-venomous snake uses its teeth to hold on before squeezing its victim to death.  The power of this beast essentially snuffs out the life of its prey through suffocation.

Lucifer or Satan is portrayed as a crafty serpent in Genesis 3:1 and Revelation 12:9.  However, the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, known as the devil, only has one of his demons referenced in the New Testament.  While the term legion is used by John Mark in Mark 5:9 in context with a demon possessed man, the word actually refers to a number, commonly used by Roman military leaders.  This leaves Acts 16:16 as the only place an individual demon is named.  The King James version uses the phrase “spirit of python,” translated into most modern translations as a spirit of divination or foretelling the future.

The thought of money had blinded this girl’s owners from the internal struggle within her soul.  Upon seeing Paul in Acts 16:16-18, she cries out for help, a last ditch effort before having any chances of a spiritual life snuffed out.  Entangled by the grips of a demon, Paul saves her life while endangering his own.  The devil poisoned the minds of these greedy owners, convincing the towns people to place Paul, Silas and Luke in prison.  Immediately following one victory, Acts 16:19-24, Satan tries to squeeze out of the love of Jesus from these men.

Today, the devil is up to his usual tricks, using defeat, failure and trials to suck the life out of individuals.  John 10:10 isn’t just something written over 2,000 years ago that no longer applies.  Rather, every day is a spiritual war, a battle that won’t end until heaven and earth pass away.  Therefore, if you feel the presence of depression, stress or worry begin to wrap around your neck, use prayer to put on the full armor of God, Ephesians 6:13-18.  Fight fire with spiritual fire, 1 Timothy 6:12, to avoid having your life snuffed out prematurely.

by Jay Mankus

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