Demons’ Properties

Luke 8:26-39
Eph. 2:4-10

We find many examples of exorcism in the Gospel. However, the today’s reading reveals a particularly great deal about the attributes of evil spirits. First of all, their power, the power they can exercise over a person, and the horror they can cause. The Gadarene demon-possessed man was so scary that “he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.”

But then we also see weakness and even total powerlessness of demons. They cannot cross the line that God has drawn. They could not destroy their victim, nor could they drag him away from the shore. The demon-possessed man “saw Jesus” and “fell down before Him”, which the demons could not have wished for.

We see the boundless brazen impudence of demons: they were tormenting a man and were not going to stop it and still dared to ask Jesus not to torment them.

We learn that demons are spirits that do not occupy space: there is a legion of them in one person. But they can only be in one place: now they are here, but soon they will be expelled, scattered, and will enter into many other beings.

Once again we see their impotence before God: they cannot enter the pigs without His permission. Then again, we see their tremendous power when God commits someone into their hands. A herd of swine suddenly jumped into the sea.

We see their impatience: they’re in a hurry to attack their victims. They could have done much more harm by acting more covertly.

However, we can see their craftiness and intelligence in other cases: they do not touch the inhabitants of the Gadarene country nor torment them, knowing that they already belong to them. As one man once said during a recent campaign against alcohol: “How much Satan wants us to come to him sober!” A drunk man will sober up and come to his senses. He who is freed from demons will sit “at Jesus’s feet,” dressed and sane. What can we say about the one who does the work of the devil freely and soberly? This is what the Gadarenes did when they asked Him to “depart from them” calmly and politely.

We also see how the Lord can harness the power of demons to their own detriment. He clearly demonstrates to the people, on inferior creatures, what is at stake. He teaches those who are created “in Christ Jesus unto good works” to remember their dignity. We should not be horrified at the destruction of speechless animals born “to be taken and destroyed” (2 Peter 2:12), but rather at what awaits us, the reasonable and Godlike creatures, and even those who have already been saved by the Lord Jesus, if we drive Him away from our lives by our sinful actions and lifestyles.


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  1. Thank you. This is an important topic, but one which requires a sober & balanced approach, without unduly fostering fear. It has been stated that “the greatest victory of Satan is, in modern times, getting people to believe that he dies not exist.” However, the opposite extreme is an unhelthy, excessive fear of the Devil & the demons. In some circles, the phrase “the devil made me do it” has become almost laughable to many people, because it has too often been used as an excuse to not take any responsibility whatsoever for one’s thoughts, feelings, words or deeds. . . .
    Is infernal influence possible & real? Yes. BUT, we (especially as Orthodox Christians) have powerful weapons against the Darkness. THE most powerful weapon is the Cross of Christ. I recommend to people that they wear a cross at all times (discreetly under clothing is fine. Some work environments forbid anything openly suspended from the neck, due to stringent safety regulations). Also to have a cross in any vehicle you drive. Also in the rooms of your house, especially bedrooms. Also frequently throughout the day, as appropriate & needed, signing oneself with the sign of the Cross (but not showing off to people, & not if you need both hands for safe operation of vehicles or equipment.) ALSO…..& I tell people this…NO Ouija boards, tarot cards, pendulum & dark occult symbols, toys or books in your house or car. NO horror movies, or any that celebrate dark themes. Be careful of music. Sound can either lift up, or it can tear down. Strive to be humble, & don’t pretend you have the strength to handle things to do with black magic and you’ll be alright. (You won’t).
    When I was a minister-priest in the Order that eventually led me to Orthodoxy, my spiritual father was very strict about his peoole not having or handling such things. We all wore discreet, plus out-in-the-open crosses. We were taught to test & challenge things, to work to not be deceived. But all this training was sober & balanced, not promoting fear with the emphasis being on being grounded in Christ, Who has supreme power over the Darkness, & vanquishes it, as long as we’re not blithely & stupidly opening ourselves to it. You have to also be careful with alcohol, also drugs. Both of these, especially certain drugs, can open a person to dark forces which they’re not then able to defend against, & bad results can occur. One time, as a (earlier form) minister priest, I went to visit my brother, who was an ordained Protestant minister. He first showed me his large collection of guns, which bothered me that he, as a minister had them. Then, he showed me a Satanic Bible, which I absolutely refused to touch or examine. This REALLY alarmed me! I said: ” You need to get rid of this NOW!!!” He said he wanted to better understand the wiles of the Enemy. I said: ” NO. NOT THAT WAY. GET RID OF IT! YOU’RE PUTTING YOURSELF AT GREAT RISK!” He refused to do so. I left soon after & never went back.
    His life, unfortunately, did not end well. Another family member dabbled in black magic. I had to distance myself permanently from them. Their life most
    definitely did not end well. Lord, have Mercy!
    The Cross is SO powerful, because It is the ultimate Sign of humility. Satan fell from a great Height due to great pride. He cannot understand or tolerate humility. That is why he & his demons flee from the Cross. They literally cannot stand to see it or be near to it. Re-read the story of St. Cyprian & St. Justina. That story perfectly illustrates this principle. Always stand in the Light of Christ! Jesus Christ – Conqueror & Victor, and all adverse powers are crushed! Let us always strive, move, be & work in the Holy Light of Christ!

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