Scripture records several accounts of the vicious activities of unclean spirits toward humans (Matt. 15:22; Mark 5:2-5; Luke 13:11, 16). The aftermath of Jesus’ dealings with a demon-possessed man in “the country of the Gadarenes” (Mark 5:1) reveals the horrific destructiveness of unclean spirits in a distinctive way that is easily overlooked.
The Deliverance of a Horribly Afflicted Man
Dwelling in tombs, a man possessed by an unclean spirit lived a terrible life of continual misery:
Mar 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
Through an encounter with Jesus, this man was graciously delivered from his horrible plight (Mark 5:6-13; 15). After Jesus had forced the many demons who had possessed him to come out of him (Mark 5:9, 13), he was “sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind” (Mark. 5:15).
The Horrific Destruction of a Vast Number of Pigs
The many demons that had possessed this man requested permission of Jesus to enter into a large herd of swine that were feeding nearby (Mark. 5:11-12). Receiving that permission, they entered the swine “and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea . . . and were choked in the sea” (Mark 5:13).
These unclean spirits, therefore, caused the violent destruction of “about two thousand” pigs (Mark 5:13). Although these pigs had posed no threat whatever to these unclean spirits, the spirits still viciously attacked them and cruelly led them to a horrific death of being choked in the sea.
Three Accounts of Unwarranted Demonic Cruelty to Animals
Three Gospel writers record the account of these unclean spirits afflicting both this man and these seemingly innocent animals (Matt. 8:32; Mark 5:13; Luke 8:32). These multiple accounts of that event underscore that the malevolence of unclean spirits extends far beyond destructiveness toward humans—they also mercilessly attacked these animals.
Based on this biblical data, we should be mindful of the possibility that similar activity by unclean spirits may be responsible for the horrific destruction of many animals on other occasions in history.