Was Jesus justified in destroying “private property?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Read Matthew chapter 8: “[28] And when he [the Lord Jesus] 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.”

The Lord Jesus has been faulted here for “destroying private property.” After all, when He cast out the devils, He granted them their request to enter the herd of swine. The swine, now devil-possessed, ran into the nearby sea and drowned. (Mark 5:13 gives the estimate of 2,000 pigs!) How could Jesus allow these animals to perish when they belonged to someone else?

Before we denounce Christ here, perhaps we should read the whole Bible. Notice Leviticus 11:7: “And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.” And, Deuteronomy 14:8: “And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.” The Law of Moses demanded that Israel not eat pork or touch a dead pig’s body. In Christ’s earthly ministry, however, pigs are being kept in God’s land. Moses’ kosher food laws are being ignored. These devil-possessed pigs dying was one way of God purging His people and real estate of spiritual uncleanness. They should not have owned pigs anyway!

We must remember that, ultimately, Jesus Christ is the Creator God (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2). Everything belongs to Him: “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). If He wants to do something with His creation, He does not have to ask anyone’s permission concerning anything… any creature… any place!

Also see:
» Why did Israel have to observe so many “strange” laws?
» How does Satan operate today?
» Should we use the word “demons?” Are they the same as devils?