After exorcism: Where do demons go?

Painting by Egon Schiele
DEMONS AFTER THE PIGFEST. Where did the demons go after Jesus cast them into a herd of pigs, and then the pigs drowned? Spoiler alert: beats me. Painting by Egon Schiele. Photo by Ondra Havala / flicker. Used by permission.

IT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.

It comes from a friend of mine, Rose Buffington. You get a free book for it, Rosie. Pick one from the list.

Here’s Rose’s question.

In Bible Study this morning the question came up: When Jesus casts out a demon, does he destroy it or just remove the demon from one person leaving it to inflict itself on others? There’s not always a group of pigs around to send over a cliff.

What about Republicans?

Come on. That’s funny.

For at least half the readers. And for any others who can laugh at themselves.

But for ministers who work with people they say are demon possessed, this subject is no laughing matter.

It’s a horror story.

I recently posted a blog on the subject: Exorcism, the how-to-guide.

It includes a photo of a Catholic priest well known for exorcizing demons: Father Jose Antonio Fortea, of Spain.

“Screams, writhing on the ground, insults, vomiting, physical assaults upon the priest, spewing thick sputum—these are what the exorcist sees habitually,” Father Fortea said.

Rose, here’s the answer to your question:

God knows what happens to demons once they are cast out of someone. We don’t. The Bible doesn’t say.

Based on Bible stories, it doesn’t seem as though they are destroyed.

And based on the story Rose referred to—of Jesus casting out a lot of demons who had lived inside one man—those demons certainly didn’t want to go back to the place they typically go, described in a variety of ways by different Bible translations:

  • “bottomless pit” (Luke 8:31, NLT).
  • “Abyss” (NRSV)
  • “eternal darkness” (NCV)
  • “the deep pit” (CEV)
  • “the deep” (21st Century KJV)

“The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and Jesus let them go. Then the demons left the man and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned” (Luke 8:32-33, CEV).

So what happened to them next?

Did they just hang loose and wait to inspire the Holocaust, the Tea Party, or Obamacare?

We don’t know.

Well, I’m pretty sure they didn’t inspire Obamacare. But I don’t claim any divine inspiration on that. Or anything else in this blog that’s not quoting the Bible.

So, let’s quote the Bible:

“We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself” (Ephesians 6:12-13, CEV).

What armor was Paul talking about in this letter?

  • Tell the truth
  • Do what you know would please God
  • Have a little faith in God
  • Accept his salvation
  • Listen to God’s word which is spoken through his Spirit.

Rose, I wish I knew more. But I’ve already told you more than I know.

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