9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.”
Jesus was probably very tired. He had been teaching from town to town, and finally had to get in a fishing boat to avoid the press of the crowds that came to hear Him. In spite of many successes, His inner circle still seemed to completely misunderstand nearly everything He said.
So, one day, Jesus directed them to sail away to the other side of the lake. On the way, He was awakened by the terrified disciples as a storm threatened to swamp the boat, and simply ordered the raging tempest to be quiet.
If the disciples were afraid of the weather, what happened next must have left them weak with terror. For as they stepped from their boats, a literal walking vision of Hell emerged from the nearby graveyard to meet them. The monster was living in the tombs with the rotting corpses, and repeatedly tore off chains and irons meant to restrain him from terrorizing the countryside.
But now, the demons possessing this horror were the ones helpless with terror. They knew exactly who Jesus is, and what His presence meant for them. They could only beg for mercy, to avoid their ultimate fate just a little longer. But their reprieve was short indeed. Legion, which had been housed comfortably in a living human for many years, drove a herd of pigs—almost a definition of spiritual uncleaness to the Jews—to suicide.
The people of the surrounding area arrived to find that the horror had become a man again. Jesus reached into the very heart of Hell, and rescued from unspeakable filth and depravity a living soul! The people, who had apparently resigned themselves to living with Hell walking among them, were so terrified of the Power that set him free, that they asked Jesus to go away.
But this is a happy ending, and a pattern for what is to come. People often ask why we never see demons any more, and similarly foolish questions—well, here’s an answer. Once the Light of the Truth clears the horizon, even the most depraved demon has no dark place in which to hide. Hell has lost the battle, and the war. Its entire army is a quivering wreck of misery and terror.
But the horror isn’t over by any means. Those foolish enough to oppose the Omnipotent with nothing but lies aren’t going to know enough to stop because the conflict is a lost cause. Satan had another army to build—one that could blindly lash out against a Power that reduces the fallen angels of Hell to grovelling submission.
We see them already rising up, mustering even as Jesus goes about His ministry on earth:
24But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”
Here is a new horror, to make the previous one seem like a minor inconvenience. These religious people witnessed the healing of a man who was blind, mute, and possessed. Jesus, with compassion beyond any human understanding, has again freed the lost and untouchable from slavery to sin and death, and brought out a whole, free human being to the Kingdom of God. But far from being moved by this incredible dsplay of God’s Love, these religious people actually mistook it for the work of the devil! Jesus proclaimed them guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the one sin that can’t be forgiven—because in its terminal stage it prevents its only cure.
They’re still with us today, of course, and they won’t be stopped until Jesus finally comes back to deal with them. They often inhabit our churches, where as we’ve often heard, Hell does some of its finest work. In a typical church, they can gossip, lie, backstab, tear down, belittle, or exclude anyone who might seem ready to stand up for something, and they can be assured of the aid and comfort of other churchgoers in doing so. More importantly, they can replace any suggestion of legitimate Christian doctrine with mindless ritual observances or regulations which they can make up themselves or acquire prefabricated from outside sources without any personal spiritual investment. They may sit lifelessly through the weekly ministerial stage show, or shamble about the halls until they find an opportunity to tear at something that offers lasting hope or threatens to genuinely change a life, restoring everything they touch to the dead, lifeless grey of institutional routine. They are often drawn to positions of authority over others, particularly in churches and other religious institutions, where they can most easily feed on the weak, the misguided, the empty, and the lost.
You should learn to recognize them as soon as possible, from a safe distance, as if your life depends on it. They’re Hell’s new army….
…of the spiritual walking dead.