When Jesus reached Gadara, on the other side, he was met by two men, possessed by devils, who came out from the tombs. They were so ﬁerce that no one dared to pass that way. They cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone! Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
Some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding. So the demons begged him, “If you drive us out, send us into that herd of pigs.” Jesus ordered them, “Go!” So the demons left the men and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and was drowned.
The men in charge of the pigs ran off to the town, where they told the whole story; and also what had happened to the men possessed with the demons. The whole town went out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
Picture a vicious dog, barking and snarling at you, pouncing at you on its most ferocious “attack mode”—but securely chained to an iron ring. This means, of course, that as long as you do not come within reach of it, you are perfectly safe, and it is completely powerless to harm you.
Satan and his minions are like chained dogs. In fact, the Bible tells us in symbolic language that Satan is indeed “tied up for a thousand years” (Rev 20:2), that is, until practically the end of the world, except for a short period of freedom then. But, for the time being, he and his minions are powerless over us, as long as we keep away from them (no dabbling in the occult, no séances with a medium, no Ouija board, no tarot cards—all of which are an invitation to evil spirits) and stay close to Jesus. For they are mortally afraid of Jesus, as we can see in today’s gospel reading. Their power is no match for his. A single word for his, “Go!”and they scamper away in panic.
All this shows that, contrary to popular belief, Satan is in no way the counterpart or analog of God in the spiritual world, because he is only a creature, a fallen angel. His real counterpart is the archangel Michael who, as the Bible describes it, kicks Satan out of Heaven (Rev 2:7-9). A comforting thought.
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