Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rub-a-dub-dub Three Men in a Tub to When Pigs Fly: Bible as a Whole

Do you think that pig on the left is thinking about flying right into that river and drowning itself?

Huh, what do flying suicidal pigs have to do with the Bible.

I'll get to that later.

I would hope, it's hard enough understanding that book without you confusing people further. I don't know what you see in that anthology of stories, myths, fables and poems. 

That's because it isn't an anthology. It's one continuous history of God's relationship to man from the past creation of this world to the future end of this world.  If we accept that fact, We'll have a better understanding not only of the Bible,  but of world events going on around us today.

Such as?

Such as not being scared by all the Global Warming hype when you understand what the Bible says is ahead. Such as not being fearful of threats from other countries when you see how the Bible says they will line up.  The Thinking Frog in one of his posts said, "The only thing we have to fear is God Himself." He is absolutely right, for we have a Fearsome and Awesome God, who has let us in on His plan in the Bible so we need not fear anything else. 

Also, understanding the Bible as a whole clears up a lot of those little events in the Bible that seem mysterious. 

Oh Yeah, how is all that stuff in the Old Testament relevant to anything. A lot of you people find that mysterious enough to avoid.  All those "begats" and hard to pronounce names like Jebusites, Girgashites,  Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. I bet most wouldn't know a Pathrusite from a Stalagmite. What's with all these ites, huh? 

Well, except for Stalagmite,  they are groups of people named after some body's son, you know, the result of all those begats. Take the Girgashites...

Bless you.

Very funny. Girgashites, in fact, all those "ites" you named, were descendants of Ham. You remember Noah had three sons,  Japheth, Shem and Ham. 

Ah, ha, your Rub-a-dub-dub Three men in a Tub silliness!


Where are the flying pigs?

We'll get to them, possibly not until my next post however. Anyway, Shem is the ancestor of the Jews. We get the term Semite from him, a corruption from the Greek or Latin because there is no H in those languages. Japheth's descendants went north after the flood. We of European blood descended from his tribes. Ham had a son whose name you probably know by the country he inhabited. His name was Canaan. 

Canaan begat Sidon, his firstborn, and he begat Hitt,  Jebu,  Amor and so forth. In fact his next begat was Girgash...

And Girgash formed a tribe called Girgashites.

Correct. And the Girgashites and those other tribes all lived in the land of milk and honey God intended for the Hebrews. God drove all those people out of Canaan because they weren't very nice. He took His time, but those peoples were driven out. 

Ha, took his time. Maybe your God isn't so powerful after all. Why didn't he just zap them, like Sodom and Gomorrah? Use up all his power turning Lot's wife into salt did he?

God wasn't too weak to "zap". He did it because the Hebrews weren't strong enough to subdue the country yet. If God had zapped those tribes, then the wild animals would have been left uncontrolled and overrun the place before the Hebrews could get a handle on them. God is pretty sparing with the zapping and the miracles. He likes to work his plan through people, only he knows why. But that's another story, just accept it for now that God always knows what he's doing.

Back to the point. The Girgashites ended up controlling a region southeast of the Sea of Galilee, know later as the Gadarenes or the Gerasenes. This is an area known for the Decapolis, or the ten cities. We have cities such as Gadara and Gerasa in this country. Near Gadara are a lot of tombs and on the east shore of Lake Tiberias (another name of the Sea of Galilee), at el-Kursi, near the Wadi es-Samak is a cliff. We have a story about Jesus involving tombs and a cliff in the region of the Gerasenes. Might not have been those specific tombs or that particular cliff, but these were things in the area so it wasn't unusual they were mentioned.

Okay, nice little history lesson, or is it a geography lesson. All this gobbly-gook about Girgashites, Gerasenes, Gerasa and Gadara and you still haven't said anything about pigs.

I mentioned Ham.

Oh, now who is being cute. 

Fine, old haunt, I'll get to the flying pigs in my next post, but first I want you to contemplate Isaiah 65:1-7

"I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, 'Here am I, here am I.'
All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations-a people who continually provoke me to my very face, offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on altars of brick; who sit among the graves and spend their nights keeping secret vigil; 
who eat the flesh of pigs, 
and whose pots hold broth of unclean meat; who say, 'Keep away; don't come near me, for I am too sacred for you!' 
Such people are smoke in my nostrils, a fire that keeps burning all day.
"See, it stands written before me: 
I will not keep silent but will pay back in full; I will pay it back into their laps-both your sins and the sins of your fathers," 
says the LORD.
Then the next time you're roaming around, we;ll talk about this story put together from Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-39.
They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs.
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He cried out and fell at his feet. He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me! I beg you, don't torture me!" For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man, had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!" Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"
"My name is Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him."for we are many." And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs. Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them. " and He gave them permission. He said to them, "Go!" and so when they, the demons, the evil spirits, came out of the man, and they went into the pigs, and the whole herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned and died in the water.
When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off, went into the town and reported all this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons sitting there, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man, how the demon-possessed man had been cured. —and told about the pigs as well. And then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus, when they saw him, to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. The people, they began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
So He got into the boat and left. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed, whom the demons had gone out, begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but Jesus sent him away but said, saying, "Go Return home to your family and tell them how much the Lord God has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." So the man went away and told all over town and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.


  1. Don't know what to say except to complement you on the names to geneology and geography.

  2. I like animals, sometimes I love them. But, this shocking story of Jesus, demons and pigs seems to show that human beings are simply more important to God than pigs. I do think animals, even for slaughter, should be treated decently at all times.

    I do respect veterans and their willingness to attempt to good within the evils of war. I also appreciate the fact that due to Western military power I can live in a democracy.

    Thanks, Larry.


  3. Hello Larry,

    I love this account in the Word of God. Even demons know who the son of God is and will bow and worship HIm!


  4. Boy, you were in a mood, Larry! ;) So what do you think was the significance of the pigs running over the cliff? It's something that's puzzled me, ever since I first read the account. What caused the pigs to go over the cliff and what happened to the demons? Did Jesus cause them to do it? Is that what the demons planned all along, or did the pigs just go over the edge, of their own volition? Thoughts?

  5. Greetings Larry,

    There is one thing that we can learn from animals, they are consistent. They are motivated by primal, survival urges. Seldom does an animal (not including pets) respond to an emotion other than fear.

    Indeed while we are created above the animalistic kingdom, in the image of God, all too often people lower themselves to the primal, survival urges. What they thereby gain feeds our human greed for power, prestege, and position.

    Good thoughts!

    Joyfully Serving,


  6. Get to talking to yourself too much, and you might raise some eyebrows. ;-)