Did Jesus Drive 2000 Pigs to Death? Go Vegan! By Chapman Chen, HKBNews
Summary: It is said in Mark 5:1-20 that Jesus drove a group of demons, who as a single entity told Jesus "My name is Legion", from a man possessed by them, into 2000 pigs nearby, which then stampeded down a hillside and got drowned in a lake (n. I). Vegan-haters often cite this story to question vegan Christians. But it is probably a metaphoric allegory rather than a factual account. For there's no factory farming 2000 years ago. And "Legion" insinuates the Roman army, whom the colonized Jews secretly loathed and deemed demonic.
1. 1 Human Life>2000 Innocent Animals?
Pastor R.C. Sproul (2019) writes in his commentary on Mark that Jesus' compassion “drove Him to destroy the pigs for the sake of one human life. That is how valuable human life is.” In other words, these Vegan-haters are so anthropocentric as to think that it is alright for God to sacrifice 2000 innocent animals to save one human life. But there is good reason to believe that the Gerasenes pig story is a metaphoric parable.
2. No Factory Farming 2000 Years Ago!
Firstly, there was no factory farming 2000 years ago, and no one in the world, including Gerasenes, kept 2000 pigs. And if Jesus had really caused some Gerasenes rich guy to lose 2000 pigs, they would not have let him get away with it so easily.
3. Legion = Roman Army
Secondly, "legion" means "A division of 3,000–6,000 men, including a complement of cavalry, in the ancient Roman army." During Jesus' times, the Israelites were colonized and exploited by the Romans. As a result, most Jews did not like the Romans. It's only natural that Jesus, himself a Jew, would have the demon call itself Legion, thereby insinuating that the Roman soldiers were swine possessed by demons.
The Greek word rendered as “legion” is λεγιών (pronounced as leg-eh-ohn). It is in actuality of Latin origin and refers to a Roman regiment. New testament scholar Hans Leander (2013) points out that the word "sent" used twice before the sending of the demons into the swine remind people of a commander sending forth a troop.
4. To "Send" an Army
Number one, Greek for "send" in "[the demon] begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area" (Matt. 5:10) is apostellō (ἀποστέλλω), which means to be set apart or sent with a purpose (cf. Strong 1890; Free Bible Commentary).
Number two, Greek for “send” in " Send us among the pigs" (Matt. 5:12) is pempō (πέμπω) which according to Strong's (1890) Dictionary of the Bible really denotes “dispatch.” Leander (2013) argues that it connotes militarily dispatching a troop. Leander (2013) then demonstrates that the "legion" demon allegorizes the Roman Empire's colonization of Israel, causing pain and sufferings to the Jews. In 7 A.D.., a valiant revolution against Roman colonization broke out, and many others were yet to come (cf. Christopher 2015). Similarly, against China's brutal recolonization of Hong Kong, three revolutions have taken place in this cosmopolitan city, namely, The Umbrella Revolution (2014), The Fishball Revolution (2016), and The Time Revolution (2019). And most Hongkongers call the atrocious Gestapo-like police "dogs".
5. Follow Jesus' Vegan Pathway!
There are proofs that Jesus was a vegan (Chen, 2021a, 2021b, 2020). He would never kill innocent creatures of God. So, let us follow Jesus' compassionate example, love the animals, and go vegan. Amen!
I. Mark 5 NIV, Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man:
1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 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. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
Chen, Chapman (2020). "Proofs that Jesus was Vegan." Dec. 28, HKBNews. (https://www.hkbnews.net/post/proofs-that-jesus-was-vegan-%E6%85%88%E6%84%9B%E8%80%B6%E7%A9%8C%E9%A3%9F%E5%85%A8%E7%B4%A0-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews )
Chen, Chapman (2021a). ”Jesus Asks us to Serve the Animals. Go Vegan!" July 10, HKBNews (https://www.hkbnews.net/post/jesus-asks-us-to-serve-the-animals-go-vegan-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews)
Chen, Chapman (2021b). "Follow Christ's Words n Love your Neighbors, includ. Animals." June 15, HKBNews. (https://www.hkbnews.net/post/follow-christ-s-words-n-love-your-neighbors-includ-animals-go-vegan-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews )
Christopher (2015). "Sorry, I have Another Question." The Vegan Christian Resource (https://veganchristian.tumblr.com/post/130322862151/sorry-i-have-another-question-i-have-trouble).
Leander, Hans (2013). Discourses of Empire: The Gospel of Mark from a Postcolonial Perspective. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature.
Sproul, R.C. (2019). Mark: An Expositional Commentary. Sanford: Ligonier Ministries.
Strong, James (1890). Dictionary of the Bible (https://archive.org/details/StrongsGreekAndHebrewDictionaries1890)