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and crying out with a loud voice, he says, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I demand that you swear under oath by God that you will not torment me.” Bible

“What do you want with me.” See commentary on Matthew 8:29.

“demand that you swear under oath.” The Greek word translated into this phrase is the verb horkizō (#3726 ὁρκίζω), and in this context it means to put someone under oath (BDAG Greek-English lexicon); to demand that Jesus swears an oath by the name of God that he will not torment the demon. Many English versions translate horkizō by the English word “adjure,” which is a good translation except almost no English reader knows what “adjure” means.

It seems very strange that the demon would demand that Jesus swear under oath “by God” not to torment him. How and why would he do that? In Matthew 8:29 the demons asked if Jesus was going to torment them before the “appointed time.” Demons know there is a day of judgment coming when they will be punished for their millennia of sins. But at the time of this encounter between demons and Jesus, they also knew from Scripture that there were things that had to happen before the day of judgment arrived, such as Jesus having his heel bruised (Gen. 3:15; which we now know was Jesus being tortured and put to death). By this time in Jesus’ ministry it was clear to the demons that he was the one who would be the final warrior and judge who would see them put into Gehenna, but according to the promises in Scripture that day could not come quite yet, so the demon wanted to put Jesus under an oath that he would not somehow circumvent the apparent timeline in Scripture and put him immediately into Gehenna. The plea went nowhere; Jesus would not agree to that.

This scripture is very revealing in that it shows that the demons are afraid of the Day of Judgment, but there are millions of human beings who have ignored or defied God all their lives who are not. The Day of Judgment and the punishment for unbelief that follows it should be frightening to anyone who does not believe, but it is part of the pride of humankind that people willingly ignore God and also ignore their own death and destiny, acting as if they will not happen, but Judgment Day and the punishment that follows it will indeed happen and at that time there will be crying and gnashing of teeth, just like Jesus said. It has been a major role of believers of all time to try to turn evil people back to God so that they too can live forever.

[For more on the crying and gnashing of teeth, see commentary on Matt. 8:12. For more on annihilation in Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, see Appendix 5, “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire”].

“torment me.” See commentary on Matthew 8:29.


Commentary for: Mark 5:7