Mark 5:5, Legion and the Roman Armies

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

//This verse describes a man who lived among the graves and was possessed by a “legion” of devils. He was untameable, self-destructive, unhelped and known only as “Legion.”

Whatever the purpose of this story, and whatever its historicity, it serves well as a parable of the Jewish nation under Roman suppression. The name Legion would have been easily recognized as a reference to the Roman legions, especially the infamous Tenth Legion. This hapless man, crying and cutting himself, portrays the violence and trauma of Roman occupation, and the self-hatred and self-destruction that colonized nations undergo.

In the Biblical story, Jesus, the Christian Messiah, overthrew the bonds of the afflicted man, casting the devils out of him. Jesus sent the devils into a passel of hogs, who ran pell-mell down a hill into the sea, presumably destroying the legion. A hopeful end, but unfortunately that isn’t how the story of the Jews played out in history.

Readers of my book on Revelation know how the Jewish nation self-destructed under their own revolutionary uprising. The implosion reached an epic climax 40 years after Jesus died when a messianic group calling themselves Zealots tried to take control of Jerusalem. Starvation and terror weakened the Jews, and the attempted military uprising brought down the wrath of the Romans. In real life, Legion cut himself half to death trying to drive away the demons, and the infuriated demons massacred him. No savior came.

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