"Come out of this man, you impure spirit!" (Mark 5:8)

This event, which involved possession and a herd of nearby pigs, is portrayed slightly differently in the different Gospels. Here is the full event as described in Mark:
When he had disembarked the boat, immediately a man with an impure spirit came out of the cemetery. He had been living among the tombs and even with chains no one could restrain him. Because he had previously been restrained with shackles and chains, and the chains were broken apart by him and the shackles burst in pieces – no one was strong enough to restrain him. And every night and day he was screaming among the hills and tombs, and was gashing his body with rocks. Yet when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and bowed down before him. He cried with a loud voice and said, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Representative of the Most High God: I beseech you by God, please don’t bother me!” For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you impure spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion: for we are many." And he begged him not to send them away from the area. Now there was a large herd of pigs feeding on a nearby hillside. Then the demons begged him, saying, “Send us into the swine, so we may enter them.”  Jesus permitted the impure spirits to come out and enter into the herd of about two thousand pigs, and the herd ran down a steep ravine and drowned in the sea. (Mark 5:2-13)
The Book of Matthew describes the demons possessing two people:
As he came to the other side of the region of Gadarenes, two people possessed with demons met him as they were leaving the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. Suddenly they cried out, saying, “What do we have to do with you, Jesus, servant of God? Do you come here to torment us before our time has come? Now a good ways off from them was a herd of pigs that were feeding. Thus the demons beseeched him, saying, “If you are going to cast us out, let us go into that herd of pigs.” So he said to them, “Go!” And they left and went into the pigs – and the whole herd rushed down a steep bank into the sea and drowned in the water. (Matt. 8:28-32)
Whether it is one or two men, we see that multiple demons were involved in the possession of the physical body.

What is going on here?


Multiple spirits possessing the physical body were driven by Jesus into the bodies of some nearby pigs.

This clearly means the demons were separate individuals from both the bodies of the men and the bodies of the pigs. Since they moved out of one body and into another, they were not physical bodies.

The word "spirit" here is translated from the Greek word πνεῦμα (pneuma). The word means: "the vital principal by which the body is animated;" "the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides;" "the soul."

In fact, this is the same word that is used when Jesus left his physical body:
After Jesus called out again with a loud voice, his spirit departed. (Matt. 27:50)
Then when Jesus had received the vinegar he said, “It has been accomplished!” And he bowed his head and released his spirit. (John 19:30)
Jesus also used the word as he left his physical body:
Then Jesus cried out loudly and said, “LORD, into Your Hands I commit my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)
Thus we can know that the word "spirit" - πνεῦμα (pneuma) - relates to the person within as well as a potentially demonic spirit.

In fact, each of us is a spirit-person, and we are each inhabiting a physical body for a few decades much as a person gets in a car and drives it for awhile.

And at the time of death, each of us leaves - "passes" or "rises" - from the physical body. This has been described in hundreds of thousands of clinical death cases - where the person later describes rising from their dead body and looking down upon it.

The fact that the spirit-person enters and leaves the physical body is described in this event as Jesus exorcised these demons from the physical body of the man. They were occupying the physical body much as a person occupies a house or a car.

Then Jesus drove these demons out of that physical body - leaving within that body the spirit-person who was supposed to be controlling the physical body.

This means that on the issue of essence or quality, there was no difference between the spirit-person(s) forcefully occupying the man's body, and the spirit-person who was rightfully occupying that physical body.

But as we see from this event, the demon(s) occupying that body were not supposed to be there. They had invaded that body. They had broken into that body much as a thief breaks into a house.

Furthermore, in Jesus' statement, he clearly calls the demon(s) an "impure spirit" and this is echoed in Luke: impure spirit.

What is an impure spirit?


The word "impure" is being translated from the Greek word ἀκάθαρτος (akathartos) which means "not cleansed, unclean" and "in a moral sense: unclean in thought and life."

What makes a person "unclean in thought and life?"

Self-centeredness. And greed, which is a byproduct of self-centeredness. Also envy, which is also a byproduct of self-centeredness. As well as lust, which is a byproduct of greed. Finally, violence, which is a byproduct of lust.

All of these characteristics make a person - the spirit-person within - impure. Impure is a metaphor describing the fact that self-centeredness, greed and lust are covering the pure spirit just as dirt can cover the skin.

This is considered impure because by nature we are each loving, caring spirit-persons. The impurities of self-centeredness, greed, lust and so on are essentially covering up the true nature of the spirit-person.

Because every spirit-person is the creation of the Supreme Spirit-Person, each of us is pure underneath the impurities of self-centeredness.

But because love requires freedom, we each have the choice to maintain our true selves or become self-centered.

The physical world is where all the self-centered spirit-persons are sent to chase our self-centered dreams around for awhile. And for this reason, our spirit-person is covered up by the physical body and given the illusion that the physical body is our identity.

The senses and mind serve to lock us out of our spiritual parts.

This is evidenced by the fact that as most of us look around, all we see are the forms and shapes of the physical world. We do not see the spirit-person within each physical body. Yes, we can know by deduction the spirit-person exists. But seeing the spirit-person requires another type of vision.

At the time of death, we can clearly see by deduction that the spirit-person has left the physical body. Why? Because the physical body becomes lifeless at the time of death. This means that the spirit-person brings life - and personality - to the physical body.

But as we see from this event, those spirit-persons who break into physical bodies and try to occupy them without permission are considered demons because they do not follow the arrangement provided in the physical world. They are breaking the laws of the physical world.

And this is why they are unembodied. Because their extent of self-centeredness, greed, lust and violence has gotten them kicked out of the physical world. They are now dwelling in the astral world of ghosts - spirit-persons without a physical body.

What is the astral world?


What is the astral world, and how does a person become trapped in the astral world as a ghost without a gross physical body?

Each of us will transition in and out of the astral world after we leave our physical bodies. In fact, even while we are in the physical body we can travel in and out of the astral world. This can occur when we dream. It can also occur for a fetus in the womb.

The astral world is basically the world of the mind. It is the world where the mind is the vehicle that is used by the spirit-person. In the gross physical world, the mind is covered by the body, and the body is used. The mind is still involved, as it drives the physical body.

It is like a robot. A robot is a physical object, but it is driven by an operating system. The operating system instructs the robot. But ultimately there is still an operator that instructs the operating system on the robot's overall objectives.

The spirit-person is like the robot computer operator, and the mind is like the robot's operating system.

Without the gross physical body, the mind lives and operates within the constructs in the astral world. And a person in the ghost world can sometimes see into the physical world and watch what we are doing, without having the ability to participate. Unless of course, they can figure out how to temporarily occupy a physical body.

Ordinarily, for those who have not completed the required learning and preparations for returning to the spiritual world, the astral world provides a staging area as the spirit-person prepares to enter the next physical body.

For those who become mischevious during their stay in this dimension, or break some of the basic rules of the physical world, the stay in the astral world as a ghost can become extended.

One of those rules is living out our term in the physical body. When a person breaks this rule and decides to kill the body by suicide they have broken the rules. This comes with consequences. This may include having to live out that remaining period of time or longer within the ghost dimension - without a gross physical body.

Such a scenario can also occur when a person spends an extreme amount of their time in the physical body intoxicated with drugs and/or alcohol. Doing this will effectively shorten the conscious life of the physical body. One of the consequences of a life of inebriation can be an extended stay in the astral dimension as a ghost.

Note that ghosts do not have a gross physical body covering over their spirit-person as we do. But they are still covered by a subtle physical body - the mind. And if the person did not utilize their lifetime in the physical world properly, their mind may be consumed with regret as they reflect back to their lifetime in the body.

The astral world is not the spiritual world


The astral dimension is often confused with the spiritual world. For example, we find that psychiatrists have been able to hypnotize people to have them recall the span of time between their previous physical lifetime and this lifetime.

They describe a dimension with fewer physical limitations. In this dimension, there is a lot going on, including learning and testing, but also the reflection on previous lifetimes, and lessons to learn. This dimension between lifetimes is often referred to as the "spirit world."

These are not descriptions of the spiritual dimension, but rather the astral dimension.

While some are in the astral world, they may become desperate to partake in the gross physical world. They want to express their greed and lust, and the only way to do that is to gain control over someone else's physical body.

Sometimes a single ghost will be able to break into a physical body, but many times one cannot do it alone. Some will work in groups, in order to expand their strength. This is why we sometimes see multiple personalities: Often three or four. Because they get stronger when they work together. Jesus discussed this:
“When the unclean spirit leaves the body, it passes through arid places seeking rest but doesn’t find any. It will say, ‘I will return to my abode from which I left.’” (Luke 11:24)
The "arid places seeking rest" is the astral dimension of ghosts - where a person may live in limbo without the ability to interact within the physical world. They can see the physical world, but cannot partake in it.

So how do ghosts break into a physical body occupied by the rightful possessor?

A ghost can break in when the spirit-person who occupies that body becomes weakened. This can take place during intoxication or medication or another traumatic event that weakens the person's grasp of the physical body.

An example of this weakened state is when a person goes drinking the night before and cannot remember what happened when they were drunk. Why can't they remember? Because their link to their physical body was weakened by the alcohol.

During these occasions, another spirit-person may be able to break into the body. This is why we find people who become uncharacteristically violent when they drink. This is a symptom of a ghost spirit-person breaking in and occupying their body for awhile.

As such, the key to preventing our body from being broken into is to keep our wits about us - not losing consciousness to intoxication or medication. Outside of that, praising God and worshiping the Supreme Being will protect us - because demons hate being around the worship of the Supreme Being. This is what Jesus was speaking about when he said:
"Otherwise, how can someone enter a strong man’s house and steal his stuff unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can ransack his house." (Matt. 12:29)
The "strong man" in this analogy is the rightful occupant of the body. And of course, the "house" here symbolizes the body. If the rightful occupant of the body becomes tied up or weakened, someone else can break in.

Jesus is referring to spiritual strength. That means taking refuge of the Supreme Being - because the Supreme Being is the Source of strength.

Notice that those demons wanted to get away from Jesus. This is because Jesus is God's representative. Jesus loved and served God - and as characteristic among demons - they wanted nothing to do with God.

So why did Jesus bother exorcizing these demons who were unlawfully occupying another physical body? Outside of showing others the importance of worshiping God, Jesus wanted to help this spirit-person whose body was being invaded. Getting the demons out meant the person could refocus his energies towards utilizing his body and mind to reconnect with the Supreme Being.

This is the only real purpose for the human form of life: Using this precious lifetime of choice to re-establish our lost relationship with the Supreme Being.

This will allow us to return to our natural condition within our home in the real spiritual world.


(The New Testament verses in this article are quoted from the Gospels of Jesus)