Question & Answer – Why did Jesus allow the demons to destroy a herd of swine?

“And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea” (Mark 5:13).

“Jesus asked, ‘What is thy name?’ And the answer was, ‘My name is Legion: for we are many.’ Using the afflicted men as mediums of communication, they besought Jesus not to send them out of the country. Upon a mountainside not far distant a great herd of swine was feeding. Into these the demons asked to be allowed to enter, and Jesus suffered them. Immediately a panic seized the herd. They rushed madly down the cliff, and, unable to check themselves upon the shore, plunged into the lake, and perished.” The Desire of Ages, 338.

“He [Jesus] allowed the evil spirits to destroy the herd of swine as a rebuke to those Jews who were raising these unclean beasts for the sake of gain. Had not Christ restrained the demons, they would have plunged into the sea, not only the swine, but also their keepers and owners. The preservation of both the keepers and the owners was due alone to His power, mercifully exercised for their deliverance. Furthermore, this event was permitted to take place that the disciples might witness the cruel power of Satan upon both man and beast. The Saviour desired His followers to have a knowledge of the foe whom they were to meet, that they might not be deceived and overcome by his devices. It was also His will that the people of that region should behold His power to break the bondage of Satan and release his captives. And though Jesus Himself departed, the men so marvelously delivered, remained to declare the mercy of their Benefactor.” The Great Controversy, 515.

Health – The Dangers of Pork Eating Exposed

Taken from Good Health Publishing Company, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1897. Retypeset from the original 1897 edition.

Pork-raising has come to be one of the great industries of this country, and since the supply is wholly regulated by the demand, it may be taken as a proper index of the prodigious quantities of swine’s flesh which are daily required to satisfy the gustatory demands of the American people. No other kind of animal food is so largely used as pork in its various forms of preparation. …

In the case of no other animal is so large a portion of the dead carcass utilized as food. It seems to be considered that pork is such a delicacy that not a particle should be wasted. The fat and lean portions are eaten fresh, or carefully preserved by salting or smoking or both. The tail is roasted; the snout, ears, and feet are pickled and eaten as souse; the intestine and lungs are eaten as tripe or made into sausages; black pudding is made of the blood; the liver, spleen, and kidneys are also prized; the pancreas and other glands are considered great delicacies; while even the skin is made into jelly. In fact, nothing is left of the beast, not even the bristles, which the shoemaker claims. Surely it must be quite an important matter, and one well deserving attention, if it can be shown that an animal which is thus literally devoured, and that in such immense quantities, is not only unfit for food, but one of the prime causes of many loathsome and painful maladies. …

A Live Hog Examined

Straighten out his fore legs. Now observe closely. Do you see the open sore or issue, a few inches above his foot on the inner side? Do you say it is a mere accidental abrasion? Find the same on the other leg; it is rather a wise and wonderful provision of nature. Grasp the leg high up and press downward. Now you see its utility, as a mass of corruption pours out. That opening is the outlet of a sewer. With the offensive matter which discharges from it, you can be able to trace all through the body of the animal.

What must be the condition of the body of an animal so foul as to require a regular system of drainage to convey away its teeming filth? Sometimes the outlet gets closed by the accumulation of external filth. Then this sewer stream ceases to flow, and the animal quickly sickens and dies unless the owner cleanses the parts, and so opens anew the feculent fountain, and allows the festering poison to escape.

What dainty morsels those same feet and legs make—pickled pig’s feet! Do you suppose the corruption with which they are saturated has any influence upon their taste and healthfulness?

A Dead Hog Examined

Do you imagine that the repulsiveness of this loathsome creature is only on the outside? That within everything is pure and wholesome? Just as sickening and disgusting, as is the exterior, it is, in comparison with what it covers, a fair cloak, hiding a mass of disease and rottenness which grows filthier as we penetrate deeper and deeper beneath the skin.

What Is Lard?

Just under the foul and putrid skin we find a mass of fat from two to six inches in thickness, covering a large portion of the body. Some say lard is animal oil; an excellent thing for consumptives; a very necessary kind of food in cold weather. Lard, animal oil, very truly; and, we will add a synonym for disease, scrofula, torpid liver. Where did all that fat come from, or how happened it to be so heaped up around that poor hog? Surely it is not natural; for fat is only deposited in large quantities for the purpose of keeping the body warm in winter. This fat is much more than is necessary for such a purpose, and is much greater in amount than ever exists upon the animal in a state of nature. It is evidently the result of disease. So gross have been the habits of the animal, so great has been the foulness of its body, that its excretory organs—its liver, lungs, kidneys, skin, and intestines—have been entirely unable to carry away the impurities which the animal has been all its life accumulating. And even the extensive system of sewerage with its constant stream, which we have already described, was insufficient to the task of purging so vile a body of the debris which abounded in every organ and saturated every tissue. Consequently this great flood of disease made its way through the veins and arteries into the tissues, and there accumulated as fat! Delectable morsel, a slice of fat pork, isn’t it? Concentrated, consolidated filth!

Then the fatter the hog, the more diseased he is? Certainly. A few years ago, there were on exhibition at the great cattle show in England a couple of hogs which had been stuffed with oil cake until they were the greatest monsters of obesity ever exhibited. Of course they took the first premium; and if a premium had been awarded to the animals which were capable of producing the most disease, it is quite probable that they would have headed the list still.

Lard, then, obtained from the flesh of the hog by heating, is nothing more than extract of a diseased carcass! Who that knows its character would dare to defile himself with this “broth of abominable things”?

Disgusting Developments

Now let us take a little deeper look, prepared to find disease and corruption more abundant the deeper we go. Observe the glands which lie about the neck. Instead of being of their ordinary size, and composed of ordinary gland structure, we find them surrounded by large masses of scrofulous (rod-shaped bacteria that produce spores) tissue. Perhaps tuberculosis degeneration had already taken place. If so, the soft, cheesy, infectious mass is ready to sow broadcast the seeds of consumption and premature death. …

Now take a deeper look still, and examine the lungs of this much-prized animal. If he is more than a few months old, you will be likely to find large numbers of tubercles (bacteria). If he is much more than a year old, you will be more likely than not to find a portion of the lung completely consolidated. Yet all of this filthy, diseased mass is cooked as a delicious morsel. If the animal had escaped the butcher’s knife a few years, he would have died of tuberculosis consumption.

But what kind of a liver would you expect such an animal to have? Is not excessive fatness one of the surest evidences of a diseased and inactive liver? Then a fat hog must have a dreadfully diseased bile manufactory. Make a cut into its substance. In seventy-five cases out of a hundred you will find it filled with abscesses. In a larger percentage still will be found the same diseased products which seem to infest every organ, every tissue, every structure of the animal. Yet these same rotten, diseased, scrofulous livers are eaten and relished by thousands of people.

Taking just a glance at the remaining contents of the abdomen, in every part evidences, unmistakably, of scrofula, fatty degeneration, and tuberculosis masses are noticed.

Where Scrofula Comes From

The word scrofula is derived from the Latin scrofu, which means a sow. The ancient Romans evidently believed that scrofula originated with the hog, and hence they attached the name of the beast to the disease. Saying that a man has scrofula, then, is equivalent to saying that he has the hog disease. After we have seen that the hog is the very embodiment of scrofulous disease, can anyone doubt the accuracy of the conclusion of the Romans who named the disease?

Origin of the Tapeworm

We shall attempt to trace the history of this horrid parasite only so far as concerns its introduction into the human system.

With this end in view, let us glance again at the diseased liver. It will be no uncommon thing if we discover numberless little sacs, or cysts, about the size of a hemp seed. As soon as they are taken into the human stomach, the gastric juice dissolves off the membranous sac, and liberates a minute animal, which had been lurking there for months, perhaps, awaiting this very opportunity. This creature, although very small, is furnished with a head and four suckers that attach themselves firmly to the wall of the intestine, and the parasite begins to grow. In a short time an addition to its body is produced posteriorly, attached like a joint. Soon a duplicate of this appears, and then another, and another, until the body attains a length of several yards. Not infrequently tapeworms measuring thirty to one hundred feet in length are found in the intestines of human beings.

Under some circumstances the eggs of the tapeworm find entrance into the body, when the disease is developed in another form. The embryonic worms consist of a pair of hooklets so shaped that a twisting motion will cause them to penetrate the tissues after the fashion of a corkscrew. Countless numbers of these may be taken into the system, since a single tapeworm has been found to produce more than two million eggs. By the boring motion referred to, which seems to be spontaneous in the young worm, the parasites penetrate into every part of the body. Penetrating the walls of the blood vessels, they are swept along in the life-current, thus finding their way even to the most delicate structures of the human system. They have been found in all the organs of the body, even the brain and the delicate organs of vision not escaping the depredations of this destructive parasite.

When this lively migrating germ gets fully settled in the tissues, it becomes enveloped in a little cell, and remains quiet until taken into the stomach of some other animal, when it is liberated, and speedily develops into a full-grown tapeworm, as already described. But although quiet, the imprisoned parasite is by no means harmless. The cysts formed often attain such a size as to endanger life. When developed in the eye, they occasion blindness; in the lungs or other organs, they interfere with the proper functions of the organs; in the liver, which is the frequent rendezvous of these destructive creatures, a most serious and fatal disease known as hydatids is occasioned by the extraordinary development of the cysts, which are originally not larger than a pea, but by excessive growth assume enormous proportions. The same disease may occur in any other part of the body in which the germs undergo development.

The germs of these dreadful animals are found not only in the liver, but in other organs as well. Pork containing them is said to be “measly.” Sometimes the condition is discovered; but that such is not always the case is evidenced by the fact that tapeworm is every year becoming more frequent. It has long been common in Germany. In Iceland it has become extremely common. In Abyssinia the occurrence of the worm has become so frequent, owing to the bad dietetic habits of the people, that it has been said that every Abyssinian has a tapeworm. In this country [United States of America] the parasite is most common among butchers and cooks.

Some time since, we received from a friend in the South a specimen of pork which was so densely peopled with the germs of this dreadful parasite that every cubic inch of flesh contained more than a score of them. The writer has in his microscopical cabinet specimens of the embryonic worms taken from hydatid tumors of the liver of a patient who died of the disease in Bellevue Hospital, New York.

The poor victim who is forced to entertain this unwelcome guest suffers untold agonies, and finally dies, if he cannot succeed in dislodging the parasite.

The Terrible Trichina

Now, my friend, assist your eyesight by a good microscope, and you will be convinced that you have only just caught a glimpse of the enormous filthiness, the inherent badness, and the intrinsic ugliness of this loathsome animal. Take a thin slice of lean flesh; place it upon the stage of your microscope, adjust the eyepiece, and look. You will see displayed before your eyes hundreds of voracious little animals, each coiled up in its little cell, waiting for an opportunity to escape from its prison walls and begin its destined work of devastation.

An eminent gentleman in Louisville has made very extensive researches upon the subject, and asserts that in at least one hog out of every ten these creatures may be found. A committee appointed by the Chicago Academy of Medicine to investigate this subject reported that they found in their examinations at the various packing-houses in the city, one hog in fifty infested with trichina. Other investigations have shown a still greater frequency of the disease.

A few years ago I obtained a small portion of the flesh of a person who had died from trichina poisoning. Upon subjecting it to a careful microscopical examination with a good instrument, I discovered multitudes of little worms. Each individual animal seen was enclosed in a little cyst, or sac, which is dissolved by the gastric juice when taken into the stomach. The parasite, being thus set at liberty, immediately penetrates the thin muscular walls of the stomach, and gradually works its way through the whole muscular system. It possesses the power of propagating its species with wonderful rapidity; and a person once infected is almost certain to die a lingering death of excruciating agony.

In Helmstadt, Prussia, one hundred and three persons were poisoned in this way, and twenty of them died within a month.

It is doubtless not known how many deaths are really due to this cause; for many persons die of strange, unknown diseases, which baffle the doctors’ skill both as to cure and diagnosis. Trichinosis very much resembles various other diseases in some of its stages, and is likely to be attributed to other than its true cause. It is thought by prominent medical men that hundreds of people die of the disease without suspecting its true nature.

Pork Unclean

Have we not seen that a hog is nothing better than an animated mass of physical defilement? Few who have seen the animal will dispute that his filthiness is a most patent fact. How wise and sanitary, then, was the command of God to the ancient Jews: “It is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their dead carcass” [Deuteronomy 14:8].

Although it may not be said that this law still exists, and is binding as a moral obligation, it is quite plain that the physical basis upon which the law is founded is as good today as at any previous period. Could it be proved that the hog had kept pace with advancing civilization, and had improved his habits, we might possibly feel more tolerance for him; but he is evidently just as unclean as ever, and just as unfit for food.

Adam Clarke [British Methodist Theologian and Biblical scholar (1762–1832)], when once requested to give thanks at a repast of which pork constituted a conspicuous part, used the following words: “Lord, bless this bread, these vegetables, and this fruit; and if thou canst bless under the gospel what thou didst curse under the law, bless this swine’s flesh.”

The Mohammedans, as well as the Jews, abstain entirely from the use of pork. Such is also the case with some of the other tribes of Asia and Africa.

Evil Effects of Pork-Eating

At the head of the list we place scrofula. How almost universally it abounds. How few are entirely untainted by it. How do chronic sore eyes, glandular enlargements, obstinate ulcers, disfigured countenances, unsightly eruptions, including the long list of skin diseases, all proclaim the defilement of the blood with this vile humor. So, too, do the vast army of dwarfed, strumose, precocious children tell the same story.

Erysipelas, too, a dreadful scourge, owes more to pork than to any other predisposing cause.

Leprosy, that terrible disease, so common in Eastern countries, and now beginning to show itself upon our [United States] own shores, is thought by many to be largely attributable to pork-eating.

“Biliousness,” a name which covers nearly every bad condition for which no appropriate name can be found, is notoriously the result of pork-eating. This is the main reason why so many people complain of biliousness in the spring, after gorging themselves with fat pork all winter. The liver is overworked in attempting to remove from the system such a mass of impurity as is received in the eating of pork. It consequently becomes clogged, congested, torpid. Then follow all the ills consequent upon the irritating effects of the accumulation of biliary matters in the blood. The skin becomes tawny and jaundiced. The kidneys are overworked. Perhaps fever results. A partial clearing out then occurs, which enables the individual to pass along for a time again until some epidemic or contagious disease claims him as its lawful victim.

Consumption is another disease which is not easily separable from pork-eating. In fact, scrofula is its great predisposing cause. The narrow chests, projecting shoulders, thin features, and lank limbs of so many young boys and girls are evidence of a consumptive tendency, of which a scrofulous diathesis is the predisposing cause.

Dispepsia, that malady of many forms, frequently results from the use of pork, especially when fat and salted or smoked pork, one of the most indigestible of foods, is used. Pork requires between five and six hours for its digestion, while wholesome food will digest in half that time. This is the reason for the notion that salt pork is an excellent thing to “stick by the rib.”

Tapeworm, we have already mentioned as the result of eating measly pork. It is a very difficult disease to cure, and often baffles the best medical skill for many years. Few ever detect the cysts in the flesh of the hog unless their attention has been directed to the matter.

Trichinae produce in man an incurable disease. No remedy can stay the ravages of the parasite. All pork-eaters are in constant danger; for the worm is too small to be seen without the aid of the microscope. However, this disease is not nearly so formidable as the others named; for it is not so common, neither does it entail any weight of suffering upon posterity.

Apologies for Pork-Eating Examined

On every hand we are met by all sorts of excuses for continuing to make swine’s flesh an article of diet in spite of the striking evidences of its dangerous character. Let us examine a few of the most common of these apologies, and test their value.

Pork is Necessary as a Heat-forming Food in Winter. Are there not plenty of more healthful animals than hogs to supply all the animal fat necessary? Certainly there are; and, better still, we have the various grains and farinaceous vegetables, which are abundantly sufficient to furnish all the heat required by man in any latitude.

Our Fathers and Grandfathers Ate Pork, and yet Lived to very Old Age. Ah! yes, my good friend, and you are suffering the penalty of their transgressions. You may not be aware of it yet; but more than likely your old age will not be so free from ills as was theirs. And quite as probably you may even now see in your children the results of your own, as well as your father’s, disregard of the dictates of sound sense in feasting upon the hog. Their frequent sore eyes, sore mouths, tetter, crysipelas, and other eruptions, are all evidences of the scrofula which they have inherited.

Neither can you urge the plea, “Pork does not hurt me.” No man ever became a drunkard who did not make the same excuse for liquor. You may not feel it now; but the future will expose your delusion.

The Hog is Cleanly if You Give Him a Chance to Be So. It is surprising to us that any one who knows anything of the real nature of a hog can make such an assertion. Who has not seen hogs wallowing in the foulest mire right in the middle of a green, fragrant clover pasture? The dirty creature will turn away from the nicest bed of straw to revel in a stagnant, seething mud hole. If one of his companions dies in the lot or pen, he will wait until putrefaction occurs, and then greedily devour the stinking carcass. The filthy brute will even devour his own excrement, and that when not unusually pressed by hunger.

The hog is by nature a scavenger, and is especially adapted for that purpose. Let him pursue his natural hunger.

Sufficient Heat Will Kill the Trichinae and Incipient Tapeworms. Surely, dead worms cannot kill any one; but it must be delightful for the pork-eater to contemplate his ham or sausage with the reflection that he is partaking of a diet of worms. The Frenchman sometimes eats earthworms; the African relishes lizards; and one philosopher so far overcame his natural prejudices as to eat spiders. “How disgusting!” you say, and you shut your eyes and swallow a million monsters at a meal, because they are cooked and so cannot bite. The louse-eating Patagonian cannot equal that. But it should be remembered that in order that the parasite should be killed, every part of the meat must be subjected to a heat of at least 212 degrees which is quite difficult to do, and is seldom accomplished. A whole family was poisoned by eating pork-chops, which were well cooked upon the outside.

What Shall We Do With the Hog?

Stop raising him. Turn him loose. He will soon find his place, like the five thousand which ran down into the sea in the days of Christ. If he must be raised, use him for illuminating our halls and houses. Lubricate our car and wagon with his abundant fat. Do anything with him but eat him. It would be dangerous to adopt the principle that we must devour everything which is in the way, or which cannot be otherwise utilized. Adam Clarke thought of one appropriate use to make of the hog. He said that if he was going to make an offering to the devil, he would employ a hog stuffed with tobacco.

Reader, what will you do? Can you continue to use as food such an abominable article as pork, and in so doing run so many risks as you must do? And if you decide that the animal is unfit to claim a place upon your own table, can you conscientiously raise and sell him to your neighbors’ injury?

Cases of Trichina Poisoning

The reported cases of death from this terrible cause have become so frequent that we are no longer startled by them. Ten years ago the description of the death of a person literally infested with worms, and tortured to death by their inroads upon the system, would have excited feelings of the deepest horror; but these accounts have now become so common that little interest is shown in them, and death from this cause is one of the regular causes of additions to the mortuary list. Nevertheless, the disease is divested of none of its real horrors by its common occurrence. No one is safe; any one who uses swine’s flesh as food in any form is liable to the disease. Salting, smoking, and the other ordinary means of curing pork do not destroy the parasite.

A few years ago, Dr. Germer, health officer of Erie, Pennsylvania, was sent for in haste to see a patient who was supposed to be suffering from the cholera. He hastened to the bedside, and found a whole family sick with the symptoms much resembling those of cholera, though the season was then midwinter. Suspecting the possible cause, he secured a specimen from the pork barrel, and hastened to his office. Upon making a careful microscopic examination, he found myriads of the loathsome parasites in every part of the flesh examined. The writer prepared numerous microscopic specimens of the worm in various aspects from a portion of the infected meat kindly furnished by the doctor. These have been shown to hundreds of persons who were skeptical respecting the existence of such a pest.

In this case the hog had been fattened on the premises, having been purchased when quite young by the owner, a German, from a drove of hogs which passed through the city. It was known that, previous to the purchase of the hog, two of the drove had died on the road, and had been devoured by their scavenger companions. No doubt the deaths were the result of trichinosis; and by devouring the victims the whole herd became infected. It would be difficult to estimate what an amount of suffering and death was entailed by the consumption of this great herd of trichinous hogs. Several members of the German family died, together with several of the neighbors. Those who survived the acute stages of the disease escaped only to linger out a painful existence in the chronic and incurable state of the malady.

Some three years later the writer received a specimen of pork from a gentleman in Wisconsin who requested an examination of the same, stating that he procured it from the pork barrel of a neighbor whose family were suffering from a disease which the doctors called cholera infantum. Several of the children had died, and other members of the family were still dangerously ill. The pork had been suspected and examined, but no trichinae were found by the observers, though several physicians had inspected it. Upon making a careful microscopical inspection of the specimen, it was found to be alive with young trichinae.

Adapted from, May 3, 2011.