5:1 ¶ And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
Note the singular, an unclean spirit. An unclean spirit is a devil. There is a Devil who is over many devils and there are unclean spirits that do his work and his bidding.
An interesting contrast appears with this verse in Isaiah;
Isaiah 65:4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
Devils are attracted to bodies and to graveyards and tombs.
5:3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
Devils are unusually strong.
5:4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
Here is an excellent study on demonic possession. Notice what the followers of Baal in the Old Testament did in an attempt to manifest their god before Elijah’s challenge.
1Kings 18:28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
Now, note the expressions of grief at the death of the emperor of Tang Dynasty China, T’ai-tsung from historical writer, Will Durant;
“When he died the grief of the people knew no bounds, and even the foreign envoys cut themselves with knives and lancets and sprinkled the dead emperor’s bier with their self shed blood.”
Devils encourage self abuse and self damage including religious processions in Iran (Shi’ite Muslims) and the Philippines (Catholic Christians) and the self cutting behavior of some young girls. There are numerous examples of self-mutilation in religious rituals from all over the world as well as in literature. Self-mutilation as a religious ritual is a common theme in mankind’s religions.
Christ does not call us to mutilate ourselves like the popular Christian philosopher, Origen, live on a platform in the desert high off the ground to mortify the body like the ancient monks, or to think that we please Him by deliberately making ourselves suffer as I have heard some modern Christians say. Such behavior is the work of devils.
For those of you who don’t believe in the importance of the Bible God has preserved for us I would warn you that if you believe you are saved because you have “chosen” Christ let me point out to you how to tell if you are merely devil-possessed. If your Christ encourages you to hurt yourself or allow others to hurt you as a sign of your sanctification. If you seek to be uncomfortable rather than simply denying your Self and selfishness, but actually look for ways to cause pain and suffering to yourself. If your Christ makes you feel that it’s okay to glorify yourself or mankind in general, your nation, your government, or to place anything above the God who created you. If you are constantly lamenting how your gender, your race, your culture, your country is mistreated and misunderstood. If you are always beating yourself with sins that are forgiven. If you are drawn to death, destruction, violence, graveyards, battlefields, or anywhere else where death is prominent out of morbid curiosity or entertainment RATHER than merely seeking understanding or to remember the fallen. If you love horror movies, war movies, action-adventure movies or anything else where scenes of gruesome death are reenacted with buckets of fake blood, screaming, and agony. If your religious practices require suffering rather than putting Christ first, which leads to self-will worship.
You might possibly be saved. But, you are most definitely infested with devils. I won’t argue with you about whether a Christian can be oppressed or possessed but only say that if a devil has got your eyes, your tongue, your hands, or your mind then whether you call that oppression or possession it makes no difference. You need the cleansing that is only found in God’s word.