Abyss

The Abyss is the source of satanic attacks against the people of God, though it remains under the authority of the LambRevelation 11:7

Abyss Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash
When first introduced, “
smoke” and the horde of locust-like creatures were seen ascending from the “Abyss” to torment the “inhabitants of the earth.” In Revelation, it is a deep pit from which satanic agencies ascend to wreak havoc and wage war against the “saints.” It is also the “prison” where demonic forces are held until their appointed time to execute their evil deeds - [Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash].

In his first vision, the one “like a son of man” was declared the “First and the Last, and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, living am I unto the ages of ages!” Because of his Death and Resurrection, he now has absolute authority, including the “keys of death and of hades.” And while “Hades” may be an unclean and ominous place, it is not beyond his authority - (Revelation 1:9-20).

In Thyatira, Jesus chastised the “angel” of the congregation for tolerating the prophetess “Jezebel.” Like the “Great Harlot, Babylon,” she was teaching the saints “to fornicate and to eat food offered to idols.” She claimed it was permissible, even spiritual, to “know the deep things of Satan.” In her mind, she was teaching the “deep things of God,” apparently, deeper spiritual insight and practices. Jesus exposed her doctrine for what it was - the “deep things” or bathos of Satan, which is a conceptual link to the “Abyss,” the deep pit from which demonic forces and lies ascend to deceive men - (Revelation 2:18-29, 9:1-2, 11:7, 13:1, 17:8, 20:1-3).

When the fifth trumpet sounded, a “star” fell to the earth with the “key” to open the “Abyss.” Likewise, at the commencement of the “thousand years,” an “angel” descended with the “key of the Abyss” to imprison Satan. At the end of that period, he was released from it to gather the nations against the “camp of the saints.” Elsewhere, “stars” represent “angels” or “messengers” - (Revelation 1:20, 9:1-12, 20:1-10).

The opening of the “Abyss” unleashed a horde of “locusts upon the earth” to torment men. They were like “horses prepared for battle” and ruled by the “angel of the abyss, whose name, in Hebrew is ‘Destruction’, also in the Greek, ‘Destroyer.”

The “sixth trumpet” released the “four angels who were bound at the great river Euphrates,” and it corresponds to the “Abyss” from the “fifth trumpet,” and is the source of evil unleashed on the earth - (Revelation 9:13-21).

The fifth and sixth trumpets parallel the fifth and sixth “bowls of wrath.” Like the “fifth trumpet,” the “fifth bowl of wrath” caused the “darkening” of the kingdom of the “beast,” as well as the tormenting of the men who had its mark. And like the “sixth trumpet,” the “sixth bowl of wrath” dried up the waters of the “Euphrates” to “prepare the way of the kings from the rising of the sun.” Demons were dispatched to gather the “kings of the whole habitable earth to the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” the battle at “Armageddon” - (Revelation 16:10-16).

The “two witnesses” or “two lampstands” prophesied for a “thousand, two hundred and sixty days.” In Revelation, “lampstands” represent churches. At the end of their “testimony,” the “beast that ascends from the Abyss” was released to attack the “two witnesses,” and to “slay them” - (Revelation 1:20, 11:3-7).

That same “beast” appeared again when John saw it “ascending from the Sea.” The “sea” represents the same “depth” or reality as the “Abyss.” In both instances, the “beast ascended” to prosecute its war against the “saints/witnesses.” Both visions borrow the same language from Daniel - “The same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.” Thus, the “two witnesses” represent the same group that is labeled “saints” in chapter 13 - (Daniel 7:21, Revelation 13:1-10).

In chapter 20, John saw an angel “descending out of heaven, having the key of the Abyss,” with which to bind the Devil, and not to release him. This locates his imprisonment in the “AbyssBEFORE the events detailed in chapter 9, when the “star” fell from heaven to release demonic forces from the “Abyss” - (Revelation 20:1-3).

The dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan.” These four names link the image to chapter 12, where “the great dragon was cast down, the ancient serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.” The “Dragon was “cast” (ballō) to the earth.

Dungeon Photo by Nathan Wright on Unsplash
Photo by Nathan Wright on Unsplash

Likewise, in chapter 20, Satan was “
cast” (ballō) into the “AbyssBEFORE the commencement of the “thousand years.” With the victory of the “Lamb,” he had lost his prosecutorial powers - (Revelation 12:9-13).
The Devil was bound to prevent him from “deceiving the nations until the thousand years ended,” a further link to chapter 12, where the “Dragon” was called “the deceiver of the whole habitable earth.” He was not bound from all activities, only from “deceiving the nations.”

In chapter 12, the voice pronounced “woe” to the “inhabitants of the earth,” for the Devil was “cast to the earth,” knowing he had “but a short time.” However, he was still able to unleash destructive forces against humanity, including the “saints.” Thus, though imprisoned, he was the “angel of the Abyss” and the “Destroyer” - (Revelation 9:1-12, 12:12).

Similarly, Satan was freed from the “Abyss” at the “end of the thousand years” to “deceive the nations” and gather them for the final assault against the “saints”; he “ascended” from it to attack the “camp of the saints.” Once more, the theme of evil “ascending” from the “Abyss” is repeated. The “Dragon” did not escape from the pit; he was “released,” presumably by the “Lamb,” but only for a “short time” - (Revelation 20:7-9).

Note the parallels.  In Thyatira, the “prophetess Jezebel” attempted to deceive believers to commit idolatry. Likewise, the “beast from the earth” deceived the “inhabitants of the earth” to give allegiance to the “beast from the sea.” So also, “Babylon” used her “sorceries” to “deceive all the nations.” And at the end of the “thousand years,” Satan was released to “deceive the nations” into making one last attempt to destroy the “saints” - (Revelation 2:20, 13:14, 18:23, 20:8-10).

Thus, the Book of Revelation portrays the defeat and imprisonment of Satan by the “Lamb” until his release at the appointed time - the “short while.” Following the resurrection of Jesus, He is down but not completely “out,” and no longer able to “deceive the nations,” at least, not until he is loosed from the pit. Yet he remains deadly, though his powers are curtailed - for now.

And so, throughout the present age, the “Lamb” remains in firm control, sovereign over all things, including “Hades” and the “Abyss.” The “Dragon” will be unleashed near the end of the age for one final assault against God’s people, but in the end, his efforts will serve to further the purposes of Jesus.

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