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(Some of the Bible verses quoted in this study have had comments added in brackets. The sole purpose of this study technique is to emphasise or introduce a line of thought. All verses KJV unless otherwise stated).

What is the Abyss, and what is its purpose?

'Abyss' is translated from the Greek word Abussos: meaning depthless or bottomless pit (Bottomless pit is the translation used in the KJV).
Used only 9 times in the New Testament; 7 of these are in the Book of Revelation.

(Throughout this study, you will notice references to both 'the Abyss' and the 'Bottomless pit'. Please remember these titles refer to the same place; both translations originate from the Greek word: Abussos).

The Abyss appears to be the current dwelling place of Satan and his angels. You will see as we progress through this study, that to have harmony with ALL these Abyss verses, you could almost think of it as the 'Spirit realm' or 'invisible realm' of the earth. From the viewpoint of Satan and his fallen angels, this is a form of 'prison', compared with the freedom to travel throughout God's universe.

Timestamped: Creation week

In the beginning, mankind was created to have dominion over the earth;
(Gen 1:26) Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth...

At the end of creation week;
(Gen 1:31) ...God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good....

Would God have referred to everything as being "very good", if one of His created angels were running about rebelling, and attempting to deceive His other creatures?
If not; somewhere between the completion of creation week, and the fall of Adam, the angel Lucifer began his rebellion against God;
(Eze 28:12-15) "You (Lucifer) were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering:...You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you."

Timestamped: The fall of Adam

Lucifer rebelled against God, and deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
When Adam sinned, he submitted or subjected himself to Satan; so dominion or rulership of this world, was taken from Adam, to Satan;
(Rom 5:12) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-
(Joh 8:34) Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.

Timestamped: During the days of Job

After the fall of Adam, Satan's world, the world of Darkness, was set up on this earth. This was now his domain and as ruler of this world, Satan attended the heavenly council meetings;
(Job 1:6-7) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it."

One of the reasons Jesus came to earth was to redeem, that is, buy back man. We find in Leviticus, that a brother can redeem someone who has sold themself into slavery.
(Lev 25:47-48) 'Now if...one of your brethren...sells himself to the stranger...after he is sold he may be redeemed again. One of his brothers may redeem him;

Jesus was born as a descendant of Adam, so that as next of kin, his death (being the penalty for sin) gave Man the choice; either the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Darkness;
(Rom 6:16) Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

The ability to obtain salvation, has been available to man since the fall of Adam; because although Jesus didn't physically die until about 4000 years after Adam, the plan was in place at the time of Adam;
(Rev 13:8) ...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Timestamped: Birth of Jesus

Satan was aware of this plan, and made a failed attempt to foil Jesus' mission;
(Rev 12:4-5) ...the dragon (Satan) stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child (Jesus) as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.

We read in Mat 2:16, how King Herod, as Satan's servant, ordered the death of all male children under 2, in an attempt to destroy baby Jesus.

Timestamped: Jesus' baptism & ministry

By the time Jesus began His ministry on earth, Satan had been successful in turning 1/3 of heaven's angels against God;
(Rev 12:4) His tail (Satan's) drew a third of the stars of heaven (angels) ...

Satan and his angels knew that their situation would soon change, if Jesus were successful in living a sin free life, to redeem sinners.
Things in heaven began to 'heat up';
(Mat 11:12) And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

Satan still had his world of authority at that time;
(Luk 4:5-6) Then the devil, taking Him (Jesus) up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.

The demons understood what their impending punishment involved. Notice when Jesus was about to cast demons out of a possessed man;
(Luk 8:31) And they (the demons) begged Him (Jesus) that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.

The demons considered 'the abyss' as a form of confinement, in comparison to their free access to and from heaven.

Jesus declares that the time had come for Satan to be cast out of heaven;
(Joh 12:31) Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world (Satan) will be cast out (of heaven).

Timestamped: After Jesus resurrection

After Jesus' sinless blood was shed for mankind, and He had overcome death; Satan and his followers where cast into the abyss or spirit realm of earth, no longer to have access to heaven;
(Rev 12:7) And war broke out in heaven: Michael (Jesus) and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,
(Rev 12:8) but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
(Rev 12:9) So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
(Rev 12:10) Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
(Rev 12:11) And they (the brethren) overcame him by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus)...

[Satan was cast out of heaven; when he was 'overcome by the blood of the Lamb'; so this clearly didn't happen till after Jesus death and resurrection].

After Jesus resurrection, by right of redemption; Jesus confirms He then held (at 30AD) the higher authority;
(Mat 28:18) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Satan and his angels were cast into the Abyss of earth. Being confined to the Spirit realm on earth, they lost their right to travel freely through God's universe;
(2Pe 2:4) ...God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;...

'Hell' in the above verse is from the Greek word Tartaroo = (deepest abyss of Hades). This is the only place this word is used in the New Testament. Other words found translated as 'hell' are mainly from the Greek word Hades; meaning 'the grave or pit'.

Notice also from the above verse, how 'chains of darkness' is associated with being in the abyss. We see this same association later on;
(Rev 20:1) Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

So, what about those people still in servitude to Satan?
It appears one 'right' the demons still retained, was the right to possess an unresisting person.
Notice Jesus words;
(Mat 12:43) When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places (the spirit realm), seeking rest, and finds none.
(Mat 12:44) Then he says, 'I will return to my house (the person) from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.
(Mat 12:45) Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

It seems the demon's ultimate goal is to find an unguarded 'host person' in which to dwell.
Our only safeguard is to become a servant of God;
(Jam 4:7) Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

[As we enter the prophecies of Revelation, it is important to understand that Revelation is not written in chronological order. As with the book of Daniel, we are given 'multiple parallel prophecies' covering a particular time period. However, as in Daniel, the events within 'each prophecy' are in chronological order. Read our full study on understanding Revelation here: Understanding Revelation].


Satan and his angels were cast into the abyss of earth;
(Rev 12:9) ...Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast out into the earth...

Jesus had foretold His followers of this event;
(Luk 10:18) And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

Timestamped: the Great Tribulation

About 2/3rds of the way through the coming Great Tribulation, Satan and his angels will again be released from the Bottomless Pit;

(Rev 9:1) Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star (Satan) fallen from heaven to the earth. To him (Satan) was given the key to the bottomless pit.
(Rev 9:2) And he (Satan) opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit...
(Rev 9:3) Then out of the smoke locusts (fallen angels) came upon the earth. And to them (fallen angels) was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power...
(Rev 9:9) And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings (ie. they have wings) was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle...

[Re: 'Locusts': Remember, John was describing what he was seeing in vision. He describes something he had never seen before, that LOOKS LIKE a swarm of Locusts. John is describing an allegory of 200 million man faced, longhaired demon/angels, flying up out of the earth on the distant horizon. These fallen angels are described as having "breastplates of iron", because you can't kill these things!].

A 'King' is also released from the Bottomless Pit;
(Rev 9:11) And they (the fallen angels) had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.

Abaddon = a destroying angel
Apollyon = a destroyer - Satan

No guess work here, this 'King' is identified to us in both Hebrew and Greek, as Satan.

Parallel with the first Babylon.

As you can already see, God has a special purpose for Satan. Just as God used Nebachanezzer (the King of ancient Babylon) as a destroyer of His apostatised people, Israel; God is soon going to use Satan (the King of modern Babylon) as a destroyer of this apostatised world during the Great Tribulation.

God gave Satan's name in both Hebrew and Greek, so there would be no misunderstanding the purpose of his appearing;
"whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon".

God called Nebuchadnezzar "My servant". God 'granted him power', and used him to fulfil His purpose; in this case, to destroy His rebellious people Israel; sifting out only a remnant;
(Jer 4:6) ...I will bring disaster from the north, And great destruction."
(Jer 4:7) The lion has come up from his thicket, And the destroyer of nations is on his way...
(Jer 25:9) behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,...and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land,...and will utterly destroy them,...

Timestamped: the Great Tribulation

The 'King from the Pit' is also described as a beast;
(Rev 17:8) The beast that you saw was and is not and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition.

The 'King from the Pit' initially wields his power through a Beast he controls;
(Rev 13:4) So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the (first) beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"...
(Rev 13:7) It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

The 'King from the Pit' himself, comes up out of the Earth as the second Beast;
(Rev 13:11) Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

[Remember, that's where Satan had earlier been cast;
(Rev 12:9) ...Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast out into the earth...]

(It is important to note that the 'a' in the above verse has been added by man. It simply says 'two horns like lamb'. It is referring to the definite article, and should more accurately be translated as 'two horns like the lamb'.
So, who is 'the lamb'?
And this beast appears like Jesus, but will eventually speak as 'the dragon'; Satan.
His two horns represent the political and religious authorities through which he will rule. Like 'the lamb', Satan will temporarily have 'all power', over church and state).

Notice the magnitude of this deception. Remember in the days of Elijah, that fire coming down from heaven was the sign of the true God;
(Rev 13:13-14) He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth-by those signs which he was granted to do...

This will not be the first time Satan has been granted power to make fire come down from heaven. In the days of Job, God granted Satan power to inflict harm upon Job's property; notice what Satan did;
(Job 1:16) ...the fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep...
The 'King from the Pit' will retain the 'power he was granted', until the time of wrath is fulfilled;
(Dan 11:36) "Then the king (of the fallen angels) shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.

As we saw earlier, the 'King from the Pit' will 'go to perdition'; but first he will appear as Jesus; as God;
(2Th 2:3-4) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come (Second Coming) unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

This 'King from the Pit' will create a counterfeit Second Coming, disguising himself as THE ANGEL OF LIGHT;
(2Co 11:14) And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

Notice how this phrase: "was, and is not, and yet is" is in relation to 'visibility';
(Rev 17:8) The beast (Satan impersonating Jesus) that you saw was (visible), and is not (currently visible), and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was (once visible), and is not (currently visible), and yet is (soon to become visible again).

The 'King from the Pit' will appear as EVERY MANS God; looking like Jesus for Christians, Yahweh for Jews, Allah for Muslim's etc, etc.
(Rev 13:8) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Notice this has always been Satan's ultimate ambition;
(Isa 14:12) "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,...
(Isa 14:13) For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;...
(Isa 14:14) ...I will be like the Most High.'
(Isa 14:15) Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.
(Isa 14:16) "Those who see you (notice again, he will be visible) will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: 'Is this the man (of sin) who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms,...

(Eze 28:2) ..."Because your (Lucifer) heart is lifted up, And you say, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas,' Yet you are a man (of sin), and not a god,...

Like Nebuchadnezzar, God will give Satan authority to deceive and destroy. At his appearing he starts his deceptions;
(2Th 2:10) and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
(2Th 2:11) For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie...

(Rev 13:8) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Timestamped: 1260 days into the Tribulation

The 'King from the Pit' will kill the two witnesses;
(Rev 11:7) When they (i.e. the two witnesses of verse 2) finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.

Timestamped: at the end of the Tribulation, the Second Coming

The physical body, which the Devil had manifested, will be destroyed at the Second Coming;
(2Th 2:8) And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

So the 'King from the Pit' will return back to the spirit realm;
(Rev 20:1) Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
(Rev 20:2) He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
(Rev 20:3) and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished...

We find when we get to Rev 20:8, that the above verse is referring to the 'wicked nations' only. And because there are nations of wicked, we find that there are also nations of saved;
(Rev 21:24) And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light...

Satan is in the Abyss today, and is successfully deceiving nations now. What will be different, to prevent him 'deceiving the nations' when he is returned to the Abyss at the Second Coming?
Satan can't deceive the 'wicked nations' during the 1000 years, simply because none are left alive on earth to deceive.
At the Second Coming the Lord will gather His righteous;
(1Th 4:16-17) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven...And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air...

This is the first resurrection;
(Rev 20:6) Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power,...

So the saints will be with Christ in heaven, and the surviving wicked will die their first death at the appearing of Jesus;
(Rev 19:21) And the rest (of the wicked, ie, those with the mark of the beast) were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse...

After 6000 years of sin on this earth, it will become uninhabited, and receive a 1000-year Sabbath rest. This is a Biblical principal established by God. After 6000 years of sin on this earth, it will enjoy a 1000-year Sabbath rest;
(Lev 26:34) Then the land shall enjoy its sabbaths as long as it lies desolate and you are in your enemies' land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its sabbaths.
(Lev 26:35) As long as it lies desolate it shall rest- for the time it did not rest on your sabbaths when you dwelt in it.

Satan and his angels will be confined to the spirit realm of an empty earth for 1000 years; while their sentences are being decided. (The wicked of all ages, plus those put to death at the Second Coming, will remain asleep in their graves during this time).

The righteous will be involved in determining the amount of restitution each wicked person and angel will receive;
(Rev 20:4) And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus...And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
(1Co 6:2) Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?...
(1Co 6:3) Do you not know that we shall judge angels?...

It is important to understand that this judgement is different to the judgement as to whether someone is saved or lost. That decision is made by Jesus alone, and is all completed by the close of probation, just prior to the Second Coming. (That is what the 2 witnesses prophecy is all about; and is actually why there has to be a Great Tribulation in the first place, for Jesus to test or judge the living; but that is a whole other study of its own, which you can read here: Two Witnesses ).
(2Ti 4:1) ...Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing...

Timestamped: at the end of the thousand years

The 'King from the Pit' will again be released.
The wicked of all time are resurrected at the end of the 1000 years. This is the Second resurrection;
(Rev 20:13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead...

Because the 'wicked nations' have been resurrected on earth, Satan is now 'free' to deceive them one last time;
(Rev 20:7) Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison
(Rev 20:8) and will go out to deceive the (resurrected wicked) nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
(Rev 20:9) They (wicked nations) went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city (the New Jerusalem which ascends to earth with saints inside; Rev 21:2). And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

And thanks to our Saviour; the saints are freed from the bondage of this world, and live happily ever after.

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