08 July 2021

The Abyss


The Abyss is the source of satanic attacks against the saints even though it remains under the authority of the Lamb – Revelation 11:7.

Abyss Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash
When first introduced, “smoke” and a horde of locust-like creatures ascend from the “Abyss.” It is the deep pit from which satanic forces ascend to wage war against the “saints.” It is also the “prison” where demonic forces are corralled until their appointed time to execute their evil deeds - [Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash].

In John’s first vision, the one “like a son of man” is declared the “First and the Last, and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, living am I unto the ages of ages!” He 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).

DEEP THINGS OF SATAN


In Thyatira, Jesus chastises the church’s “angel” for tolerating the prophetess “Jezebel.” Like the “Great Harlot, Babylon,” she is teaching the saints “to fornicate and to eat food offered to idols.”

Jezebel claims it was permissible to “know the deep things of Satan.” In her mind, she teaches the “deep things of God,” apparently, deeper spiritual insight and practices.

Jesus exposes her doctrine for what it is - the “deep things” or bathos of Satan, and bathos is a conceptual link to the “Abyss,” the deep pit from which demonic forces ascend - (Revelation 2:18-29, 9:1-2, 11:7, 13:1, 17:8, 20:1-3).

ABYSS OPENED


When the fifth trumpet is heard, a “star” falls to the earth with the “key” to open the “Abyss.” Likewise, at the commencement of the “thousand years,” an “angel” descends with the “key of the Abyss” to imprison Satan. At the end of that period, he is released 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” in chapter 9 unleashes a horde of “locusts upon the earth” to torment men. They are compared to “horses prepared for battle,” and they are ruled by the “angel of the abyss, whose name, in Hebrew is ‘Destruction’, also in the Greek, ‘Destroyer’.”

The “sixth trumpet” releases the “four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates,” and it corresponds to the “Abyss” from the “fifth trumpet.”

The fifth and sixth trumpets together parallel the fifth and sixth “bowls of wrath.” Like the “fifth trumpet,” the “fifth bowl of wrath” causes 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” dries up the waters of the “Euphrates” to “prepare the way of the kings from the rising of the sun.” Demons are 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).

BEAST FROM THE ABYSS/SEA


The “two witnesses” or “two lampstands” prophesy 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” is released to attack the “two witnesses” and “slay them” - (Revelation 1:20, 11:3-7).

That same “Beast” appears again when John sees it “ascending from the sea.” The “sea” represents the same “depth” or reality as the “Abyss.” In both instances, the “Beast ascends” to prosecute its war against the “saints/witnesses.”


Abyss - Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash
[Abyss in Sea - Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash]


And 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).

SATAN IMPRISONED


In chapter 20, John sees an angel “descending out of heaven, having the key of the Abyss.” He uses it to bind the Devil, not to release him. This locates his imprisonment in the “Abyss” BEFORE 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 applied to Satan in chapter 20 link the image to chapter 12 when “the great red 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.”

Likewise, in chapter 20, Satan is “cast” (ballō) into the “Abyss” BEFORE the commencement of the “thousand years.” With the victory of the “Lamb,” he has lost his prosecutorial powers - (Revelation 12:9-13).

The Devil is “bound” to prevent him from “deceiving the nations until the thousand years end,” a further link to chapter 12 where the “Dragon” is called “the deceiver of the whole habitable earth.” He is not bound from all activities, only from “deceiving the nations.”

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

SATAN RELEASED


Similarly, Satan is freed from the “Abyss” at the “end of the thousand years” to “deceive the nations” and gather them for his final assault against the “saints.” He gathers the nations to “ascend” over the earth and attack the “camp of the saints.”

Once more, the theme of evil “ascending” from the “Abyss” is repeated. The “Dragon” does not escape from the pit; he is “released,” presumably by the “Lamb,” but not until, and only for, the appointed “short time” - (Revelation 20:7-9).


[Photo by Mike Hindle on Unsplash]


Note the parallels. In Thyatira, “prophetess Jezebel” attempts to deceive believers to commit idolatry. Likewise, the “Beast from the earth,” the “false prophet,” deceives the “inhabitants of the earth” into giving allegiance to the “Beast from the sea” and to its image.

So also, “Babylon” uses her “sorceries” to “deceive all the nations.” And at the end of the “thousand years,” Satan is 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 portrays the defeat and imprisonment of Satan by the “Lamb” until his release at the appointed time - the “short season.” Following the resurrection of Jesus, the Devil is down but not completely “out,” and no longer able to “deceive the nations” and lead them in his final assault to annihilate the “saints,” that is, not until he is loosed from the “Abyss.” Yet he remains deadly, though his powers are curtailed.

And so, throughout the present age, the “Lamb” remains in firm control of events on the earth, the sovereign over all things, including “Hades” and the “Abyss.” The “Dragon” will be unleashed from the “Abyss” 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 and result in the casting of Satan into the “lake of fire.”

Satan’s release from the “Abyss” will be his undoing, just as the death of Jesus on Calvary meant the overthrow of the “powers and principalities” that previously enslaved all men. In the interim, every disciple of Jesus that becomes a martyr also becomes another nail in the Devil’s coffin, further justification for the sentence of the heavenly court. Death for Christ’s sake is no defeat, and those killed for their testimony will reign with him on his Father’s throne.



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