Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 3

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Thanks for coming back to our study.

In this post, we will begin to get to the meat of the question by delving into the book of Revelation. This is where the modifier “bottomless” is applied to the pit concept, and is the subject of the original question! (Finally, eh?)

I have continued to underline the English word in each verse that has been translated from the Greek “abussos”. Note that sometimes the word is translated as “pit” and sometimes it is translated as “bottomless pit”.

Lets begin the book of Revelation.


As an aside, a very interesting layout within the Book of Revelation is the placement and structure of “Abussos” in Revelation.

Consider the symmetry of the Word of God. It is amazing to see the unnoticed structure of the Word and the beauty of the message, not only in the content, but in the presentation of the message!

Abussos in Revelation

A Rev. 9:1-2, Rev. 9:11. Key – Let loose – Locust scourge. The Angel called in Hebrew Abaddon in Greek Apollyon.

B Rev. 11:7. The Beast ascends out of the abyss, overcomes saints
B Rev. 17:8. The Beast ascends out of the abyss. Lamb overcomes (Rev. 17:14).

A Rev. 20:1-3. Key – Shut up – Loosed – Deceive (Rev. 20:8). Serpent, called Diabolos (Greek) and Satan (Hebrew).

Our first verse to consider is found in chapter 9.

Rev 9 :1

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.

Who received the key to the bottomless pit? The fifth angel? The star?

As I glanced at this verse I initially assumed it was the star that received the key to the bottomless pit, but considering the mission of each of the seven angels in the book of Revelation, (see below) it seems possible that the recipient of the key was the fifth angel.

Other translations seem to favor the opposite, that is that the star that fell receives the key to the bottomless pit. I assumed that John may be assigning the term “star” to Satan, but after checking with other New Testament instances of a star falling, came up short. I was recalling Luke 10:18, where Jesus saidI beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Not quite the same, but a study of the word “lightning” in Matthew 24:27 is very interesting! Check out Return of the LORD as Lightning? if interested.

Whoever obtained the key, one principle truth comes through in this verse regarding the bottomless pit. Authority was required to open the bottomless pit! The key was required to open the shaft and representative of authority over the shaft. Think of it this way. Who has a key to your home or apartment. Those that have authority to enter it. A key represents authority.

As another aside, I found it interesting to consider other verses referring to the assignments of the angels in Revelation.

8:7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

8:8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.

8:10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.

8:12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

9:1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit

9:13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God,

11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

Back to the topic at hand – that is, the bottomless pit.

Rev 9:2,3

He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.

Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.

Who opened the bottomless pit? Don’t know! (see above)

Some of the things to notice about this verse are

  • Smoke arose out of the shaft of the pit
  • Sun and air were darkened by the smoke.
  • Smoke was like the smoke of a great furnace.

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This verse doesn’t teach that the pit is the great furnace. Simply that the shaft of the pit, when opened, spewed forth smoke. This smoke is likened to the smoke of a great furnace.

So many similes and metaphors – Helpppppp!

Darkness and smoke (along with the appearance of locusts) are associated with Old Testament themes of judgement and death.

Consider the following.

Exod 10:14-15

The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again.
They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

Joel 2:2

a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful people;
their like has never been before,
nor will be again after them
through the years of all generations.

Joel 2:10

The earth quakes before them;
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.

Also, consider Genesis 19:24-28, for themes of judgement, angelic messengers and a description of smoke as of out of a furnace,

Genesis 19:1, 13, 24-28
1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth
13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”
24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven.
25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD.
28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.
Could John be thinking of some of these passages when he is penning this portion of the book? He was immersed in the Old Testament. The book of Revelation is full of Old Testament quotes and references. I wonder….
It is important to remember that smoke signifies fire, or at least a lingering burn, and that the smoke is part of that which was burned up.800px-Dachau_006

You know, my wife and I visited Dachau in Germany a few years back and in our exploring of the WWII concentration camp, we stumbled upon a small shrine, where it is said that thousands of Jews rested, in the form of ashes. The rest of their corporeal bodies went up in the smoke! A harsh truth is found in that shrine.
The wickedness of man seems to know no bounds, and the furnaces of Dachau are a testament to that wickedness. Man has no right to take life. He did not create life.
No so with God. The bottomless pit may speak of this judgement.
Hopefully, further study will clarify the “Bottomless Pit” and it’s part in the judgement of sinful men and rebellious angels.
Hope to visit with you during our next post. May God bless you and encourage you in your walk with Him.

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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.