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The Abyss

In the New Testament, the original Greek word of the Scriptures, pronounced ab-us-sos, describes a deep pit - so deep that it is, in effect, bottomless. I say in effect bottomless because the Scriptures describe the abyss as being on earth, or rather in the earth, and therefore it cannot be deeper from the surface than the earth's radius (surface to center) i.e. about 4,000 miles. Since the Bible refers to the abyss as a place where demons are imprisoned, it would not then be entirely a physical place within the earth anyway, since demons are spirits who can pass through physical barriers. The abyss is logically a spiritual and physical place within the earth. Depending on the version of the Bible, the original Greek word is variously translated as "abyss," "the deep," or "the bottomless pit."

The Abyss Of Demons

The Abyss Demons feared Jesus Christ not just because He had the power (as did, and do, others e.g. Matthew 10:8 - see also Casting Out Demons), by means of the Holy Spirit, to cast them out of someone they possessed, but also because He had the power and authority to sentence them into the abyss.

"Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him. And they begged Him not to command them to depart into the abyss." (Luke 8:30-31 RSV)

As described below, the abyss is a hot place (geologists know that the internal temperatures of the earth are so high that rock is molten), and although very deep within the earth, not necessarily dark because molten rock glows and gives light, just like a filament in a light bulb. In the time just prior to The Return Of Jesus Christ, the abyss will be opened and all hell will break loose on the earth (see Where Is Hell?}:

"And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key of the shaft of the bottomless pit; 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; they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads; they were allowed to torture them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion, when it stings a man." (Revelation 9:1-5 RSV) (see also The Seven Seals)

The great military "beast" (see Revelation 13) will get much of his great power from demons when they ascend out of the abyss:

"The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition; and the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will marvel to behold the beast, because it was and is not and is to come." (Revelation 17:8 RSV)

"And I saw, issuing from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the beast and from the mouth of the false prophet, three foul spirits like frogs; for they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty." (Revelation 16:13-14 RSV)

At the time of the return of Jesus Christ, the Messiah will take control of the earth from Satan (see Who Still Rules The World Today?) and Satan will be cast into the abyss and held there for 1,000 years (see What Satan Fears Most):

"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years were ended. After that he must be loosed for a little while." (Revelation 20:1-3 RSV)

Fact Finder: What will happen when Satan is released from the Abyss at the end of the 1,000 years?
Revelation 20:7-10

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