Demons don't like the place...

Quite a few verses mention the abyss (also called the bottomless pit or the deep), not all of them in the book of Revelation. Various entities interact with the abyss so it is a key concept.

  1. The abyss resides in the spiritual realm, not in the physical realm. Thus, all the entities entering or leaving the abyss are spiritual. The smoke coming from the abyss is spiritual.

    These spiritual entities interact with the physical realm via the souls of living creatures, mainly humans (but animals and trees and even the earth itself is affected).

  2. The abyss is a source of spiritual power. Since this power is evil, it was not created by God.

    Satan, as a living entity, is able to create a spiritual space, his kingdom of darkness. But he does not have full control over it; he can be imprisoned in the abyss by an angel. Probably this merely means that his ability to interact and infect adjoining spiritual spaces is limited. (Perhaps it would be better to say that when God creates a living entity, he creates the spiritual space around them which they can contaminate, if they choose to reject God or to rebel against him and his Goodness and Beauty).

  3. The abyss is the center of Satan's kingdom of darkness, the part not having contact with the external world.

    Imagine an earthly kingdom having its capital city in the center and frontier cities on the border. The abyss is at the center, not the frontier. Therefore, in order for influences from the abyss to infect the external world they must first flow outward (upward) to the frontier and beyond. The abyss refers to the source of the powers of wickedness, the essential wickedness of the rebellious spirit being.

  4. The abyss is a place of judgment, perhaps only because those wicked spirits there have no access to the external world, to God's kingdom of light.
  5. The abyss is a source of evil.
  6. Satan has been in, then out of the abyss, but was put there unwillingly. Apparently it is an undesirable place where his preferred activities are constrained.


In studying the abyss you quickly get all tangled-up in other topics regarding the events and entities of the abyss. Here are the events regarding the abyss in chronological order...

  1. Judgment of demonic spirits (Luke 8:31) — probably ongoing since the earth was formed and continuing to the end.
  2. Christ went there (Romans 10:7) after his death and before his resurrection.
  3. 5th trumpet, 1st woe (Revelation 9:1-11) — Satan fell from heaven. Demonic oppression until the end.
  4. Satan, bound at the time of Christ (Revelation 20:1,3); released after 1,000 years, about 1054 A.D.
  5. Beast ascends out of the abyss (Revelation 11:7) — this verse doesn't specify which beast, probably Satan, perhaps the king of the abyss. This occurs during the Jewish War of 66–70 A.D.
  6. The 3rd beast that ascends out of the abyss (Revelation 17:8) — the spiritual powers behind the Roman Empire that persecutes and martyrs Christians.

Satan's kingdom of darkness is a zone in the spiritual realm, the "space" inhabited by wicked non-corporeal entities. The abyss is a sub-zone having no access to God's realm of Goodness and Beauty. The abyss is the center part of Satan's kingdom, bottomless, like the center of a star is.

The abyss is a place of imprisonment for the demons and for Satan. It refers to: (1) the realm of the powers of darkness, and (2) the influence of the powers of darkness, especially of the Roman Empire.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down". (Revelation 12:10)

Church events while Satan was bound in the abyss...

  1. Heresy (defeated)
  2. Persecution and martyrdom
  3. Confusion of gospel
  4. Rise of powerful cult-like bishops