The Visions of Revelation; 8th & 9th visions

The eighth vision; the first four trumpets sound,

Rev. 8:7-12

The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. 8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. 10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

We now return to the seven angels with the seven golden trumpets. One finds in the following series of visions a similarity to the opening of the seals; as where there were seven seals there are seven trumpets, as the events related to the opening of the first four seals are briefly described so too are the events related to first four trumpets

There is no indication in John’s narrative if there is any delay between the sounding of the first trumps; if they happen in rapid succession, over a significant period of time or simultaneously. One should also recall the passage from Revelation 7:2-3 that the four angels, presumably the angels that sound the first four trumpets, are restrained from hurting the earth and the sea (vs. 2) until the servants of God were sealed (vs. 3). These four angels are directed to harm the sea, the earth and the trees (vs. 3) but no humans; at least not directly as we shall see. It is almost as if God is trying one last time to get the attention of the world before unleashing his full fury upon the unrepentant people.

The first trump to sound results in a fall of hail mixed with fire which destroys a third of the trees and all the green grass (Rev. 8:7). This first trump is similar to the plague God sent upon Egypt when Israel was captive there and Pharaoh was refusing to allow them to leave (Ex. 9: 18-26). But unlike the plague that God sent upon Egypt this one only affects the trees and grass.

Again there is no indication either way if the events John is describing happens in a rapid succession or if there is some sort of delay between them, but he next tells of a great mountain “burning with fire” being cast into the sea and a third of the sea being turned to blood. Other effects are that a third of the living creatures in the sea die and a third of the ships are destroyed. Some have speculated that the sea John is referring to is actually the Mediterranean and what he might be describing is either a massive volcanic eruption or maybe an asteroid/comet impacting. They also say that this explanation explains the occurrences that happen after the sounding of the four trumps. While this explanation is plausible it in no way negates God’s role in this action since he is the creator and ruler of the universe it is certainly within his power to cause a volcano to erupt or an asteroid to land in the Mediterranean.

Star named Wormwood

The third trump sounds and John observes a great star named Wormwood falling from heaven and turning a third of the rivers and fresh water springs into blood. Again this is similar to what God did to Egypt while Israel was captive there.

Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river. And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. ...

(Exodus 7:17-21)

A side note, this was actually the second time that God had turned the waters of Egypt to blood; we find while God is speaking to Moses from the burning bush;

And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

(Exodus 4:9)[1]

One significant difference needs to be noted between what John foretells when Wormwood falls upon the waters and when the Nile was turned to blood and that is in Exodus it mentions that the fish in the Nile died as a result of the water being turned to blood, but there is no mention of this happening when Wormwood falls. We are told however thatmany men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.” There is no mention of any people dying as a result of the Nile being turned to blood.

While it appears that what John was describing, at least in regards to the first two trumps sounding, are not symbolic, but actual physical events; we must carefully examine this account of the star named Wormwood and the poisoning of a third of the waters of the world. First it is doubtful that John is describing a celestial body as massive as a star in this passage; such a collision would do more then affect a third of the rivers of this planet, it would totally incinerate the planet. So one may ask what exactly did John see and wrote about?

John mentions the star as having a name; Wormwood; recall that angels are referred to as stars[2] so is it possible that what John actually saw was a spiritual being? If this be the explanation then why did John say he saw this great being falling from heaven and falling upon the rivers and springs (8:10)? The answer may be found in the Greek word John used that is rendered as fell. The Greek word is pipto and according to Vine’s Greek New Testament Dictionary is defined as;

(a) of descent, to "fall" down from, e.g., Matt. 10:29; 13:4;
(b) of a lot, Acts 1:26;
(c) of "falling" under judgment, James 5:12 (cp. Rev. 18:2 RV);
(d) of persons in the act of prostration, to prostrate oneself, e.g., Matt 17:6; John 18:6; Rev. 1:17; in homage and workship, e.g., Matt. 2:11; Mark 3:22; Rev. 5:14; 19:4;
(e) of things, "falling" into ruin, or failing, e.g., Matt. 7:25; Luke 16:17; RV, "fall," for AV, "fail;" Heb. 11:30;
(f) of "falling" in judgment upon persons, as of the sun's heat, Rev. 7:16, RV, "strike," AV, "light;" of a mist and darkness, Acts 13:11 (some mss. have epipipto);
(g) of persons, in "falling" morally or spiritually, Rom. 14:4; I Cor. 10:8, 12; Rev. 2:5

Two of the definitions (c and f) offer us the understanding we are seeking; that it is an act of judgment being carried out. So it would seem that John is describing a mighty angel, Wormwood, coming down from heaven and executing a judgment upon the earth. One may ask why this judgment is being carried out and a rather specific event; a third of the rivers and wells being turned, essentially, to poison it is possible that this event has a broader aspect.

Many have expressed puzzlement as to the proliferation of a third being affected by the four trumps. It is possible that what is being described and what the judgment is directed at is being symbolically presented. The Bible uses natural objects as symbols of governments (Psalms 72:3; Isaiah 44:23) and religious systems (Isaiah 2:2; Dan. 2:35, 44-45) so can these rivers and springs mentioned be a large religious system? There is a definite possibility and the target of this judgment may actually be modern day Christianity.

Recall that in this end time period there are only 144,000 persons that are found to be true servants of God. Also Christ warned that there would be false Christs (i.e. the first seal, the white horse), in fact Christ tells us that they “shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. 24:24). Remember that Christ warned that not all who call his name would be saved, but those that did God’s will would (Matt. 20:16; 22:14). We shall see later just how massive this deception is, but for now let us end this consideration with two points regarding modern Christianity being the target of this judgment. First we find God telling the wayward nation of Israel that because of their idolatry he would “judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy” (Ezekiel 16:38). One should understand that this is a future punishment because when this was issued by God the nation of Israel had already been conquered. Lastly polls indicate that approximately one third of the world’s population considers themselves Christian.[3]

This sounding of the first four trumps ends with a darkening of a third of the sun, moon, stars and sky. This is similar to what John recorded upon the opening of the sixth seal (Rev. 6:12) where he tells of the sun being darkened and the moon being blood red. One may wonder if the events depicted in Rev. 6:12 were only a temporary happening; if the sun and moon returned to their normal level of illumination. For here with the sounding of the fourth trump we are told that the sun, moon and stars are simply darkened and there is evidence that this too may be a temporary event. This group of events are referred to a number of times in the Bible (see Isaiah 13:10; Ezekiel 32:7; Joel 2:10, 31; Amos 8:9; Matt. 24: 29; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25; Acts 2:20).

This series of trump sounding concludes with an angel issuing an ominous statement; woe to the people of earth because of what’s to come. It is almost as if God, through the angel, is warning almost pleading with the unrepentant people on earth. While it is not stated it seems that it is still possible for people at this point and time to seek and receive God’s protection, but the time is running out and as we shall see apparently not many choose this action.

The ninth vision; opening of the bottomless pit,

Rev.9:1-11

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. 5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. 6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. 11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

This vision is certainly one of the strangest in Revelation, but some of the elements are not unique to the book. The central characters in this vision, the locusts, are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. Opinions as to the nature of these locusts seem to be divided into to two ideas; one, they are physical beings and two, they are spiritual beings. A careful examination will help produce a Biblically based understanding.

As we had read in regards to Wormwood, John tells of seeing another star falling from heaven. Unlike the case of Wormwood and whether it is an actual star or a spiritual being mentioned there is little doubt that here he is speaking of an angel. He tells us that he, the star, was given the key to the bottomless pit. Before we discuss the bottomless pit let us briefly look at this angel.

Some have speculated that this angel is also the one mentioned in Revelation 20:1; the angel that seizes binds and confines Satan. Some also believe that this angel, that opens the bottomless pit, is Satan himself or possibly another demon basing this theory primarily on the words fall from heaven. But John could simply be saying that the angel descended rapidly. Although the Bible does not indicate the allegiance of this angel, seeing that the bottomless pit holds very dangerous beings and that apparently there is only a single key, it would seem that only a trusted spiritual being would be given this task.

The locusts

Let us examine where these locusts are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. Turning to the Book of Joel we find mention of these creatures. In the second chapter we find Joel saying;

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand

(Joel 2:1)

As we have seen the Day of the Lord is not a twenty four hour period of time, Joel helps us locate where in the sequence of events as portrayed in Revelation he is referring to;

A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains… The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

(Joel 2:2, 10)

Notice that Joel speaks of darkness and gloominess and John talks of how the sun and air is darkened when the door to the bottomless pit is opened and the smoke spews out. So it would be safe to say the two writers are speaking about the same event. Let us further see what Joel has to say about them;

The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.

(Joel 2:4)

While John provides a detailed description of these horsemen Joel simply refers to them as horsemen so we can now link these two passages together. Many have speculated that these locusts are actually physical beings, a mortal army that John is describing. Some have attributed the rise and spread of Islam to this vision. Let us take a close look at this theory and see if that is a valid deduction.

The word that is rendered as bottomless pit in Greek is abyssos it is from this word that we get the English word abyss. Many other translations of the Bible render it as abyss. We shall more fully discuss this locale in more detail later this very elemental explanation of the bottomless pit should suffice for now.

Returning to the belief that this passage is actually describing what is now a historical event and not something that still is to come. Could this be describing the spread of Islam, primarily across the Holy Land? One point that would tend to support this belief is the fact that Joel refers to this group as a great people (Joel 2:2) and John also mentions that they have a king over them, albeit a demon. One of the most prominent scholars about the beginning of Islam, Abul A’la Mawdudi, in a book to English speaking readers relating the basics of Islam states that Muhammed and his message came out of “Arabia – the Abyss of Darkness.”[4]

There is also a historical link between the ancestors of Islam and locusts. “In the Bedouin romance Antar, the locust is introduced as the national emblem of the Ishmaelites (one of the ancestors of the Arabs). And it is a remarkable coincidence that Muslim tradition speaks of locusts having dropped into the hands of Muhammed, bearing on their wings this inscription – ‘We are the army of the Great God.’”[5] Some also claim that the restrictions placed upon the locusts, to not “hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree” is possibly echoed by a passage in the Koran that says “When you fight the battles of the Lord…destroy no palm trees, nor burn any fields of grain. Cut down no fruit trees…”[6]

Further ‘proof’ that this vision relates to the spread of Islam requires a fair amount of supposition. In regards to God’s restriction upon the locusts that they were allowed only five months to inflict pain upon those that did not have the seal of God the explanation is advanced that this is five prophetic months. A prophetic month is based on the rule of one day equals one year[7]. So based on this assumption they were allowed for one hundred and fifty years to inflict pain upon those that did not have the seal of God. According to Albert Barnes[8] after one hundred and fifty years after the outburst of Islam “an important change came over the followers of the prophet of Mecca, turning them from the love of conquest to the pursuits of literature and science.”[9] Barnes believes that they (the Islamic armies) fulfilled God’s restriction upon the locusts to not harm anyone that had the seal of God in that they were told by Muhammed’s successor, to not kill the Christians who lived in monasteries. There armies were told to “let them alone, and neither kill them, no destroy their monasteries.” [10]

So is this explanation of this vision correct; that it is describing the spread of Islam across the Middle East. While linking this vision to the spread of Islam across the Mid East landscape seems to be a plausible explanation a closer examination of this vision should refute this belief.

First off, recall that this is not an isolated vision, but a series of visions and they are happening in a specific sequence. So unless one can cite proof that this particular vision is somehow not within the stream of events already listed then one must also cite historical evidence that the other events that proceeded this did occur; such as the great mountain falling into the sea and destroying a third of the sea life and the fall of Wormwood to mention just two.

Secondly, we read that the locusts are allowed to torment those that do not have the seal of God and he further tells us that this “torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man”. Generally scorpion bites are not fatal, in fact the mortality rate from scorpion bits is 0.27%[11], the typical result of a scorpion bite is immediate pain or burning, very little swelling, sensitivity to touch, and a numbness/tingling sensation. If this will be the symptoms of these demonic locusts we do not know but implied from the vision there is no relief or antidote from it. In fact we are told that those stung by the locust “shall…seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them”. It is curious that that apparently God will not allow these afflicted people to die, to escape from their torment, but later in Revelation we will read of a massive loss of life. It would almost seem as if God is denying unrepentant mankind an easy way out; death, at least at this moment. It is interesting to speculate as to whether all deaths will cease for this five month period or simply be denied to those that are stung by these demonic locusts.

The abyss

Third, the abyss just exactly what and where is this place? While Muslim scholars may refer to Arabia as the Abyss of Darkness we must see if God is also referring to Arabia when he speaks of the Abyss or is it an altogether different location.

The Greek word in the original Greek version is abussos and in classical Greek it is used literally to mean "very deep," "bottomless" and figuratively "unfathomable," "boundless."[12]. We find the word abussos a total of nine times in the Bible; seven of those times in the Book of Revelation[13]. However while in the American Standard Version it is rendered as “abyss” it is not so rendered in the KJV[14]. There it is rendered as “the deep” or the “bottomless pit”. So based on the original understanding (i.e. classical Greek) the word was understood to mean a very deep pit and not the land of Arabia. Can we possibly develop a even better understanding as to what this pit is that these demonic are released from?

Recalling the instruction mentioned above contained in Isaiah 28:10 (i.e. here a little, there a little) we can piece together a better understanding of what this place is like, but not where it is exactly. We find that the abyss is a place where God banished some of the angels that rebelled against him. Most erroneously believe that these former angels were consigned to hell. This confusion is mainly based on an improper translation of II Peter 2:4 where we read in some renditions;

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

(KJV)

Other renderings word it slightly differently, but help us to move towards a better understanding of what happened to these angels;

For if God messengers who sinned did not spare, but with chains of thick gloom, having cast them down to Tartarus, did deliver them to judgment, having been reserved,

(Young's Literal Translation)


In Greek mythology tartarus was the lowest point of the underworld and later some classical writers used it to refer to the entire underworld[15]. Other scriptures will help us to gain a fuller understanding as to what happened to these angels that failed to keep their appointed station. We find reference to them in the Book of Jude, where it is stated;

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

(Jude 1:6)

So we see that the angels that rebelled are kept in a condition of restraint, so is this the abyss that we are interested in? No it is not; the abyss is a location and as we shall see not all of the rebellious spirits are confined there. In fact it would seem that those angels not confined to the abyss are fearful of the location and earnestly wish to avoid being sent there. We learn this in the account of the man possessed by many demons;

26 And they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is over against Galilee.
27 And when he was come forth upon the land, there met him a certain man out of the city, who had demons; and for a long time he had worn no clothes, and abode not in any house, but in the tombs. 28 And when he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I beseech thee, torment me not.29 For he was commanding the unclean spirit to come out from the man. For oftentimes it had seized him: and he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters; and breaking the bands asunder, he was driven of the demon into the deserts.30 And Jesus asked him, What is thy name? And he said, Legion; for many demons were entered into him.
31 And they entreated him that he would not command them to depart into the abyss.
32 Now there was there a herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they entreated him that he would give them leave to enter into them. And he gave them leave. 33 And the demons came out from the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the lake, and were drowned.

(Luke 8:26-33; American Standard Version emphasis added)

So we see that while all the rebellious angels are in hell (i.e. a condition of restraint) they are not all confined to the abyss. So again just what exactly is this abyss that we see being opened in Revelation?

To finally understand what exactly the abyss is we must turn to a book that is found in some Bibles but not others. It is part of what is known as the Apocrypha, these are ancient texts that have been left out of the ‘sanctioned’ Bible. In some Protestant Bibles they are located between the Old and New Testament. In the Catholic Bible they are located throughout the Bible. Jerome rejected these Books when he was translating the Bible into Latin in 450 AD because there were no Hebrew versions, yet they were in the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint)[16].

The particular book in the Apocrypha that we are interested in is known as the Book of Enoch. The Book of Enoch is believed to have been written sometime during the second century BC. While today the validity of the Books of the Apocrypha are questioned this was not always the case. In regards to the Book of Enoch we find that;

Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls the apocryphal book of Enoch (more precisely, I Enoch) was known only in an Ethiopic translation. Now as many as twenty fragmentary copies of the Aramaic original have been found at Qumran, which suggests that Enoch and perhaps other books now considered apocryphal were regarded as authoritative Scripture at least by some groups. Allusions to Enoch occur at least fourteen times in the New Testament; the New Testament Letter of Jude quotes from Enoch as having the authority of inspired Scripture (Jude 14-15).[17]

While it would seem that at one time these books were considered on par with other Biblical scripture we should use them with a bit of caution; as long as they do not contradict Biblical scripture they should be considered as valid. So with that note let us see what the Book of Enoch can provide us about the Abyss.

Most people are aware of Satan’s deception of Eve which resulted in Adam and Eve being banned from the Garden of Eden and God’s curse upon Satan for his deception (Gen. 3:14-15), but there is another account of angels disobeying God and it is here that we will learn about the Abyss. This second act of angelic disobedience is briefly mentioned in Genesis;

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose…4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth…

(Gen. 6:1-2, 4-5)

The Book of Enoch provides more insight into this affair. These angels are referred to as the Watchers[18]. Enoch tells us about the angels lusting after the daughters of men:

1 And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto 2 them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men 3 and beget us children.' And Semjâzâ, who was their leader, said unto them: 'I fear ye will not 4 indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin.' And they all answered him and said: 'Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations 5 not to abandon this plan but to do this thing.' Then sware they all together and bound themselves 6 by mutual imprecations upon it. And they were in all two hundred; who descended in the days of Jared on the summit of Mount Hermon, and they called it Mount Hermon, because they had sworn 7 and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. And these are the names of their leaders: Samîazâz, their leader, Arâkîba, Râmêêl, Kôkabîêl, Tâmîêl, Râmîêl, Dânêl, Êzêqêêl, Barâqîjâl, 8 Asâêl, Armârôs, Batârêl, Anânêl, Zaqîêl, Samsâpêêl, Satarêl, Tûrêl, Jômjâêl, Sariêl. These are their chiefs of tens.

(Book of Enoch 4:1-7)

Whereas in Genesis we are told that God was dismayed at how the wickedness of men was great, in Enoch we learn that man’s wickedness can be attributed to the Watcher’s actions;

and they taught them charms 2 and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants…1 And Azâzêl taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all 2 colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they 3 were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjâzâ taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, 'Armârôs the resolving of enchantments, Barâqîjâl (taught) astrology, Kôkabêl the constellations, Êzêqêêl the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiêl the signs of the earth, Shamsiêl the signs of the sun, and Sariêl the course of the moon. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven...

(Enoch 7:1-2; 8:1-3)

Enoch then tells how the angels Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel went before God and pleaded about the blood shed and lawlessness that was upon the earth (Enoch 9:1-11). Actually they point to the actions of one of the angels specifically as the cause of the suffering, Azazel (Enoch 9: 6). Enoch then briefly recounts the story of Noah and how God promises to protect him and his seed (Enoch 10:1-4)

God then deals with Azazel;

And again the Lord said to Raphael: 'Bind Azâzêl hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening 5 in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may 6,7 not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire. And heal the earth which the angels have corrupted, and proclaim the healing of the earth, that they may heal the plague, and that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the 8 Watchers have disclosed and have taught their sons. And the whole earth has been corrupted 9 through the works that were taught by Azâzêl: to him ascribe all sin.'[19]

(Enoch 10:4-9)

While Azazel is labeled as the main culprit in leading man astray all of the Watchers are confined to the Abyss;

the Watchers, the children of heaven…that judgement 5 has been finally passed upon you…And from henceforth you shall not ascend into heaven unto all eternity, and in bonds of the earth the decree 6 has gone forth to bind you for all the days of the world. (Enoch 14:4-6)

Sometime further Enoch provides us with a description of the Abyss;

And I saw a deep abyss, with columns of heavenly fire, and among them I saw columns of fire fall, which were beyond measure alike towards 12 the height and towards the depth. And beyond that abyss I saw a place which had no firmament of the heaven above, and no firmly founded earth beneath it: there was no water upon it, and no 13 birds, but it was a waste and horrible place…And Uriel said to me: 'Here shall stand the angels who have connected themselves with women, and their spirits assuming many different forms are defiling mankind and shall lead them astray into sacrificing to demons as gods, (here shall they stand,) till the day of the great judgement in 2 which they shall be judged till they are made an end of… And from thence I went to another place, which was still more horrible than the former, and I saw a horrible thing: a great fire there which burnt and blazed, and the place was cleft as far as the abyss, being full of great descending columns of 8 fire: neither its extent or magnitude could I see, nor could I conjecture. Then I said: 'How 9 fearful is the place and how terrible to look upon!' Then Uriel answered me, one of the holy angels who was with me, and said unto me: 'Enoch, why hast thou such fear and affright?' And 10 I answered: 'Because of this fearful place, and because of the spectacle of the pain.' And he said unto me: 'This place is the prison of the angels, and here they will be imprisoned for ever.'… And there mine eyes saw how they made these their instruments, iron chains of immeasurable weight. 4 And I asked the angel of peace who went with me, saying: 'For whom are these chains being prepared?' And he said unto me: 'These are being prepared for the hosts of Azâzêl, so that they may take them and cast them into the abyss of complete condemnation, and they shall cover their jaws with rough stones as the Lord of Spirits commanded.

(Enoch 18:10-13, 19:1-2; 21:7-10; 54:3-5

From Enoch’s graphic description of the Abyss one can see how the varied renderings of the word (i.e. bottomless pit, the deep etc) can accurately apply to the Abyss. Also recall that John relates how when the Abyss is opened that smoke raises and blocks the sun (Rev. 9:2). He describes it as like smoke from a great furnace and this neatly matches with Enoch’s description of the great fire that is in the Abyss.

Abaddon the destroyer

There is one last item of this vision that needs to be discussed for it will reappear in various guises throughout the Book of Revelation and that is the angel that is the king of the Abyss; Abaddon (Rev. 9:11). We are told that his name means ‘destroyer’; this evil king shall appear in other visions throughout Revelation and as we shall see he plays a major role in the events slated to occur.

The release of Abaddon is mentioned in another scripture. Paul talks briefly of this creature and his release in his second letter to the church in Thessalonica. In the second chapter Paul tells his readers to not be troubled at reports that the second coming has already occurred (II Thess. 1-2); reiterating Christ’s warning given on the Mount of Olives shortly before his arrest and crucifixion where he speaks of false messiah’s and for his followers to not be deceived (Matt 24:4-5, 23-25). Paul says that two things must happen before the return of Christ; “for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (II Thess. 2: 3). It is interesting that according to the International Bible Encyclopedia the Greek word rendered as perdition means;

…(apoleia, "ruin" or "loss," physical or eternal):…it denotes the final state of ruin and punishment which forms the opposite to salvation. The verb apolluein, from which the word is derived, has two meanings:

(1) to lose;

(2) to destroy.

Both of these pass over to the noun, so that apoleia comes to signify:

(1) loss;

(2) ruin, destruction.

So we see that Paul is referring to the same being as John is in Revelation[20], the names they use to speak of him all equate him as being a destroyer. Paul reminds his readers that he had already told them this when he was with them (II Thess. 2:5) he then returns to the Destroyer and how he will be revealed;

6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

(II Thess. 2:6-8 English Standard Version)

The English rendering of this version implies that a person is holding back the Destroyer; Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. However with a more accurate translation of the Greek the verse would read; And you now know the thing the Abyss that is holding back Abaddon, that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only the thing the Abyss which now restrains Abaddon will continue to do so until out of the midst of the Abyss he comes.[21]

We see that it is the Abyss that is currently holding back this creature; he and his followers. As was mentioned above, this demonic being plays a very intricate role in the events recorded in Revelation. While this has been a somewhat lengthy task to identify this being it will assist us later when we encounter him again in other visions. We have discovered who this being is, his origin, his demeanor and eventually we will learn his ultimate fate.

Footnotes---------------------------------------------

[1] We are told that this was done through Aaron later; Ex. 4:29-30

[2] Recall the vision of Christ and the seven stars, Rev. 1:12-20; see also Num. 24:17; Judges 5:20; Job 38:7; Ps. 148:3; Isaiah 14:13; Dan 8:10; Rev. 9:1; 12:4.

[3] The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion, p. 441.

[4] Abul A’la Mawdudi, Towards Understanding Islam, 8th ed. (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: National Offset Printing Press, 1986), 63.

[5] Mohammedism Unveiled (vol.i. p.217), 399

[6] IBID, 403

[7] See Numbers 14:34, Ezekiel 4:6, and Daniel 9:24

[8] Albert Barnes,(1798-1870) theologian.

[9] Forster’s Mohammedism Unveiled (vol.i. p.217), 408

[10] IBID, 403

[11] Chippaux JP, Goyffon M. Epidemiology of scorpionism: a global apprasial. Acta Trop. 2010/08;107:71-9.

[12] International Biblical Encyclopedia; Abyss

[13] Rev. 9:1, 2, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3. It is also found in Luke 8:31 and Rom. 10:7.

[14] International Biblical Encyclopedia; Abyss

[15] http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Tartarus

[16] http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/apo/index.htm

[17] The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, pp. 160

[18] The Watchers are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible (Dan. 4:13, 17)

[19] It should be noted that during the Day of Atonement two goats were selected. By lot one was selected to be a sin offering for the people, an image of Christ and the sacrifice he would make. The other goat was taken into the desert and shoved off a cliff but not until the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites were placed upon it. The lots used to select the goats one was labeled ‘for the Lord’ and the other was labeled ‘for Azazel’. (Lev. 16:2-34)

[20] One may wonder why Paul calls the being as the ‘Son of Perdition, the International Bible Encyclopedia explains that this is the well-known Hebrew idiom by which a person typically embodying a certain trait or character or destiny is called the son of that thing.

[21] http://www.herealittletherealittle.net/index.cfm?page_name=Abaddon

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