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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Is the Pit? (Abyss)

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Don Stewart
The Bible speaks of a place of a place called the Abyss, or the pit. When used in the New Testament, it can refer to the abode of demons, or the place of the unbelieving dead. It is located in the lowest parts of the earth.

Abode Of Demons

We find a reference in the Gospel of Luke to the abyss as the abode of demons.

They [the demons] begged Him [Jesus] not to order them to go back into the abyss (Luke 8:31).

Place Of The Dead

In Romans, the abyss is used for the place of the dead.

Who will descend into the deep? [abyss] (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead) (Romans 10:7).

The reference is to the realm of the dead.

Under The Earth

The Abyss is spoken of as an area under the earth. It has a shaft that connects it to the surface. Smoke comes out of the shaft like a furnace.

The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. . . . The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon (Revelation 9:1,2,11).

Beast Arises

The beast, or antichrist, will arise out of the Abyss.

Now when they [the two witnesses] have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them (Revelation 11:7).

The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come (Revelation 17:8).

Satan Bound

The Abyss is where Satan will be bound for a thousand years.

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the Abyss and a great chain. and threw him [Satan] into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while (Revelation 20:1,3).

Satan is then judged after the thousand years and sent to his eternal destination - the lake of fire.


The abyss, or pit, is a place that is located in the heart of the earth. It is connected to the earth's surface by a shaft. It is used symbolically for the place of the dead as well as the abode of demons. The Abyss is also the place where the beast, or antichrist, arises. It is where Satan will be bound for a thousand years after Christ returns. Eventually he will be released from the Abyss and sent to the lake of fire.
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