“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”
The “bottomless pit”, is a special name given to “the Lake of Fire”, the place where God’s eternal wrath falls upon lost mankind. This title stands out because it is a title that is only used in the book of Revelation. Why would the “Lake of Fire” be described symbolically as “the Bottomless Pit”?
The Greek word from which we get the title “Bottomless Pit” is “abussos”, or transliterated,
“the abyss”. It literally means “the depthless shaft” or “the deep” which described in the New Testament times, the unmeasurable depths of the sea.
What can we learn about the place of eternal torment from this title?
- It is bottomless, in the sense it can never be filled up. It will be able to hold all of lost mankind. This is why it is described in Provs 27:20, as being never “satisfied”
- It is very deep, it cannot be measured, we can never come to understand all there is to know about this horrible place of punishment. His wrath extends beyond our understanding. This is why His judgments are described as “a great deep” in Psalms 36:6
- There is no security, strength, or foundation that can be found in the Lake of Fire. The symbolism is someone who can never find firm footing but is eternally falling out of their control. This is explained for us in Prov 10:25, where the lost are pictured as swept up in a “whirlwind” while the righteous are “an everlasting foundation”.
These are three basic, eternal, truths we can see in the title “bottomless pit”.
Let’s take a look at all the references where this title is used:
(Rev 9:1-2, 11) – This text teaches us that “the star”, Christ, holds the absolute, sovereign, authority over the powers of darkness. These powers of darkness are said to proceed out of the bottomless pit helping us to understand that they, like all the inhabitants of the pit, are deserving of God’s judgments and willfully oppose Christ and His work.
(Rev 11:7) – Here, the powers of the earthly governments are described as coming from the pit and martyring God’s people. Their proceeding from the pit, once again, describes their willful rebellion and deserving of God’s wrath. They are seen as coming from the place where all sinful beings will dwell for an eternity in torments.
(Rev 17:8) – This same beast, symbolizing the earthly governments, is seen as both preceding from (“the bottomless pit”) and being assigned to eternal wrath (“perdition”, or damnation, destruction).
(Rev 20:1-3) – In this final section of Scripture, we see Satan, himself, bound and cast into the bottomless pit to face God’s wrath. He will be released following the first stage of eternity, the 1000 year reign, to face judgment and then be assigned to face God’s wrath for an eternity.
(Please notice that the title “bottomless pit” not only describes the wicked’s eternal state, but also in many cases, their origin. We all know that Satan, the fallen angels (demons), the political powers of the world and lost mankind all find their origin in God, who is the Creator of all.
However, these sinful characters can also be said to originate from the “bottomless pit” in the sense that they are a part of all creation that have rebelled against All-mighty God, actively oppose His workings in the world, and are destined to face His eternal wrath. In that sense the “bottomless pit” has given birth to all of them.)
May we all make certain that our birthplace and citizenship is in heaven (Eph 2:19-20) and that our origin is not found in the bottomless pit….
2Pe 1:10-11 – “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: