Revelation 9 Bible Study Questions and Answers: The King of the Bottomless Pit
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Revelation 9 Bible Study Questions and Answers
And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. 2 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. 3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. 6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.
7 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; 9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. 11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.
12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.
13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. 17 And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.
20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
Who is the “fallen star” in verse one?
I believe the “fallen star” is a reference to a fallen angel. As we know, at one point in the gospel records, Jesus said that he saw Satan “fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). This is very likely a reference to Isaiah 14 and what most scholars believe is a commentary by Isaiah on the fall of Satan and the rebellious angels who, along with him, were thrown out of heaven after trying to usurp God’s rulership of the universe. This reference by Jesus, along with several other important texts, paints the picture for us that “fallen stars” are a reference to fallen angels. This is supported by G.K. Beale, who makes a point in his commentary of saying that the term “fallen stars” is a description reserved “exclusively for fallen angels under the confinement of the archangels.”
Thus, I conclude that the “fallen star” of Revelation 9:1 is a reference to a fallen angel who is now being permitted to open the shaft of the bottomless pit where a number of other fallen, demonic angels have been kept imprisoned for thousands of years. More on that to come.
Could the “fallen star” be a reference to Satan himself? It could be, but the identity of the particular “fallen star” is not explicitly clear.
What is the bottomless pit (v.1)?
We know from elsewhere in Revelation and elsewhere in Scripture that the bottomless pit (it’s actually literally called “the abysss” – abussos in Greek [ἄβυσσος]) is a reference to the place where demons (fallen angels) are imprisoned. In Luke 8:30-31, Jesus is begged by a legion of demons not to send them “to the abyss,” aka the bottomless pit. The presumption is that they knew full well that Jesus had the authority to send them there and that if he did, they would be bound for an unknown amount of time (until the time for them to be released.)
This is also touched on by Jude, who tells us which demons are being kept in the bottomless pit and why. He also tells us when they will be released:
“And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.” Jude 6.
This is assuredly a reference to Genesis 5-6, and the fallen angels who “left their proper dwelling,” aka the spirit realm, and began producing offspring with human women. They have been kept in chains since the time of Noah’s flood, but will be released “when the judgment of the great day” commences.
This story is outlined extensively in 1 Enoch (although it originates in Genesis 5-6), which is quoted by Jude and referenced by John in the Book of Revelation. For more on this subject, see our Bible study questions on Revelation 8: https://www.thatyoumayknowhim.com/post/revelation-8-bible-study-questions-and-answers-the-prayers-of-the-saints-rise-to-god.
What do the fallen angels from the bottomless pit do once they’re released (verses 3-6)?
The fallen angels send locusts onto the earth (or they themselves come as locusts) who wreak havoc on its inhabitants. Unlike normal locusts, these demonically supercharged locusts do not harm plants and grass; they harm people. So much so that the people of the earth (all those who are not protected by God’s seal) long for death. (For more on those who are sealed with God’s seal, see our Bible study on Revelation 7: https://www.thatyoumayknowhim.com/post/revelation-7-1-17-bible-study-questions-and-answers-who-are-the-144-000.)
Is this a reference to literal locusts? I’m not sure, which is why I’m leaning toward “yes” and “no” at the same time (it could be both literal and figurative). I think it is very possible for stinging locusts to invade the earth, and I also think it’s possible for this to be a reference to some other type of invading, harmful, tormenting army. After all, the locusts are described as being like war horses, with crowns, human faces, human female hair, lion’s teeth, and iron breastplates. That description does not sound like any locust I’ve ever heard of, but then again, these locusts are special😊.
Who is “the king of the bottomless pit? The one called “Abaddon” and “Apollyon”?
Abaddon and Apollyon both mean the same thing, “destruction, place of destruction, or destroyer.” This is a reference to the fallen angel who has been tasked with overseeing all of his fellow fallen angels residing in the bottomless pit. Is this a reference to the same angel that we met in verse one? The fallen star? It could be. After all, they have a very similar job; one rules the angels of the bottomless pit, and the other is given the authority to let them out. However, I tend to think that these two beings are not synonymous.
What happens during the sixth trumpet?
The sixth trumpet brings yet another crazy turn of events. Four more imprisoned angels are released, those kept by the River Euphrates, and they usher in an invasion of mounted soldiers who kill one-third of the earth’s population. This appears to be a description of an invading army based on the number of mounted troops it features and on the fact that they’re riding on horseback and wearing breastplates. All of these images would, to a first-century mind, evoke the image of a literal army invading and killing the people of the land.
Only the sixth trumpet army also features characteristics that are not common to human armies at all. Horses with heads like lions that breathe fire, smoke, and sulfur make one think there is more going on here than simply an invading human army. We already know that this army is demonically charged and empowered. It is anyone’s guess as to what some of these figurative descriptions actually represent. Only time will tell.
What does Revelation 9 have to teach us today? What lessons and takeaways does the Holy Spirit have for us after studying this chapter?
One thing is for certain, during the 5th and 6th trumpet judgments, things on the earth will go from bad to worse. Many people on the earth will die and many others will be in torment. Still, they will not repent. If the 5th ad 6th trumpet judgments teach us anything, it’s this: it is vitally important for Christians to maintain a humble and contrite heart before God throughout the course of their lives on earth. During the worst time in human history, when pain and death will be at their worst and God’s judgment will be evident for the world to see, people will still be resisting God’s invitation to repent and be saved. How could this be?
A Christian does well to remember that without the encouraging power of the Holy Spirit, we ourselves could easily become so proud and hard-hearted that we, too, would refuse to accept God’s offer of forgiveness and deliverance. While it is true (thankfully!) that God’s people will be protected during the 5th and 6th trumpet judgments (v.4), we would be wise to prepare our hearts now for the torment and devastation that could very well be coming upon the earth during our lifetime. Even though many will refuse to repent, God’s people will be preserved in order to deliver the gospel message to those who are finally ready to receive it. We would do well to be ready to stand and deliver during a time of great hardship and destruction.
 While most scholars agree that both Luke 10:18 and Isaiah 14:12 are a reference to Satan being thrown out of heaven, there is a disparity as to when this event happened. Some believe it happened before the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, others believe it happened at the moment Jesus died on the cross (when he said “it is finished”), and others still say that it will happen one day in the future. I will expand more on this subject and the various views as we get further into the Book of Revelation.
 G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 491.
 I believe the angels “bound at the River Euphrates” is a reference to the angels who were responsible for influencing the third great human rebellion against God, that being the one that occurred at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). This event took place on the Plane of Shinar (Genesis 11:2) which is located on the Euphrates River.
Revelation 9 Bible Study Questions and Answers: The King of the Bottomless Pit