Friday, November 11, 2011

THE BOTTOMLESS PIT




Revelation 9:1
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.

Revelation 9:2
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.

Here in Revelation 9:1-2 the words “Bottomless Pit” are mentioned for the first time in the Bible.

We cannot understand this chapter unless we first have a good understanding of that concept, “the Bottomless Pit”.

Let us first ask the question:



Was Satan Ever Locked Up? (Luke 11:21-22, Colossians 2:15, Hebrews 2:14, John 12:31, 2 Peter 2:4)

Ever since the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden Satan dominated this world. The Lord Jesus called Satan “a strong man”.

When Jesus said that He will overcome Satan, what did He mean?

Jesus referred to His crucifixion as the time when He will overcome Satan, and He will rob the house of Satan. We read in Luke 11:21-22,

Luke 11:21
When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace:

Luke 11:22
But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, He taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

All the spiritual armor that Satan trusted in would be removed and the Lord Jesus would take from Satan all those individuals whom He intended to save. Satan and all his fallen angels would not be able to frustrate God’s plans. All those whom God wishes to save will be saved.

And is this not what we also read in the Epistle to the Colossians?

Colossians 2:15
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Past tense!

When we read verses in the Bible which state that at the cross Satan was defeated, we find that they often state it in the past tense.

Satan’s defeat is stated in various ways.

In Luke 11 Satan will be overcome.

In Colossians 2:15 Christ is triumphant over him.

In Hebrews 2:14 Satan was destroyed at the cross.

This tells us that when we see the word “destroy” in the Bible it does not mean annihilate or incinerate. When the Lord Jesus spoke of His impending crucifixion and resurrection, He also spoke of casting out Satan. We read in John 12:31, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out”.

If Satan is overcome, and defeated, and destroyed, and cast out, all at the time of the cross, we need to ask:

He was cast out from where to where?

In 2nd Peter 2:4 God says that He has cast Satan down to Hell, and God has bound Satan with chains of darkness.

2 Peter 2:4
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;

These angels that sinned were formerly in heaven. This strongly suggests that Satan and his fallen angels were cast out of heaven and cast into Hell. Let us see how we can understand that.



Where Was Satan Before He Was Cast Out? (Romans 9:20, Job 1:6-7, Luke 10:17-18, Revelation 12:7, Revelation 12:10)

Job was a just and upright man. God loved Job, but Satan believed that he could corrupt Job and draw him away from God. And so the contest began, which cost Job a great deal of suffering. For 31 chapters long Job asked himself why God did this to him. But in the end God’s answer was very much like what we read in Romans 9:20, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” God does not need to justify His actions to mortal man. Here in Job 1:6-7 we read:

Job 1:6
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

Job 1:7
And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

In other words, throughout the Old Testament time Satan was free to go in and out of heaven whenever he wanted.

But did this situation continue?

No!

In Luke 10:18 the Lord Jesus spoke about the casting out of Satan as if it had already happened, because His work at the cross was sure to come and thus Satan’s defeat was already a certainty. We read in Luke 10:17-18, “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven”.

Let us now focus on this event.

Here in Revelation 12 we read about a war in heaven. We should not try to imagine what this war looked like, since this is a spiritual war. But it is certain that in the Old Testament time Satan was in heaven. We read in Revelation 12:7, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.”

When was this war going on?

This was not a war that was fought before the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, because Satan was still able to go in and out of heaven, according to Job 1:7. This is not a war that will be fought at the end of time, because in Revelation 12:13 Satan is continuing to persecute the woman on this earth. The only possibility is that this was a spiritual war that was fought all throughout the Old Testament time. It began immediately after the death of Abel, and it ended with the glorious victory of Christ in His completed work and His exaltation at the right hand of the Father.

What was this spiritual battle about?

It was for the possession of the souls who had already entered into glory when Christ had not yet come to atone for their sins and Christ had not yet crushed the head of Satan. But then we read in verse 10,

Revelation 12:10
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

In heaven Satan continually accused the Old Testament saints before the throne of God that they must be in Hell for their sins. Satan was the accuser of our brethren. But when Christ completed His atonement for their sins Satan’s armor wherein he trusted was taken from him, and he was cast out of heaven.



Where Was Satan Cast Down to? (Revelation 12:9, 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6, Revelation 20:1-3)

Revelation 12:9
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

This verse says that the Devil was cast down to the earth.

Here in 2 Peter 2:4 God says that He has cast Satan down to Hell.

2 Peter 2:4
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;

The word Hell in 2 Peter 2:4 is not the Greek word that that is usually used for Hell, but it is the Greek word “Tartarus”.

And where is Tartarus?

Revelation 12:9 says that it is on this earth.

It is significant, though, that these spirits were delivered to Tartarus “in chains of darkness”.

What does this mean?

The word darkness in the Bible indicates “no understanding”. Satan and his fallen angels, or demons, were cast to Tartarus, on this earth, and without wanting to speculate too much, we believe they were struck with little or no understanding how to frustrate the plans of God. It is significant that this is repeated in Jude 1:6.

Jude 1:6
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.

The angels who kept not their first assignment, but joined Satan in his rebellion, God has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, reserved unto Judgment Day, at which time they will be cast into Hell, the real Hell. And so, we come to the conclusion that the fallen angels are cast onto this earth, but they are held on this earth in chains of darkness, in chains of no understanding how to frustrate the plans of God.

In the first three verses of Revelation 20 God summarizes events spanning about 2000 years.

Revelation 20:1
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

Revelation 20:2
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

Revelation 20:3
And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Who is the angel who has the key of the bottomless pit?

In Revelation 1:18 the Lord Jesus says, “I have the keys of Hell and of death”. This Angel, or better translated "Messenger", can only be Christ. And it was Christ who bound Satan when He atoned for sins of His people at the cross. And because Satan was bound, Christ could plunder his house.

For how long was Satan bound?

He was bound for a long time, which symbolically is given here as a 1000 years. This cannot be a literal 1000 years because we are already about 2000 years after the cross. At the cross Christ cast Satan into “the bottomless pit”; there is that word again. And for all that long period of time Satan was spiritually bound in order “that he should deceive the nations no more”.

It does not say that Satan could no more deceive individuals, but that he could no more deceive the "nations".

At the end of the long period of time, symbolized by the 1000 years, Satan will be loosed from his spiritual chains of darkness, and he will be again as powerful as he has been before Christ came and bound him. And the fraction of true believers will again be as small as it was before Christ went to the cross.

That is scary!



Why Was Satan Cast Out? (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 14:12-14, Ezekiel 18:4, Romans 6:23, Revelation 12:11)

Satan became the enemy of the human race and Satan became the enemy of God. Satan was cast out of heaven because God promised to crush the head of Satan way back in the Garden of Eden, and to cut down his rulership on the earth.

Genesis 3:15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.

By tempting Eve and Adam into sin Satan had temporarily won the battle for the rulership of the earth and for the enslavement of mankind. Now mankind was worshipping him. This he wanted all along. God disclosed to us Satan’s intentions in the prophecy of Isaiah 14:12-14,

Isaiah 14:12
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Isaiah 14:13
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

Isaiah 14:14
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

This was Satan’s ultimate desire; to be worshipped like God. And therefore he committed the perfect crime, by tempting Eve and then Adam into sin. On the one hand that was a very clever plan, but on the other hand it was not smart of him to think that he could be wiser than God.

And Satan did not figure on the wrath of God on every sinner. God says in Ezekiel 18:4, “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die”. In the New Testament God says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death”. And the death that God has in view is not annihilation, but it is the second death of spending an eternity in the Lake of Fire.

But HOW was Satan cast out of heaven?

Revelation 12:11
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

This is HOW they overcame Satan: By the blood of the Lamb. When Christ had atoned for the sins of all the Old Testament saints it had become plain, so plain that even the Devil cannot contradict it that all the Old Testament saints had a right to glory on the basis of Christ’s atonement of their sins and guilt. And now it is plain to everyone in heaven that the New Testament saints are also included in the atonement of Christ. Therefore the conflict must end here. The Devil is defeated. He cannot continue.

And how is Satan continually defeated on this earth also?

We read here: “By the word of their testimony”.

When the Gospel is preached, and people are converted in their souls, the Devil’s plans for these individuals are frustrated.



What Was the Result From Casting Him Out? (Revelation 12:10, Romans 10:17, Acts 2:41, Acts 2:47, Revelation 20:3)

Revelation 12:10
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Now has come salvation for all those for whom Christ suffered and died. The Devil has no power to hinder the salvation of all those people. God the Holy Spirit causes the Gospel to be heard by all those for whom Christ suffered and died, and God the Holy Spirit makes them “Born Again”, or “Born from Above”. They in turn bring the Gospel to others who will be converted, and so on. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

And this is how the Kingdom of God is established on this earth. This is how the church gains strength, by preaching the Gospel. Not just by talking about it, but by actually doing it. This is how the accuser of our brethren is cast down. When the Apostle Peter preached one sermon at Pentecost, about 3000 souls were saved. We read in Acts 2:41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls”.

And not long thereafter we read in Acts 2:47, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved”. Those who should be saved were saved. God’s elective program and God’s irresistible grace were mightily at work in those days. These are the manifestations of the power of Christ. It was because Satan was bound. Satan could not frustrate the furtherance of the Gospel, and Satan could not frustrate the building of God’s Kingdom on this earth.

So when we read the words: “And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” (Revelation 20:3, we understand that Satan was cast to the earth, but had no power to prevent people from becoming saved. Whatever persecution Satan tried to stamp out the Christians and the Gospel, it did not work. He tried to throw them to the lions, burn them at the stake, torture them in prisons, and so on, but the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church. Saints were going to heaven in droves.



If Satan Is Now Bound, How does He Still Rule this World? (1 Peter 5:8, Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 6:12)

If Satan is now bound and in Hell, how is it that he can still roam around in this world?

He is here with us!

Perhaps you remember that we find in the first Epistle of Peter, 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”.

The Devil is seeking whom he can deceive. But God has His protective shield around everyone of His elect. They may be deceived for a while, but when they have become Born Again they can no longer be deceived. And so, the Devil is here on this earth with us.

If Satan and his angels have been cast out of heaven, and they have been cast into Tartarus, and they have been cast on this earth, and they have been cast into the “Bottomless Pit”, and they have been bound with chains of darkness, but nevertheless they are still able to roam around and deceive those who have not the seal of God in their foreheads, what does that tell us about the location of the Bottomless Pit?

Of course, the Bottomless Pit is here, on this sin cursed earth. This earth is a round sphere, but in God’s terminology it is a Bottomless Pit. You may believe that this earth is beautiful, and that it is worth saving, but God does not share your opinion. God will destroy this earth because it has been contaminated with sin, and God calls it a Bottomless Pit. Presently we may admire the lilies of the field, and we may admire God’s handiwork in all that He created on this earth, but all that is just a manifestation of the wisdom and power of Christ who created it all. The fact is that in the midst of all the beauty that we can see with our eyes, lies hidden the evil spirits that were angels at one time, and whom we cannot see with our eyes. Thanks be to God that He has given us His Word wherein we can read and understand the true situation that this world is in. God says in Ephesians 2:2,

Ephesians 2:2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

It means that everyone of us that was born in this world, was actually born in The Bottomless Pit where Satan rules. Everyone of us was at one time a slave of Satan, because we were born in his kingdom. Just like the children of Israel at one time were slaves in Egypt, and were born as slaves in the Egyptian kingdom, and were unable to wrest themselves out of their enslavement, so the entire human race was born in the Bottomless Pit, and is unable to climb out of the Bottomless Pit by their own strength, because it is a Bottomless Pit. It is a Pit without walls and with an infinite depth, out of which no one can climb, not even Satan. But God, who is rich in mercy, even when we were dead in trespasses and sins, has made us alive to Him, even while we are living in the midst of death around us here in the Bottomless Pit.

And it is here, in the Bottomless Pit where we are called to serve God by letting our light so shine before men, in the darkness of the Bottomless Pit, that men may see our good work and glorify our Father which is in heaven. Here in the pitch-dark blackness of this kingdom of Satan we must function as little lights here and there, and in this way be the soldiers of Christ who will rob the house of Satan.

And be not afraid, for we have Christ’s armor.

Ephesians 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.



What Does It Mean to Be in the Bottomless Pit? (Ephesians 2:1-3, John 8:43-44, Romans 3:10-12)

What reminder does God have for His saints, His elect?

God says to us in Ephesians 2:1-3,

Ephesians 2:1
And you (hath he quickened), who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:3
Among whom also we ALL had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Paraphrased, God says, “Remember that at one time you all were under “the prince of the power of the air”, Satan, who presently still is at work in the children of disobedience. But you all had your conduct among them, and you were happily fulfilling your desires of the flesh and of your carnal mind, so much so that you were by nature children of the wrath of God, even as others who never become saved”.

This is what it means to be in the Bottomless Pit. But God had mercy upon us.

What reminder does God have for those who are not elect, those who scoff at the words of the Bible, those who ignore the commandments of God, those who live entirely for themselves, those who know not God, those who turn a deaf ear to the words from God brought to them by evangelists?

The Lord Jesus says to them,

John 8:43
Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

John 8:44
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Clearly, from verse 43 we see that election is in view. Those who have not been elected unto salvation are not able to understand the words that Jesus spoke. Those who have not been elected unto salvation have the Devil as their father. And then Jesus said: “Satan was a murderer from the beginning”.

Where in the Bible do we see Satan commit a murder?

He probably instigated Cain to murder his brother Abel. But this was Cain’s sin, not Satan’s sin. Besides, this happened many years after Adam and Eve were tempted into sin. The Lord Jesus said, “Satan was a murderer from the beginning”.

The beginning was when he tempted Eve and then Adam to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Was this a murder?

We would call this a lie, but God says that it is a murder. Satan caused the spiritual death of Adam and Eve. This is the reason why the whole human race came into the world dead to God and in rebellion to God. But let us not pass the buck to Adam, for we would not have done better than Adam. Adam was righteous to begin with, and we are not. And so:

Romans 3:10
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 3:11
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Romans 3:12
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.



Is There a Hell Now, or Is Hell Created Later? (Matthew 12:40, John 3:36, Romans 1:18, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, Hosea 4:6, Revelation 20:15)

What is Hell?

Hell is to be under the wrath of God. There are presently many people who are under the wrath of God, but they are not in a flame of fire. Thus we have to make a distinction:

A. Hell now is a condition.

1st example:

The Lord Jesus was under the wrath of God. We read in:

Matthew 12:40
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The prophet Jonah prayed these words, “Out of the belly of Hell cried I, and Thou heardest my voice”. The atonement of the Lord Jesus took three days and three nights.

2nd example:

People who do not believe on the Lord Jesus are already under the wrath of God. We read in John 3:36,

John 3:36
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Thus, those who will remain unbelievers are under the wrath of God right now. God does not love them, and if they die in this condition there will be a real Hell to pay.

A 3rd example is shown in Romans 1:18,

Romans 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.

The wrath of God is revealed right now: God gave them up to vile affections, and God gave them over to a reprobate mind. God does not plan to save them, because God gave them up. When people are so addicted to their sin that they refuse to give it up, that is already a manifestation of the wrath of God . And so, Hell now is a condition of being under the wrath of God.

B. Hell later is a place.

We learn about this place through many warnings the Lord Jesus uttered to warn us from the consequences of sin. The wages of sin is death, and the death that God has in view is to spend an eternity in Hell, where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. God says in 2nd Thessalonians:

2 Thessalonians 1:7
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

2 Thessalonians 1:8
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Thessalnians 1:9
Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

God is taking vengeance on them that know not God. In our eyes, they may be very nice, law abiding citizens, but if they do not know God it is a certainty that they will end up in Hell. The clearest words that speak about Hell as a future place are found in Revelation 20:15, where God says, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”. And thus we can see that Satan is not now in a place called Hell, but he is in the Bottomless Pit under the wrath of God.



Is There a Way Out of the Bottomless Pit? (Matthew 16:18, Colossians 1:13, Ephesians 4:7-8)

For Satan and his fallen angels there is no way out. Their doom is sure. For mankind there is a way out, and that way out is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. This call to salvation goes out to all the world.

But who will believe?

The only ones who will believe are those whom the Father has chosen from before the foundation of the world and who were in Christ when He atoned for their sins. And to them the Lord Jesus says in Mathew 16:18,

Matthew 16:18
...I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

What does it mean that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the building of Christ’s church?

It means that the elect of God initially are born in a state of rebellion against God, but the gates of Hell, or the gates of the Bottomless Pit, are not able to hold them back, but they will be drawn by God past the gates of Hell, into the Kingdom of His dear Son. That is why we read in Colossians 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son”. The mercy and the grace of God, and the love of Christ will accomplish this.

Who will escape from the Bottomless Pit?

Only those on whom the grace of God is poured out. And then we read in Ephesians 4:7,

Ephesians 4:7
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Ephesians 4:8
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

Do you see who “US” are?

Everyone of US are those on whom grace is given.

How much grace is given?

According to the measure of the gift of Christ, and that is infinite. Christ gave the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. Christ gave everything He had. And when He ascended up into heaven He led captivity captive, which means He provided for the souls of those who were held captive in the Bottomless Pit to be led out of the Bottomless Pit and into heaven. This is what Christ accomplished in His atonement.

How can anyone claim that they have come to Jesus by their own free will?

They do not understand the meaning of the Bottomless Pit.

AMEN.

By Alfred J. Chompff

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