Revelation 20 is the last of 7 parallels. The same Satan that is “shut … up” in the abyss through Christ first advent is then released at the end, just prior to Christ’s return and final judgment. Revelation 9:1-3 correlates, saying, “I saw a star pipto (or) descend from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key (or authority) of the abussos (or) abyss. And he opened the abussos (or) abyss 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. 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.”
Originally Posted by Merton
This period in view refers to the third of seven parallels in Revelation and specifically covers the period preceding the return of Christ. The locusts symbolically represent the demonic host that are currently imprisoned in the abyss. Revelation 20:1-3 similarly states, “And I saw an angel come down (or descend – Strong’s 2597) from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.” We must carefully note a few things here, which most commentators seem to overlook. Firstly, this “star” descended “from heaven unto the earth.” Secondly, having settled on “the earth” the “star” gained direct rule and authority over the abyss. Regardless of one’s theological position, we must accept that the abyss (however we understand it) is located on earth. Saying this, if the aforementioned is true then it would lead us to the definite assumption that the abyss was specifically referring to the invisible realm and therefore represent a spiritual state or condition for the fallen angels rather than an actual physical place. The whole symbolism surrounding the abyss seems to identify it with the abode of the kingdom of darkness and a place of distinct evil, albeit a place that still witnesses arrivals and departures for the demonic realm, symbolically represented by such imagery as “locusts” and “scorpions.”
I believe the scorpions in Revelation are the demonic spirits that work under the influence of Satan. The same symbolism is used by Christ in Luke 10:19, where He says, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”I don’t think anyone would suggest that this is talking about physically walking over wicked people, no. It is speaking about walking spiritually over spiritual beings that are appointed to oppose the Church.
It is worth noting, Revelation 8:10-11 uses similar language, saying, “there pipto (or) descended 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; 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.”
Revelation 9:4-6 continues, “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. 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. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.”
The first thing we see is, whilst these devils are released from their place of restraint – the abyss – they are restricted on whom they can inflict harm. These devils are given scope to afflict the wicked, but significantly, have no power over the righteous (who have God’s seal in their forehead). The redeemed of God remain outside their area of injury, being under the seal of God and therefore under divine protection. They are “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13) “unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). This is God’s eternal stamp of ownership. It is “only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” that will be tormented. In fact they will be assaulted to such a degree at the end that that they will desire death rather than continue in their tormented state.
Verse 6 says, “in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” It seems that the anguish of the mind is so intense that death seems to be the only way out. It is the only release from the torture. Nothing illustrates the character of the kingdom of darkness more than the torment devils subject humans to. It seems that these demons haunt men to such a state that they lose even the desire to live. This correlates with the release of Satan from his tight restraint in the Abyss and the manifestation of his “little season” (Revelation 20 just prior to the end.
Verse 7-10 continues, “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. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. 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. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.”
These locusts are depicted as an army on the march. They are an army on a demonic and assignment. Their instruction is to torment and sting the inhabitants of the world although they are unable to touch the righteous.
Moreover, Revelation 9:11 tells us that this demonic pit “had a king over them, which is the angel of the abussos (or) abyss, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.”
In piecing the apocalyptic jigsaw together we find that this dark spiritual dungeon currently has a king over it. This gives us insight into the fact that the abyss must be speaking of a kingdom. Moreover, that kingdom is imprisoned in its own darkness. The fact that there is a king currently ruling tells us that the abyss must contain a kingdom. The word kingdom means ‘king with a domain’. Its meaning includes the territory and the people over whom the King rules and exercises sovereign authority. The term also includes the legislation and laws that administrate that kingdom. The word employed in the New Testament for ‘kingdom’ is the Greek word basileia denoting ‘sovereignty, royal power, kingship and dominion’. A kingdom must therefore have (1) a king – a head, (2) a domain to rule over – subjects and territory, (3) a structure of administration – ethics, rules and laws which govern it.
We all know, there are only two spiritual realms in conflict on this earth – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Whilst these two kingdoms manifest through physical individuals they are invisible empires. The kingdom being described which “the destroyer” rules over is assuredly not the kingdom of God. The elect angels are never located in the abyss but rather in heavenly splendour. Therefore, we must be speaking of the dark restrained invisible spiritual realm of the devil’s kingdom.
Who is this king (the destroyer) that currently reigns over “the bottomless pit” or abyss? It is Satan. There is no doubt that Abaddon / Apollyon are referring to someone within the demonic realm. This begs an instant question, who is the king that rules over that realm? Satan. Strong’s Concordance corroborates this viewpoint describing Apollyon (623) as “a destroyer (i.e. Satan).” Moreover, when we examine the root Greek word apollumi (Strong’s 622) we find it means “to destroy fully (reflexively, to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively.” The word is variously translated destroy, die, lose, mar, perish in the King James Version. There can be little doubt that Apollyon is referring to the devil. Time after time in Scripture we see Satan being described in such a destructive way. The name and characteristics of this being seem to identify him with that great enemy of the Church – the devil.
Sinner saved by grace