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The Revelation
Revelation was taught by Dr. James Modlish

Chapter Nine

The Bottomless Pit



1. The Star (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 to the bottomless pit."

Notice, this star is a personality- "to him." (Going back to Revelation 1:20, we find that a star can be an angel.)

"Key of the bottomless pit" Some people say that it is a contradiction, a fairy story, a legend, or fiction. But it is not. A bottomless pit is a very simple arrangement. The Bible speaks of the devil being brought down to the "sides of the pit" as though there was a particular pit that had no bottom (Isa. 14:15). There is a pit which you could dig that would have no bottom to it; this pit would be shaped like a doughnut-hallow inside. The Bible would indicate that in the heart of this earth there is such a pit. (You will find it drawn out for you on geographic and geological maps, showing the core of the earth!) In this "bottomless pit", with the temperature well above 235 degrees centigrade, we have demoniac powers erupting in the Tribulation, to match those mentioned in (Rev. 6). When these demoniac powers come out, they come out of a pit which has no "bottom" to it; it is literally all "sides." The horror of living in such a place is almost unimaginable, when we realize that any pit in the heart of the earth would constantly be rotating with the rotation of the earth. Whosoever was in the pit would constantly be thrown up and down the sides as it turned!

2. The Smoke (9:2)

The smoke is not composed of the demonic creatures, for vs. 3 makes it clear that the creatures come out of the smoke. The underworld is a place of darkness and fire; it is here compared to a furnace, a great furnace! People who joke about hell little realize how ignorant they of its torments. This awful darkness reminds us of the plague in Egypt (Ex. 10:21-29) when the darkness could be felt. Satan is the prince of darkness. It is worth noting that this "bottomless pit" will produce the Beast one day (11:7, 17:8), and that the Devil will one day be cast into it (20:1-3).

3. The Scorpion-like Creatures (9:3-10)

Scorpions are native to the Holy Land, with some species growing to six inches in length. Their main weapon is the sting at the end of the tail, and they are used in the Bible as a symbol of painful judgment (Deut. 28:38, 42; 1 Kings 12:11-14). These hellish creatures from the smoke are also compared to the locust, since plagues of locust were common scourges in Israel (See Joel 2). That these are not literal locusts is clear from the warning in vs. 4 (See 8:7), and from the fact that they have a king (vs. 11, see Prov. 30:27). They are forbidden to torment the sealed Jews (7:1-3); and their time is limited to five months. Their purpose is to torment men, not to kill them. In fact, men will want to die and God will not permit it (see Jer. 8:3). The description of the appearance of the locusts adds to the horror of the judgment. It is likely that these are invisible demonic creatures, released from the pit to torment men. This judgment parallels the eighth plague of Egypt (Ex. 10:3-20). The fact that the creatures have characteristics from beasts (horses, vs. 7), men, and wild animals (vs. 8) suggests that Satan is imitating the heavenly living creatures of (4:7).

This is the first woe, and what a time of torture men will have to endure! How much better it is to know Christ today and escape the wrath to come! 


This is the second of three "woes" promised in (8:13). The voice comes from the altar of incense because of the prayers of the saints have gone up to God, asking Him to avenge their blood (6:9-11; 8:3). In (7:1) we saw four angels commanded to restrain; here we see four angels (undoubtedly fallen angels) commanded to be released. The Euphrates River has always been a notable place in history. It flowed from Eden, where history began; and it will figure in the events that will climax history (16.1 2ff). Babylon was situated on the Euphrates (Rev. 17-18). These four angels were prepared for "the hour, day, month, and year" on God's schedule; and it is their task to slay one-third of the people! In (6:8) we have one-fourth of the people slain, leaving three-fourths for the judgments to come; and if these angels destroy one-third, this means that by now one-half of the world's population has been slain!

Once released, these angels bring into battle armies of horsemen totaling 200 million soldiers! This Satanic calvary is not like any other army either in appearance or in the weapons they use. Fire and brimstone and smoke are their chief weapons; and they also have serpent like tails. This is not another description of the army in (1-12), since that army is forbidden to kill. This army is commissioned to slay one-third of the people. This is one way God will answer the prayers of the martyrs in (6:9-11).

One would think that multitudes of people would repent of their sins and turn to Christ; but such is not the case. Those who (in God's mercy) are spared only continue their awful sins! The goodness of God in sparing them did not lead them to repentance (Rom. 2:4-6); therefore, they will have to endure greater judgments in the days to come, and, ultimately, the lake of fire.

Verses 20-21 give us a vivid picture of what life will be like after the Church is taken to heaven. There will be widespread idolatry and we can already see this taking place! Of course, idol-worship is demon-worship (I Cor. 10:16 -22). Satan has always wanted worship (Matt. 4:8-10), and now he will receive it. Wherever you find idolatry you will find ignorance and immorality; and (vs. 21) tells us of the awful sins and crimes that will occur in those days. The word "sorceries" is pharmakia in the Greek, the root word for our English word "pharmacist" and "pharmaceutical". It means "having to do with drugs." This same word is translated "witchcraft" in (Gal. 5:20), and "sorcerers" in (21:8 and 22:15). See also 18:23. The fact that sorcerers used drugs and potions in their devilish deeds shows the connection between these words. The suggestion is that there will be a revival of witchcraft in the latter days, and an increase in the use of drugs. There are already several organizations of witches in the world, and spiritism is on the increase. As for the increase in the use of drugs, we need only examine our own medicine cabinets!

How does this chapter fit into the whole scheme of Revelation? It is likely that this huge army of 200 million horsemen appears just before the middle of the tribulation. The Beast is already the head of the revived Roman Empire, cooperating with the Roman Catholic Church and the United Nations. God permits Satan to muster this huge army, possibly from Russia. We do know from (Ezek. 38-39) that Russia will invade Palestine about the middle of the tribulation period. She will try to take over, but the Beast will deliver the Jews and fulfill his covenant that he made to protect them for seven years. Ezekiel makes it clear that God judges Russia and sends the army home in defeat. Once in the Holy Land, the Beast will break his covenant, move into the temple, and begin to assume worldwide powers. (Rev. 11:1-2) indicates that the Gentiles are in possession of the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.

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