12/18/17 Key to the Abyss

READING: Obadiah 1, Revelation 9

“The key to the shaft of the abyss was given to him.”

Revelation 9:2

God is in control of history. That truth is difficult to understand when we see the evil that has marked history, but a God who is not in control is not God at all. Somehow, He reigns in sovereignty now as evil reverberates through the world, and He will reign in sovereignty when evil is ultimately conquered.

Revelation 9 paints some of that picture. In a dramatic picture of judgment, an angel (likely, a fallen angel, perhaps even Satan himself) is given “the key to the shaft of the abyss” (Rev. 9:2)—a bottomless pit that is a place of judgment for demons. The angel opened the pit, and something like a swarm of locusts with scorpion-like stings brought painful judgment on those opposed to God. The judgment would last five months, the length of time that locusts lived but more likely an indication that the judgment would not last forever.

It is not insignificant that the evil angel did not possess the key on his own. Instead, God gave him the key for a brief time. The demonic forces released from the abyss also would operate only as long as God allowed them to do so, and they could attack only those “who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads” (Rev. 9:4). In fact, they “were told” in what way they would be God’s instruments of judgment. By their very nature, Satan and demons would destroy everything in their path—but God would not allow them to do so. The instruments of judgment would soon become the judged themselves.


  • No matter what evil the world faces today, trust that God is in control.
  • Thank God that He does put a leash on Satan, even if that leash is longer than we can comprehend.

PRAYER: “God, I want to trust You. Help me when I struggle with unbelief.” 

TOMORROW’S READING:  Jonah 1-4, Revelation 10