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What the scriptures say about
ABYSS, PIT OF THE
Also Gehenna, Hell, Sheol, Valley of Hinnom

References:
Easton's Bible Dictionary | Smith's Bible Dictionary | International Standard Bible Encyclopedia | Thompson Chain Reference

ABYSS in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]   Site search: FreeFind

Select Cross Reference Bible links
Luke 8:31 (demons beg not to be sent to the abyss but instead into swine)
Revelation 9:1-11 (key to pit of the abyss; torment from unlocked pit; ruled by Abaddon aka Apollyon)
Revelation 11:7 (beast from),
Revelation 17:8 (beast returned to life),
Revelation 20:1-3 (key has been returned to heaven; angel binds the dragon serpent and seals him shut in the abyss for 1000 years)


PIT [Easton's Bible Dictionary]

[Pit (no reference to "Abyss")]

A hole in the ground (Exodus 21:33,34),
a cistern for water (Genesis 37:24; Jeremiah 14:3),
a vault (41:9),
a grave (Psalms 30:3).
It is used as a figure for mischief (Psalms 9:15),
and is the name given to the unseen place of woe (Revelation 20:1,3).
The slime-pits in the vale of Siddim were wells which yielded asphalt (Genesis 14:10).


HELL (Sheol) [Smith's Bible Dictionary]

[No "Abyss" and "Pit" refers to "Hell"]

In the Old Testament this is the word generally and unfortunately used by our translators to render the Hebrew Sheol. It really means the place of the dead, the unseen world, without deciding whether it be the place of misery or of happiness.

It is clear that in many passages of the Old Testament Sheol can only mean "the grave," and is rendered in the Authorized Version; see, for example, (Genesis 37:35; 42:38; 1 Samuel 2:6; Job 14:13)

In other passages, however, it seems to involve a notion of punishment, and is therefore rendered in the Authorized Version by the word "hell." But in many cases this translation misleads the reader.

In the New Testament "hell" is the translation of two words, Hades and Gehenna. The word Hades, like Sheol sometimes means merely "the grave," (Acts 2:31; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 20:13) or in general "the unseen world." It is in this sense that the creeds say of our Lord, "He went down into hell," meaning the state of the dead in general, without any restriction of happiness or misery.

Elsewhere in the New Testament Hades is used of a place of torment, (Matthew 11:23; Luke 16:23; 2 Peter 2:4) etc.; consequently it has been the prevalent, almost the universal, notion that Hades is an intermediate state between death and resurrection, divided into two parts one the abode of the blest and the other of the lost. It is used eleven times in the New Testament, and only once translated "grave." (1 Corinthians 15:55)

The word most frequently used (occurring twelve times) in the New Testament for the place of future punishment is Gehenna or Gehenna of fire. This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their destruction. [See HINNOM]


ABYSS [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia]

a-bis', (he abussos): In classical Greek the word is always an adjective, and is used
(1) literally, "very deep," "bottomless";
(2) figuratively, "unfathomable," "boundless."
"Abyss" does not occur in the King James Version but the Revised Version (British and American) so transliterates abussos in each case.

The King James Version renders the Greek by "the deep" in two passages (Luke 8:31; Romans 10:7).

In Revelation the King James Version renders by "the bottomless pit" (Revelation 9:1-2,11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1,3).

In the Septuagint abussos is the rendering of the Hebrew word tehom.

According to primitive Semitic cosmogony the earth was supposed to rest on a vast body of water which was the source of all springs of water and rivers (Genesis 1:2; Deuteronomy 8:7; Psalms 24:2; 136:6). This subterranean ocean is sometimes described as "the water under the earth" (Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 5:8). According to Job 41:32 tehom is the home of the leviathan in which he plows his hoary path of foam. The Septuagint never uses abussos as a rendering of sheol (= Sheol = Hades) and probably tehom never meant the "abode of the dead" which was the ordinary meaning of Sheol.

In Psalms 71:20 tehom is used figuratively, and denotes "many and sore troubles" through which the psalmist has passed (compare Jonah 2:5). But in the New Testament the word abussos means the "abode of demons." In Luke 8:31 the King James Version renders "into the deep" (Weymouth and The Twentieth Century New Testament = "into the bottomless pit"). The demons do not wish to be sent to their place of punishment before their destined time. Mark simply says "out of the country" (Luke 5:10).

In Romans 10:7 the word is equivalent to Hades, the abode of the dead.

In Revelation (where the King James Version renders invariably "the bottomless pit") abussos denotes the abode of evil spirits, but not the place of final punishment; it is therefore to be distinguished from the "lake of fire and brimstone" where the beast and the false prophet are, and into which the Devil is to be finally cast (Revelation 19:20; 20:10).

See also ASTRONOMY, I , sec. III, 7.

Thomas Lewis


PIT, The [Thompson Chain Reference]
Pit, The

    Job 33:18
    Psalms 28:1
    Psalms 30:9
    Psalms 88:4
    Psalms 143:7
    Isaiah 14:15
    Isaiah 38:17
    Ezekiel 26:20
    Ezekiel 32:18
    SEE Grave, The