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The fifth angel

sounded his trumpet

and I saw a star

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having fallen from heaven to the earth;

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it was given the key of

the pit of the abyss.

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The fifth agent of God presented his message of warning and I saw a mighty one that had lost favor, had been removed from his high place and sent to a low place, and was given the power to rule over the prison of the dead and the abode of demons.


1: “a star”

Of the various options available, a deity seems to fit best here.


The meaning of “fallen:” There is a significant difference between a being that is coming down from heaven and one that has fallen from heaven. “Fallen” is similar in some ways to being “cast out.” It implies that something was done which causes a loss of favor and status. This points to when Satan was removed from heaven because of his pride. Another indicator that Satan is intended here is the name of the king over the hordes that come out of the pit: “Destroyer.”

3: "Abyss"

A “pit” was sometimes used as a prison, which fits better than the kind of pit used to entrap wild animals. The Abyss was characterized by death rather than life, and was the abode of the demons.

The Key of the Pit of the Abyss

When Satan was cast from heaven, he was given a place over which he could rule. The fact that God gave Satan the key to something shows that God has more power than Satan, and Satan can act only within the confines of what God has given him. The giving of this key was a limiting act, it defined the realm over which Satan has authority, and that realm is not the earth. The earth is the battleground over which God and Satan are fighting as they strive to gain the allegiance of all men.

Three verses in the Gospel of John refer to Satan as the “prince of this world.” That indicates that he has more power than we do; but being Prince is different than being the King. Satan hopes to have all power someday, but he does not have that kind of power now. God is far more powerful than he is. Ephesians 2:2 calls Satan the “ruler of the air.” That is a way of saying that he has powers that are above and beyond the powers of men; but “the air” is different than “the heavens.” The air was seen as misty, cloudy, sometimes even dark.  It is a realm we cannot control, but it is below the heavens. For this reason, the “ruler of the air” is a description of a super-human power that is not pure and godly, but evil. Satan has some power in the supernatural realm, but it is nowhere near God’s power. We should have a healthy respect for Satan, but we should not fear him.