Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Abyss

In Proverbs 15:11 we read, "Hell and Destruction are before the Lord; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men." The writer is making a point about what God is able to see in us, but a closer word study reveals something even more amazing.

The word for "Hell" in the Hebrew language in this text is "Sheol." This was the grave, or the abode of the dead. Solomon is first pointing out that God's vision of us reaches even into the realm beyond the grave.

The word for "Destruction" here in the Hebrew language is "Abaddon." This is considered to be the darkest and most far reaching places of death. It is known as the place of destruction or, "the abyss." The root from which this word is derived literally means "to perish." Parallel passages include Job 26:6; 28:22; and in the book of Revelation this abyss is presented as a "bottomless pit."

In Revelation 9, the word is "abyssos." This is where we get the transliterated form, "abyss." The Greek word abyssos is a combination of the letter alpha, and the word "bythos," which means "the depths of the sea." This all adds up to present the abyss as one lexicon describes, "a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons."

During Christ's ministry, he encountered Legion, a conglomeration of demons which from multiple gospel accounts had entered and possessed at least two human souls. When Legion recognized the Son of God, "...they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss" (Luke 8:31). In Jesus' mercy he cast them instead into a herd of swine, which immediately ran off violently from a steep cliff and drowned in the sea.

Later Romans 10:6-7 say "But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, 'Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, " 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." This poses a very intriguing thought. Jesus, our Savior, was willing to go where demons begged not to! He went there for us, to remove sin and death forever. Jesus descended into the deepest realm of death, so that he could completely free us from our human bondage!

What a wonderful Savior we have!

"I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death." ~ Revelation 1:18

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jeremiah. This is a great post and your conclusion at the end is fantastic. Thank you for sharing this thought and reminder of just how great a sacrifice Christ made for us.