Where Did “The Pit” of Revelation 20 Come from?

Psalms and Revelation as companions

Many are not aware of how much of the contours of the Book of Revelation are found in the book of Psalms. Slain sheep, nations fighting God, the question “How Long?”, mountains cast into the sea, trees cut down, hailstones, lightning, the nation’s being conquered, the serpent being crushed, the Hallelujah’s, God judging according to works, a mighty warrior and His beautiful bride (Ps 45), the City with streams (Ps 46:4), trees yielding fruit in season (Ps 1:3), God’s presence in the City (Ps 46:5), He shall reign for ever & ever (Ps 146:10) & more.

Considering all this it is not surprising that the idea of “the pit” is not original with the book of Revelation. In fact the pit is a significant theme in the book of Psalms.

What is the conception of “the pit” in the Psalms?

Here is a quick review of “the pit” from Psalms.

  • Ps 7:15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
  • Ps 9:15 The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
  • Ps 57:6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
  • Ps 35:8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
  • Ps 141:9 Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the gins of the workers of iniquity. Ps 141:10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst that I withal escape.

A repeated idea in the Psalms is that “Those against God shall fall into “the pit” that they have made.”

Is Psalms unique in emphasizing this theme?

Where else do we see this concept through out the Bible?

  • Pharoah died by his own action of riding into the sea (Ps 136:15)
  • Goliath’s own sword slew & beheaded him (1Sam 17:51)
  • Hamaan was impaled on the pole he himself had setup (Est7:10)
  • Legion asks to go into the “abyss” (Lk 8:31)

It seems the idea of being destroyed by their own actions is not unique to Psalms.

The Righteous & Pits

It is interesting to notice the righteous and their opposite relationship to “pits” emphasized in key characters in the Bible.

  • Joseph (Ge 32:24)
  • Jonah (Jonah 2:3)
  • David (Ps 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit…”)
  • Daniel (Daniel 6)
  • Jesus (Rom 10:7)

The introduction to the Gospel in Luke 4:18 is that Jesus delivers from the binding darkness.

Some Concluding Thoughts

  • Satan may have been working to make “Hell & Death” trap humans, but it is the Serpent, Satan, The Devil who gets thrown into it. (Re 20:2,3)
  •  Satan’s attempt to have Death swallow Jesus, ended in Jesus conquering it & getting its Key  (Re 1:18; Rev 20:1)
  • Jesus observed Satan falling from heaven (Luke 10:18) during his life on earth. Jesus noted: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (Joh 12:31)
  • The Serpent “cast out” and “cast down” in Revelation 12:9,10 very much seems to parallel the images of Luke 10:18 and John 12:31
  •  Evil spirits “cast down” & “bound in chains” is not unique to Revelation (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6) and is considered by NT writers a present reality.


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