In Revelation 9 we immediately read that an angel is given a key to the bottomless pit. This angel opened the bottomless pit and even more chaos is released on earth. However, this isn’t the last time we hear about this angel and the key. In Revelation 20 the angel with the key confines Satan to this bottomless pit so he is not able to deceive the world for a thousand years. Whether this is a literal thousand years or figuratively “a long time” I don’t know, but the ultimate point is that as of right now Satan is deceiving the world, but God will not allow it forever.
Revelation 9:1 Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.
Revelation 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
Whatever is released from the pit in Revelation 9 brings with torment; however, they are not given complete freedom. We see that they are given limited “power” and “authority”. If God did not keep them “on a leash” (so to speak) they would have killed and destroyed everyone and everything; however, that would not bring God the most glory. I think that God is most glorified here in allowing unrepentant people living in this period another opportunity to repent.
Whether the locusts coming out of the pit are literal as described, or figurative, does not change the fact that whatever is happening; people will be tormented to the point where they will wish to die, but will not be allowed to die. However, not everyone will experience this torment...remember a couple chapters ago where things were stopped long enough to seal the children of God? Those with the seal will not be touched. So we have a crazy scene of people being tormented and not allowed to die and believers are not touched...I'm sure the believers will be preaching Jesus to those in torment.
Revelation 9:3-21 Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 6 In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them. 7 The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. 8 They had hair like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. 9 And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. 10 They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months. 11 And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon. 12 One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things. 13 Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm. 20 But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
Isn't it interesting that this will be a glimpse of hell for the non-believer and they are given a chance to repent; however, once a person is in hell, their torment will never be relieved?