John writes, “Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him” (Rev. 9:1). Does this refer to Satan?
The Bible characterizes Satan as a “fallen angel.” Jesus said that he had watched Satan “fall from heaven like lightning” (Lk. 10:18). Revelation 12:7-9 explains that Michael—the archangel—threw Satan down from heaven. However, Bible readers are often confused as to when this event happened.
If you look closely at the grammar, you’ll notice that in chapter 9, John writes, “I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth” (Rev. 9:1). In other words, John didn’t watch the angel fall from heaven; he already had fallen from heaven. Thus the fall of Satan could have been in the distant past. What is different here is the detail that Satan was given the key to the abyss, which is no doubt a maximum security prison for fallen angels (c.f. 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). This is, no doubt, why the demons that Jesus confronted begged not to go to this special prison (Lk. 8:31). Here, at the end of human history, this prison is being opened back up, which is frightening to consider.