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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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Term for the (Genesis 7:11 ) of the Old Testament, used in the apocalyptic, New Testament, and cabalistic literature for the place of punishment of the wicked hell the abode of certain demons. As such the Abyss of Fire is mentioned in the Book of Enoch (xviii:11-16,19 21:1-6 xc. 21-25) as the prison-house of impure angels (compare Luke 8:31 Revelation 9:1 11: the seat of the dragon 20:3, where "Satan is cast into the abyss, shut up and a seal set upon him"). According to the Prayer of Manasseh, verse 3, the Lord has closed and sealed up the Abyss by His awful and mystic name. There was a place beneath the altar of the Temple at Jerusalem believed to lead down to the very Abyss of the world, the foundation-stone of the earth being placed there (Suk. 49 a , 53a see Targ. Yer. Exodus 28:30 , and Zohar, 3:61). In the cosmography of the rabbis (Midr. Konen) the Abyss forms part of Gehenna it is beneath the ocean, and consists of three, or seven, departments, one above the other. In the Cabala the opening of the great Abyss in the lower world, sealed with the seal that bears the Holy Name, plays a great rô le as the seat of the evil spirits, and with it corresponds the opening of the great Abyss in the upper world as a cosmogonic element. See Gehinnom Sheol .


The Acacia.
1. Flowering branch. 2. Seed-pod.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Abyss'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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