Who Is the Fearsome Abaddon in the End Times?
- Lisa Loraine Baker Contributing Writer
- 2021 21 Jul
Quick. Think of the scariest place you can. I define scary here as a location where you would never want to find yourself. For me, the scariest place is hell. God is not there. Why would I want to be? It’s the realm of fallen angels and its ruler is, of course, the devil, “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Some of his legions of evil angels (demons) yet to be released at a predetermined time (Revelation 9:15; 12:7-9)—dwell there (2 Peter 2:4). Its ruler? Apollyon (Abaddon personified) (pronounced Aba DOAN). Some scholars say one-third of all the fallen angels inhabit that place (Revelation 12:4, 12:9), and since the number of angels is innumerable (Hebrews 12:22), we know the devils command an immense horde of demons. The root verb of Abaddon, however, is intransitive rather than passive. It carries the idea of a state of continuous decay, actively in a ruinous state, rather than that of being ruined or being destroyed.
Who Is Abaddon in the Bible?
Abaddon is named seven different times in the Bible (Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12, Psalm 88:11, Proverbs 15:11; 27:20, and Revelation 9:11). Revelation describes Abaddon as a being—Satan himself—Apollyon, “the angel of the bottomless pit.” A place of destruction as described in the Old Testament is now described as a being of destruction, destroyer, which Satan is and his name reflects that. What would a being of destruction do but destroy? God does not give names lightly (Genesis 32:27-28, 1 Chronicles 21:1). The name, Satan, means adversary. There are two kinds of wrath for man, God’s (Romans 1:18), and Satan’s, which God allows him to unleash during what many biblical scholars call the Great Tribulation [the last three years of the Tribulation, which culminates in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:11-16)].
Revelation 9:11 gives us an introduction to Apollyon, the destroyer, (the personification of Abaddon, as we saw above), Abaddon, and to the abyss, the terrifying storehouse for fallen angels and the unbelieving dead. It’s worth a look at the verse which precedes the scene. “And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit (the abyss). The fifth angel is God’s; he is one of those who “stand before God” (Revelation 8:2). He is one of many who announce the coming wrath of the Almighty God via the seals, bowls, and trumpet judgments in Revelation.
Verse 9:11 says, “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.” It makes sense that Apollyon is indeed Satan. Because Satan’s pride rules him, why would he give other demons titles he himself would rather lay claim to. He is mighty in evil and every act is a lie.
Is There a Different Meaning for Abaddon in the Old Testament? What About Apollyon?
The Hebrew word, Abaddon, occurs six times in the Old Testament, and each meaning of Abaddon is destruction, a place Abaddon in Job 26:6, Proverbs 15:11 reveals (the hearts of men lie open before the Lord), and Proverbs 27:20 states Abaddon is never satisfied, always insatiable (1 Peter 5:8). Job 26:6 basically means there is nothing hidden from God, including Abaddon, which has no covering. As it is in Job 28:22, Abaddon and Death are no source for wisdom, as they “have heard a rumor of it with our ears.” Job 31:12 speaks to the depth of Abaddon, punctuating its description as the abyss. Psalm 88 is one of lament from one who thinks the Lord had left him to his troubles, and since he felt as if he were in the place of destruction (Abaddon), where none of God’s lovingkindness is not declared (Psalm 88:11). These references give us enough information to understand it’s not a good place, instead it is a place of darkness and ruination. Only God knows its full import and meaning. Trusting Him with what remains a mystery to us is part of living a faithful life.
Revelation 9:11 gives us a pointer to the difference between the two: Abaddon is the place, and Apollyon is the personification of the place. Apollyon has been described as one of Satan’s great “generals of death,” and in verse 11 he is called “the king of the bottomless pit,” but in essence, it is Satan himself. It makes sense the devil would command those of the netherworld (all with the permission of God (Job 1:6-12 and alluded to in Luke 22:31-32). He has been given the key to this abyss, and he will release the locust-like creatures of destruction. The book of Revelation gives us three scene locations: heaven, earth, and the abyss, and chapter nine includes all three.
Why Should Christians Know about Abaddon?
If a person is not a believer, he lacks the power of the Spirit for protection and discernment (Ephesians 4:27; 6:11) and can be swayed by the ministrations of the devil and even brought to ruin (1 Peter 5:8). In this world, there’s no getting around him. He tries to affect believers as best he can, but God is greater in us (1 John 4:4).
In contrast, we have a holy fear of God (awe, reverent respect, and submission), and our redemption has been bought by Him (John 3:16). We love Him, and He only does wondrous things (Psalm 72:18). A wise commentator states, as believers on earth, we are as close to hell as we will ever be. And unbelievers here on earth are as close to heaven as they will ever be. It’s a sobering fact and it’s one we would do well to remember as we witness to unsaved people.
It is our great responsibility to pray, study, and meditate upon the Scriptures, for in them we learn all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). God speaks to us through His Word, and we, with unveiled faces, will behold Christ as He changes us from one degree of glory to another into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Imagine standing before the Lord at the Bema Seat of Judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 16:27, Revelation 22:12). Our faith in Christ will be “on trial,” and all our deeds will be laid bare for all to see—and most importantly—for Christ to judge. What we do with this life God gave us is the here and now, and, as believers, we are to, “in our hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15). Included in our report will be how and when we shared (and did not share) the truth (John 14:6). Our sin will be one of omission if we have the opportunity to tell someone the good news of Jesus and instead, keep our mouths shut. To disappoint our Lord and then lose rewards (for faithfulness) is a scary thought. We cannot expect our godly lives to speak for us. We must use our mouths as the Lord equips us through His Spirit-written Bible.
Further, imagine what it will be like for unsaved loved ones to face the terrors wrought by Abaddon (Apollyon). It’s worse than any creative movie maker can conceive. Both scenarios (facing Christ at the Bema seat and envisioning our beloveds under the wiles of Apollyon) should drive us to get past our fears and share the good news, for what can man do to us (Hebrews 13:6)? We will all stand before him—all of us—one group to enter His rest (Hebrews 4:5) and another to condemnation God (John 3:16-17, Revelation 21:27; 22:14).
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/miwa_in_oz
Lisa Loraine Baker is the multiple award-winning author of Someplace to be Somebody. She writes fiction and nonfiction. In addition to writing for the Salem Web Network, Lisa serves as a Word Weavers’ mentor and is part of a critique group. She also is a member of BRRC. Lisa and her husband, Stephen, a pastor, live in a small Ohio village with their crazy cat, Lewis.
This article is part of our larger End Times Resource Library. Learn more about the rapture, the anti-christ, bible prophecy and the tribulation with articles that explain Biblical truths. You do not need to fear or worry about the future!
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