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Apollyon (top) battling Christian in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.

Abaddon (Hebrew: אֲבַדּוֹן‎, 'Ǎḇaddōn, Greek: Apollyon, Latin: Exterminans, Coptic: Abbaton, meaning "A place of destruction", "The Destroyer", "Depths of Hell") in the Revelation of St. John, is the king of tormenting locusts and the angel of the bottomless pit.[1] The exact nature of Abaddon is debated, but the Hebrew word is related to the triliteral root אבד (ABD), which in verb form means "to perish."[2]

In Judaism and Christianity

Biblical mentions

In the Hebrew scriptures, Abaddon comes to mean "place of destruction," or the realm of the dead, and is associated with Sheol (see, for instance, Job 26:6, Proverbs 15:11, Proverbs 27:20 and Psalm 88:3, among others).

The Christian scriptures contain the first known[3] depiction of Abaddon as an individual entity instead of a place. In St. John's Revelation 9:1-11, Abaddon is described as the king of the bottomless pit and of a plague of locusts that resemble war horses with crowned human faces and having women's hair, lions' teeth, locusts' wings, and the tail of a scorpion.

Other theological works

The text of the Thanksgiving Hymns—which was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls—tells of "the Sheol of Abaddon" and of the "torrents of Belial [that] burst into Abaddon". The Biblical Antiquities attributed to Philo mentions Abaddon as a place (sheol, hell), not as a spirit or demon or angel. In the 3rd century Acts of Thomas, Abaddon is the name of a demon, or the Devil himself. Abaddon has also been identified as the angel of death and destruction, demon of the abyss, and chief of demons of the underworld hierarchy, where he is equated with Samael or Satan. In magic, Abaddon is often identified with the Destroying Angel of the Apocalypse.[4]

Abaddon is also one of the compartments of Gehenna.[5] By extension, it can mean an underworld abode of lost souls, or hell. In some legends, it is identified as a realm where the damned lie in fire and snow, one of the places in Hell that Moses visited.[6]

In the lore of the Coptic Church, Abbaton is the name given to the angel of death. He is given particularly important roles in two sources, a homily entitled The Enthronment of Abbaton by Timothy of Alexandria, and the Apocalypse of Bartholomew.[7] In the homily by Timothy, Abbaton was first named Muriel, and had been given the task by God of collecting the earth which would be used in the creation of Adam. Upon completion of this task, the angel was then named to be guardian. Everybody, including the angels, demons, and corporeal entities, felt fear of him. Abbaton engaged in prayer and ultimately obtained the promise that any men who venerated him during their lifetime stood the chance of being saved. Abbaton is also said to have a prominent role in the Last Judgement, as the one who will take the souls to the Valley of Josaphat.[7] He is described in the Apocalypse of Bartholomew as being present in the Tomb of Jesus at the moment of his resurrection.[8]

Identifying Abaddon

The symbolism of Revelation 9:11 leaves the exact identification of Abaddon open for interpretation. Some bible scholars believe him to be the antichrist[9] or Satan.[10][11][12]

In the past Jehovah's Witnesses shared the idea that Abaddon was Satan.[13] Modern Jehovah's Witnesses take the contrasting view, believing that Abaddon is a name given to Jesus.[14][15]

Some theologians believe Abaddon to be just an angel. Concerning the angel holding the key to the bottomless pit from Revelation 9 and 20, Gustav Davidson, in A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels, writes:

In Revelation 20:2 he "laid hold of the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years". According to the foregoing, Apollion is a holy (good) angel, servant, and messenger of God; but in occult and, generally, in noncanonical writings, he is evil.[3]

See also

  • Abaddon in popular culture


Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Abaddon. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

  1. KJV, Rev. 9:1-11.
  2. See any Hebrew dictionary entry for Strong number 6; you can search for it using The Unbound Bible's lexicon search tool.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Davidson, Gustav (1994) [1967]. A Dictionary of Fallen Angels, Including the Fallen Angels. New York, NY: Macmillan, Inc.. ISBN 9780029070529. 
  4. Occultopedia article on Abaddon
  5. Metzger & Coogan (1993) Oxford Companion to the Bible, p3.
  6. The Legends of the Jews, volume II: From Joseph to Exodus, Lewis Ginzberg, 1909.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Atiya, Aziz S. The Coptic Encyclopedia. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1991. ISBN 002897025X
  8. Gospel of Bartholomew Featured as Abbaton
  9. Matthew Henry Commentary on Revelation 9, accessed 15 April 2007
  10. Jamieson, Robert; Fausset, A.R.; and Brown, David (2000-02-19). Commentary on Revelation 9. Blue Letter Bible. Retrieved on 2007-04-15 from
  11. Halley (2000) Halley's Bible Handbook with the New International Version, p936.
  12. MacDonald (1995) Believer's Bible Commentary, p2366.
  13. Charles Taze Russell’s Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 7, p. 159, 1917 edition
  14. Insight on the Scriptures Page 12
  15. Watchtower, Dec. 1, 1961, p. 719


  • Metzeger, Bruce M. (ed); Michael D. Coogan (ed) (1993). The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504645-5. 
  • Halley, Henry H.; James E. Ruark (ed) (2000). Halley's Bible Handbook. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. ISBN 0-310-22479-9. 
  • MacDonald, William; Art Farstad (ed) (1995). Believer's Bible Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers. ISBN 0-8407-1972-8. 

External links