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Abad′don (Ἀβαδδών, for Heb. אֲבַדּוֹן, destruction, i.e., the destroyer, as it is immediately explained by Ἀπολλύων, Apollyon), the name ascribed to the ruling spirit of Tartarus, or the angel of death, described (Rev. 9:11) as the king and chief of the Apocalyptic locusts under the fifth trumpet, and as the angel of the abyss or “bottomless pit” (see Critica Biblica, ii, 445). In the Bible, the word abaddon means destruction (Job. 31:12), or the place of destruction, i.e., the subterranean world, Hades, the region of the dead (Job 26:6; 28:22; Prov. 15:11). It is, in fact, the second of the seven names which the Rabbins apply to that region; and they deduce it particularly from Psa. 88:11, “Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in (abaddon) destruction?” See Hades. Hence, they have made Abaddon the nethermost of the two regions into which they divided the under world. But that in Rev. 9:11 Abaddon is the angel, and not the abyss, is perfectly evident in the Greek. There is a general connection with the destroyer (q. v.) alluded to in 1 Chron. 21:15; but the explanation, quoted by Bengel, that the name is given in Hebrew and Greek, to show that the locusts would be destructive alike to Jew and Gentile, is far-fetched and unnecessary. The popular interpretation of the Apocalypse, which finds in the symbols of that prophecy the details of national history in later ages, has usually regarded Abaddon as a symbol of Mohammed dealing destruction at the head of the Saracenic hordes (Elliott’s Horæ Apocalypticæ, i, 410). It may well be doubted, however, whether this symbol is anything more than a new and vivid figure of the same moral convulsions elsewhere typified in various ways in the Revelation, namely, those that attended the breaking down of Judaism and paganism, and the general establishment of Christianity (see Stuart’s Comment. in loc.). The etymology of Asmodæus, the king of the dæmons in Jewish mythology, seems to point to a connection with Apollyon in his character as “the destroyer,” or the destroying angel. Compare Ecclus. 18:22, 25.
The name Ἀπολλύων (Apollyōn) comes from ἀπόλλυμι (apollymi) which means “I destroy.” So the Greek term has the same meaning as the Hebrew Ἀβαδδὼν (Abaddōn), “Destroyer.” This is expressive of the effect to be wrought by the demonic locusts whom the angel leads (Charles, Beckwith). The suggestion that John is sarcastically associating the angel with the god Apollo (Moffatt, Kiddle, Beasley-Murray, Mounce, Johnson), tempting as it is, is hardly correct. John calls him an angel, not a god, and Apollo was never associated with the abyss. To propose that the king is a figure of speech for death (Kiddle) takes the OT usage of the Hebrew name into account, but it fails to acknowledge that the angel is a real being and not merely a personification. Reasons for not identifying him as Satan appear in the discussion above. The name is simply an appropriate designation given to the fallen angel who rules the locusts from the abyss.
 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1995), 39.
- v. quod vide = which see.
John M’Clintock and James Strong, “Abad′don,” Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1880), 3.
Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1995), 39.