SPECIAL TOPIC: Abaddon. . .Apollyon

The Hebrew (Aramaic) term Abaddon (BDB 1, KB 2; NIDOTTE, vol. 1., p. 224) meant "destruction" and the Greek term Apollyon meant "destroyer." The Hebrew term was identified with Sheol, the realm of the dead (cf. Job 26:6; 29:22; 31:12; Ps. 88:11 Pro. 15:11; 27:20).

Robert B. Girdlestone has an interesting comment on this term in his book Synonyms of the Old Testament: "This word is rendered "perish" in about a hundred passages. When used of persons it generally signifies death, when used of lands it implies desolation" (p. 273).

In Job 28:22 it is personified along with Death. This personification is also characteristic of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the intertestamental Jewish apocalyptic literature. This is somewhat unusual because the angel of death in the OT is a servant of YHWH (cf. Exod. 12:23; Job 15:21) or even a personification of YHWH (cf. Exod. 12:13,29). But in Rev. 9:1,11 the angel seems to be the ruler of an imprisoned, demonic horde. This may be another way to show God's control of all things.

In Rev. 9:11 they may refer to the emperors Nero and Domitian, who claimed to be the incarnation of Apollo. This Greek name, Apollyon, is a corrupted form and an allusion to Apollo. There are two pieces of evidences to support the connection to Apollo:

1. locusts were a symbol of Apollo

2. the term Apollo and Apollyon both come from the same Greek root


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