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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Ἀβαδδών, for Heb. אֲבִדּון, destruction, i.e. the destroyer, as it is immediately explained by Ἀπολλύων, APOLLYON (See APOLLYON) ), the name ascribed to the ruling spirit of Tartarus, or the angel of death, described (Revelation 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, 2, 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; Job 28:22; Proverbs 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 Psalms 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 Revelation 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 Chronicles 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 Horae Apocalypticae, 1:410). It may well be doubted, however, whether this symbol is any thing 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.). (See REVELATION, BOOK OF). The etymology of Asmodaeus, the king of the daemons in Jewish mythology, seems to point to a connection with Apollyon in his character as "the destroyer," or the destroying angel. Compare Sirach 18:22; Sirach 18:25. (See ASMODEEUS).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Abaddon'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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