Who Is Abaddon in the Bible?

As for the character of Abaddon, we only encounter this being in Revelation. He carries out his role during the fifth trumpet of destruction, as we mentioned above with the locusts. They swarm out of a seemingly bottomless pit.

Hope Bolinger
A locust on a grass

Also known as Apollyon, Abaddon makes an appearance in the last book of the New Testament: Revelation (Revelation 9:11). The name means destruction, so you can hazard a pretty good guess as to whether this being is good or bad.

Although Satan has gone by many names, Apollyon is not one of them. Abaddon appears to be a demon who works under him who rules an Abyss full of locusts that will arrive onstage during the Final Days. The locusts will bite, sting, or cause pain to those who do not believe in Jesus Christ.

Where do we see Abaddon (or the word destroyer) show up in the Bible? Why do we need to know his name if his locusts won’t affect believers in the End Times? We’ll dive into these questions and more in this article.

Where Do We See Abaddon in the Bible?

We do have to keep in mind that the Old Testament and the New Testament were written in different languages, so the Greek word for destroyer is going to be a different word than the Hebrew one.

We do see a similar word in the Old and New Testament, as highlighted in this article. Although we only see the instance in the latter half of the Bible in Revelation 9:11, five verses in the Old Testament use the word.

Abaddon in the Old Testament appears to mean destruction. Job 26:6 says that destruction exists in the realm of the dead known as Sheol (Hell, in essence). A similar definition of Abaddon operates in Psalm 88:11 and Proverbs 15:11.

As for the character of Abaddon, we only encounter this being in Revelation. He carries out his role during the fifth trumpet of destruction, as we mentioned above with the locusts. They swarm out of a seemingly bottomless pit.

We don’t appear to know much else about Abaddon, except for poetic licenses taken in Pilgrim’s Progress and other information presented in non-canonical texts such as Tobit and the Wisdom of Solomon.

In the Tobit text, Abaddon (operating under the name Asmodeus) kills seven husbands of a woman named Sarah. But because Tobit and the Wisdom of Solomon don’t fall into every Bible’s canon, we need to exercise discernment and caution whenever we read these texts.

Overall, we know that Abaddon has ties with destruction in both Testaments, and he appears to unleash misery via the form of sharp-toothed locusts in the last days.

Why Should We Care about the Locusts?

Especially with the killer bee problem, you’d think we’d give more clout to the locust texts in Revelation.

But why should believers care about what Abaddon does with the locusts? After all, the text makes it clear that the locusts will only torture those who do not believe in Jesus Christ.

And with the many believers who attest to the form of dispensationalism that states that Christians will be raptured prior to the tribulation, including the various plagues from the trumpets, why should we know Abaddon’s name and what he can do?

First, we should keep in mind that even if we know Jesus as our personal Savior, many of our friends and family do not. Even if Jesus were to rapture us prior to the seven trumpets, bowls, thunders, and other elements of his wrath, if the End Days come during our lifetime, people we know will experience the effects of the plagues. We want to help as many souls as possible to come and know our Savior prior to these events.

Second, we should also note that Abaddon, although named “the Destroyer,” doesn’t appear to be mortally destroying anyone. Similar to Satan and inflicting pain on Job (Job 1,2), even the powers of Hell cannot operate outside of God’s will. The Destroyer cannot completely destroy because God does not allow him to.

What Does This Mean?

Finally, if Christians stick around during the Tribulation (i.e. the rapture happening in the middle or afterward), we will discover wolves hidden in sheep’s clothing (Revelation 9:4).

In other words, many nominal Christians can fake their belief and their personal relationship with God. They do not truly follow Jesus. Plagues such as these locusts unleashed by Abaddon reveal the true nature of belief.

Those sealed (believers) will remain untouched. Those who do not believe will experience the effects of the Destroyer.

©iStock/Getty Images Plus/modi-sketch


headshot of author Hope BolingerHope Bolinger is an editor at Salem, a multi-published novelist, and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 1,100 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her modern-day Daniel trilogy released its first two installments with IlluminateYA, and the final one, Vision, releases in August of 2021. She is also the co-author of the Dear Hero duology, which was published by INtense Publications. And her inspirational adult romance Picture Imperfect releases in November of 2021. Find out more about her at her website.


Originally published May 27, 2020.