Graveyard Shift The Most Terrifying Figure In The Bible Isn't Satan, It's God's Right-Hand Man  

Matthew Lavelle
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John was an apostle of Jesus Christ, who wrote many of the texts that inspired the Book of Revelation after he received a preview of the end of days. It's from John's writings in Revelation that we learn that the angel of death is not the devil, but Abaddon, the leader of fallen angels tasked by God to torture Earth and humanity as punishment for the sins of humankind.

Abaddon's role in the Old and New Testaments provide a horrifying look at the role archangels are said to play during judgment day, and the function of such angels and demons doesn't sit well with the Christian view of an all-loving and merciful God.

Even more disturbing, in the Gnostic texts, Abaddon plays a central role in the creation of humankind, such as gathering the dirt from which God created Adam. So fittingly, perhaps, Abaddon will also gather souls and carry them to the place of God's final judgment. While the concept of Satan is frightening, it's nothing compared to an angel of death commissioned by God to torture sinners.

In The Book Of Revelation God Unleashes Abaddon To Torture Earth


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Photo:  Drawing by Dave Pearson from his 4th series from the Book of Revelation/Bobf from Dave Pearson/Wikimedia Commons

Jesus Christ's apostle, John, is said to have authored the Book of Revelation. He did so while living in exile in the isle of Patmos. There, John reportedly received a glimpse of "The Day of The Lord," or the end of days. In Revelation, it gets revealed that during this apocalyptic moment, fallen angels will be released to wreak havoc and spread torture on Earth. It's in Revelation, and at the moment where John hears the fifth trumpet that Abaddon, the Hebrew name, or Apollyon in Greek, gets introduced to the world as the leader of the fallen angels. Abaddon, and his team of fallen angels get released to unleash God's wrath onto humanity.

Abaddon Is Allowed To Torture Human Beings, But Not Kill Them


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Photo: Francis Barrett/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

While biblical translation proves difficult, one area where most scholars agree is that Abaddon's authority is not unlimited. Revelation 9:4 states, "and it was commanded of them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those men who have not the seal of God in their foreheads."

Furthermore, 9:5 states that Abaddon and his team "were not given the power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months." Nonetheless, Abaddon's authority actively torture humankind is unsettling. Revelation 9:6 provides some insight into the degree of torture, where it reads: "in those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they shall long to die, but death will flee from them."

In Some Loose Translations, His Name Means "The Angel Of Death"


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Photo:  William Blake, Angel of the Revelation/Wikimedia Commons

While literally, Abaddon means "the destroyer" or "the destruction," many consider Abaddon the angel of death. Some Rabbinic teaching considers Abaddon a place, but also identify Abaddon as one of the angels of death. He is most often considered a fallen angel. His function is to oversee the destruction of Earth on Judgment Day. In Job 28:22, Abaddon is mentioned along with death when Abaddon is first given personification or an identity as an actual being, and not merely a place.

Some Biblical Translations Claim That Abaddon Is A Subordinate Of Satan - Not An Angel Of God's Army


Some Biblical Translations Cla... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Terrifying Figure In The Bible Isn't Satan, It's God's Right-Hand Man
Photo: John Bunyan/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Anyone who is familiar with the Torah or the Bible understands that Satan seeks to destroy the works and creations of God. While Satan doesn't receive as much exploration in the Torah, his existence is undoubtedly present in the text.  In the Book of Revelation, during the end of days, God releases the demons of Hell. Human beings who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads will suffer at the hands Satan and his demons. While Satan functions as the primary antagonist of God, it is Abaddon who serves as the leader of the plague of demons to torture Earth. Abaddon is a controversial figure for some, as the interpretations differ on whether Abaddon is a minion of Satan or an angel of death authorized by God.