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 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 part 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 is pivotal in the creation of humankind, gathering the dirt from which God created Adam. So it's perhaps fitting that 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.

God Unleashes Abaddon To Torture The Earth In The Book Of Revelation

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It's believed that John wrote the Book of Revelation while living in exile on the island of Patmos. There, he reportedly received a glimpse of "The Day of The Lord," or the end of days. In Revelation, John reveals that fallen angels will be released to wreak havoc and spread torture on Earth during the apocalypse.

It's in Revelation, and at the moment when John hears the Fifth Trumpet, that Abaddon (or "Apollyon" in Greek) is introduced to the world as the leader of the fallen angels. According to the texts, Abaddon is to unleash God's wrath upon humanity.

Abaddon Is Allowed To Torture Human Beings

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Photo: Francis Barrett, R. Griffith/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

While biblical translation leads to some dispute, one thing most scholars agree upon 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, this passage says that Abaddon and his team "were not given the power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months." Still, Abaddon's authority actively torture humankind is unsettling. Revelation 9:6 provides some insight into the degree of torture.:"In those days, men will seek death, but will not find it; they shall long to die, but death will flee from them."

His Name Means 'The Angel Of Death' In Some Translations

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Photo: William Blake/Rogers Fund, 1914/Wikimedia Commons/CC0 1.0

While Abaddon means "the destroyer" or "the destruction," many consider Abaddon to be the angel of death. While some believe Abaddon to be a location, 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 identified as an actual being and not merely a place.

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

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Those familiar with the Torah or the Bible know 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. During the end of days in Revelation, God releases the demons of Hell. Humans who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads will suffer at the hands of Satan and his demons.

Here, Satan functions as the primary antagonist of God, and it's 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.