Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #344 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Revelation 9 today and our focus is on Who is Apollyon? What are the Locusts of Revelation 9?   We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

More end times today – we are knee deep in the last days Scriptures, and going deeper, deeper, and deeper. In 25+ years of pastoring and teaching, I do not believe I’ve ever taught once on Revelation 8 or 9. Not, as I mentioned yesterday, because they are bad or boring chapters, but because they are not clear yet, and I am not sure that speculation is a good thing when it comes to the Bible. We’re asking three big questions in the title of today’s episode, and let me go ahead and give you the answers. 1. I don’t know. 2. I don’t know 3. I don’t know. Now wait! Before you skip to another episode, don’t worry, we are going to talk these things out, and it would be a shame to skip Revelation 9, because it may be one of the top 10 most interesting chapters in the Bible; it’s just that it is also one of the top ten most cryptic chapters in the Bible.

We will talk the most about the identity of Apollyon/Abaddon, but let’s tackle our other  question quite briefly. First, what are the “locusts” of Revelation 9? The fifth angel blows his trumpet, and the “shaft to the abyss” is opened, and out comes smoke, and creatures that at least remind John of “locusts,” but, based on his description, they clearly aren’t locusts:

The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. Something like golden crowns was on their heads; their faces were like human faces; they had hair like women’s hair; their teeth were like lions’ teeth; they had chests like iron breastplates; the sound of their wings was like the sound of many chariots with horses rushing into battle; 10 and they had tails with stingers like scorpions, so that with their tails they had the power to harm people for five months. 11 They had as their king the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he has the name Apollyon. Revelation 9:7-11

Wow, wow, wow. What in the world is going on here?! The Greek word John uses is Akris, which is the same word that is used of John the Baptist’s diet of “locusts and wild honey” in Matthew 3- but again, these things aren’t locusts! I’ve heard many speculations here – from helicopters to demons, but there is no way to know for sure. They are most certainly not of this Earth, at least – not an animal of this earth. The good news is that they are unable to harm those who have been sealed by God, but this will still be a time of great terror. The sealed of God might refer to the 144,000 of Revelation 7, or it could refer to Christians in general, as Ephesians 4:30, “30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption.

Second topic – who is Apollyon or Abaddon, which is the Greek and Hebrew names, respectively, for the same being. This being is the king of the strange locust creatures. and his name Abaddon/Apollyon, means destroyer or destruction.

Apollyon only occurs here in the Bible, but we find the Hebrew Abaddon in a few places in the Old Testament – usually as a place, rather than a being:

Will your faithful love be declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Abaddon? Psalms 88:11

Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord— how much more, human hearts. Proverbs 15:11

Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and people’s eyes are never satisfied. Proverbs 27:20

However, there is a passage in Job where both death and Abaddon are viewed as actual entities, very similar to how Paul speaks of death in 1 Corinthians 15 – as an enemy that Jesus will destroy.

Abaddon and Death say, “We have heard news of it with our ears. Job 28:22

So, we can learn from this that Abaddon represents death and destruction in some way. Perhaps a clue lies in the realm that Abaddon is the king of – he is the king of the abyss. What/where is the abyss? Great question. This is a place that seems to be different from Hades – the place of the dead. It seems to be more terrifying than that, though I admit that I am guessing based on a couple of key passages. In Luke 8, the demons that Jesus ultimately casts out of a herd of swine beg not to be cast into the abyss – a request that Jesus grants, and which causes us to wonder how bad the abyss is exactly if demons are terrified of it. We also read about the abyss in other passages. Psalms 140 seems to imply that the abyss is a kind of hell:

When those who surround me rise up,
may the trouble their lips cause overwhelm them.
10 Let hot coals fall on them.
Let them be thrown into the fire,
into the abyss, never again to rise.

Psalms 140:9-11

Something along those lines might be also implied by Revelation 20

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven holding the key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the abyss, closed it, and put a seal on it so that he would no longer deceive the nations until the thousand years were completed. After that, he must be released for a short time.

Revelation 20:1-4

Though it must be said that Romans 10 seems to speak of the abyss in a more neutral/Sheol/Hades/Place of the dead way:

But the righteousness that comes from faith speaks like this: Do not say in your heart, “Who will go up to heaven?” that is, to bring Christ down or, “Who will go down into the abyss?” that is, to bring Christ up from the dead. On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim:

Going further than this with any sort of confidence is going to be difficult, because the Bible is very quiet on the identify and purpose of this being/place – we are only able to speculate beyond this point. That, however, hasn’t stopped people from speculating over the years:

Tyconius, who was a theologian from North Africa who lived in the 300s AD considered that Abaddon was the devil, “[The angel of the bottomless pit] is the devil, who possesses his great power among the kings of the world.”

William C. Weinrich, ed., Revelation, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 138.

Andrew of Caesarea agrees with this view, writing in the 500s, “It follows that the devil is to be regarded as their king, for he certainly destroys those who obey him”

As does friend of the podcast Charles Spurgeon:

“The paths of the destroyer have often tempted us; we have been prompted to become destroyers too, when we have been sorely provoked, and resentment has grown warm; but we have remembered the example of our Lord, who would not call fire from heaven upon his enemies, but meekly prayed, “Father, forgive them.” All the ways of sin are the paths of Satan,—the Apollyon or Abaddon, both of which words signify the destroyer. Foolish indeed are those who give their hearts to the old murderer, because for the time he panders to their evil desires.”

C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 1-26, vol. 1 (London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers, n.d.), 217.

Primasius, a Bishop who lived in the 500s AD, and was also from Northern Africa, considered Abaddon to be some sort of dark angel:

“As king they have over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is ‘Armageddon,’ whose name in Greek is ‘Apollion,’ and whose name in Latin is ‘Exterminans.’ ”] Although God is supremely good, by hidden yet just judgments he nevertheless allows an angel suitable for such persons to rule over them. For a person is awarded as servant to the one who conquered him. And so the apostle said that they had been handed over “to every wicked deception because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore, God sends upon them a strong delusion that they might believe what is false and that all who did not believe the truth but consented to iniquity might be condemned.”61 The kind of work he did, therefore, was befitting to the character of his name, that is, the “exterminator.”

William C. Weinrich, ed., Revelation, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 138.

Finally, the more modern poet Alfred Tennyson, no theologian, thought of Abaddon as a demon:

“Devils pluck’d my sleeve,
Abaddon and Asmodeus caught at me.
I smote them with the cross; they swarmed again.
In bed like monstrous apes they crushed my chest:
They flapped my light out as I read: I saw
Their faces grow between me and my book:
With colt-like whinny and with hoggish whine
They burst my prayer.”

W. K. Lowther Clarke, The Lausiac History of Palladius, Translations of Christian Literature: Series I: Greek Texts (London; New York: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; The Macmillan Company, 1918), 27.

So – who indeed is the king of the abyss? Who is Abaddon/Apollyon? The simple and safest answer is: We don’t know, but almost certainly a being of great power that you and I want to avoid if we possibly can!



Bible Memory passage for the month of December: Revelation 5:12, “They said with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A Church in North Salinas, California.

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