WHO IS THE "DESTROYER"?
About A.D. 95, while in exile on the isle of Patmos, the apostle John was given in vision a glimpse of the end of the age (Rev. 1:10), called the "Day of the Lord" in numerous Old and New Testament Scriptures. During this "day of the Lord's wrath" (Zep. 1:18), God will punish humanity for their proud, sinful ways and their refusal to acknowledge Him as the true God. John recorded the visions he saw in the book of Revelation.
One of those punishments, chronicled in Revelation 9:1-11, will be the release of the depraved demons and fallen angels currently locked in the Abyss. The Bible teaches that the Abyss is a spirit prison (Luke 8:31; I Pet. 3:19; II Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). In the Abyss, some of the fallen angels are now bound in "everlasting chains under darkness" waiting "for the judgment of the great day." For more information on these angels and the Abyss, refer to my articles "Fallen Angels and Demons" and "Genesis 6-Who Were 'The Sons Of God'?."
In Revelation 9:11, an intriguing character is introduced:
REVELATION 9:11 They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon. (NASB)
Abaddon and Apollyon both mean "destroyer." Who is this ruling demon called the "Destroyer," who is released from the Abyss during God's wrath on mankind in the last days of this age? Does the Bible mention this being anywhere else?
The true identity of the "Destroyer" has long been misunderstood. In this article, I will attempt to piece together all the relevant Scriptures to show who Abaddon/Apollyon really is and what his role will be in end-time prophecy. Most have never realized how much the Bible has to say about this vital end-time figure, who is called by a variety of names.
The "Destroyer" Released
Let's start by reviewing the event that will allow this powerful fallen angel entrance into the world. This occurrence is recorded in Revelation 9:1-11. To rightly understand who this "king of the bottomless pit" is, it's vital to correctly interpret what this passage is saying. We must be guided by Scripture, not our imagination.
REVELATION 9:1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key of the shaft of the bottomless pit; 2 he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. (RSV)
First, notice that at the sounding of the fifth trumpet, an angel ("star") descends out of heaven to the earth. This angel has in his possession a key to the Abyss. With this key, he unlocks the "bottomless pit." This is very likely the same angel who later comes from heaven again with the key and a great chain to imprison Satan in the Abyss for the duration of the Millennium (Rev. 20:1-3).
REVELATION 9:3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth; 4 they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads; 5 they were allowed to torture them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion, when it stings a man. 6 And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death will fly from them. (RSV)
Regarding the "locusts" which ascend out of the Abyss, David H. Stern writes:
Demonic monsters are released which fly like locusts (Exodus 10:12-20; Joel 1:4, 2:4-14) and sting like scorpions (Ezekiel 2:6, Lk 11:12). (p. 816, Jewish New Testament Commentary)
God grants these evil "locusts" from the Abyss the power which scorpions have -- the power to inflict pain. God tells these paroled demons not to harm the earth or those humans who have His seal on their foreheads. Yet for five months God permits them to torment the unrepentant among mankind.
REVELATION 9:7 In appearance the locusts were like horses arrayed for battle; on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women's hair, and their teeth like lions' teeth; 9 they had scales like iron breastplates, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails like scorpions, and stings, and their power of hurting men for five months lies in their tails. 11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon. (RSV)
Here we have a fantastic description of what these fallen angels and demons look like. The five-month period of their torture of mankind is also reiterated in verse 10. Then in verse 11, we have our first mention of Abaddon. He is identified as the angelic ruler over those who were released from the Abyss.
Abaddon Is The "Beast" Who Ascends From The Abyss
In Revelation 9:1-11, Abaddon is clearly identified as the king of the demons released from the Abyss. This fact identifies him throughout the rest of the book of Revelation. Twice specifically, and once symbolically, Abaddon is referred to as the "beast" who is to come up out of the Abyss.
REVELATION 11:7 When they [the two witnesses] have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. (NASB)
REVELATION 17:8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition . . . (RSV)
REVELATION 13:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea . . . (NKJV)
Revelation 11:7 and 17:8 are clearly referring to Abaddon as the "beast" who will ascend from the "bottomless pit." What we see described in the first part of Revelation 13:1 is a symbolic reference to the release of Abaddon from the Abyss. In Jewish thought, the Abyss was often associated with the ocean depths. Speaking of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures in use at the time of Christ, The New Unger's Bible Dictionary says: "The LXX renders Heb. tehom, 'the primeval ocean' (Gen. 1:2; Ps. 24:2; etc.) as 'abyss'." (p. 18, "Abyss"). This identification of Abaddon as the primary "beast" mentioned in the book of Revelation will help us to learn more about his activities in the end-time.
There is one other Scripture that enigmatically mentions the release of Abaddon from the Abyss. This obscure reference is found in II Thessalonians 2, where Paul discusses the "man of sin." We'll look at this passage in depth to truly grasp the significance of what Paul is saying.
II THESSALONIANS 2:1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (NKJV)
Here, Paul is talking about the return of Christ. He tells the Thessalonian church not to be deceived if someone tells them that Christ has already returned, because some definite events have to occur before that event will happen. The first of those events is the "falling away" (Gr. apostasia) from the truth. Another event Paul says must take place is the appearance of the "man of sin," who will attempt to usurp the power of God.
II THESSALONIANS 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining [katechon], that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way [ek mesou genetai]. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. (NKJV)
Paul says that the Thessalonians know what is now "restraining" the "man of sin" (v. 6), yet he doesn't state what it is in his letter. Paul had already taught the Thessalonians these things when he had been with them earlier (v. 5). The Greek word translated "restraining" here is katechon. According to Friberg's Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament, this verb means "hold back, detain, prevent . . . figuratively restrain, check."
The phrase "only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way" in the latter half of verse 7 implies that the one restraining the "man of sin" is a person. However, the Greek text here literally reads "only the thing holding back now will continue until out of the midst he comes [Gr. ek mesou genetai]." With an understanding of what is taught in Revelation about the release of Abaddon, we can see what Paul is saying. The following translation of verses 6 and 7 clarifies this passage:
"And you now know the thing [the Abyss] that is holding back [Abaddon], that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only the thing [the Abyss] which now restrains [Abaddon] will continue to do so until out of the midst [of the Abyss] he comes."
Paul goes on to say that only after his release from that which is now restraining him would the "lawless one" be revealed to mankind (v. 8). We'll look at the last half of verse 8 a little later, and show how it relates to some other prophetic Scriptures (Dan. 7:26; 8:25; Rev. 19:20).
Symbolic Description of Abaddon and His Kingdom
In symbolic language, Abaddon and the kingdom he will rule over are described in detail in the thirteenth and seventeenth chapters of Revelation. These chapters give us a great deal of information. Let's examine them, along with several other parallel Scriptures, to see what we can learn about this ruling fallen angel and his end-time kingdom.
REVELATION 13:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. (NKJV)
The last half of verse 1 describes Abaddon in symbolic terms. To determine what this description means, we'll have to look at some related passages in Revelation 17, where an explanation of these heads and horns is given.
REVELATION 17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication." 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. 7 But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. (NKJV)
There are several opinions about the identity of the "woman" in this passage. We are told that this woman is riding (being supported by) the "beast" (Abaddon and his kingdom). Revelation 17:5 tells us that the woman is the "mother of harlots." Her harlot daughters are the false religious systems of this world. The "great harlot" is the sum total of all satanically-inspired religious/societal/governmental systems in existence since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
Revelation 17:5 tells us that the woman is "Babylon the Great." This fact is verified in Revelation 17:18. Revelation 18:24 tells us that in this woman "was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth." This Scripture declares that this woman is responsible for the blood of everyone who has ever been slain on the earth. Obviously this cannot represent any one "human" system.
"Babylon the Great" is the false religious/societal/governmental system of Satan, who has been a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). The harlot is the "mother" of all human systems that have ever existed apart from God. The end-time version of this system will be hated by the "beast" and the "ten horns," and will eventually be destroyed by them (Rev. 17:16), in fulfillment of God's will.
Now let's examine the scarlet beast ridden by the great harlot. As you can see by comparing Revelation 17:3, 7 to Revelation 13:1, the "scarlet beast" the "woman" rides looks very similar to the "beast" which arose from the sea. Using Scripture to interpret Scripture, we can determine that they are one and the same.
REVELATION 17:8 "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. (NASB)
What does the angel mean when he tells John that the "beast" he saw "WAS and IS NOT and WILL COME"? The language used definitely implies a time element. As stated earlier, John likely recorded this prophecy around the year 95 A.D. The angel clearly tells John that, at that point in time, the beast "is not" (present tense). Yet the angel says that the beast "was" (past tense), and he also says that the beast "will come up out of the abyss" (future tense). What are we to make of this cryptic statement?
Actually, the explanation isn't that difficult to understand. Abaddon "was" free in the time before the Flood to interact with humanity. Yet because of the devious and destructive nature of his sins, God saw that it was necessary to imprison and thereby restrain him. So at the time John received his vision, Abaddon "was not" because he was locked in the Abyss. However, as the angel makes clear, this "beast" will in the future be freed from his confinement and "will come up out of the abyss."
Returning to the identification of the seven heads and ten horns, what does the Bible tell us about these features of the beast?
REVELATION 17:9 Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10 There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. (NKJV)
In the Bible, a mountain figuratively represents a kingdom or the ruler of that kingdom. The New Unger's Bible Dictionary states:
. . . When David says, "O Lord, by Thy favor Thou hast made my mountain to stand" (Ps. 30:7), he means to express the stability of his kingdom. In like manner the kingdom of the Messiah is depicted as a mountain (Isa. 2:2; Dan. 2:35), as is also the Chaldean monarchy (Jer. 51:25; Zech. 4:7). (p. 891, "Mountain")
Therefore, the seven mountains and the seven kings referred to in Revelation 17:9-10 are one and the same.
What does the angel mean when he says that "five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come"? Again, the angel is giving John a time sensitive clue.
As of 95 A.D., five of the symbolic heads (kingdoms) of the beast had already fallen from power. Those five were:
The kingdom in power at the time the Apocalypse was written was (6) Rome.
Some may wonder how we can know that the six kingdoms listed above are correct. There is one overriding principle about the Bible that gives us assurance. The Bible was written about and for the people of God. The six kingdoms listed above all have one thing in common that identifies them as the first six heads of the beast: they were satanically-inspired human empires that ruled over God's people.
That means that there is one remaining "head" yet to come which will rule over God's people. This last empire will be global in scope, as God tells us in the seventh chapter of Daniel.
DANIEL 7:7 "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly B. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. . . . 19 Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; 20 and the ten horns that were on its head . . . 23 Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. . . . (NKJV)
In his vision, Daniel saw four beasts: a lion with eagle's wings, a bear, a leopard with four heads and four wings, and a terrible beast with iron teeth and ten horns (Dan. 7:3-7). The beast John sees come up out of the Abyss (Rev. 13:2) contains elements of all the beasts seen by Daniel. It is an amalgamation of all the satanic empires that have come before. For more information on the identification of these beasts, refer to my article "The Beasts of Revelation and Daniel."
The fourth beast Daniel saw is the same as the seventh head of the beast John saw. It is the soon coming global government, the "new world order," which will arise out of the chaos that occurs during the opening of the first four seals (Rev. 6:1-8). Daniel shows that this one world government will be reigned over by ten kings, called "horns" (Dan. 7:24).
God tells us in Revelation 17:10 that this "new world order" will last only for a very short time. The apparent demise of this seventh head of the beast is shown in Revelation 13:3.
REVELATION 13:3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. (RSV)
What is this apparently deadly wound that will be inflicted on the seventh head of the beast? Daniel gives us the cause of the wound.
DANIEL 7:8 "I was considering the [ten] horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up [sileqat, "ascending"] among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words. . . . 19 Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast . . . 20 and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up [sileqat, "ascended"], before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows. . . . 24 The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings." (NKJV)
The fourth beast of Daniel 7 has ten horns, which we know is symbolic for a king or kingdom. These horns represent the ten kings or nations that will control the end-time global government. In his vision, Daniel saw a "little horn" ascend and rise up among these ten. This "little horn," Abaddon, king of the Abyss, will definitely be different from the first ten kings.
Probably using the evil spiritual forces God allows to be released upon mankind during the fifth trumpet as his army, Abaddon will destroy three of the ten rulers of the "new world order" (and possibly their nations). In so doing, he will appear to have "mortally wounded" the seventh head, the ruling world government. However, instead of totally destroying this satanic governmental structure, Abaddon will seize control of it and become its leader. As Revelation 17:8 tells us, almost the whole world will be amazed when they see Abaddon rise up.
REVELATION 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. 12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. (NKJV)
The beast is not one of the seven, he is the eighth; yet clearly he is of the seven. That is, he is given his authority by Satan (Rev. 13:4), just as the seven heads were. Apparently Abaddon will install three kings to replace those he "plucked out by the roots" (Dan. 11:39), and with the support of those ten kings (Rev. 17:12-13), he will become the ruler of the entire earth in the ultimate and final realization of Satan's governmental system.
REVELATION 13:4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" (NKJV)
After the resurrection of the mortally wounded seventh head, almost the entire world will worship Satan, who gives Abaddon his authority. They will also worship Abaddon because of his conquest of the "new world order."
The Length of Abaddon's Reign
The Bible tells us in several places how long Abaddon will reign. It is stated as 42 months (Rev. 13:5) or "a time and times and half a time" (Dan. 7:25; 12:7), which literally is "one year, two years, and a half a year," or a total of 3 1/2 years.
REVELATION 13:5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months; (RSV)
DANIEL 7:25 He shall speak words against the Most High, shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his power for a time, two times, and half a time. (NRSV)
DANIEL 12:7 The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven. And I heard him swear by the one who lives forever that it would be for a time, two times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end, all these things would be accomplished. (NRSV)
Revelation 11:3 mentions the same time span in days, and equates it with the testimony of the two witnesses. It's possible that this period in which the two witnesses give their testimony may slightly precede the 42 months that Abaddon is in authority.
REVELATION 11:3 "And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. . . . 7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them." (NASB)
The "Abomination of Desolation" in the Heavenly Sanctuary
Several Scriptures record the blasphemous acts of Abaddon during the time of his rule. Let's look at those passages now.
DANIEL 7:8 "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts. . . . 19 Then I desired to know the exact meaning of . . . 20 the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates. 21 I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints [qaddiysh] and overpowering them 22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints [qaddiysh] of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints [qaddiysh] took possession of the kingdom. . . . 25 'He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints [qaddiysh] of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26 But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.'" (NASB)
The Aramaic word qaddiysh literally means "holy ones;" it can be translated either as "saints" or as "angels." As we will soon see from parallel Scriptures, translating this word as "angels" appears to be the correct rendering in most instances listed above. This passage shows that Abaddon will speak against the Eternal God, and will attack the holy angels.
REVELATION 13:5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints [hagion] and to overcome them. . . . (NKJV)
As you can see in Revelation 13:6, along with God Himself, the heavenly tabernacle and those who dwell in heaven (the holy angels) are special targets of Abaddon's blasphemy. The word "saints" in Revelation 13:7 is the Greek word hagion. Although this word is generally used of humans, it can also refer to God's holy angels. This usage can be found in the Septuagint (LXX, Psa. 88:6, 8), and in the New Testament (I The. 3:13). Friberg's Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament gives the definition for hagion in I Thessalonians 3:13 as: "the holy ones, as a designation for angels."
Revelation 13:6-7 shows that Abaddon and his demonic forces are permitted to fight against the holy angels and temporarily defeat them. This defeat will allow Abaddon to occupy the courtyard of the temple in heaven and proclaim himself to be "God."
REVELATION 11:1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, "Come and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months. (NRSV)
II THESSALONIANS 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple [naon] of God, declaring himself to be God. (NRSV)
Paul clearly says that Abaddon will occupy the temple of God, taking a seat in it and declaring himself to be God. The Greek word translated "temple" here is naon, a form of the noun naos. It generally refers to the (outer) Holy Place and the (inner) Holy of Holies in the temple proper. However, it is also used in the Bible to refer to the temple complex, including the courtyard. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says:
Mt. 27:5 tells us Judas cast the thirty shekels into the temple (eis ton naon) and went out and hanged himself. If naos is taken to mean the temple in the narrower sense, one may ask how Judas could bring the money into it, since only the priests were allowed access. We may thus assume that it is used in a broader sense, as in Jn. [2:]19 . . . (p. 884, vol. IV).
Most people interpret the "temple of God" in II Thessalonians 2:4 as either a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, or figuratively as the Church. Yet the Bible clearly shows that the tabernacle, and later the temple in Jerusalem, were earthly types patterned after the heavenly antetype (Exo. 25:9; Heb. 8:2, 5; 9:11, 23). It appears from the Scriptures that Abaddon's presence in the courtyard of the heavenly temple could be the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel and Christ. This heavenly desolation will likely have an earthly counterpart in Jerusalem (Luke 21:20).
LUKE 21:20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near." (RSV)
MATTHEW 24:15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." (NKJV)
DANIEL 8:9 Out of one of them came another horn, a little one, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the beautiful land. 10 It grew as high as the host of heaven. It threw down to the earth some of the host and some of the stars, and trampled on them. 11 Even against the prince of the host it acted arrogantly; it took the regular burnt offering away from him and overthrew the place of his sanctuary. 12 Because of wickedness, the host was given over to it together with the regular burnt offering; it cast truth to the ground, and kept prospering in what it did. 13 Then I heard a holy one [qadowsh, "angel"] speaking, and another holy one [qadowsh] said to the one that spoke, "For how long is this vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled?" 14 And he answered him, "For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state." (NRSV)
Abaddon and his army will be given victory over the host (literally, "army") of heaven. He will overthrow the sanctuary of the "prince of the host" (Yeshua the Messiah), and will cause the "regular burnt offering" to cease for "2,300 evenings and mornings." The evenings and mornings are referring to the time of the daily sacrifices; this means that the actual time period being defined is only 1,150 days, or half of 2,300.
If Daniel truly is referring to the Temple of God in heaven, then what are the "daily sacrifices" that Abaddon will cause to cease?
I PETER 2:5 You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (NKJV)
HEBREWS 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (NKJV)
REVELATION 5:8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (NKJV)
REVELATION 8:3 Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand. (NKJV)
Physical sacrifices according to the Mosaic Law are not currently performed. Yet the New Testament does show that sacrifices remain for Christians; those sacrifices are spiritual sacrifices, which include praise and the prayers of God's people to the Eternal Creator of the universe. It is possible that these are the sacrifices spoken of here, instead of literal physical sacrifices.
Below is Gabriel's explanation of Daniel's vision:
DANIEL 8:16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, "Gabriel, make this man understand the vision." 17 So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end." 18 Now, as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me, and stood me upright. 19 And he said, "Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be. . . . 23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king [Abaddon] shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. 24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. 25 Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means. (NKJV)
Gabriel clearly states that the events Daniel saw in his vision will occur at "the time of the end." At that time, when transgressors have reached their full measure, Abaddon will come on the scene. His power and authority will come from Satan (Rev. 13:4). The "Destroyer" will live up to his name; he will destroy the mighty and the holy ones (both the saints and the holy angels), as well as those humans who oppose him. He will delude himself because of pride in his accomplishment, thinking and even proclaiming that he is "God" (II The. 2:4). He will oppose Christ, the "Prince of princes," but he will eventually be defeated "without human means," as we will see in the next section.
This same time is detailed in the eleventh chapter of Daniel also.
DANIEL 11:31 Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the continual burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. 32 He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant; but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. 33 And those among the people who are wise shall make many understand, though they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder, for some days. 34 When they fall, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery; 35 and some of those who are wise shall fall, to refine and to cleanse them and to make them white, until the time of the end, for it is yet for the time appointed. 36 And the king shall do according to his will; he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is determined shall be done. 37 He shall give no heed to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women; he shall not give heed to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these; a god whom his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. (RSV)
The Destruction of Abaddon and His Kingdom
As previously shown, Abaddon will have the support of most of the world after his conquest of the global human government. Daniel 11:39 shows the conveyance of rulership on some (the "ten kings") who acknowledge his power and authority.
DANIEL 11:39 He shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god; those who acknowledge him he shall magnify with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price. (RSV)
REVELATION 17:12 "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful." (NKJV)
After the Israelites have returned to the Holy Land, Abaddon will summon his vassal rulers and their armies to help him attempt to destroy them (Eze. 38-39). These kings and their troops will gather at the mountain of Megiddo, north of Jerusalem.
REVELATION 16:13 And I saw, issuing from the mouth of the dragon and from the mouth of the beast and from the mouth of the false prophet, three foul spirits like frogs; 14 for they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. . . .16 And they assembled them at the place which is called in Hebrew Armageddon. (RSV)
These forces will then march toward Jerusalem. At this great battle, Yeshua, the Prince of the armies (hosts) of heaven, will destroy the armies of the beast and capture him. Then Abaddon, along with the false prophet, will be cast into the lake of fire.
REVELATION 19:19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. (NKJV)
ZECHARIAH 14:12 Now this will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. 13 It will come about in that day that a great panic from the LORD will fall on them; and they will seize one another's hand, and the hand of one will be lifted against the hand of another. (NASB)
Let's look at one other passage from Isaiah 14 that explicitly shows the defeat and fate of Abaddon. This Scripture is commonly thought to refer to Satan. However, if we look at the context and put away our preconceived ideas, it becomes apparent that Abaddon, not Satan, is the subject:
ISAIAH14:1 The LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and aliens will join them and will cleave to the house of Jacob. 2 And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the LORD's land as male and female slaves; they will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them. 3 When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: "How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased! 5 The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, 6 that smote the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution. 7 The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. 8 The cypresses rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, 'Since you were laid low, no hewer comes up against us.' 9 Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come, it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. 10 All of them will speak and say to you: 'You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!' 11 Your pomp [ga'on, "arrogancy"] is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are the bed beneath you, and worms are your covering. (RSV)
The scene is set in verses 1 through 3. This is the time when God has given rest to His people; this is the Millennium, when the Israelites will be back in their land and Yeshua will be ruling from Jerusalem. Verse 4 identifies the subject of the passage: Abaddon, the "king of Babylon." Verses 5 through 8 show that God has broken the power of this king who had oppressively ruled the whole earth. Verse 9 shows that Abaddon has been cast into sheol. Sheol is used figuratively for the abode of those who are dead; in this instance, those wordly leaders who were under this king are specifically mentioned. Verse 10 shows them symbolically exulting in the fact that Abaddon, although at one time extremely powerful, has suffered the same fate they did. Verse 11 reaffirms that this arrogant king has been delivered to sheol. It's clear that Abaddon is no longer around during the Millennium.
ISAIAH 14:12 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star [Helel], son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.' 15 But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. 16 Those who see you will stare at you, and ponder over you: 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, 17 who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?' 18 All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb; 19 but you are cast out, away from your sepulchre, like a loathed untimely birth, clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the Pit, like a dead body trodden under foot. 20 You will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, you have slain your people. "May the descendants of evildoers nevermore be named!" (RSV)
In verse 12, this dead king is given a name: Helel. Some translations render this Hebrew name as Lucifer, which is Latin for "light-bearer." However, the real meaning of Helel is subject to conjecture by scholars. The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament says that the hithpael form of "hll means 'pride oneself,' often with overtones of 'brag, boast'" (vol. III, p. 409). That meaning fits nicely with the depiction of the arrogant king in this passage of Scripture.
In this prophecy, Abaddon, although he conquered the nations and even heaven for a time, has fallen from heaven and been cut down to the earth. In verses 13 and 14, we see that Abaddon decided to ascend above the clouds and the stars into heaven. He wanted to establish his throne there, at the very place of God's heavenly temple, the mount of assembly. He wanted nothing less than to rule in place of God. Yet verses 15 through 20 show that he will be brought down to sheol, his power destroyed. The theme of this entire passage is the overthrow of the arrogant king, Abaddon, who wanted to be like the Most High God.
After the crushing defeat of Abaddon's forces, Satan, the power behind Abaddon's throne, will be captured also. He will be locked in the Abyss during the 1,000 year reign of the Messiah on earth.
REVELATION 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. (NASB)
While some end-time prophecies of the Bible are still not clear, events will not occur as has commonly been expected. The "beast" who ascends out of the Abyss during the "last days" will be a angelic king named Abaddon. He, with his army of fallen angels and demons, will overpower the human global government and take over as ruler of the earth. Abaddon will even conquer the holy sanctuary in heaven and gain victory over the angelic hosts of heaven. Nevertheless, his rule will be for a limited time only; after 3 1/2 years, God will take his authority away. Abaddon will marshal his forces and attempt to finally destroy God's people, but he will be unsuccessful. He will end up in the lake of fire as Yeshua the Messiah establishes the Kingdom of God at the beginning of the Millennium.
Bryan T. Huie