Philologos
Bible Prophecy Research
Title: Abaddon / Apollyon / Apollo
Submitted by: research-bpr@philologos.org
Date: November 12, 1998
Update: April 06, 2001
URL: http://philologos.org/bpr/files/a009.htm

Abaddon/Apollyon/Apollo

APOLLYON, or, as it is literally in the margin of the AV of Revelation 9:11, "a destoyer," is the rendering of the Hebrew word Abaddon, "the angel of the bottomless pit."

[And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.--Rev 9:11]

The Hebrew term is really abstract, and signifies "destruction," in which sense it occurs in Job 26:6; 28:22; Proverbs 15:11; and other passages.

[Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.--Job 26:6

Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.--Job 28:22

Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?--Prov 15:11]

The angel Apollyon is further described as the king of the locusts which rose from the smoke of the bottomless pit at the sounding of the fifth trumpet. From the occurrence of the word in Psalm 88:11, the Rabbins have made Abaddon the nethermost of the two regions into which they divided the under world.

[Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?--Psalm 88:11

Hell has seven divisions, one beneath the other. They are called Sheol, Abaddon, Beer Shahat, Tit ha-Yawen, Sha'are Mawet, Sha'are Zalmawet, and Gehenna.-- The Legends of the Jews, Louis Ginzberg]

But that in Revelation 9:11 Abaddon is the angel, and not the abyss, is perfectly evident in the Greek. There is no authority for connecting it with the destroyer alluded to in 1 Corinthians 10:10; and the explanation, quoted by Bengel, that the name is given in Hebrew and Greek, to show that the locusts would be destructive alike to Jew and Gentile, is far-fetched and unnecessary.

[Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.--1 Corinthians 10:10]

The etymology of Asmodeus, the king of the demons in Jewish mythology, seems to point to a connection with Apollyon, in his character as "the destroyer," or the destroying angel.

(Dr. William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 1872)

APOLLYON. The Greek name, meaning "Destroyer," given in Revelation 9:11 for "the angel of the bottomless pit" (in Hebrew called Abaddon), also identified as the king of the demonic "locusts" described in Revelation 9:3-10...In one manuscript, instead of Apollyon the text reads "Apollo," the Greek god of death and pestilence as well as of the sun, music, poetry, crops and herds, and medicine. Apollyon is no doubt the correct reading. But the name Apollo (Gk Apollon) was often linked in ancient Greek writings with the verb apollymi or apollyo, "destroy." From this time of Grotius, "Apollyon" has often been taken here to be a play on the name Apollo. The locust was an emblem of this god, who poisoned his victims, and the name "Apollyon" may be used allusively in Revelation to attack the pagan god and so indirectly the Roman emperor Domitian, who liked to be regarded as Apollo incarnate.

(Anchor Bible Dictionary)

APOLLO, one of the most important and many-sided of the ancient Greek divinities. Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto and the twin brother of Artemis [Diana]; he was born on Delos, where Leto had fled, persecuted by the jealousy of Hera...

Apollo's origins (perhaps Oriental) are quite uncertain; his name yields no convincing Greek etymology, although he became the most thoroughly Greek of all gods...A remarkable feature of his cult was his characteristic, though not only, way of giving oracles, especially at Delphi, to possess the priestess and speak through her mouth in a way reminiscent of Siberian shamanism.

His oracles, especially the Delphic, were consulted on all manner of subjects, and good advice was often given, especially on such matters as colonization, by the obviously well-informed clergy, who "edited" the utterances of the priestess...

Someone in the fifth century BC started a wholly ungrounded theory that Apollo was identical with the sun. This became popular in later times and lingers in poetical expressions such as "Phoebus 'gins arise," meaning that the sun rises; Phoebus ("bright, pure") is one of Apollo's titles. It also led to his identification with real sun gods.

There were numerous representations of the god in Greek art, from the archaic statues of the sixth century BC to those of the later period in which he appears as the ideal of youthful manliness and beauty. His worship was taken over by the Romans, who dedicated a temple to him in 430 BC and instituted gamees in his honour (the ludi Apollinares) in 212 BC. He became one of the chief Roman gods in the age of Augustus, who erected a temple to him on the Palatine...

(Collier's Encyclopedia)

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APOLLO (Gr. Apollon), a Greek god, the son of Zeus, the father of the gods, and Leto, daughter of the Titan Coeus, and the twin brother of Artemis, goddess of the moon. The twins were born on the island of Delos, whither their mother had fled to escape the jealous anger of Zeus' wife, Hera. Apollos is one of the most versatile of the Olympian gods. As the god of youth, manly beauty, music, and song, he represents the Greek mind at its best. He was the god of prophecy, with his oracle at Delphi, the protector of flocks and herds, the helper and averter of evil, and also the god of righteous punishment. To his oracles people turned in sickness, and he is represented as the father of Aesculapius, the god of healing. He delighted in the foundation of cities, and as the spiritual leader of colonists he was invoked as Delphinius; as Euryalus, he was god of the broad seas, and of the embarker and disembarker; as Agyleus he was god of the streets and roads; and as Phoebus he was god of the sun. Although the Greek poet Homer represents Apollo and Helios, the sun, as distinct divinities, Apollos' identification as the sun-god is universal among later writers...The attributes of Apollo are the bow and quiver, the cithara and plectrum, the snake, raven, shepherd's crook, tripod, and laurel. In art Apollo is represented more frequently than any other ancient deity...

(Universal Standard Encyclopedia)

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APOLLO BELVEDERE, a famous marble statue in the part of the Vatican museum called Belvedere...Montorsoli, a pupil of Michelangelo, restored the hands but did so wrongly, for the right hand was not empty but held a laurel branch, and the left hand held a bow, as testified by the quiver on the back of the figure. The statue was thus intended to depict the two aspects of Apollo, the god who punishes wrong-doers and purifies repentant sinners...

(Collier's Encyclopedia)

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APOLLO BELVEDERE, ...It is regarded as one of the most nearly perfect representations of the human figure.

(Universal Standard Encyclopedia)

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BELVEDERE, a court, gallery, or detached structure, usually located to command a view (Ital. bel, "beautiful" and vedere, "to see"). The best known Belvedere is the court of that name in the Vatican Palace, and the gallery surrounding it, built in 1484-1492 by pope Innocent VIII. In this gallery are some of the finest masterpieces of Classical antiquity, including the famous statue of Apollo Belvedere, the Laocoon [a Trojan priest who warned his countrymen against the wooden horse left by the Greeks--according to Pliny the sculpture stood in the palace of Titus in Rome], and a torso of Hercules.

(Collier's Encyclopedia)

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The slime with which the earth was covered by the waters of the flood produced an excessive fertility, which called forth every variety of production, both bad and good. Among the rest, Python, an enormous serpent, crept forth, the terror of the people...The famous statue of Apollo called the Belvedere represents the god after this victory over the serpent Python.

Aesculapius, the son of Apollo, was endowed by his father with such skill in the healing art that he even restored the dead to life.

Orpheus was the son of Apollo and the Muse Calliope. He was presented by his father with a lyre and taught to play upon it, which he did to such perfection that nothing could withstand the charm of his music.

(Bulfinch's Mythology)

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PHEOBUS APOLLO...the lord of the silver bow, the Archer-god, far-shooting... He is the God of Light, in whom is no darkness at all, and so he is the God of Truth. No false word ever falls from his lips.

O Phoebus, from your throne of truth,
From your dwelling-place at the heart of the world,
You speak to men.
By Zeus's decree no lie comes there,
No shadow to darken the word of truth.
Zeus sealed by an everlasting right
Apollo's honour, that all may trust
With unshaken faith when he speaks.

Delphi under towering Parnassus, where Apollo's oracle was, plays an important part in mythology. Castalia was its sacred spring; Cephissus its river. It was held to be the center of the world, so many pilgrims came to it, from foreign countries as well as Greece. No other shrine rivaled it.

Apollo at Delphi was a purely beneficent power, a direct link between gods and men, guiding men to know the divine will, showing them how to make peace with the gods; the purifier, too, able to cleanse even those stained with the blood of their kindred.

(Mythology, Edith Hamilton)

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Terrors had always made excellent business for Apollo, and there were never worse terrors than the plagues and earthquakes in the Antonine and Severan age. At Didyma, Apollo's cult was connected by its very origins to the bahishment of plague: in the 250s, Apollo still recalled how he had "shamed" the threads of the Fates and kept off the epidemic....we know about Apollo's remedies in a fascinating selection of oracles...They carry no date, but the main four probabably belong in the great epidemic of the 160s when Roman troops were returning from the East and brought home a disease whose effects read horribly like smallpox...

Three cities have left us pieces of Clarian Apollo's oracles on plague: Pergamum, Callipolis (near modern Gallipoli) and humble little Caesarea Trochetta, a small town in Lydia...The god pitched his style very high and lamented the disaster (crying "Woe! Woe! to each city)...None of these texts explained the plague; they only prescribed remedies... Only part of the god's remedy survives, but it runs true to his old-fashioned manner. The "divine law," he said, required his clients to draw pure water from seven fountains, which they had fumigated carefully. They must then sprinkle their houses with these "nymphs who have become kindly" and must set up an image of Apollo the archer, bow in hand, in the middle of their plain. There, presumably, he would "shoot away" the invading enemy, the plague itself.

Callipolis was ordered to set up a similar statue, "the warder-off of plague," and was also told to offer blood from sacrificial animals to the "gods below the earth" and to burn all the animals' meat with spices. The pyre of this holocaust was to be sprinkled with "shining wine and grey sea water": the victims, a goat, and a sheep, must be black...

Of the three texts, the finest is Pergamum's, which moves in stately hexameters and spends the first nine lines on flattery of the citizens' ancestry, their closeness to the gods and their especial honour from Zeus himself. On Pergamum's steep hill, said Apollo, the infant Zeus had been placed just after childbirth: his statement refuted a host of competing cities which claimed that they, not Pergamum, had received the newly born god. It was no wonder that the people and council of Pergamum decreed that the reply should be inscribed on pillars and displayed "on the agora and the temples." It also offered advice. Apollo wished to please his son, Asclepius, who resided so conspicuously in the city...he told [them] to sing a hymn to a particular god while their fellow citizens feasted and sacrificed in support...

(Pagans and Christians, Robin Lane Fox)

See also Antichrist
See also Babylon
See also Four Horsemen
See also Locusts

 

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