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Is Lucifer Another Name For Satan?

Carol Brooks

SEE  The Message of the Bible   and  The Warning of The Bible


Jerome and The Star Of The Morning
One of the most common misconceptions among Bible believers is that Lucifer is another name for Satan -this based on a single occurrence of the word in the King James and a few other translations of Isaiah 14:12, which reads...

    How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Isaiah 14:12 KJV)

However, the name "Lucifer" does not exist in either the original Hebrew text nor in the Septuagint - the oldest surviving Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Lucifer is a Latin name that certainly could not have been in a Hebrew manuscript written before Latin even existed. The NASB and NET respectively render this verse so

    How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!  (Isaiah 14:12 NASB)

    Look how you have fallen from the sky, O shining one, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the ground, O conqueror of the nations!

The NIV and Berean study Bible both say "How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn"

The reason the KJV says Lucifer is because the translators simply duplicated the word used by Jerome- a 5th century Catholic priest best known for his translation of most of the Bible into Latin aka the Vulgate. Note: The Douay Rheims Bible also says Lucifer but it is a translation of the Bible from the Vulgate into English made by members of the English College, Douai, France.

What is interesting is that Jerome was not wrong. Lucifer, which means "light-bearer", was the fourth century Latin name for the planet Venus, also known as the Morning or Evening Star because it reaches maximum brightness shortly before sunrise, or shortly after sunset. As the "morning star" Venus heralds the daylight.

The Hebrew term translated in the KJV as "O Lucifer, son of the morning" is Helel ben Shahar that literally means ‘Helel son of Shahar’.  In the Babylonian / Canaanite religions, Helel (to bear light) and Shalim, the god of dusk were the twin sons of Shahar, the god of the dawn.

    "Apparently these verses allude to a mythological story about a minor god (Helel son of Shachar) who tried to take over Zaphon, the mountain of the gods. His attempted coup failed and he was hurled down to the underworld. The king of Babylon is taunted for having similar unrealized delusions of grandeur... [NET Bible. http://classic.net.bible.org/passage.php?passage=Isa%2014:4,12]


Isaiah and Ezekiel's Prophecies
Mythological stories aside, what we do know is that one of the purposes of the book of Isaiah was to declare God's discontent with the sins of Judah, Israel and the neighboring nations. The prophet began with Jerusalem, warning God's people  that they were about to be severely judged for breaking their covenant with Him. Then, beginning with Babylon and moving outwards in an ever widening spiral Isaiah 13 begins a series of prophetic judgments against the surrounding nations.

Chapter 13 begins with the words "The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw" then goes on to foretell the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians- about two hundred years before it happened. Note: the Medes are expressly mentioned in verse 17.

 Isaiah 14:1-27 is a continuation of the prophecy beginning with the certainty of the Jews deliverance from captivity. The following verses are a funeral dirge for Babylon and a song of rejoicing for the people of Israel.

    (4) that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, "How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased!  (5) "The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, The scepter of rulers  (6) Which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes, Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution.  (7) "The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; They break forth into shouts of joy.  (8)  "Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, 'Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.'  (9) "Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones.  (10) "They will all respond and say to you, 'Even you have been made weak as we, You have become like us.  (11) 'Your pomp and the music of your harps Have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you And worms are your covering.'  

    (12) "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!  (13) "But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.  (14) 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'  (15)  "Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit.  (16) "Those who see you will gaze at you, They will ponder over you, saying, 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms,  (17) Who made the world like a wilderness And overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?'  (18) "All the kings of the nations lie in glory, Each in his own tomb.  (19) "But you have been cast out of your tomb Like a rejected branch, Clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword, Who go down to the stones of the pit Like a trampled corpse. (Isaiah 14:4-19 NASB)

The egotistical monarch boasted that he would "ascend into heaven", exalt his throne "above the stars of God", "ascend above the heights of the clouds" and make himself "like the Most High"(Isaiah 13-14). However God had a different fate in mind for the impudent potentate. He said the king would experience both the collapse of his kingdom and the loss of his life. He would be brought down to Sheol (Vs. 15), at which the inhabitants of Sheol would taunt him asking if he was the man who shook kingdoms and made the earth tremble.

Additionally, there is much similarity between what Isaiah said to (or about) the king of Babylon and the prophet Ezekiel's words about the king of Tyre in chapter 28.

    (2) "Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Because your heart is lifted up And you have said, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods In the heart of the seas'; Yet you are a man and not God, Although you make your heart like the heart of God.... (12) "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  (13)  "You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. (14) "You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. (15) "You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you. 

    (16) "By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. (17) "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you.  (18)  "By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you.  (19)  "All who know you among the peoples Are appalled at you; You have become terrified And you will cease to be forever."'" (Ezekiel 28:12-19 NASB)


Prefigurative Symbolism
Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 were both speaking of the downfall of once magnificent, powerful human monarchs. Taken in their entirety, the verses may be poetic descriptions of a human monarch however, certain verses in each of the prophecies cannot apply to any mortal - royal or otherwise. They seem to transcend mortality.

    In Isaiah 14, verses 13 and 14 has the person saying he will ascend to heaven, raise his throne above the stars of God, sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north, ascend above the heights of the clouds and make himself like the Most High.

    In Ezekiel's prophecy the king of Tyre is described as the anointed Cherub who was created and was perfect in every way when he walked upon the holy mountain of God - until evil was found in him. 

In other words, the passages were more than predictive prophecy that specifically looks to the future, but are examples of Christian typology. A ‘type’ is a historical thing or event which, at the time it existed or occurred, was a rough draft or glimpse of one or more actual event yet to come. The significance may not have been apparent at the original occurrence. The subsequent happenings are called the antitype.

(See Understanding Prophecy and Typology)

Both Isaiah and Ezekie's prophecies had a near and a distant fulfillment. Both spoke of the rise and ultimate fate of earthly kings, but also looked far into the future to the rise and fall of a sinister figure - the antichrist who is yet to come or even satan himself. This explains how and why some of the verses go beyond a description of mortals. See The Antichrist.

The king of spiritual Babylon's days are numbered.

See From Babel to Babylon -  Part II of ‘Two Babylons’

Luke 10:18
Luke 10:18 has Jesus saying - "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning". This verse is usually taken to refer to the same event in Revelation 12:7-9,

    And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9 NASB)

The context says otherwise.

Beginning in the very first verse of the chapter, Christ appointed seventy disciples and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself planned to go. His instructions included not carrying with them a money belt, bag, or shoes, to eat and drink whatever was set before them, heal the sick etc. When the seventy returned "with joy", they  told Jesus, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." (Luke 10:17). Jesus replied (note the correct tense of the verb)

    And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.  (Luke 10:18 NASB)

Although there has been a considerable amount of disagreement regarding whether Jesus was referring to Satan's fall from heaven, or fall from earthly power. However the context leaves little doubt as to what He meant. The first 24 verses are all related to the mission of the seventy and in direct reply to their jubilation that even the demons were subject to them.

It would be very odd indeed if in the middle of this Jesus suddenly referred to an event that was light years away. It seems far more likely that what the Savior was saying was they say small victories but in those successes Jesus saw the fall of Satan's kingdom.

 The phrase 'lightning from heaven" denoting the speed which he fell i.e. as swiftly a flash of lightning falls from the clouds.

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