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Is Lucifer Another Name For Satan?

Carol Brooks

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

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 … the King James translation 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!

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 derived from Jerome's 4th century AD Latin translation of the Bible. It certainly could not have been in a Hebrew manuscript written before Latin even existed)

The KJV translators simply borrowed the name from Jerome's translation

Note however that Jerome was not in error. 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 "Morning Star” Venus heralds 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.  Some Christians have seen an allusion to the fall of Satan here, but this seems contextually unwarranted  (NET Bible. http://classic.net.bible.org/passage.php?passage=Isa%2014:4,12 ).

This may or may not be true.

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 warned that, starting in Jerusalem, God's people were about to be severely judged for breaking their covenant with Him. Then, in an ever widening spiral, Isaiah 13 begins a series of prophetic judgments against the surrounding nations, including Babylon. In fact Isaiah 13:1 begins with the words

    The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw. 

That the human king of Babylon was the intended target of the prophet's words is also made clear by the following verses

    that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, "How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased! (Isaiah 14:4)

    "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, (Isaiah 14:16)

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

    The king of Babylon
    that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, "How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased! "The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, The scepter of rulers Which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes, Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution. "The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; They break forth into shouts of joy. "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.' "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. "They will all respond and say to you, 'Even you have been made weak as we, You have become like us. '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.' "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! "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. 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' "Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit. (Isaiah 14:4-15)

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 wonder if this was the man who shook kingdoms and made the earth tremble.

    The king of Tyre
    "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. "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. "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. "You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you. "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. "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. (Ezekiel 28:2, 12-17)

In other words, both these prophets lamented the downfall of the once magnificent monarchs..

The Association
There are several reasons that Christians tend to associate the word Lucifer with Satan. One of which is that the Babylonian empire and Satan's empire in the Apocalypse seem entwined.

However, while physical Babylon no longer exists, the influence exerted by the gods it served, has spread far and wide. "Babylon" is now not a nation, but a spiritual kingdom, that reached back to Shinar and the tower of Babel, then physically and/or spiritually persisted in the physical kingdom of Babylon, and other nations as diverse as Egypt, Assyria, Greece, and Rome, all of whom wreaked havoc on Israel. This kingdom, the antitheses of Jerusalem, is alive and well, and still endeavors to carry away captives and win the battle. And, until finally defeated, it will extend it's tentacles into the future when spiritual apostasy and pure unmitigated evil will peak under the regime of the beast. See From Babel to Babylon.

And then there is Luke 10:18 that has Jesus saying - "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning".   this verses is commonly believed to refer to Satan being cast out of heaven as Revelation 12:7-9 says

    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)

The context says otherwise. In Luke 10, Christ appoints seventy disciples and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself planned to go. His instructions to these men are in Luke 10:1-11 and included preaching the Gospel and healing the sick. When the seventy returned "with joy", they  told Christ - "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." (Luke 10:17). Something that Jesus already knew. As He replied (note the correct tense of the verb)

    "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. (Luke 10:18)

Double Meaning

While there is no question that Isaiah 14 is paralleled by Ezekiel 28 and that both prophets were speaking of very fallible human monarchs,  Ezekiel's language does seem to transcend mere mortality. 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.

While these may be poetic descriptions of the human king, it would be, for example,  nigh impossible to apply verses 14 and 15 to any earthly king. Thus the possibility that they are refer to Satan himself must not be ignored. We can not assume that the passages only have one meaning.

Scripture contains both Scriptural types and Predictive Prophecy. Predictive prophecy looks forward, is expressly verbal and usually very specific. However, in the Bible a type is a prefigurative symbol. That is,

    An actual historical thing or event which, at the time it occurred, was a rough draft or glimpse, of one or more actual events yet to come, although the significance may not have been apparent at the original occurrence.

Note: the subsequent happenings is called the antitype.  (See Understanding Prophecy and Typology)

Thus it is entirely possible that both Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 looked both backward and forward. They spoke of the fate of earthly kings, but also made a subtle allusion to the spirit force behind these kings. The prophets looked far into the future to the rise and fall of a sinister figure who is yet to come … The Antichrist.


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