Monday, August 2, 2010
Is Satan’s Name “Lucifer”?
One of the things which KJV Only people say is that the new Bibles have left out “Lucifer’s” name when they change the word in Isaiah 14:12. When you understand the origin of this name, you realize how ridiculous this argument becomes.
In the past I have read much about the translation of the term, but I found it quite interesting that my wife gave me a copy of a children’s magazine sample we picked up at a home-school conference. It is called Discovery, and the March 1999 issue has the following on page 20:
Have you ever heard of a “morning star”? Or an “evening star”? Many years ago, early in the morning as the Sun began to rise, people saw what they thought was a bright star in the sky and decided to call it the “Morning Star.” At a different time of the year. . . they saw another light, which they named the “Evening Star.”
They did not realize for a long time that the Morning Star and the Evening Star actually were the same thing. They also did not realize that what they were seeing wasn’t a “star” at all, but the planet Venus. … In their own language, the Greeks called it Hesperus in the evening, and Phosphorus in the morning. Later, the Romans called it Vesper in the evening, and Lucifer in the morning. Hesperus and Vesper mean “evening.” Phosphorus and Lucifer mean “light-bearing.”
Does the name “Lucifer” sound familiar to you? Perhaps you have heard people use it as another name for Satan, but this is not at all what the Bible teaches. The story begins with a man called Jerome who translated the Bible into Latin. . . . When he came to the book of Isaiah, he found the Hebrew name Helel, which means something like “the Shining One.” It described Helel as “the Son of the Dawn.” Jerome concluded that Helel was just another name for Lucifer - the Morning Star.
Next, the people who prepared the King James Version borrowed heavily from Jerome’s Latin Bible. Their translation of Isaiah 14:12 went like this: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” The confusion was started when someone incorrectly decided that this was talking about Satan and his rebellion against God (read Jude 6; Matthew 25:41). In fact, the prophet Isaiah was talking about the wicked king of Babylon who claimed to be like God, and who boasted that his throne would lie beyond the stars (Isaiah 14:13-14). The king sought the glory associated with Helel, but God had other plans. He would bring this wicked king down to the depths of the Earth where he belonged (verse 11).
Today, in order to avoid this confusion, modern translations use “Morning Star” or “Day-Star” instead of “Lucifer.”
Isn’t it odd how weird ideas sometimes get started and then everyone seems to think they are right?
So here’s the summation: Tertullian and Origen originated the teachings that Isaiah 14 referred to Satan. Then “Lucifer” first entered the Bible in 405 A.D. when Jerome translated the O.T. into the Latin Vulgate. In 1611, the KJV translators left the word “Lucifer” in the text instead of translating the Hebrew. This led to John Milton, in 1667, putting the idea of Isaiah 14 applying to Satan, along with the KJV use of “Lucifer,” into his famous book, “Paradise Lost,” which had Lucifer as an angel who sinned and was cast out of heaven. And this is how Lucifer became Satan.
I had never heard of the Lucifer/Satan connection when I first read the Isaiah passage, and I never would have gotten the connection from the context, and this doctrine is disputed by many theologians in commentaries I have read.
Nevertheless, if Christians quit using this term to name Satan, then we will cease forcing the Scriptures to say something they don’t say.