We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Saturday, January 13, 2018

About “Lucifer”


Back in August 2010 I posted an article explaining the origin of the name “Lucifer” being applied to Satan. In June 2016 I decided to clean extraneous stuff from it, and explain the information in a more chronological flow; I also added some clarifying statements, and republished the article with changes, deleting the older one.  I have recently read some additional and more accurate information, so I am now replacing the 2016 article.

Satan’s name was never originally “Lucifer.”  Nope, it never was, even though 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 will realize how ridiculous this argument becomes.

Step one:  In ancient days people thought the “morning star” and the “evening star” were two different astrological objects, when in reality they were really both the planet we now call “Venus.” The Greeks called it “Hesperus” in the evening and “Phosphorus” in the morning, while the Romans (with the Latin language) called it “Vesper” in the evening and “Lucifer” in the morning. So, “Lucifer” was nothing more than the name Romans gave to the planet we now know as Venus. The word meant “light bearer,” but identified the “Morning Star.”

Step two:  Early Church fathers Origen (died 254) and Tertullian (died 220) spiritualized this passage and incorrectly decided that it was talking about Satan and his rebellion against God (read Jude 6; Matthew 25:41). In fact, the prophet Isaiah was really 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).

Step three:  When Jerome translated the Hebrew book of Isaiah into Latin (while writing the Latin Vulgate Bible), he had only a vague idea what the Hebrew word “Helel” meant.  Helel means something like “shining one.”  Isaiah 14:12 described this “shining one” as “the Son of the Dawn,” so Jerome concluded that Helel was the Hebrew name for Lucifer, the morning star.  (It is interesting to note that in the Vulgate the same word, “lucifer,” is used at 2 Peter 1:19.)

Step four:  The people who translated the King James Version in 1611 borrowed heavily from Jerome’s Latin Bible, and when they came to Isaiah 14:12 they didn’t understand the Hebrew “Helel,” so they just kept the Latin “Lucifer” rather than trying to translate “Helel” into English. Their translation of Isaiah 14:12 then went like this: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” 

Step five:  John Milton, in 1667, put 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 Satan became Lucifer.  

Satan’s name never was Lucifer, so anyone who makes such a claim is basing their belief really on John Milton’s story and NOT on the Bible.  Unfortunately, this has become a well-held tradition in the Church, both the idea that Isaiah 14:12 is about Satan, and that Satan’s name was Lucifer.  Traditions die hard.

Today, in order to avoid this confusion, modern translations use “Morning Star” or “Day-Star” instead of “Lucifer.”  

We have no idea what Satan’s name may have been prior to his fall.  “Satan” (Hebrew) and “Devil” (from Greek) both mean “adversary.”

Now, a really interesting thing with the KJVO claims is that by changing Isaiah 14:12 to read “Morning Star” while at the same time translating 2 Peter 1:19 as “morning star” (e.g. NIV) we’ve now associated Jesus with Satan, giving them both the same name!  Ergo, we have a “Non-Inspired Version” (NIV) of the Bible. Of course the context of the use of the word is different, but context doesn’t seem to matter to KJVO people. I guess when the Vulgate did it that was okay?

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; 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.

7 comments:

Jesse said...

Thanks for sharing the information from Wikipedia on my blog!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

My pleasure. I thought I'd post from there to give credence to our claims.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of KJVO, living in Germany I have seen the old Luther bible - the German equivalent of the KJV. It too was based on the received text, but misses out the famous Johannine comma in 1 John 5, as this was never in the continental version of that text. I believe there were over 100 differences between that and the RT version on which the KJV was based.

So the question arises, if modern English versions are heretical because they leave out this verse, does that mean all Germans are heretics because they have never had a version in their language containing this disputed verse?

I've never yet had an answer to this from a KJVO devotee! To maintain their position, they would have to maintain that there is one version for English speakers, and a different version for German speakers. Intellectually untenable.

Ken

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Ken,

Now THAT's funny!

Jesse said...

What if the K.J.V. was a product of some Counter Reformation conspiracy?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Jesse,

I loved the sarcasm -- gave me a chuckle!

Jesse said...

Was "Baptist" John's last name according to Matthew 14:8 and Luke 7:20 in the KJV?