Who is the Bright and Morning Star? Jesus or Lucifer

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The Light of the World, James Holman Hunt (1827-1910)
Source: Artists for Christ

Introduction

The titles ‘Bright and Morning Star’, ‘Day Star’, and ‘Light Bearer’, belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.

I fail to grasp why many believers attribute this title to Satan. Most likely, the basis of their assumption is the tenuous interpretation of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. Not only does it demean this appellation of Christ, it exalts the Satan to a level far above his station.

It is remarkable that the majority of Christians, based solely on private interpretation, has embraced this doctrine concerning the origin and character of Satan. For example:

A Quote from Got Questions

‘There is no verse in the Bible that says, “Lucifer is Satan,” but an examination of several passages reveals that Lucifer can be none other than Satan. The fall of Lucifer described in Isaiah 14:12 is likely the same that Jesus referred to in Luke 10:18: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” A similar fall is depicted in Ezekiel 28.’

There is no verse in the Bible that says, “Lucifer is Satan,”’ Alarm bells should be ringing after reading this opening sentence.

The fall of Lucifer described in Isaiah 14:12 is likely the same…’ Is likely the same? Should a doctrine be based on ‘likely’.

Jesus and the New Testament writers often quoted and alluded to the Old Testament to endorse the authenticity of their statements. Yet they never referenced Isaiah 14 or Ezekiel 28. Surely, it is reasonable to expect at least one quote, considering the magnitude of this doctrine’s influence on the Church today.

I will seek to explain from the Scriptures why I am convinced these chapters do not describe the character of Satan.

Isaiah 14

When taken out of context, Isaiah 14 gives license to the most imaginative and ludicrous descriptions of Satan; elevating him to a position that is totally inappropriate and unscriptural.

Isaiah prophesied the deliverance of Israel and the fall of the Babylonian Empire.

Summary of Isaiah 14

Deliverance of Israel from captivity, which shall follow the downfall of the great empire, Isa 14:1, Isa 14:2. Triumphant ode or song of the children of Jacob, for the signal manifestation of Divine vengeance against their oppressors, vv. 3-23. Prophecy against the Assyrians, Isa 14:24, Isa 14:25. Certainty of the prophecy, and immutability of the Divine counsels, Isa 14:26, Isa 14:27. Palestine severely threatened, Isa 14:28-31. God shall establish Zion… Isa 14:32.’ – Adam Clarke

Isaiah 14 the Proverb

Isa 14:4 KJV That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!

Isaiah 14 was actually a proverb or poem, which mocked the rise and fall of the Babylonian dynasty, from powerful Nebuchadnezzar to partying Belshazzar.

The Lord can exalt rulers and the Lord can cast them down, Babylon was not an exception, ‘he removeth kings, and setteth up kings’… Daniel 2:21; Daniel 4:32

Lost in Translation

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

Heylel

The meaning of the Hebrew word ‘heylel’ is ‘morning star’. In my opinion, it was used to illustrate the magnitude of Nebuchadnezzar’s rise to power; the ‘morning star’ was one of his honorific titles.

Phosphorus

‘Heylel’ was translated ‘phosphoros’ in the Greek Septuagint, subsequently; when Jerome translated his 4th Century Latin Vulgate Bible he used ‘lucifer’.

‘Phosphorus’ appears only once in the New Testament when Peter described Jesus as ‘the morning star’… 2 Peter 1:19 Surely, he would not have done so if the title belonged to Satan!

Lucifer

It is unfortunate that the translators of the King James Version not only retained the Latin ‘lucifer’, but also personified it by adding a capital ‘L’.

In the KJV, ‘Lucifer’ appears once. It is folly to build a doctrine on one verse of Scripture.

Isa 14:12-14 KJV 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! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Striking Facts or Striking Fiction

A Quote from the Summarized Bible

Striking Facts: Isa_14:12-14. ‘This is a reference to Satan, the real, though unseen ruler of successive world powers. This tells the story of the beginning of sin in the universe. The universal catastrophe here predicted has never occurred and has to do with the close of the times of the Gentiles and the setting up of Christ’s Kingdom.’

This quote from the Summarized Bible is a typical example of reading between the lines and reaching a conclusion that is bereft of scriptural support. I wonder if the Summarised Bible would have made this presumption had the King James Version properly translated the Hebrew ‘heylel’ into English (morning star) instead of Latin (Lucifer).

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 14:12 ‘Isaiah 14:12’O Lucifer, son of the morning – The Versions in general agree in this translation, and render היללheilel as signifying Lucifer, Φωσφωρος, the morning star, whether Jupiter or Venus; as these are both bringers of the morning light, or morning stars, annually in their turn. And although the context speaks explicitly concerning Nebuchadnezzar, yet this has been, I know not why, applied to the chief of the fallen angels, who is most incongruously denominated Lucifer, (the bringer of light!) an epithet as common to him as those of Satan and Devil. That the Holy Spirit by his prophets should call this arch-enemy of God and man the light-bringer, would be strange indeed. But the truth is, the text speaks nothing at all concerning Satan nor his fall, nor the occasion of that fall, which many divines have with great confidence deduced from this text. O how necessary it is to understand the literal meaning of Scripture, that preposterous comments may be prevented! Besides, I doubt much whether our translation be correct. הילל heilel, which we translate Lucifer, comes from ילל yalal, yell, howl, or shriek, and should be translated, “Howl, son of the morning;” and so the Syriac has understood it; and for this meaning Michaelis contends: see his reasons in Parkhurst, under הלל halal.’

The well-respected commentator Adam Clarke felt it necessary to set the record straight. He was convinced ‘the context speaks explicitly concerning Nebuchadnezzar’.

A Quote from the Amplified Bible

Isaiah 14:12 ‘Some students feel that the application of the name Lucifer to Satan is erroneous, even though it is commonly taught to that effect. Lucifer, THE LIGHT BRINGER, is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word phosphoros, which is used as a title of Christ in 2 Peter 1:19 (…until the DAY STAR arise in your hearts.) and corresponds to the name `BRIGHT MORNING STAR’ in Revelation 22:16, which Jesus called Himself. The application of the name Lucifer has only existed since the third century A.D., and is based on the supposition that Luke 10:18 (I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven) is an explanation of Isaiah 14:12, which authorities feel is not true.’

Isa 14:16 KJV They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

In this chapter, the ‘morning star’ was an epithet of Nebuchadnezzar the man, not a spirit being.

Isa 14:22 KJV For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.

There is no evidence in the Scriptures to purport that ‘morning star’ was a description of Satan, or that Isaiah 14 explained his origin and character.

A Quote from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Isaiah 14:22 ‘For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts – That is, against the family of, the king of Babylon. And cut off from Babylon the name – That is, all the “males” of the royal family, so that the name of the monarch shall become extinct (compare Rth_4:5; Isa_56:5)…….’

On the contrary, Isaiah clearly prophesied God’s judgement on the Babylonian dynasty.

Isaiah 14:12

‘The exposition of this passage, which some have given, as if it referred to Satan, has arisen from ignorance; for the context plainly shows that these statements must be understood in reference to the king of the Babylonians. But when passages of Scripture are taken up at random, and no attention is paid to the context, we need not wonder that mistakes of this kind frequently arise.’ – John Calvin

Ezekiel 28

There has been far more ‘Striking Fiction’ than ‘Striking Facts’ written about Satan, to grant him the title of ‘morning star’ is completely untenable.

Let us eliminate the myths surrounding this character and attempt to uphold what the Scriptures actually teach.

Summary of Ezekiel 28

‘Against the Prince of Tyre – Ezekiel 28:1-19 As the city of Tyre was first of all threatened with destruction (Ezekiel 26), and then her fall was confirmed by a lamentation (Ezekiel 27), so here the prince of Tyre is first of all forewarned of his approaching death (Eze 28:1-10), and then a lamentation is composed thereon (Eze 28:11-19).’ – Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament

The accolade ‘morning star’, the titles anointed cherub and archangel, are included in Lucifer’s curriculum vitae. There is no evidence in the Scriptures to prove that Satan was either an archangel or a cherub.

Eze 28:2 KJV Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:

‘yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God’. The fact of the matter is that Ezekiel prophesied the downfall of the King of Tyre.

A Quote from Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Ezekiel 28:1-10 ‘The pride of the prince of Tyre is described in Eze_28:2 as consisting in the fact that he regarded himself as a God, and his seat in the island of Tyre as a God’s seat…’ ‘…The Tyrian state was the production and seat of its gods. He, the prince of Tyre, presided over this divine creation and divine seat; therefore he, the prince, was himself a god, a manifestation of the deity, having its work and home in the state of Tyre…’

Was Lucifer the Anointed Cherub?

Eze 28:14 KJV Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

The purpose of the cherubim is to guard the things of God, while angels are messengers sent from God. According to Christian tradition Satan was both!

Was Lucifer Really One of Three Archangels?

Although Christian tradition has adopted the idea that Satan was one of three archangels, this misconception is from extra-Biblical sources; there is no mention of three in the Scriptures. Michael is the only archangel named… Jude 1:9

Eze 28:17 KJV Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

‘because of thy beauty’ Many scholars contend Satan was the most beautiful of all the angels. However, Ezekiel 28 described the king of Tyre, not a spirit being.

Did Lucifer Enjoy the Delights of the Garden?

Ezekiel’s 28:13 KJV Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

Scholars also claim Lucifer fell from his elevated position in the angelic host prior to the creation of Adam and the Garden Eden, if so, how could he have been the person described in Ezekiel 28:13?

Jesus Is the True Morning Star

Isaiah prophesied ‘ people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined’… Isaiah 9:2 This and similar prophecies pointed to the coming of the Messiah… Isaiah 60 1-2

Joh 1:5 KJV And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

2Pe 1:19 KJV We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

John described Jesus as ‘the light shineth in darkness’. Peter also used a similar phrase ‘a light that shineth in a dark place’ when he described Jesus as ‘the day star’. The fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecies was the advent of Christ.

Conclusion

Satan may have been a predominant fallen angel who possessed great powers, but why glamourise him by the misappropriation of Scripture.

I find it incomprehensible that Christian tradition has given Satan the grand title of ‘light-bringer’!

The Final Word

Rev 2:28 KJV And I will give him the morning star.

The reward of the overcomer is ‘the morning star’; thankfully in the final chapter of the Revelation, Jesus settled the identity of ‘the bright and morning star’.

Rev 22:16 KJV I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

If Jesus said it, then I believe it!

What do you think?

Footnote

Recommended Reading:

I discovered this fascinating article on the city of Tyre while ‘searchin’ for information on Ezekiel 28: Tyre in Prophecy

 

 

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