Are both Satan and Jesus the morning star?

I have been the webmaster for a religious publisher since 1998, so I get email with questions now and then. Generally I point them to our e-mail discussion group, but today I got a query I figured I’d go ahead and try to answer myself. My response is below (minus names, correcting one tense, and removing a “[a]” in one of the verses that pointed to a footnote in that Bible). First, what she asked:

i have heard ______ say that Lucifer was also Jesus name..does he get that idea from the Hebrew or do you know if there is a direct quote somewhere in the bible

My response…

Hi ______,

I don’t recall hearing ______ say what you remember…but it’s likely connected to Isaiah 14:12, which many Christians (including me) believe is about Satan. Although modern translations choose to translate it differently, in the King James Version:

“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!”

Taking a look at a recent translation (2011 version of the NIV):

“How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!”

Then if you look at Revelation 22:16, it says…

“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” (KJV).

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star” (NIV).

Now if you throw in 2 Peter 1:19…

“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:” (KJV).

“We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (NIV).

Some people (e.g. some strict KJV-only folks) then claim that the NIV is equating the devil and Jesus. The NIV is not my preferred translation, but their are just being true to the original languages as best they can.

Basically what it comes down to is that Lucifer can mean “light bearer” or “morning star.” It all has to do with the Latin behind it (think Jerome’s Vulgate). Lucifer in Latin means:

“lucifer -fera -ferum [light-bearing , light-bringing]; m. as subst. [the morning star].”

(You can look that up at the University of Notre Dame via http://www.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/lookup.pl?stem=lucifer&ending= )

The problem is that “lucifer” (lower case L) was a perfectly fine Latin translation, however it was never meant to be a proper name (as in capital L “Lucifer”). As blessed as we are to have the King James Version, the were mistaken to capitalize it.

I’m not sure what _______ did or didn’t say, but I know that he did like to have a little bit of mischievous (friendly) fun with folks who might not spend enough time taking all 66 as a complete package and use proper interpretation methods. Shockingly showing that both Satan and Jesus were described the same way would be a great way to get people to wake up and dig. 🙂

And both Jesus and Satan were described the same way in this respect. The difference is that Jesus is God and has remained “the” morning star. Satan is a created being who, in his original perfection, also was “a” morning star…but that changed when he allowed sin to enter his heart…and he was ultimately cast to earth.

Hope this helps,

Alan
Webmaster


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