Is Lucifer Satan?

Q. I was referred to your website from a friend and was reviewing some of your answers to your readers as well looking through your book. In one of your answers and in your book Children’s Stories of the Bible (The Adult Version) you state that Satan is Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12. I was rather shocked at this because the word Lucifer is not in any manuscript.

I have copied a quick study on this from a scholar that I read and would like to share with you. After you review this, please explain to me how and why you believe Lucifer is Satan and how that name is used when it is not in any manuscript? I would like a different opinion on this so I know all sides.

A. It’s important when interpreting Scripture to consider the whole passage to establish its context. Isaiah 14 speaks of a future time when Israel will be restored. Verses 3-11 mention the King of Babylon, and could apply to Nebuchadnezzar but seem to go well beyond an earthly context. The specific passage you refer to runs from verse 12 thru verse 20 and alludes to a supernatural being who has fallen to Earth and laid low the nations after a failed attempt to place his throne above the stars of God and make himself like the Most High, which is a name God.

The scholar you refer to apparently considered only the portion of verse 12 referring to Lucifer. He says the name Lucifer in the KJV translation of verse 12 was meant to refer to the Planet Venus, but Venus neither fell to Earth nor laid low the nations, as the rest of verse 12 explains, and the preponderance of personal pronouns in the overall passage requires that it refer to a person not a thing.

It’s true that Lucifer is a word of Latin origin and doesn’t appear in the Hebrew scriptures. The Hebrew of Isaiah 14:12 is heylel ben shachar which means “the shining one” and comes from a root meaning to boast or be boastful. The sense of the word is to call attention to oneself (be in the spotlight) through boasting.

Verses 13 and 14 contain the so-called “five I wills”, a foolish boast wherein the person being called boastful in verse 12 boasts that he’ll become “like the Most High,” in other words, like God. These boasts outline Satan’s plan and purpose in rebelling against God. No other supernatural personage has ever attempted such a thing. Verses 15-20 describe the consequences he’ll suffer.

A literal reading of the entire passage shows that attributing it to the Planet Venus is impossible, and supports my interpretation.

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