Is Lucifer Satan?
Dear brethren, here’s a quick exercise for you to do. Before moving on to the next paragraph of this article, list down as many names or descriptions for the Devil as you can. Ready? Go!
Did you list down Satan? Good job. What about a “roaring lion”? Great work. I hope you also remembered that the Devil is our “adversary”.
Now did your list also include… Lucifer? Are Lucifer and the Devil one and the same?
The term “Lucifer” can be found once in the KJV / NKJV translations, in Isaiah 14:12. “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!” (Isaiah 14:12, KJV). In the original Hebrew, this was the word “heylel”, which Strong’s Concordance defines as “morning star”. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible (4th century A.D.) was the first to use the term “Lucifer”, to refer to this “morning star”. Subsequently, the KJV / NKJV translators have kept this term “Lucifer” as well.
Who is this “morning star”? We do not need to guess, for the Bible text itself gives us the answer. In Isaiah 13, Isaiah is prophesying about the fall of Babylon (Isaiah 13:1). The Almighty God would bring destruction upon them (Isaiah 13:6), and He would use the Medo-Persian empire as His instrument of punishment against Babylon (Isaiah 13:17). This corresponds with what secular history records, which is that the Babylonian empire fell to the Medo-Persians in the mid-6th century B.C., almost 200 years after Isaiah’s prophecy.
In Isaiah 14, Isaiah continues to prophesy against Babylon, specifically its king (Isaiah 14:4). The king of Babylon was described as a “morning star (Latin Vulgate – Lucifer) falling from heaven” (Isaiah 14:12). Why would this king of Babylon meet his doom? He would meet his end because of pride, because he had said in his heart that “I will ascend into heaven and I will exalt my throne above the stars of God” (Isaiah 14:13). The Biblical text records for us that Nebuchadnezzar, one of the kings of the Babylonians, was driven mad temporarily because of his pride (Daniel 4). Belshazzar, another king of the Babylonians, “lifted up himself against the Lord of heaven” (Daniel 5:23) and as a direct consequence, he was killed, and his empire taken over by the Medo-Persians (Daniel 5:30-31). Incidentally, the precise fulfilment of biblical prophecy is one of the pieces of evidence that the Bible writers were inspired of God (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Brethren and friends, the Devil is called many names in the Bible, but Lucifer is not one of them. Lucifer and the Devil are not one and the same. Let us handle the Bible correctly (cf. 2 Timothy 2:15), which includes not taking verses out of their context, or perpetuating half-truths and misunderstandings.