Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

"Lucifer" in Isaiah 14 -- Have We Been Deceived All These Years?

How did we get  from VENUS -- the Morning Star -- to Lucifer being associated with Satan -- especially since that term is used in positive ways even in the New Testament? Isaiah 14:12 does not connect, either historically or theologically, with the New Testament passages about the devil or Satan. By reading Isaiah 14:12 on its own terms within its own context, we discover that Lucifer is NOT an Old Testament name for Satan! It is, instead, the recollection of a cosmic war in the celestial sphere.

by John D. Keyser

The common understanding of the narrative found in Isaiah 14 is reflected in the book Beyond Star Wars by William F. Dankenbring where he states:

"A much fuller account of the story [of the assumed fall of Satan] is provided by the prophet Isaiah. Notice what the prophet was inspired to record:

"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!

"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: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit" (Isaiah 14:12-15, KJV).

"Here the prophet Isaiah describes what happened aeons ago! Here the first massive STAR WAR is briefly narrated. An archangel by the name of Lucifer, which means 'Day star,' or 'Shining star of the dawn,' rebelled against the Almighty God. He attempted to ascend to heaven, to exalt his own throne or seat of authority above the other angels, called 'stars of God.' He attempted to ascend above the clouds (clouds are in the earth's atmosphere), to rise up and conquer space -- to remove God from His Throne -- to become 'like the Most High.' But his abortive attempt failed. He was cast back down to earth in a massive struggle" (William F. Dankenbring, Beyond Star Wars, Triumph Publishing Co., 1978, pp. 289-290).

While this seems like a lot of information garnered from the brief biblical synopsis of an event recorded in Isaiah 14, and borders on hyperbole, other authors have followed the same convoluted path. The late Garner Ted Armstrong also believed the narrative found in Isaiah 14 to be an account of Satan's rebellion against YEHOVAH God -- notice:

"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!

"For thou hast said in thine heart [his innermost being -- his private thoughts], I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars [other angels] of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

"Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit" (Isaiah 14:12-15, KJV).

"Here, the thoughts of Lucifer's mind are revealed. He had a secret agenda! He coveted God's throne! He became bitter, angry, jealous; he desired it all! He began resenting God's position! He told himself he was more beautiful, more gifted, more talented, more deserving than God! Who knows how many thousands, or even millions of years passed as Lucifer wheedled, whined, argued, reasoned, talked, and sought to influence the minds of all the angels under him?

"This whole world was like a beautiful Garden of Eden! Most likely, it was populated with billions of creatures -- a pre-Adamic world of original beauty, but one which became wholly corrupted!

"Geologists know there were mammoth catastrophes in the past; gargantuan upheavals of the rocks, huge floods, glaciers, earthquakes, volcanic explosions, and even meteors, impacting the earth. A current theory for the sudden disappearance of the dinosaurs is that a huge meteor smashed into the earth, so enshrouding it with dust and debris that the sun was blotted out, and all life died suddenly" (Did God Create a Devil?).

Similarly, the United Church of God follows suit in their discussion of the same subject in the article, Did God Create the Devil? --

"In Isaiah 14 we find more information. This chapter makes reference to the angelic rebellion, identifying its ring leader. It gives us important details we could learn of in no other way.

"In verse 4 God addresses the "king of Babylon." In Isaiah's time the city-state of Babylon was emerging as the major power in that region of the world. Its king was a war monger, expanding his empire through brute force. He enslaved, plundered and devastated the nations around him. (In context, this passage has dual meaning, in that it also refers to an end-time tyrant who will rule over a final global empire referred to in Revelation 17 and 18 as Babylon the Great.)

"The philosophy of the king of Babylon here is satanic -- acquiring wealth and power at the expense of others, gaining it through violence and bloodshed. The king of Babylon thus exemplifies Satan and his characteristics. Indeed, as we will read more about later, Satan is the real power behind the throne of the world's kingdoms (compare Luke 4:5-7; John 12:31; Revelation 12:9; 13:2).

"In verse 12 the subject shifts from the physical king to a ruler who is yet higher. Many scholars recognize that the original language of this passage is in the form of a lament, a reflection of God's mourning and sense of great loss due to the events being described: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High'" (verses 12-14).

"Who is this being who dares to exalt himself above the other angels (stars symbolize angels, Revelation 1:20) of God, to challenge God Himself as ruler of the universe?"

Are these interpretations of Isaiah 14 correct? Is Isaiah 14 REALLY discussing the role of Satan -- here called Lucifer?

What is Isaiah chapter 14 all about, for we need to understand that taking Isaiah 14:12 on its own -- as a stand alone verse -- and attempting to interpret it is only going to lead to numerous errors and false teachings? What time periods or ages was Isaiah alluding to? Is Isaiah 14 prophetic symbolism? Is it really about Satan the Devil? Is it about a king of Babylon, as mentioned in verse 4, or is the intended subject matter something entirely different? Who or what is Lucifer? Is the name Lucifer a complete fiction and/or a Roman Catholic invention and yet another of their devious corruptions of Scripture? Can the alleged name "Lucifer" only be found once in the King James Version of the Old Testament and not at all in the King James Version of the New Testament? Is Lucifer another name for Satan the Devil?

Other Translations

Before we delve into the above questions, let's take a look at some more translations of Isaiah 14.

Isaiah 14:12(Hebrew Transliteral) "How you-fell from heavens howl you son of dawn you-were-hacked-down to the earth one defeating over nations."

Isaiah 14:12 (CLV) "How you have fallen from the heavens! Howl, son of the dawn! You are hacked down to the earth, defeater of all nations!"

Isaiah 14:12 (YLT) "How hast thou fallen from the heavens, O shining one, son of the dawn! Thou hast been cut down to earth, O weakener of nations."

Isaiah 14:12 (TAB) "How have you fallen from heaven, O light-bringer and daystar, son of the morning! How you have been cut down to the ground, you who weakened and laid low the nations [O blasphemous, satanic king of Babylon!]."

Isaiah 14:12 (NRSV) "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.' 15 But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. 16 Those who see you will stare at you, and ponder over you: 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, 17 who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities' who did not let his prisoners go home?'"

Isaiah 14:12 (The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible) "How you are fallen from the heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! How you have been cut down to the ground -- you who laid low the nation!"

Isaiah 14:12 (The Jerusalem Bible) "How did you come to fall from the heavens, Daystar, son of Dawn? How did you come to be thrown to the ground, you who enslaved the nations?"

Isaiah 14:12 (Tanakh) "How are you fallen from heaven, O Shining One, son of Dawn! How are you felled to earth, O vanquisher of nations!"

Notice here that none of these translations use the word "Lucifer" -- why is this? Only the King James Version and the New King James Version of the Old Testament use the name "Lucifer."

Which "Heaven"

Also notice that some of the above translations have the word "heaven" in the plural, i.e., "heavens," which can have a considerable affect on the meaning of the verse. If the word is singular, then it could possibly refer to the "heaven of YEHOVAH's abode." If in the plural, the word could refer to the "heavens around us" -- or the universe! So which is it? What is the correct meaning of the word "heaven" in Isaiah 14:12? In Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible the word "heaven" in Isaiah 14:12 is #8064 -- which is explained as follows:

"8064. shamayim, shaw-mah'-yim; dual of an unused sing. shameh, shaw-meh'; from an unused root mean. to be lofty; the sky (as aloft; the dual perh. alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as to the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve):- air, x astrologer, heaven (-s)."

When the Bible refers to the "heaven" of YEHOVAH's abode, Strong's word # 8065 is used -- "8065. shamayin (Chald.), shaw-mah'-yin; corresp. to 8064 -- heaven."

So clearly Isaiah 14:12 is referring to the sky, or the celestial sphere -- NOT to the "heaven" of YEHOVAH God's abode.

The True Meaning of "Lucifer"

Above we have listed nine translations with only one translation, the KJV, using the Latin derived noun "Lucifer," a word which originates from the Latin term lucem ferre, and means "light bringer" or "bearer of light." This means it's referring to a thing or a being. In Ancient Roman astrology and/or astronomy "Lucifer" was the name given to the morning star i.e. the PLANET VENUS. Gleason Archer noted: "The title Helel, which KJV (following the Latin Vulgate) translates 'Lucifer,' is rendered Hesphoros in the Septuagint (meaning 'Dawn-bringer' and referring to the morning star)" (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, p. 268). This LXX rendering was said to be THE COMMON GREEK NAME FOR VENUS as the morning star. Henry Thiessen affirmed that "this term [Lucifer] means the morning star, an epithet of the planet VENUS" (Lectures in Systematic Theology, p. 202).

Notice what John J. Robinson says about the name "Lucifer":

"Why Lucifer? In Roman astronomy, Lucifer was the name given to the morning star (the star we now know by another Roman name, VENUS). The morning star appears in the heavens just before dawn, heralding the rising sun. The name derives from the Latin term lucem ferre, bringer, or bearer, of light. In the Hebrew text the expression used to describe the Babylonian king before his death is Helel, son of Shahar, which can best be translated as 'Day star, son of the Dawn.' The name evokes the golden glitter of a proud king's dress and court (much as his personal splendor earned for King Louis XIV of France the appellation, 'The Sun King')" (A Pilgrim's Path, pp. 47-48).

The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia has at its entry for Lucifer the following, "the morning star, an epithet of the planet Venus" (p. 1934).

But is this relevant to the original Hebrew meaning of this verse?

Notice, too, that I say noun, because the Hebrew word that "Lucifer" is translated from is a verb. Now in order for it to be a name, a noun would have to be present in the Hebrew text, but it isn't, there is no noun, nor any word that could be translated as a name or a being from the Hebrew text, so what gives?

So how has a verb become a noun when the Hebrew word involved is this: halal; hawlal'; heylel or hay-lale'? Now some scholars say it means "to howl" or "howl you" i.e. a shout or an exclamation. Others say it means "to shine" or "shine forth" or to "flash forth light." If we combine the two meanings we could have "to shine" and "to shout out boastfully" as if we are dealing with someone who thinks he is superior to everyone else. All these descriptions, though, are verb based, not noun based. Notice what Wikipedia (the on-line encyclopedia) says about "Lucifer" --

"Lucifer (/ˈlsɪfər/ or /ˈljsɪfər/) is the King James Version rendering of the Hebrew word הֵילֵל in Isaiah 14:12. This word, transliterated hêlēl or heylel, occurs only once in the Hebrew Bible and according to the KJV-influenced Strong's Concordance means 'shining one, morning star, Lucifer.' The word Lucifer is taken from the Latin Vulgate, which translates הֵילֵל as lucifer, meaning 'the morning star, the planet Venus' (or, as an adjective, 'light-bringing'). The Septuagint renders הֵילֵל in Greek as ἑωσφόρος (heōsphoros), a name, literally 'bringer of dawn', for the morning star. (In spite of the unanimous testimony of published texts of the Septuagint, Kaufmann Kohler says that the Greek Septuagint translation is 'Phosphoros'.)

"Before the rise of Christianity, the pseudepigrapha of Enochic Judaism, the form of Judaism witnessed to in 1 Enoch and 2 Enoch, which enjoyed much popularity during the Second Temple period, gave Satan an expanded role, interpreting Isaiah 14:12-15, with its reference to the morning star, as applicable to him, and presenting him as a fallen angel cast out of heaven. Christian tradition, influenced by this presentation, came to use the Latin word for 'morning star', lucifer, as a proper name ('Lucifer') for Satan as Satan was before his fall. As a result, 'Lucifer has become a by-word for Satan in the Church and in popular literature', as in Dante Alighieri's Inferno and John Milton's Paradise Lost.

"In ancient Canaanite mythology, the morning star is pictured as a god, Attar, who attempted to occupy the throne of Ba'al and, finding he was unable to do so, descended and ruled the underworld. The original myth may have been about a lesser god Helel trying to dethrone the Canaanite high god El who lived on a mountain to the north. Similarities have been noted also with the story of Ishtar's or Inanna's descent into the underworld, Ishtar and Inanna being associated with the planet Venus. The Babylonian myth of Etana has also been seen as connected.

"The Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible points out that no evidence has been found of any Canaanite myth of a god being thrown from heaven, as in Isaiah 14:12. It concludes that the closest parallels with Isaiah's description of the king of Babylon as a fallen morning star cast down from heaven are to be found not in any lost Canaanite and other myths but in traditional ideas of the Jewish people themselves, echoed in the Biblical account of the fall of Adam and Eve, cast out of God's presence for wishing to be as God, and the picture in Psalm 82 of the 'gods' and 'sons of the Most High' destined to die and fall. This Jewish tradition has echoes also in Jewish pseudepigrapha such as 2 Enoch and the Life of Adam and Eve.

"Early Christians were influenced by the association of Isaiah 14:12-18 with the Devil, which had developed in the period between the writing of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, also called the Intertestamental Period when the deuterocanonical books were written. Even in the New Testament itself, Sigve K. Tonstad argues, the War in Heaven theme of Revelation 12:7-9, in which the dragon 'who is called the devil and Satan…was thrown down to the earth', derives from the passage in Isaiah 14. Origen (184/185-253/254) interpreted such Old Testament passages as being about manifestations of the Devil; but of course, writing in Greek, not Latin, he did not identify the Devil with the name 'Lucifer'. Tertullian (c. 160-c. 225), who wrote in Latin, also understood Isaiah 14:14 ('I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High') as spoken by the Devil, but 'Lucifer' is not among the numerous names and phrases he used to describe the Devil. Even at the time of the Latin writer Augustine of Hippo (354-430), 'Lucifer' had not yet become a common name for the Devil. But some time later, the metaphor of the morning star that Isaiah 14:12 applied to a king of Babylon gave rise to the general use of the Latin word for 'morning star', capitalized, as the original name of the Devil before his fall from grace, linking Isaiah 14:12 with Luke 10:18 ('I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven') and interpreting the passage in Isaiah as an allegory of Satan's fall from heaven.

"However, the understanding of the morning star in Isaiah 14:12 as a metaphor referring to a king of Babylon continued also to exist among Christians. Theodoret of Cyrus (c. 393-c. 457) wrote that Isaiah calls the king 'morning star', not as being the star, but as having had the illusion of being it. The same understanding is shown in Christian translations of the passage, which in English generally use 'morning star' rather than treating the word as a proper name, 'Lucifer'. So too in other languages, such as French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Even the Vulgate text in Latin is printed with lower-case lucifer (morning star), not upper-case Lucifer (proper name).

"Calvin said: 'The exposition of this passage, which some have given, as if it referred to Satan, has arisen from ignorance: for the context plainly shows these statements must be understood in reference to the king of the Babylonians.' Luther also considered it a gross error to refer this verse to the devil.

"Translation of הֵילֵל as 'Lucifer', as in the King James Version, has been abandoned in modern English translations of Isaiah 14:12. Present-day translations have 'morning star' (New International Version, New Century Version, New American Standard Bible, Good News Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Contemporary English Version, Common English Bible, Complete Jewish Bible), 'daystar' (New Jerusalem Bible, English Standard Version, The Message), 'shining one' (New Life Version) or 'shining star' (New Living Translation)."

Writes Dennis Bratcher:

"The term Lucifer was popularized in English from this King James translation. However, the name does not come from the Hebrew or even from the Greek translation (Septuagint), but from the fourth century AD Latin translation of this verse:

"quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes.

"But this is not quite as obvious as it sounds even in Latin. The term Lucifer in fourth century Latin was a name for Venus, especially as the morning star. The Latin word Lucifer is composed of two words: lux, or in the genitive form used lucis, (meaning 'light') and ferre, which means 'to bear' or 'to bring.' So, the word Lucifer means bearer of light. The same word is used in other places in the Latin Vulgate to translate Hebrew terms that mean 'bright,' especially associated with the sky....There is some debate about the exact origin of the original Hebrew word in Isaiah 14:12 (helel). The strongest possibility is that it comes from a verbal root that means 'to shine brightly,' as well as 'to offer praise' (where we get the phrase hallelu yah). In any case, the noun form is the Hebrew term for the morning star, in most cases the planet Venus. Both the second century BC Greek translation in the Septuagint, and the fourth century AD Latin translation in the Latin Vulgate understand this to be the meaning of the Hebrew word helel ("Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12-17: Translation and Ideology, Christian Resource Institute)."

The actual name, "Lucifer," goes back to the Greeks -- before the Romans. Socrates and Plato talk about this "god of light." However, they don't see it in the context of Eos (god of Dawn), but -- as a morning star -- juxtaposed with the sun (Helios) and Hermes. This information can be found in Plato's Timaeus (38e) and in Edith Hamilton's Mythology.

A Disturbing Development

A disturbing development occurred whereby KJV-only advocates started to imply that the King James Version glorifies the Messiah more with its rendering "Lucifer" at Isaiah 14:12. Writes Gail Riplinger:

"The ultimate blasphemy occurs when 'the morning star' takes 'Lucifer's' place in Isaiah 14" (New Age Bible Versions, p. 43).

Marty Braemer elaborates by saying,

"When the NIV editors took 'Lucifer' out of Isaiah 14:12 and put 'the morning star' in its place, they substituted the Son of God for Satan" (This Little Light, p. 12).

William Bradley asserts that "if you have an NIV, your 'bible' teaches that it was Jesus Christ, not Lucifer, who rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven" (To All Generations, p. 75). Robert Baker states: "In the only passage which describes Lucifer's iniquity and fall into hell, many new versions confuse his identity with Jesus Christ" (Another Bible, p. 10). Finally, James Melton claims the following:

"In some new versions, Jesus Christ and Satan are the same, because some versions have taken the liberty to call Satan 'the morning star' in Isaiah 14:12" (Fighting Back, p. 20).

So have these King James Version-only advocates carefully checked the evidence before they made these serious charges? I think not.

From "Venus" to "Lucifer"

How, then, did we get from VENUS, the morning star, to Lucifer being associated with Satan the devil -- especially since that term is used in positive ways in both testaments?

The first problem is that Lucifer is a LATIN name -- so how did it find its way into a Hebrew manuscript written before there was even a Roman language?! Some Hebrew scholars speculate that some early "Christian" scribes -- writing in the Latin tongue used by the Catholic Church -- had decided for themselves that they wanted the story to be about a fallen angel (a creature not even mentioned in the original Hebrew text) to whom they gave the name "Lucifer."

Be that as it may, the translation "Lucifer" arose from Jerome's Latin Vulgate. Later, the scholars authorized by King James I to translate the Bible into the English current at the time, used versions largely translated by Jerome in the fourth century instead of the original Hebrew texts. Either by accident or intentionally, Jerome had translated the Hebraic metaphor "Day star, son of the Dawn" as "Lucifer" -- and over the centuries a metamorphosis took place. As a result, Lucifer the morning star (Venus) became a disobedient angel, cast out of heaven to rule eternally in hell. Theologians, writers and poets interwove the myth with the doctrine of the Fall, and in "Christian" tradition Lucifer is now the same as Satan the Devil and -- ironically -- the Prince of Darkness.

At the time of Jerome the term "Lucifer" actually meant the planet VENUS as a morning star, therefore Lucifer wasn't equated with Satan until after the time of Jerome. In the original Hebrew text, the 14th chapter of Isaiah is NOT about a fallen angel, but about a fallen Babylonian king -- who during his lifetime had persecuted the children of Israel. It contains NO MENTION of Satan, either by name or reference.

In The Oxford Companion to the Bible we find the following comment:

"Lucifer, a name for Satan popularized in the Middle Ages, derives ultimately from the merging of the New Testament tradition of the fall of Satan from heaven (Luke 10:18) with an ORIGINALLY SEPARATE biblical tradition concerning the Morning Star (cf. Isa. 14:12)" (Edited By Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan. Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 679).

In a similar vein Hard Sayings of the Bible points us to the mythology of ancient Canaan -- notice!

"Some of the early church fathers, such as Tertullian, along with Gregory the Great and scholastic commentators, linked this prophecy in Isaiah [14:12] with Luke 10:18 and Revelation 12:8. As a result, they applied the passage to the fall of Satan or Lucifer. The expositors of the Reformation era, however, would have NO PART of this exegesis, which they regarded as A POPULAR PERVERSION. The passage, in their minds, discussed human pride, not angelic -- even though the pride was monumental, to be sure. Which interpretation, then, is correct? Is this passage a record of the time when Satan fell like lightning from heaven? Or is it a description of the Babylonian king only?

"The key [Hebrew] word for resolving this problem is helel, rendered at first as an imperative of the verb signifying 'howl' ('Howl, son of the morning, for your fall'). Then it was connected with the verb to shine and made a derivative denoting 'bright one', or more specifically 'BRIGHT STAR,' the harbinger of daybreak. The Latin term for it became Lucifer.

"In Canaanite mythology from Ugarit, the god Athtar seems to be connected with the morning star. At one point, the gods attempted to replace Baal with Athtar, but he declined, as he found that he was unsuited for the position. The throne was too large for him. Athtar was the son of the Ugarit god El and his wife Asherah. Athtar was the chief god in the South Arabic pantheon, known there as an astral deity, THE PLANET VENUS. In the Ugarit world he was known as 'the terrible, awesome one' or as 'the lion.' Some have translated the first epithet as 'a flash [of lightning].' The Ugaritic text 49, column 1, tells how his greed for power caused him to ascend the vacant throne of Baal, who had been dealt a death blow by the god of death, Mot. Assisted by his mother, he attempted to fill the vacuum left by Baal, but he was unable to do so. His feet did not reach the footstool, and his head did not clear the top of the throne. So he descended from the throne of Baal, stepping down so that 'he might rule over the grand earth.' Like Isaiah's Lucifer, he had aspired to ascend to a throne above the heavens but suffered a fall" (Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce and Manfred T. Brauch. InterVasity Press, 1996, pp. 302-303).

The early Catholic Church fathers -- along with others -- have taken 2 Corinthians 11:14, Luke 10:18-19 and Revelation 12, lumped them together and have come to the conclusion that Satan is somehow associated with light and the sky. "By adding these three passages together," points out Dennis Bratcher, "without regard to context, and read them as if they were all speaking in the same way about the same thing to make the same point, we can conclude that we have here a jigsaw picture of a long ago historical event described in great detail (but of course we have to put the pieces together from various bits scattered through literature written 800 years apart!)."

Continues Bratcher, "Then, if we take that assumption about the meaning of all these texts, and the assumption that adding texts together is the way to understand them (a drastic perversion of the 'Scripture interprets Scripture' principle!), and bring that back to the Isaiah text, then it is very easy to reach the conclusion that Isaiah is also describing the same event....Now, if we look at the text of Isaiah 14 IN CONTEXT, and without the assumptions we brought to it from the New Testament, the meaning of the passage becomes MORE OBVIOUS and goes a radically different direction" ("Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12-17: Translation and Ideology, Christian Resource Institute).

The King of Babylon

In discussing Isaiah 13:1 through 14:27, the book All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial states the following:

"Pronouncing Babylon's doom. Isaiah now looks past the Assyrian's day into the TIME OF BABYLON'S ZENITH. Listen! The sound of numerous people, the uproar of kingdoms, of nations gathered together! Jehovah is mustering the army of war! It is a dark day for Babylon. Amazed faces flame and hearts melt. The pitiless Medes will tumble Babylon, 'the decoration of kingdoms.' She is to become an uninhabited desolation and a haunt of wild creatures 'for generation after generation.' (13:19, 20) The dead in Sheol are stirred to receive the king of Babylon. Maggots become his couch and worms his covering. What a comedown for this 'shining one, the son of the dawn'! (14:12) He [the king of Babylon] aspired to God's throne but has become a carcass thrown out, as Jehovah sweeps Babylon with the broom of annihilation. No name, no remnant, no progeny, no posterity are to remain!" (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 1963, p. 120).

We can see from the above that, when taken in CONTEXT and without assumptions brought in from the New Testament, the meaning of the Isaiah passage becomes more obvious and heads in a totally different direction. "The book of Isaiah has spent the first chapters denouncing the sins of Israel and its failure to be God's people. There have also been expectations that God will work in new ways in the life of the nation to help them recover their mission as God's people. One of those ways would be through a new king to replace the corrupt Ahaz. Because of his pro-Assyrian policies, the nation was teetering upon the brink of catastrophe as Assyria expanded to the West" (Dennis Bratcher, "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12-17: Translation and Ideology, Christian Resource Institute). 

Isaiah 13 begins a section ending at Isaiah 23:18 where he prophesies against the nations. It is fitting for judgment to begin at the house of YEHOVAH God, so the Lord has first spoken to Israel and Judah. But now, the Lord speaks against the nations, beginning with Babylon. Written in a poetic and highly figurative language, the Babylonian Empire is denounced by YEHOVAH God for its arrogance and lack of compassion for other nations it has conquered. "It is interesting," comments Dennis Bratcher, "that in 13:10, specific mention is made of the failure of the Babylonian gods (constellations, sun, moon) to help them when God calls them to accountability" (ibid.).

Isaiah 13 ended with the desolation and gloom that would come upon Babylon. Since Babylon was Judah’s great enemy, any judgment on Babylon was an expression of mercy on Israel. So, Isaiah follows the pronouncement of judgment on Babylon with the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel.

Chapter 14 follows with the promise of Israel's return from exile under the Babylonians -- a theme that dominates the middle section of the book of Isaiah (40-55). "Part of that return," notes Bratcher, " would involve the DOWNFALL OF THE TYRANT KING OF BABYLON (v. 4; probably Nebuchadnezzar; for the same language is used of a later Babylonian ruler, Belshazzar, see Dan. 5:20). In that context, verses 12-21 are a poetic picture of that downfall" (ibid.).

When all of the above quotations are put together, it becomes clear that the Isaiah passage is NOT linked -- either historically or theologically -- with the New Testament verses regarding the devil or Satan. By considering the Isaiah passage within its own context and on its own terms, it becomes abundantly clear that Lucifer is NOT an Old Testament name for Satan. "The passage in Isaiah 14:12-17 is directed," emphasizes Bratcher, "at the downfall of the arrogant Babylonian rulers who took Israel into exile. By beginning with the New Testament, by making assumptions not supported by a closer examination of Scripture itself, and by using external theological categories as a lens through which to read Scripture, we may end up badly misreading Isaiah" ("Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12-17: Translation and Ideology, Christian Resource Institute).

Lucifer Cut Down

Now that we have seen proven that "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12 does not refer to Satan or the Messiah, does this enigmatic passage refer to some tremendous event in world history that left an indelible mark on the collective memories of mankind? Immanuel Velikovsky thought so! Notice what he says about Isaiah 14:12 --

"Since the days of Exodus and Joshua, VENUS was dreaded by the peoples of the earth. For about seven hundred years this terror hung over mankind like the sword of Damocles. Human sacrifices were made to Venus in both hemispheres in order to propitiate her....

"Venus, which collided with the earth in the fifteenth century before the present era, collided with Mars in the eighth century. At that time Venus was moving at a lower elliptical velocity than when it first encountered the earth; but Mars, being only about one-eighth the mass of Venus, was no match for her. It was therefore a notable achievement that Mars, though thrown out of the ring, nevertheless was instrumental in bringing Venus from an elliptical to a nearly circular orbit. Looked at from the earth, Venus was removed from a path that ran high to the zenith and over the zenith to its present path in which it never retreats from the sun more than 48 degrees, thus becoming a MORNING OR AN EVENING STAR that precedes the rising sun or follows the setting sun. The awe of the world for many centuries, Venus became a tame planet.

"Isaiah, referring figuratively to the king of Babylon who destroyed cities and made the land into a wilderness, uttered his remarkable words about Lucifer that fell from heaven and was cut down to the ground. The commentators recognized that behind these words applied to the king of Babylon must have been some legend about the MORNING STAR. The metaphor regarding the king of Babylon implied that his fate and the fate of the Morning Star were not dissimilar; both of them fell from on high. But what could it mean that the Morning Star fell from the heights? asked the commentators.

"Significant are the words of Isaiah about the Morning Star, that it 'weakened the nations' before it was cut down to the ground. It weakened the nations in two collisions with the earth, and it weakened the nations by keeping them in constant fear for centuries" (Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, Paradigma Ltd., 2009, pp. 258-259).

Venus Becomes the Morning Star

Earlier, in his book Worlds in Collision, Velikovsky demonstrates how Venus became the Morning Star -- notice!

"Since the latter part of the eighth century before the present era, Venus has followed an orbit between Mercury and earth, which it has maintained ever since. IT BECAME THE MORNING AND EVENING STAR. Seen from the earth, it is never removed more than 48 degrees (when at its eastern and western elongation) or three hours and a few minutes east or west of the sun. THE DREADED COMET BECAME A TAME PLANET. It has the most nearly circular orbit among the planets.

"The end of the terror which Venus kept alive for eight centuries after the days of the Exodus was THE INSPIRATION FOR ISAIAH when he said: '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! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.'

"Septuagint and Vulgate both translate 'Morning Star' or 'Lucifer.' What does it mean, that the Morning Star was assailing the heavens and rising high, and that it was cut down low to the horizon, and would weaken no more the nations...?

"Why, it is also asked, should the beautiful Morning Star, called Lucifer, the Light Bearer, live in the imagination of peoples as an evil power, a fallen star? What is it in this lovely planet that makes her name an equivalent of Satan, or Seth of the Egyptians, the dark power?"

In answer to these questions, Velikovsky goes on to explain:

"Lucifer was a feared prodigy in the sky, and its origin...explains how it came to be regarded as a dark power and a fallen star.

"After a great struggle, Venus achieved a circular orbit and a permanent place in the family of planets. During the perturbations which brought about this metamorphosis, Venus also lost its cometary tail.

"In the valley of the Euphrates, 'Venus then gives up her position as a great stellar divinity, equal with sun and moon, and joins the ranks of the other planets' (A. Jeremias, The Old Testament in the Light of the Ancient East, 1911, I, 18).

"A COMET BECAME A PLANET. Venus was born as a comet in the second millennium before the present era. In the middle of that millennium it twice made contact with the earth and changed its cometary orbit. In the tenth to eighth centuries of the first millennium, it was still a comet" (Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, Paradigma Ltd., 2009, pp. 206-207).

The attributes and deeds of the Morning Star were not invented by the peoples of the world: this STAR shattered mountains, shook the globe with such a violence that it looked as if the heavens were shaking, was a storm, a cloud, a fire, a heavenly dragon, a torch, and a blazing star, and it rained naphtha on the earth. It was NOT, however, Satan falling to the earth as some would imagine!

For more information about the role played by the planet Venus in the history of the world, read Worlds in Collision by Immanuel Velikovsky, and The Velikovsky Heresies: Worlds in Collision and Ancient Catastrophes Revisited by Laird Scranton. Also, be sure to read our companion articles, Lucifer's Fall -- Did It Really Happen? and Just WHEN Did Satan Fall from Heaven?


Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
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