The word "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12 presents a minor problem to mainstream Christianity. It becomes a much larger problem to Bible literalists, and becomes a huge obstacle for the claims of Mormonism. John J. Robinson in A Pilgrim's Path, pp. 47-48 explains:
"Lucifer makes his appearance in the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Isaiah, at the twelfth verse, and nowhere else: ‘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!’"
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 a Roman language? To find the answer, I
consulted a scholar at the library of the
The answer was a
surprise. In the original Hebrew text, the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah is
not about a fallen angel, but about a fallen
Babylonian king, who during his lifetime had persecuted the
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 Helal, 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
authorized by King James I to translate the Bible into then current English did
not use the original Hebrew texts, but used versions translated largely by
So "Lucifer" is nothing more than an ancient Latin name for the morning star, the bringer of light. That can be confusing for Christians who identify Christ himself as the morning star, a term used as a central theme in many Christian sermons. Jesus refers to himself as the morning star in Revelation 22:16: "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."
And so there are those who do not read beyond the King James Version of the Bible, who say “Lucifer is Satan: so says the Word of God."
Henry Neufeld (a Christian who comments on Biblical sticky issues) went on to say,
passage is often related to Satan, and a similar thought is expressed in Luke
10:18 by Jesus that was not its first meaning. Its primary meaning is given in
Isaiah 14:4 which says that when
How does the confusion in translating this verse arise? The Hebrew of this passage reads: "heleyl, ben shachar" which can be literally translated "shining one, son of dawn." This phrase means, again literally, the planet Venus when it appears as a morning star. In the Septuagint, a 3rd century BCE translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek, it is translated as "heosphoros" which also means Venus as a morning star.
How did the translation "lucifer" arise? This word comes from Jerome's Latin Vulgate. Was Jerome in error? Not at all. In Latin at the time, "lucifer" actually meant Venus as a morning star. Isaiah is using this metaphor for a bright light, though not the greatest light to illustrate the apparent power of the Babylonian king which then faded." Therefore, Lucifer wasn't equated with Satan until after Jerome. Jerome wasn't in error. Later Christians (and Mormons) were in equating "Lucifer" with "Satan".
So why is this problem to Christians? Christians now generally believe that Satan (or the Devil/Lucifer) is a “being” who has always existed. Therefore, they also think that the Jews of the Old Testament believed in this creature. The Isaiah scripture is used as proof (and has been used as such for hundreds of years now). As Elaine Pagels explains, the Christian concept of Satan (Devil/Lucifer) has evolved over the years and the early bible writers didn't believe in or teach such a doctrine.
The irony for those who believe that "Lucifer" refers to Satan (Devil/Lucifer) is that the same title ('morning star' or 'light-bearer') is used to refer to Jesus, in 2 Peter 1:19, where the Greek text has exactly the same term: 'phos-phoros' 'light-bearer.' This is also the term used for Jesus in Revelation 22:16.
So why is Lucifer a far bigger problem to Mormons? Mormons claim that an ancient record (the Book of Mormon) was written beginning in about 600 BCE, and the author in 600 BCE supposedly copied Isaiah1 in Isaiah's original words.2 When Joseph Smith pretended to translate the supposed 'ancient record', he included the Lucifer verse in the Book of Mormon. Obviously he wasn't copying what Isaiah wrote. He was copying the King James Version of the Bible. Another book of Mormon scripture, the Doctrine & Covenants, furthers this problem in 76:26 3 when it affirms the false Christian doctrine that "Lucifer" means Satan. This incorrect doctrine also spread into a third set of Mormon scriptures, the Pearl of Great Price, which describes a war in heaven based, in part, on Joseph Smith's incorrect interpretation of the word "Lucifer" which only appears in Isaiah (this clearly illustrates the fraud of Mormonism).
Citation of Hebrew scripture and sources in articles or analyses is not in any way an acceptance, approval or validation of the Jewish religion, its works or scriptures. The Hebrew bible, like the Christian New Testament, is fictitious; From a 6-day creation of the universe; a cunning, walking, talking snake; big fish tales; world flood and an "Invisible Man in the Sky" ― it is all fiction, a bold sham perpetrated on mankind.
Mormon scripture citations:
1. There are at least five verses in the Book of Mormon, chapter 2 Nephi, which state the author is providing the "words of Isaiah." (2 Nephi 6:4 & 5, 11:2 & 8 and 12:1)
3. D&C 76: 25 And this we saw also, and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son,
26 And was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.
27 And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!
28 And while we were yet in the Spirit, the Lord commanded us that we should write the vision; for we beheld Satan, that old serpent, even the devil, who rebelled against God, and sought to take the kingdom of our God and his Christ—