The Identity of Lucifer
Lucifer is synonymous, today, with evil. This word represents, to many, the ultimate protagonist of the biblical God. These people also believe that Lucifer is an alias for the Devil, along with Satan, Beelzebub, and many other names, which signify the archenemy of God. The use of the name Lucifer has reached almost universal proportions within the religious world to signify this notorious villain. The name Lucifer, even receives vilification in old works, such as "Inferno," written by Dante (31.143). Many listeners, often, hear this usage in the popular preaching of today. Certainly, many other literary works have embellished the character of Lucifer as the bane of humanity; however, a study in the source text will prove that this usage is a 180-degree departure from the true significance of this word.
The source of the word Lucifer, and its religious connotation, is located in the book of "Isaiah" (14.12). Particularly noteworthy is the fact that this is the only place in the entire Old and New Testaments of the Bible where this word appears (Strongís; Englishmanís). The word Lucifer is Greek, and is a direct translation of the Hebrew word Heylel, which means "light-bearer" (Strongís; Brown). Consequently, the word Lucifer receives inclusion by transliteration from the Greek into the King James Bible. Upon further examination of this passage, the exegete finds that Biblical imagery is superb, as it creates vivid scenes of promises and judgments from God. In addition, Biblical imagery reflects well the Hebrew use of names to describe attributes to specific individuals. Heylel is no exception, for this name will prove to be of tremendous significance. The name represents the "Morning Star," which we now know to be the planet Venus. A word of caution, exegetes should not make the mistake of associating modern usage of the word star with that of the Hebrews who used star to designate a point of light in the sky (Nelsonís). By using this definition, Venus is the most prominent light in the night sky and is well suited to its Hebrew name.
The root of error that occurs in mistaking Lucifer as an alias for Satan is forthcoming. As is often the case in interpreting the Bible, exegetes mistake the symbolism that a given writer employs for the actual message. Although the author of "Isaiah" uses very powerful symbolism to illustrate that someone would soon undergo an imminently abrupt removal from a position of great power and authority like a great falling star, the context speaks of a Babylonian king who had exalted himself above God. This fact becomes obvious when we examine verses three and four of the text:
And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! (Isaiah 14.3-4).
The force of the context is squarely speaking against Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, for it plainly says that the proverb is "against the king of Babylon" (Danial 5, see also). This king mightily oppressed Godís people, the Israelites, who endured Babylonian captivity because of persistent rebellion from God. Moreover, the cause for the overthrow of this oppressor embodies the pride exhibited by this ruler who thought himself equal with God. This understanding is readily apparent from the text: "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 14.13). Certainly, we see that we are speaking of an earthly character who thought he could ascend from his earthly realm and transcend "the clouds" by the power of his own might unto the abode of God; this is revealed even in the name of the king, for Belshazzar means "son of the dawn." However, even this is symbolic, for it alludes to an excessive pride and disregard for the sovereignty of God. Now, examine verse twelve of Isaiah 14, "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!" With the background and context established the verse reads beautifully and simply concerning the judgment placed upon this wicked king as Matthew Henry points out in his commentary on the text and entitles the chapter "The Doom of the King of Babylon." Satan, therefore, does not receive mention within this passage at all, which is the only passage to bear the name Lucifer in all the pages of the Bible according to "Strongís Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible." Consequently, Lucifer does not refer to Satan at all in the scriptures. Simply, the name receives its employ to make mockery of the mighty king of Babylon.
Upon further examination, the identity of this bearer of light shines forth. A brief excursion into the realm of astronomical science will provide some background for further investigation. Primarily, let us turn our telescopes to the celestial sphere known as Venus, Lucifer, Heylel, "the light-bearer," The Morning/Evening star, or the "day star." Indeed, this heavenly sphere is the brightest point of light in the nighttime sky and can be easily seen in the early morning and evening hours. If a keen observer knows where to look, then Venus is viewable with the unaided eye in broad daylight. Venus is prominent at dusk and at dawn and is the first and the last light we see at night. However, Venus is not a star by our scientific terminology at all, but is the second planet from the Sun, which helps to explain why we are able to view it at the oppositional times of morning and evening. Furthermore, Venus produces no light of its own, but reflects the greater light of the Sun. With this scientific framework in place, an answer to the identity of Lucifer is forthcoming.
I stand in awe at how perfectly this heavenly body, Venus, is suitable as a metaphoric representation of Christ. Indeed, Lucifer is a most powerful representation of Christ, which is, indeed, a name that Christ uses to refer to himself. This being true, the exegete finds answers to the purpose of its location in the fourteenth chapter of "Isaiah." The answer is simple and is within the text itself, for the king of Babylon desires to be equal with God. Belshazzar seeks to maintain a place of prominence that belongs to Christ alone as God the Son. In effect, he tries to usurp Christ. The significance of calling this Babylonian king, Lucifer, is not for what he actually is, but for what he tries to become; he tries to occupy the throne of Christ. For this reason, he falls; he is utterly incapable of occupying that lofty position.
Further adding to the case that Lucifer designates Christ, we examine the "Revelation of John." As the prologue begins to the seven churches of Asia, the exegete learns many things about Christ by comparing the variations in those addresses. Of particular interest are the names that Christ uses to denote himself. Chapter one, verse eight reads: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." His uses of "Alpha and Omega," "the beginning and the ending," "which is, which was, and which is to come" are all synonyms of the eternal nature and power of Christ. As the exegete reflects back to Christís name, Lucifer, he/she realizes that this name is a perfect name for Christ because it fits his nature and is another synonym in direct relation to the aforementioned names. Lucifer is, indeed, the first light we see at night and the last light we see in the morning. These facts align themselves with Christ as the Alpha and Omega. Strikingly, the ancients did not know that Lucifer, the astronomical sphere, was both, the Morning and the Evening Star, which is a duality that remains unrevealed until modern scientific advances. Additionally, Peter refers to Christ as "the day star" (2 Peter 1:19), and Christ refers to himself as "the bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16) and "the morning star" (Revelation 2:28). Lastly, I gave previous mention that Venus does not produce its own light but provides a reflection of the greater light of the Sun. With this in mind, examine Christís answer to Phillipís question:
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? (John 14.8-9).
In this passage, Phillip asks Christ to show him the Father, but Christ rebukes him by patiently instructing him that anyone who sees Christ has "seen the Father" (John 14. 9). This statement is an exact analogy to the aforementioned relationship that Venus has with the sun as mentioned earlier. This is true because Christ derives His power and strength from the Father. In other words, Christ does not bear his own light, but the light of the Father.
In conclusion, historically the name Lucifer has come to denote Satan. The source of this mythology has at its root a misinterpretation of scripture. However, through proper exegesis and consideration, we learn the identity of Lucifer. Beyond this, we learn that Belshazzar is an imposter; the true bearer of Light will snuff out this kingís false Light. Furthermore, this "Light-bearer" that is translated in the Greek, Lucifer, refers to Christ who is the true "Light-bearer." This usage proves true through textual examinations and by examining the characteristics of Lucifer, the planet, and how many of its characteristics are perfectly matched to the other symbolisms and teachings concerning Christ. Furthermore, the characteristics that I previously discussed concerning the nature of Lucifer, Venus, were unknown to the world of antiquity; therefore, this provides substantial proof that these Bible writers possessed a source of information far superior to the scholarship of the day. This striking fact, along with the textual criticisms previously discussed, provides additional evidence that Lucifer was the Christ, not just
a man, but also the Son of God.
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