Paganism Nineteen

(NOTE: Some of the themes of these articles may not be appropriate for young readers. Please keep that in mind when sharing this information).

It is written:

“You, the bright morning star, have fallen from the sky! You brought down other nations; now you are brought down. 13 You said to yourself, “I’ll climb to heaven and place my throne above the highest stars. I’ll sit there with the gods far away in the north. 14 I’ll be above the clouds, just like God Most High.” 15 But now you are deep in the world of the dead. 16 Those who see you will stare and wonder, “Is this the man who made the world tremble and shook up kingdoms?” (Isaiah 14:12-16)

There are two passages of Scripture which believers through the years have pointed to which they believe teaches the origin of Satan. The first one we will notice here is often referred as the “Lucifer” passage (Isaiah 14:12-16). Let’s notice some important facts about this Scripture.

First, the text of Isaiah 14 is clearly referring to the “king of Babylon” (Isaiah 14:4), who is further described as “the MAN” (Isaiah 14:16). There is no doubt that this passage is primarily about the human ruler of the nation of Babylon.

Why then have people down through the ages seen a description of Satan’s downfall? One reason no doubt is because of the wording of verse four:

Isaiah 14:4-that you will take up this PROVERB against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, The golden city ceased!

Notice that word “proverb.” In the Hebrew, it has a very interesting meaning:

“In Isaiah 14:4 , God tells the prophet to take up a “taunt” (Hebrew: mashal ) against the king of Babylon. A mashal is better described as a comparative parable. The question to keep in mind as we proceed is, to whom is the king of Babylon being compared?”. (Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering The Supernatural Worldview Of The Bible,1466 (Kindle Edition); Bellingham, WA; Lexham Press)

So here, it sounds as if the king of Babylon is being compared with another great ruler that was well-known to the ancient world, one whose apostasy from grace paralleled in some ways the downfall of the king of Babylon. From the earliest times, it was understood that the king of Babylon was being compared to the downfall of Satan himself.

Second, the early church fathers understood this passage as being a secondary allusion to Satan. For example:

“For greater ease of understanding we translated this phrase as follows: “How you have fallen from heaven, Lucifer, who arose in the morning.” But if we were to render a literal translation from the Hebrew, it would read, “How you have fallen from heaven, howling son of the dawn.” Lucifer is also signified with other words. And he who was formerly so glorious that he was compared to a bearer of lightning is now told that he must weep and mourn. Just as Lucifer scatters the darkness, it says, glowing and shining with a golden hue, so also your stepping forth to the peoples and the public seemed like a shining star. But you who spoke with arrogance, who wounded the nations, fell to the earth. I have obtained so great a power that heaven should stand still for me, and the stars above deserve to be thrown under my feet. Nevertheless, the Jews wanted to be understood as the heaven and stars of God, inasmuch as it continues, “I will sit in the mount of the covenant,” that is, in the temple where the laws of God are hidden, “and on the sides of the north,” that is, in Jerusalem. For it is written, “Mount Zion, the sides of the north.” [Ps 48:2 LXX.] Nor was his pride satisfied with desire for the heavens, but it would break forth with such madness that he would claim for himself likeness to God.” (Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah 5.14.12-14)

“It is most clearly proved by these words that he who formerly was Lucifer and who “arose in the morning” has fallen from heaven. For if, as some suppose, he was a being of darkness, why is he said to have formerly been Lucifer or lightbearer? Or how could he “rise in the morning” who had in him no light at all?… So he was light once … when “his glory was turned into dust.” (Origen,On First Principles 1.5.)

“How can we possibly suppose that what is said in many places by Scripture, especially in Isaiah, about Nebuchadnezzar is said about a human being? For no human being is said to have “fallen from heaven” or to have been “Lucifer” or the one who “arose every morning.” (Origen, On First Principles 4.3.9)

Satan is a created being who chose to rebel against God.

Third, where did the name “Lucifer” come from?

“Why did the KJV use the term “Lucifer” and modern versions the term “morning star”? The term Lucifer came to us by way of Jerome’s Latin Bible, the Vulgate, which the KJV translators sometimes used for their own translation. The Latin word for “morning star” is “Lucifer.” This word was used to refer to Venus, the morning star, and was applied figuratively to the pride and fall of the king of Babylon. Now, to associate the morning star with someone other than the king of Babylon is an interpretation which must be brought to this verse from somewhere else. So how did Lucifer (Latin for “morning star”) become equated with the evil personage of Satan, the devil? This is something that the medieval Church authorities imported into this text, without direct scriptural warrant.48 In other words, to associate the Latin word “the morning star”—lucifer—with the concept of the devil or Satan can only be suggested in a secondary sense.”. (Dr. John Ankerberg & Dr. John Weldon, The Facts On The King James only Debate, 317-324 (Kindle Edition); Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House)

Fourth, we see here a powerful indicator of what led to Satan’s rebellion against God: a desire to be like God Himself!

Finally, this being would not achieve his goal but would instead be “cast down” to Sheol, to the deepest levels of the pit.

Another passage we will examine provides even more stunning insights into the origin, rebellion, tactics, and demise of Satan.

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