Modern Bible Translations And Lucifer

It is written:

“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!” (Isaiah 14:12)

Many modern day versions fo the Bible render the word “Lucifer” as “morning star.”

Why do they do this?

First, the person being described by Isaiah as “Lucifer” is not a direct reference to Satan. Instead, it is speaking of the wicked king of Babylon (cf. Isaiah 14:4). This is made especially clear when we realize that Isaiah refers to “Lucifer” as “the man which weakened the nations” (Isaiah 14:16).

Second, there is likely a secondary reference to Satan in this passage, as indicated earlier:

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!

The word translated here as “proverb” is the same word we translate as “parable.”

In other words, the king of Babylon is being compared to some other person well-known in history who rebelled against God and was therefore cast to the Earth in defeat and humiliation (i.e., a likely reference to Satan).

Third, the word “Lucifer” (as used in the KJV and the NKJV) is not from the original Hebrew Old Testament. It is, instead, based upon the Latin Vulgate (which the translators of the KJV and the NKJV often consulted and used in their work).

“Consider a final example. A key argument of KJO supporters in defense of the “satanic” nature of the new translations can supposedly be seen in how the new translations translate Isaiah 14:12. Here they allegedly mistranslate the person of Lucifer or Satan as the person of Jesus Christ. Obviously, making the Person of Christ become the person of Satan would be horrible blasphemy. But did this really happen? The KJV reads, “How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer; son of the morning!” The NASB and NIV read, “How you have fallen from heaven, 0 star of the morning” (or “0 morning star”), son of the dawn.” 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. Of course, we know that the true bright and morning star is Jesus because in Revelation 22:16 (KJV) Jesus says, “I am… the bright and morning star.” But this does not mean that Isaiah can’t use the Hebrew word for morning star to also speak of the king of Babylon. In essence, the KJO writers may claim new translations have produced major doctrinal deviations from the faith, but this charge is entirely false. Anyone who wishes can examine any good English translation or any Greek text—whether the Textus Receptus (TR), Majority Text (MT), Nestle-Aland, NIV, KJV, NASB, RSV, NKJV, etc.—and guess what? They will derive the exact same doctrinal and ethical beliefs.” (Dr. John Ankerberg & Dr. John Weldon, The Facts On The King James Only Debate, 316-328 (Kindle Edition): Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House)

The translation of “morning star” instead of “Lucifer” is not an example of modern day Bible translation conspiracies.

The true lessons to take away from this passage is simple: anyone (human or angel) who stands against the Most High God will be brought down.

We need to be sure that we are on the winning side.

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