Lucifer is a name that in English generally refers to the devil. In Latin, from which the English word is derived, Lucifer means "light-bearer" (from the words lucem ferre). It was the name given to the dawn appearance of the planet Venus, which heralds daylight. For this meaning, English generally uses the names "Morning Star" or "Day Star", and rarely "Lucifer".
The New Testament does not name the devil as Lucifer. Use of this name in reference to a fallen angel stems from an interpretation of , a passage that speaks of a particular Babylonian King, to whom it gives a title that refers to what in English is called the Day Star or Morning Star (in Latin, lucifer), as fallen or destined to fall from the heavens or sky. In and elsewhere, the same Latin word lucifer is used to refer to the Morning Star, with no relation to the devil. However, in post-New Testament times, the Latin word Lucifer has often been used as a name for the devil, both in religious writing and in fiction, especially when referring to him prior to his fall from Heaven.
- 1 Satan as Lucifer
- 2 Use of the word "lucifer" in the Bible
- 3 Astronomical significance
- 4 "Lucifer" as Latin name for the Morning Star
- 5 The Taxil Hoax: Lucifer's alleged connection with Freemasonry
- 6 Occult beliefs
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Satan as Lucifer
The Lucifer story
An ancient myth of the fall of angels, associated with the Morning Star, was transferred to Satan, as seen in the Life of Adam and Eve and the Second Book of Enoch, which the Jewish Encyclopedia attributes to the first pre-Christian century: in these Satan-Sataniel (sometimes identified with Samael) is described as having been one of the archangels. As a consequence of contriving "to make his throne higher than the clouds over the earth and resemble 'My power' on high", Satan-Sataniel was hurled down, with his hosts of angels, and since then, he has been flying in the air continually above the abyss.
Early Christian writers continued this identification of "Lucifer" with Satan. Tertullian ("Contra Marcionem," v. 11, 17), Origen (Homilies on Ezekiel 13), and others, identify Lucifer with Satan, who also is represented as being "cast down from heaven" ( ; cf. ).
In the New Testament the Adversary has many names, but "Lucifer" is not among them. He is called "Satan" (Matt. 4:10; Mark 1:13, 4:15; Luke 10:18), "devil" (Matt. 4:1), "adversary" (1. Peter 5:8, ἀντίδικος; 1. Tim. 5:14, ἀντικείμενος), "enemy" (Matt. 13:39), "accuser" (Rev. 12:10), "old serpent" (Rev. 20:2), "great dragon" (Rev. 12:9), Beelzebub (Matt. 10:25, 12:24), and Belial (comp. Samael). In Luke 10:18, John 12:31, 2. Cor. 6:16, and Rev. 12:9 the fall of Satan is mentioned. The devil is regarded as the author of all evil (Luke 10:19; Acts 5:3; 2. Cor. 11:3; Ephes. 2:2), who beguiled Eve (2. Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9). Because of Satan, death came into this world, being ever the tempter (1. Cor. 7:5; 1. Thess. 3:5; 1. Peter 5:8), even as he tempted Jesus (Matt. 4). The Christian demonology end belief in the devil dominated subsequent periods. However, though the New Testament includes the conception that Satan fell from heaven "as lightning" (Luke 10:18; Rev. 12:7-10), it nowhere applies the name Lucifer to him.
The Jewish Encyclopedia states that in the apocalyptic literature, the conception of fallen angels is widespread. Throughout antiquity, stars were commonly regarded as living celestial beings ( ). Indications of belief in fallen angels, behind which probably lies the symbolizing of shooting stars, an astronomical phenomenon, are found in Isaiah 14:12.
The Morning Star in Isaiah 14:12
The Book of Isaiah has the following passage:
When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has ceased! How his insolence has ceased! ... 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! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of congregation on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. Those who see you will stare at you, and ponder over you: "Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who would not let his prisoners go home?
The passage refers to the king of Babylon, a man who seemed all-powerful, but who has been brought down to the abode of the dead ("Sheol"). Isaiah promises that the Israelites will be freed and will then be able to use in a taunting song against their oppressor the image of the Morning Star, which rises at dawn as the brightest of the stars, outshining Jupiter and Saturn, but lasting only until the sun appears. This image was used in an old popular Canaanite story that the Morning Star tried to rise high above the clouds and establish himself on the mountain where the gods assembled, in the far north, but was cast down into the underworld.
The phrase "O Day Star, son of Dawn" in the New Revised Standard Version translation given above corresponds to the Hebrew phrase "הילל בן־שׁחר" (Helel Ben-Shachar) in verse 12, meaning "morning star, son of dawn". As the Latin poets personified the Morning Star and the Dawn (Aurora), as well as the Sun and the Moon and other heavenly bodies, so in Canaanite mythology Morning Star and Dawn were pictured as two deities, the former being the son of the latter.
In the Latin Vulgate, Jerome translated "הילל בן־שׁחר" (morning star, son of dawn) as "lucifer qui mane oriebaris" (morning star that used to rise early). Already, as early as the Christian writers Tertullian and Origen, the whole passage had come to be applied to Satan. Satan began to be referred to as "Lucifer" (Morning Star), and finally the word "Lucifer" was treated as a proper name. The use of the word "Lucifer" in the 1611 King James Version instead of a word such as "Daystar" ensured its continued popularity among English speakers.
Most modern English versions (including the NIV and ESV) render the Hebrew word as "day star", "morning star" or something similar, and never as "Lucifer", a word that in English is now very rarely used in the sense of the original word in Hebrew (Morning Star), though in Latin "Lucifer" was a literal translation.
A passage quite similar to that in Isaiah is found in Tyre, a city on an island that had grown rich by trade, factors alluded to in the text. In Christian tradition, it too has been applied to Lucifer, because of some of the expressions contained in it. However, since it does not contain the image of the Morning Star, discussion of it belongs rather to the article on Satan than to that on Lucifer., which is expressly directed against the king of
The same holds for the Christian depiction of Satan in other books of the Old Testament as, for instance, in the Book of Job, where Satan, who has been wandering the Earth, has a discussion with God and makes a deal with him to test Job.
The Tyndale Bible Dictionary states that there are many who believe the expression "Lucifer" and the surrounding context in Isaiah 14 refer to Satan: they believe the similarities among Babylon, while the New Testament passages speak of Satan.<reb name="Tyndale"/>, , and warrant this conclusion.However, it points out that the context of the Isaiah passage is about the accomplished defeat of the king of
Joseph Campbell (1972: pp. 148–149) illustrates an unorthodox Islamic reading of Lucifer's fall from Heaven, which champions Lucifer's eclipsing love for God:
One of the most amazing images of love that I know is in Persian – a mystical Persian representation as Satan as the most loyal lover of God. You will have heard the old legend of how, when God created the angels, he commanded them to pay worship to no one but himself; but then, creating man, he commanded them to bow in reverence to this most noble of his works, and Lucifer refused – because, we are told, of his pride. However, according to this Muslim reading of his case, it was rather because he loved and adored God so deeply and intensely that he could not bring himself to bow before anything else, and because he refused to bow down to something inferior to him (since he was made of fire, and man from clay). And it was for that that he was flung into Hell, condemned to exist there for eternity, apart from his love.
This interpretation of the satanic rebellion described in the Quran is seen by some Sufi teachers such as Mansur Al-Hallaj (in his 'Tawasin') as a predestined scenario in which Iblis-Shaitan plays the role of tragic and jealous lover who, unable to perceive the Divine Image in Adam and capable only of seeing the exterior, disobeyed the divine mandate to bow down. His refusal (according to the Tawasin) was due to a misconceived idea of God's uniqueness and because of his refusal to abandon himself to God in love. Hallaj criticized the staleness of Iblis' adoration. Excerpts from Sufi texts expounding this interpretation have been included along with many other viewpoints on Shaitan (by no means all of them apologetic) in an important anthology of Sufi texts edited by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, head of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.
The Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan taught that 'Luciferian Light' is Light that has become dislocated from the Divine Source and is thus associated with the seductive false light of the lower ego, which lures humankind into self-centered delusion. Here Lucifer represents what the Sufis term the 'Nafs', the ego.
Latter-Day Saints point of view
LDS Doctrine maintains that Lucifer was a name of Satan before he fell and was cast out of heaven. Accounts of the fall of Lucifer/Satan are found in several places within LDS canonical scripture, including the Doctrine and Covenants and in The Pearl of Great Price. The Book of Mormon also contains sections from Isaiah, including Isaiah 14:12-15. The Book of Mormon version retains the Latin translation of “morning star” as “Lucifer” that is in the King James version of the Bible.
Use of the word "lucifer" in the Bible
The Vulgate (Latin) version of the Christian Bible used the word "lucifer" (with lower-case initial) twice to refer to the Morning Star: once in to translate the Greek word Φωσφόρος (phōsphoros), a word, from φῶς (phōs) meaning "light" and φέρω (pherō̄) meaning "to carry", that has the same meaning of Light-Bringer that the Latin word has, and once in to translate the Hebrew word הילל (Hêlēl). In the latter passage the title of "Morning Star" is given to the tyrannous Babylonian king, who the prophet says is destined to fall. This passage was later applied to the prince of the demons, and so the name "Lucifer" came to be used outside the Bible for the devil, and was popularized in works such as Dante Alighieri's Inferno and John Milton's Paradise Lost, but for English speakers the greatest influence has been its use in the King James Version of to translate the Hebrew word הילל, which more modern English versions render as "Morning Star" or "Day Star". A similar passage in regarding the "king of Tyre" was also applied to the devil, contributing to the traditional picture of the fallen angel.
The Vulgate translation uses "lucifer" (Morning Star) twice to translate words in the Book of Job that meant something different: once to represent the word "בקר" (which instead means "morning") in , and once for the word "מזרות" (usually taken to mean "the constellations") in . The same Latin word appears also in the Vulgate version of , where the original has "שׁחר" (dawn, the same word as in ).
The Vulgate did not use the Latin word lucifer to represent the two references to the Morning Star in the Book of Revelation . In both cases the original Greek text uses a circumlocution instead of the single word "φωσφόρος", and a corresponding circumlocution is used in the Latin. Thus "stella matutina" is used for "ὁ ἀστὴρ ὁ πρωϊνός" in , which promises the Morning Star to those who persevere, and for "ὁ ἀστὴρ ὁ πρωϊνός" (or, according to some manuscripts, "ὁ ἀστὴρ ὁ ὀρθρινός") in , where Jesus calls himself "the bright morning star".
The English word "Lucifer" is used in none of these places (other than Isaiah 14:12), where the Latin translation uses the Latin word "lucifer" (i.e., morning star).
May the Morning Star which never sets
Flammas eius lucifer matutinus inveniat:
The planet Venus is an inferior planet, meaning that its orbit lies between the orbit of the Earth and the Sun, therefore, it can never rise high in the sky at night as seen from Earth. It can be seen in the eastern morning sky for an hour or so before the Sun rises, and in the western evening sky for an hour or so after the Sun sets, but never during the dark of midnight.
It is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon. As bright and as brilliant as it is, ancient people did not understand why they could not see it at midnight like the outer planets, or during midday, like the Sun and Moon. It outshines the planets Saturn and Jupiter, which do last all night, but it soon disappears. Canaanite mythology has a story of an unsuccessful attempt by Athtar, the Morning Star pictured as a god, to take over the throne of Baal.
"Lucifer" as Latin name for the Morning Star
In Latin, the word "Lucifer", meaning "Light-Bringer" (from lux, lucis, "light", and ferre, "to bear, bring"), is a name used for the Morning Star (the planet Venus in its dawn appearances). The word is used in its astronomical sense both in prose and poetry, but most poets personify the star in a mythological context.
The Taxil Hoax: Lucifer's alleged connection with Freemasonry
Léo Taxil (1854–1907) claimed that Freemasonry is associated with worshipping Lucifer. In what is known as the Taxil hoax, he claimed that supposedly leading Freemason Albert Pike had addressed "The 23 Supreme Confederated Councils of the world" (an invention of Taxil), instructing them that Lucifer was God, and was in opposition to the evil god Adonai. Apologists of Freemasonry contend that, when Albert Pike and other Masonic scholars spoke about the "Luciferian path," or the "energies of Lucifer," they were referring to the Morning Star, the light bearer, the search for light; the very antithesis of dark, satanic evil. Taxil promoted a book by Diana Vaughan (actually written by himself, as he later confessed publicly) that purported to reveal a highly secret ruling body called the Palladium, which controlled the organization and had a Satanic agenda. As described by Freemasonry Disclosed in 1897:
- With frightening cynicism, the miserable person we shall not name here [Taxil] declared before an assembly especially convened for him that for twelve years he had prepared and carried out to the end the most sacrilegious of hoaxes. We have always been careful to publish special articles concerning Palladism and Diana Vaughan. We are now giving in this issue a complete list of these articles, which can now be considered as not having existed.
Taxil's work and Pike's address continue to be quoted by anti-masonic groups.
In Devil-Worship in France, Arthur Edward Waite compared Taxil's work to what today we would call a tabloid story, replete with logical and factual inconsistencies.
In the modern occultism of Dolores North (alias Madeline Montalban) (died 1982) Lucifer's identification as the Morning Star (Venus) equates him with Lumiel, whom she regarded as the Archangel of Light, and among Satanists he is seen as the "Torch of Baphomet" and Azazel.
In The Satanic Bible of 1969, Lucifer is acknowledged as one of the Four Crown Princes of Hell, particularly that of the East. Lord of the Air, Lucifer has been named "Bringer of Light, the Morning Star, Intellectualism, Enlightenment."
- The word in the original text in Hebrew is הֵילֵל (transliteration: helel; definition: a shining one – Strong's Hebrew Numbers, 1966).
- The word in the original text is Hebrew שָׁמַ֫יִם (transliteration: shamayim; definition: heaven, sky – Strong's Hebrew Numbers, 8064).
- Jewish Encyclopedia: article Lucifer
- Verses 29:4, 31:4 of the longer recension manuscript R
- "The Lucifer myth was transferred to Satan in the pre-Christian century, as may be learned from 'Vita Adæ et Evæ' (12) and Slavonic Enoch (xxix. 4, xxxi. 4)" – article Lucifer
- Jose [Fortea] Cucurull, Summa Daemoniaca 2004. (ISBN 84-933788-2-8)
- Jewish Encyclopedia: article Satan
- Jewish Encyclopedia: article Fall Of Angels
- 14:12–17 ,
- Tyndale Bible Dictionary (Carol Stream, Illinois 2001 ISBN 978-1-4143-1945-2), article Lucifer (p. 829)
- "Verses 12–15 seem to be based on a Phoenician model. At all events, they display several points of contact with the Ras-Shamra poems: Daystar and Dawn were two divinities; the "mount of Assembly" was where the gods used to meet, like Mount Olympus in Greek mythology. The Fathers identified the fall of the Morning Star (Vulgate, Lucifer) with that of the prince of the demons" (note in the New Jerusalem Bible).
- The Septuagint Greek translation of the phrase uses the same interpretation of "son of dawn": ὁ ἑωσφόρος ὁ πρωὶ ἀνατέλλων.
- Your heart is proud and you have said, "I am a god; I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas" … By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth (verses 2 and 5)
- With an anointed cherub as guardian I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out from among the stones of fire (verses 14–16).
- Nurbakhsh, Javad. The Great Satan 'Eblis'. KNP, 1999. ISBN 0933546238.
- Doctrine & Covenants 76:25-28 cf. Revelation 12:9
- Moses 4:1-4
- 2 Nephi 24:12-15
- In the Greek translation of this passage the word used is Ἑωσφόρος – from ἔως, meaning dawn – which literally means Dawn-Bringer.
- Hebrew text
- John Day, Yahweh and the gods and goddesses of Canaan (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002 ISBN 0826468306, 9780826468307), pp. 172–173
- Gregory A. Boyd, God at War: The Bible & Spiritual Conflict (InterVarsity Press, 1997 ISBN 0830818855, 9780830818853), pp. 159–160
- Lewis and Short
- Cicero wrote: Stella Veneris, quae Φωσφόρος Graece, Latine dicitur Lucifer, cum antegreditur solem, cum subsequitur autem Hesperos (The star of Venus, called Φωσφόρος in Greek and Lucifer in Latin when it precedes, Hesperos when it follows the sun – De Natura Deorum 2, 20, 53.
Pliny the Elder: Sidus appellatum Veneris … ante matutinum exoriens Luciferi nomen accipit … contra ab occasu refulgens nuncupatur Vesper (The star called Venus … when it rises in the morning is given the name Lucifer … but when it shines at sunset it is called Vesper) Natural History 2, 36
- Virgil wrote:
Luciferi primo cum sidere frigida rura
carpamus, dum mane novum, dum gramina canent
(Let us hasten, when first the Morning Star appears, to the cool pastures, while the day is new, while the grass is dewy) Georgics 3:324–325.
- Ovid wrote:
… vigil nitido patefecit ab ortu
purpureas Aurora fores et plena rosarum
atria: diffugiunt stellae, quarum agmina cogit
Lucifer et caeli statione novissimus exit
(Aurora, awake in the glowing east, opens wide her bright doors, and her rose-filled courts. The stars, whose ranks are shepherded by Lucifer the morning star, vanish, and he, last of all, leaves his station in the sky – Metamorphoses 2.114–115; A. S. Kline's Version
Lucifer a Casia prospexit rupe diemque
misit in Aegypton primo quoque sole calentem
(The morning-star looked forth from Mount Casius and sent the daylight over Egypt, where even sunrise is hot) Lucan, Pharsalia, 10:434–435; English translation by J.D.Duff (Loeb Classical Library) And Statius:
Et iam Mygdoniis elata cubilibus alto
impulerat caelo gelidas Aurora tenebras,
rorantes excussa comas multumque sequenti
sole rubens; illi roseus per nubila seras
aduertit flammas alienumque aethera tardo
Lucifer exit equo, donec pater igneus orbem
impleat atque ipsi radios uetet esse sorori
(And now Aurora rising from her Mygdonian couch had driven the cold darkness on from high in the heavens, shaking out her dewy hair, her face blushing red at the pursuing sun – from him roseate Lucifer averts his fires lingering in the clouds and with reluctant horse leaves the heavens no longer his, until the blazing father make full his orb and forbid even his sister her beams) Thebaid 2, 134–150; Translated by A. L. Ritchie and J. B. Hall in collaboration with M. J. Edwards
- "Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish Souls? Doubt it not!" (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, p. 321). Much has been made of this quote (Masonic information: Lucifer).
- Leo Taxil's confession
- Freemasonry Disclosed April 1897
- "Leo Taxil: The tale of the Pope and the Pornographer". http://www.masonicinfo.com/taxil.htm. Retrieved 14 September 2006.
- Madeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star
- The Bible of the Adversary "Adversarial Doctrine" page 8 – Bible of the Adversary, Succubus Productions 2007).
- Campbell, Joseph (1972). Myths To Live By. A Condor Book: Souvenir Press (Educational & Academic) Ltd. ISBN 0-285-64731-8
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