CHAPTER 8 Lucifer’s Fall in Isaiah 14, Explaining the Myth
Why Do Some Need to Believe There’s A Satan
I have had some serious introspection finding the answer to why I needed to believe there is a Satan when I first began to discover that there might not be a Satan. Uncovering your own honest answer is an essential element of beginning to see the traditionally accepted Scriptures that are said to speak of Satan, for what they were intended to be speaking of when the writer first penned them. If you are at the point where you can admit that you might need a Satan in your belief system so that there is some evil entity to lay blame on for all the bad in your life or world on, then you are at an advantage to come to understand that there is no Satan.
The picture will become even clearer as we look closely at two more of the passages that are horribly misunderstood by many of those who contend that Satan does exist as a real antagonist to Yahweh and man. The topic of “Lucifer” in the 14th chapter of Isaiah is understood by some correctly but when strong religious leaders preach or teach on Satan it is this chapter, which has been quoted for centuries by Christian theologians and laypersons, that is brought into the sermonor teaching. It is known as a hallmark verse to teach us about Satan. It is usually taught inconnection with the words of the Messiah in the Gospel of Luke in which He states that Hesaw “Satan” fall from heaven. There is a very important question that needs to be asked regarding this statement of the Messiah and every statement in the Apostolic Testimony, the New Testament, about the devil, demons, or Satan. The question is; “What did the speaker believe about the topic when he spoke those words?”
It is not difficult to understand that a first century Hebrew teacher would have been in line with the concept of good and evil taught in Torah. Messiah said the Scripture cannot be broken. The Scripture, the Old Testament, does not teach the existence of a literal Satan; therefore, Yeshua would not have been speaking about a literal Satan falling from a literal heaven when He spoke those words. Yeshua was very familiar with the Scriptural concept that tells us Yahweh brings forth both good and evil. As well as knowing that there is no other force in the universe that can orchestrate evil except the will of man and the heart of man that is inclined towards evil continually. Knowing this is helpful toward understanding why Yeshua taught us that defilement comes not from what we eat or from having unwashed hands, but from what is in our heart.
Yeshua had been confronted by a group of scholars who had seen His disciples eating with unwashed hands. The scholars were convinced that eating with unwashed hands would cause one to become spiritually and therefore ritually defiled. Yeshua knew that eating with unwashed hands held no power to defile one’s spirit, therefore He told the scholars that the defilement comes from within and it is from the heart where evil comes from. The Gospels recount the moment for us.
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. Matthew 15:18-20
Recall that Yeshua also had told Peter to get behind Him; and called Peter “Satan” at one point, therefore when Yeshua had said He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning, was He referring to Peter as fallen from heaven? How could the Master of the Universe call a human man “Satan” in one breath, and have said in another instance that He had seen“Satan” fall from heaven? The answer to these questions lies within a more correct understanding of the use of metaphor and personification. These concepts will be addressed thoroughly later in our discussion. For now I will say, that if we think we are able tou nderstand the Greek New Testament, without possessing a more correct understanding of the use of metaphor and personification in the era it was written, then we should also think a first century seamstress would be able to understand computer science by simply being shown a computer chip. The words of the New Testament must be studied in a more properly placed, historical context, to understand the meaning behind the words, just as the words of Isaiah which we will look at here must be located properly to comprehend all the nuance and mytho-poetic imagery that comes from the prophetic language of the period of Isaiah.
Whom or what is Lucifer in the 12th verse 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! Isaiah 14:12 KJV
The above passage when understood in its literary and historical context is not about a cosmic being but is about a man. This famed verse used by millions as a reference that identifies Satan and his supposed origin is nothing but a very stylish writing about a great human king who was being prophesied about. The magnificent King of Babylon is said to have fallen from his exalted position as a powerful world leader. The word Lucifer is a Latin translation of the Hebrew word “helel” which means the morning star, or the bright morning star. This Latin translation helel, was inserted by a man known as Saint Jerome when he translated the Hebrew Scriptures and produced the Latin Vulgate.
In 346 CE the Hebrew word for “daystar”, became Lucifer, which means “shining one” and may have been intended to state the same concept that is seen in the Hebrew. In Biblical history, “the Bright and Morning Star” has long been an appellation for a great and mighty ruler or human King. The King of Babylon was obviously not a literal star that was bright in the morning therefore we can see this term also defined as “light bringer”, to be a metaphor.
The metaphoricalusage of the word “helel” placed in conjunction with the other metaphors which are intended to teach us concepts of royalty and rulership, reveal to us that a human King is being spoken of. For one to fall from heaven means they have fallen from authority or that they are no longer serving the purposes of their kingship due to the lack of wise ruling and the absence of God-honoring leadership. The New King James Version Study Bible has identified this fact as is stated in the comments on Isaiah 14 that are found in the study helps. Fallen from heaven is a figure of speech meaning cast downfrom an exalted political position.
Lucifer in Isaiah 14 is referring to a human king who has lost his place as a magnificent rulerdue to the pride in his heart. Verse 16 calls this fallen one a man and there are many other clear clues in the text that indicate this fallen ruler is a human being, a pagan king, and not a cosmic Satan. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia has this to say about “Lucifer” in its entry on Astrology.
5. Lucifer, the Shining Star,
The planet Venus is more distinctly referred to in Isaiah_14:12 : “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,son of the morning!” (the King James Version).
The word here rendered Lucifer, that is, “light-bearer,” is the word hēlēl corresponding to the Assyrian mustelil, “the shiningstar,” an epithet to which the planet Venus has a preëminent claim. Commentaries both past and current are almost unanimous on the understanding that Lucifer in Isaiah 14 is neither speaking of nor giving a name for the “Satan” that much of religion has come to hate and fight against. Here are some testimonies from commentators on this verse containing the word “Lucifer;”
Isaiah 14:12 -How art thou fallen from heaven —- A new image is presented here. It is that of the bright morning star; and a comparison ofthe once magnificent monarch with that beautiful star. He is now exhibited as having fallen from his place in the east to the earth. His glory is dimmed; his brightness quenched. Nothing can be more poetic and beautiful than a comparison of a magnificent monarch with the bright morning star! Nothing more striking in representing his death, than the idea of that star falling to the earth!
Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible
Isaiah 14:12 –
“How art thou fallen from the sky, thou star of light, sun of the dawn, hurled down to the earth, thou that didst throw down nations from above?”
לליה is here the morning star (from hâlal, to shine,…..
Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament; Johann (C.F.) Keil (1807-1888) & Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890)
O Lucifer, son of the morning, son of the morning, son of the morning, son of the morning! alluding to the star Venus, which is the phosphorus or morning star, which ushers in the light of the morning, and shows that day is at hand; by which is meant, not Satan, who is never in Scripture called Lucifer,
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible; Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)
LUCIFER [LOU see fur] (morning star) — the Latin name for the planet Venus. The word Lucifer appears only once in the Bible “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!” (Is. 14:12). Literally, the passage describes the overthrow of a tyrant, the king of Babylon.
Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary
LUCIFER (light-bearer), found in Isaiah. 14:12, coupled withthe epithet “son of the morning,” clearly signifies a “brightstar,” and probably what we call the morning star. In this passage it is a symbolical representation of the king of Babylon in his splendor and in his fall. Its application, from St. Jerome downward, to Satan in his fall from heaven arises probably from the fact that the Babylonian empire is in Scripture represented as the type of tyrannical and self-idolizing power, and especially connected with the empire ofthe Evil One in the Apocalypse.
Smiths Bible Dictionary
Lucifer “light bringer”, “the morning star”: Isaiah_14:12 (helel,”spreading brightness”.) Symbol of the once bright but nowfallen king of Babylon.
Fausset’s Bible Dictionary by Andrew Robert Fausset (1821-1910), co-Author of Jamieson,Fausset and Brown’s COMMENTARY ON THE WHOLE BIBLE.
Isiah 14:12 – Fallen – From the height of thy glory. Lucifer -Which properly is a bright star, that ushers in the morning;but is here metaphorically taken for the mighty king of Babylon.
John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible
I believe we can see in the above testimonies the clear statement that Lucifer inIsaiah 14 is an appellation literally referring to the King of Babylon. I presume you will look at the above references in their complete context. Once you do you’ll find many of the above quoted commentaries and dictionaries go on to state that although this reference to Lucifer is referring literally to the fallen or falling King of Babylon, the metaphor is stil lreferring to “Satan.” However, in light of the concept of “satan” being originally a Hebrew word which means adversary, opposer or accuser, one is adding to Scripture by applying a meaning of a literal Satan to the term. In addition, in light of the fact that there was no Satanology in the Hebrew monotheistic religion prior to the exile to Babylon, it seems presumptuous to impose a cosmic Satan as the intended metaphor onto the Isaiah reference.
Rudimentary biblical scholarship will clearly teach it is not proper for the New Testament to define terms and concepts from the Old Testament but properly, the terms in the New Testament must be defined by the manner in which they are presented in the Hebrew Scripture. New Testament terms are simply Old Testament terms that are expressed in Greek words. One must find the Hebrew understanding that underlies the Greek words that are used. That is to say, the New Testament is to be defined by the Old. For example, when the New Testament mentions the Passover we must look to the Hebrew Scriptures for the understanding of the Passover. When the New Testament expresses a concept of an unclean person, we must determine through studying the Hebrew Scriptures, just what constitutes an unclean person. How about if the Apostolic writings usea word such as Sabbath? Is it possible to interpret that word apart from how the Hebrew Scriptures define it?
Although God says the Sabbath is the Sabbath, the Catholic Church Fathers have gone on record as calling Sunday the Christian Sabbath and saying that Sunday is now the day of rest for Christians. On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God…..Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The Sabbath which represented the completion of the first creation has been replaced by Sunday…
We would be falling tragically short of sticking to true principles of understanding terms of Scripture if we agree with that Catholic doctrine, which has endeavored to change the words of Scripture. Sabbath is easily defined as the 7th day of the week, which is Saturday, when one properly defines the term through the Hebrew Scriptures. Just as with interpreting the Sabbath or the term “unclean”, so too if a biblical commentator implies that the Lucifer of Isaiah 14 is the Satan who Messiah said fell from heaven, they are guilty of trying to interpret the Old Testament by using the New Testament instead of the other way around. For Scripture to remain understandable one must look at a term found in the “New Testament” and find out what that term meant in the “Old”.
Although it is a slight deviation from the direct study of Isaiah and the topic of Jesus’ Luke 10 statements is covered thoroughly in Volume II of Satan, Christianity’s Other God, I would like to take a few moments and discuss the meaning behind seeing “Satan fall like lighting”. It is beneficial to do so here as an example of the need to interpret the New Testament through the understanding found in the Old Testament. As well, it might allay some of the readers concerns that what is found in the Old Testament is contradicted orchanged in the New. What did Messiah mean when He stated in Luke 10:18 that He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightening? This statement has been postulated to mean various things and explained via various concepts. Most of which typically result in adhering to the common Satanology doctrine much of the world has become accustomed to. In addition, most explanations fail to define the underlying Hebrew term for the Greek word satanas through the context of the Hebrew Scriptures, as it should be. Why do so many scholars divorce themselves from the Hebraic understanding of “the adversary” when it comes to interpreting and understanding what is contained in the New Testament?
The first century followers of Yeshua would have heard Him speaking these words and would not have been confused as to their meaning. Whether Yeshua spoke them in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, would not change the fact that the people of His day would likely have understood the termin either of two ways. The hearers would have understood the term “satan” through the truth of the Hebrew Scriptures or else from the understanding of the culture of their day. It is probable that both understandings were present when Yeshua spoke, but both cannot be the correct understanding. To settle this argument one might want to take a poll of the hearers of the words of Yeshua at the time that He spoke them, however that is not possible therefore we are left to consider the possibilities. Even if we were to take a poll, the facts are that the meaning of a message is decided on by the speaker and not the hearers, no matter how large or small the number of hearers is.
Possibility number one would be that some first century listeners would hear Yeshua use the term satanas in Greek or sawtawn in Hebrew or its Aramaic equivalent and conclude, as many of the first century citizens of the Roman Empire had, that Yeshua was referring to a cosmic archenemy of Yahweh, an evil celestial being with supernatural, God-like abilities. To arrive at that conclusion the hearer would have to ignore the fact that Yeshua was a Jewish Rabbi and taught true doctrine according to the Torah and the Prophets. Possibility number two would be that Yeshua is speaking of an adversary that is opposing the plan of God. We have seen that the doctrine of Satan presented in the Torah and Prophets is a doctrine that teaches either man is the adversary called satan in English or “satan” is a descriptive term for the force Yahweh sends. A force He uses to enact his judgment on a person or people to direct them back toward being in line with Yahweh’s will. The hearer who concludes that Yeshua was referring to the casting to earth from heaven of a celestial “satanic” being would also have to reject the fact that any way you slice it, the word that Yeshua used is a Hebrew origin word. Even the Strong’s concordance and Thayer’s Greek Definitions tell us that the word used is from Strong’s #7854 in the Hebrew. This helps to guide us to understand this term the way it is understood in the Old Testament.
Below are the two words used to describe some type of an adversary or opponent as found in Strong’s Concordance. Notice the last line of the second definition below. That part of the definition indicates that the Greek word Yeshua used, which we know as “Satan”, is from aHebrew word that never meant a cosmic, evil being. The first of the following definitions is said to correspond to the second, which, as I have stated, is based on the Hebrew origin thatmeans opposer or adversary.
Of Chaldee origin corresponding to G4566 (with the definite article affixed); the accuser , thatis, the devil.
Of Hebrew origin [H7854]; Satan, that is, the devil:
– Satan. Compare G4567.
The word in the text of Luke 10:18, is traced through word 4566 of Strong’s and then shown to be originally a Hebrew word #7854. I don’t think it can be stated enough that the word that underlies the Greek word satanas is the Hebrew word sawtawn, meaning adversary. Based on this fact, one would have to come to understand the Hebrew word sawtawn, before imposing a more contemporary understanding on the word used in this andother cases. Aside from tracing the basic linguistics of this word, one would also want to consider that Yeshua might very likely have used common phrases and words in His day. Phrases and words that were based on a very mythopoetic style of language and a culture that was well versed in speaking metaphor. By Yeshua’s use of such a descriptive metaphor for the city of Capernaum just a few sentences earlier, it would follow that His reference to Satan falling would also be an understandable metaphor and used with the expectation that His hearers were able to understand it.
Satan had no more literally fallen from a celestial location than did Capernaum literally fall from the geographical location known as Heaven. Notice the metaphor used to express Capernaum’s reduction in political status in the following quote from Luke.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. Luke 10:15
After all, was Capernaum really in heaven? Will Capernaum the geographic location, be placed in a Hell that is another supposed geographic location? It is highly doubtful on both accounts. No more was Capernaum in Heaven than was there a cosmic “Satan” as an actual entity with free will who is able to thwart Yahweh’s plans, in heaven. If we are to take the words of Yeshua, the God of the Universe made flesh as truth, and allow them to bear the weight, as one would expect they should, then we must believe that He meant what He said. If Yeshua means what He said, what did He mean when He said Peter is “Satan”? The word used for calling Peter “Satan” is the same word as in Luke 10;
But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. Mark 8:33
Therefore, by using the literal application of metaphorical statements that has taken place, in order to devise a satanology doctrine, we then could line up some of the remarks that include the use of the word Satan in the Gospels and find a very disturbing conclusion. If Yeshua had called Peter “Satan” and Yeshua saw “Satan” fall from heaven; and to add to this , we are told “Satan” entered Judas at the last Passover Supper; then because everyone knows if A=B and B= C, C has to equal A. Yeshua has supposedly seen “Satan” fall and Yeshua has called Peter “Satan”. Added to these facts is the fact that the “devil” and “satan”are thought to be one and the same and we also see that before the Last Supper that “Satan” entered Judas.
Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. Luke 22:3 KJV
Considering all these references to “Satan”, are we to believe that these all mean the same thing and conclude that Peter was Satan and entered Judas; and Peter fell from heaven? Christ surely wouldn’t call Peter “Satan” if it wasn’t true therefore, either Peter is the Satan that religion has been battling for millennia, or there is another way to understand the reference to “satan” so that Yeshua’s words are still true. Just as many have applied the word “satan” literally through the “New Testament”, one must conclude in believing literally the words of Messiah that Peter the Apostle is Satan, Peter the apostle fell from heaven, and Peter the apostle entered Judas. After all, there is only one person in the entire “New Testament” who is called “Satan.” Peter is called Satan by the only person who was perfect in speech and action and never spoke a lie. So either Peter is Satan; or Yeshua is a lying, name caller. If neither of those is the case, then we are misunderstanding something about what a satan is.
I hope you are getting to know me well enough by now that you can see I have suggested the “Peter is Satan” idea, in a “tongue in cheek” manner. I hope that you are able to see that I believe the problem is a lack of understanding. Peter is not the cosmic archrival of God, nor did Peter fall from heaven or enter Judas, so Messiah must have meant something other than implying that Peter is the incarnate form of a rebellious, fallen angel. The challenge is that we must try to understand what the Messiah thought and meant by using the term “satan”. The Messiah adhered to the pre-exilic concept of “the adversary”, which states Yahweh creates peace and evil. The Messiah is always true to Torah and accepts the original doctrine of good and evil. The Messiah knew the Scriptures and that it is humans who oppose and at times the agents of Yahweh who act out the will of Yahweh. These are referred to as “a satan” in the Hebrew language. Knowing this helps us understand, then we can begin to perceive where the Messiah’s head was at when He called Peter “Satan”. Yeshua was simply calling Peter an adversary and sticking to the correct biblical understanding of the term satan. In fact, Yeshua Himself interprets for us what is meant by calling Peter “Satan”. Notice how in Yeshua explaining to Peter why Peter is being referred to as a “satan,” we are able to see the Messiah’s definition of Satan as it was understood in His time;…
Get behind me satan for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
A “satan” is one who is not for the things of Yahweh. Peter is rebuked by Yeshuaand is called an adversary because he is not for the things of God. Messiah was supposed to go to His death but Peter, being a satan, renounced the fact that Messiah was soon to suffer many things and be killed. It was this act of disagreeing with the will of Yahweh that caused Peter to be a “Satan” to Yeshua, one who opposed the will of the Father. Thankfully, that attitude did not prevail in Peter’s life as is seen in the accounts of his activities through out the gospels and letters. Peter does exhibit the actions which identify him as a true apostle of the Messiah, one who is inclined to do the Fathers will no matter what it looks like or what the cost. Peter was not the cosmic Satan of mythology but was “a satan” when he proved tobe an adversary to Yeshua. The message is clear in that we are not to impose an interpretation on the words of the Apostolic writings that cannot be seen in the understanding of the same words or terms from the Hebrew Scriptures. When Yeshua makes a statement that a man is Satan or that “Satan” fell like lightning and was seen by Yeshua, we must be diligent to try to find out what He meant and how it can be seen through the Hebrew Scriptures to bring understanding.
Therefore, the claim by Yeshua tosee satan fall like lightening is not a reference to the daystar in Isaiah that fell from powerbecause of his pride. The word Lucifer in Isaiah, which is more correctly translated as “day star”according to a correct understanding of the Hebrew word, is not to be confused with thereference to the fall from heaven of “Satan” spoken of by the Messiah in Luke. Because Christ was not using the word satanas as a name when He spoke it, he neither would have taken the word used in Isaiah as anything more than a word referring to the King as the“morning star”.
Isaiah is not identifying an historical, monumental fall of a rebellious archangel. Looking at the passage from Isaiah 14, we see some highlights which testify to the nature and identity of the subject. We first must recognize that this dissertation begins a full chapter previously with what is known as “The Oracles Against Foreign Nations.” The dissertation goes on for sometime. If you read through from Chapter 13 without letting the chapter breaks or paragraph headings separate the body of text, the flow and intent of the text is quite clear and it carries on to chapter 17. The first full addition of Chapter numbers and verse numbering occurred in the 16th Century with the Geneva Bible. Therefore, this oracle is to be read as one long letter.
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