Trinity – God, Yahweh, Satan (3)

Mer-curiusSatan, Christianity’s Other God – Volume I
By James R. Brayshaw

CHAPTER 8 Lucifer’s Fall in Isaiah 14, Explaining the Myth

Part 1, Part 2

What Does it Mean to Be Fallen?
 The section labeled “Chapter 14” is written about Babylon, not about some fallen cosmic being. It is part of a larger body of admonishments that are directed toward pagannations and a political system or political leader. Men fall, rulers fall and nations fall; we are not being told of anything other than the fall of human leadership and authority.
 
The concept of one “falling”, in its euphemistical sense, has long been understood as intimating that one who had a certain position, which granted him certain rights and privileges, hasmade some choices and actions, which resulted in that person or nation becoming less than what it had been before it, or he had “fallen”. Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “He’s fallen from grace”, in reference to a spiritual icon and leader who has been found out to be participating in a sexual sin or financial scandal. Fallen from heaven means virtually the same thing; a leader with power and prestige has lost that power and prestige because of his own actions that went against what God wanted. In every case in history, both biblical and secular, when a person or a nation is referred to as fallen, it is always clear the meaning is referring to a decrease in exalted status.
 
The “fallen” one no longer possess the status or power and control position, it or he previously possessed. A fallen one loses some or all of its power and position and when we see this statement in its context in Isaiah 14, it is apparent we are seeing a reference to a political or spiritual demotion, not to a literal drop from a geographic location to a lesser or lower geographic location. A perfect example of this statement referring to “a fall” being a fall from political power, is seen in another place in Isaiah. Isaiah 21 uses the same terminology to express that the great political and world power of Babylon, which comes to represent a false religious system, is brought down by a mightier warring nation;
 
 And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is  fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. Isaiah 21:9 
 
One fulfillment of the prophecy of the fall from power of the King of Babylon and the fall of the nation did in fact occur at the hands of the Medes. Her fall could be seen to indicate a future fall in a spiritual sense. The empire of Rome, which had taken John the Revelator captive on the Island of Patmos, was called Babylon by first century writers as is indicated in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
 
This is a helpful piece of information. It helps us to understand that when Babylon is said to have fallen in The Revelation, John is talking about the false religious system fostered by Rome that is destined to be brought down when the Messiah’s kingdom becomes fully realized. As we look specifically at the Isaiah 14 text, let’s pinpoint some portions of it that indicate that this account is not of a fallen cosmic being but that it is of a fallen King of Babylon. This King believed himself to be a god and imposed the metaphorical title of the “Morning Star”, known as the great light-bearer that rises before the sun in the morning, upon himself. “Morning Star” was also known as the planet Venus. This king believed
himself to be a God, as did a great many of his subjects.
 
This seems odd to the present thinking found in North American religion as so few people who attain to great status an dposition would ever think they are “Gods.” Although we do not possess the same mindset as the ancient pagans when it comes to considering oneself a God, we still might ask the question, “How could anyone think they are an actual God?” One might ask this of Anton Levay, the writer of the Satanic Bible. In his writings he repeatedly tells the reader they are a God and that the only one that should matter to themselves is them self, because they are a God. Therefore, he describes in quite graphic language, how each person should work to gratify every carnal desire and lust they have, in order to affirm and solidify the concept that he or she is God. Vexen Crabtree writes of this Autodeist belief on a web article telling of Satanism;
 
Autodeists – we worship ourselves. The only God we can ever perceive is in our own existential world. We are each a God.
 
Of course this sick and twisted philosophy will not sit well with the Creator of the universe but this group of so called “Satan Worshippers,” has some of the clearest understanding of the history and origin of the present day contemporary understanding of Satan. In fact, a cursory view of their doctrine quickly reveals that they don’t even believe in a cosmic “satan” but state quite clearly that Satan is what is inside every person and emanates from within, out of the wicked desires of the individual. Quoting again from Crabtree’s article, we see this view expressed.
 
“Satan is not a real, living entity, conscious or a physical thing that can be interacted with. It is a symbol, something ethereal, something that basically doesn’t exist except as an emotional attachment and personal dream. Just like Buddhists do not worship Buddha, Satanists hold up Satan as an ultimate principal rather than an object of literal worship. Satan inspires and provokes people, like all (honest) religions the ultimate point is self-help. Godbelievers have a different opinion on what Satan is, but their opinion is a result of their religion. Satanism’s Satan is much more eclectic and multicultural than to be defined by Christianity or Islam. 
 
Hebraic view as would have been understood thousands of years ago. They sure fall off the cart though when they begin to articulate their view of self as God. We see then that even today, as with the King of Babylon who Isaiah was speaking about, there are those who think themselves to be gods. According to Isaiah’s writing, the King of Babylon and the entire nation are in for a stern rebuke for thinking such lofty thoughts of itself. The entire dissertation begins in chapter 13 verse 1; “The burden against Babylon…” 
 
  This text goes on to speak of how Babylon is the glory of kingdoms and will be wiped out by Yahweh, which occurs through the use of His agents, who happen to also be pagan nations.It is interesting to note when Babylon is called “the glory of Kingdoms” in verse 19 of the previous chapter, it is quite a picture of the exalted status of this nation in comparison to the other Chaldean nations. And also, a clear denouncement of her declaring that she will be overthrown.
 
 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. Isaiah 13:19 KJV 
 
Something, whether a human king or a nation, must be exalted to high status in some form for it to be considered as fallen at any point in its history. Babylon had a high position in the political Eastern world but the prophet unabashedly proclaims that it is about to fall. Chapter 14 verse 4 clearly tells that this statement is a Proverb against the human King of Babylon. In verse 5, we are told the staff of the wicked is broken and so is the scepter of the rulers.
 
That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. Isaiah 14:4-5 
 
References to a “scepter and staff” are symbols of the King’s power and we see that they are removed from him. Looking at verses 9 to 11, we see strong reference to this character being a human king.
 
Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. Isaiah 14:9-11
 
 Although the references to hell, the dead and Sheol are difficult to understand from our current cultural perspective which has a poor understanding of what Sheol was to the biblical writers, these references cannot be referring to a Lucifer who is also “Satan.” They speak of “Hell” being prepared for him and indicate that there are already patrons of hell waiting in hell for the arrival of “Lucifer”. This cannot be so for one simple reason. It is said this verse is speaking of the fall of Satan from heaven and supposedly happened sometime before or right around the time of creation of the world. Therefore, it would have to be placed at a point in cosmic history where there is not yet any wicked being.
 
If hell is prepared for the fallen Satan and the dead, who is it that is in hell and is stirred up? Moreover, if Lucifer is said to be the first fallen angel; then how can there be inhabitants of “hell” waiting for “Satan’s” arrival? Wasn’t Satan the first of the fallen angels? Were thereother creatures that rebelled against the Creator before Satan rebelled and was ejected from the presence of Yahweh? Would it not seem odd that there were either demons or dead souls waiting in hell for the fallen “Satan” to arrive?
 
The answer to this question is found through understanding the concept as it may have been intended and understood culturally and historically. Satan cannot have entities waiting for him in hell prior to his fall to the mythological place of the dead. Hell to the ancient biblical writers was simply a metaphor for what happens to a person when they die. They simply are dead and buried with no transferof an immortal soul to a place of eternal torture. To the many “pagan” cultures it was different. One concept was that Tartarus was the place in the subterranean parts of the earth that was reserved for those wicked people who did not receive their due punishment on Earth before they died. A Greek mindset could not reconcile that a person who was wicked on Earth simply ceased to exist upon death so they concocted the mythological“Hell/Tartarus” that became so popular in Christian lore. The ISBE provides some insight into the word “Hell” however there is much to discuss on the topic and perhaps that will take place in later pages of this book.
 
Hell (see SHEOL; HADES; GEHENNA): 1. The Word in the King James Version
The English word, from a Teutonic root meaning “to hide” or“cover,” had originally the significance of the world of the dead generally, and in this sense is used by Chaucer, Spenser, etc., and in the Creed (“He descended into hell”);compare the English Revised Version Preface. Now the word has come to mean almost exclusively the place of punishment of the lost or finally impenitent; the place of torment of the wicked. In the King James Version of the Scriptures, it is the rendering adopted in many places in the Old Testament for the Hebrew word she’ōl 
 
 We are seeing the use of language by the prophet Isaiah, which depicts in allegorical and metaphorical terms, the intensity of those nations and leaders who were eager to see the great Babylonian King fall. The words spoken are intended to paint the picture of the absolute demise of the ruler, the human ruler, of Babylon. Hell is referring to the grave, as is Sheol in verse 11. The only way “Hell” can be waiting for Lucifer to arrive, is if “Hell”, which is sheol or the grave, is personified. Personification is a widely used practice today. We see it used in depicting the intensity in various maladies and situations. Such as in the idea of alcohol beckoning to an alcoholic who is fighting to be alcohol free and master his addiction; or speaking about cancer ravaging a person’s body as they fight to live while undergoing intense and painful treatments or surgeries to eradicate the cancer.
 
Here in Isaiah we see hell personified and spoken of as if it is an entity with actual desires and that is able to feel excitement. The writer was not intending these personifications to be taken literally but he wanted his statements to be understood as a euphemism to display the intense nature of the fall of the King of Babylon. If you were to narrowly escape death on numerous occasions such as being rescued from a fire or liberated from a horrific car accident or were left unharmed after a vicious tornado, and I said that “death is stalking you”, there would be no doubt about the personification I am using to express my message. “Death” would not be confused for a literal physical creature. Rather you would recognize the personification in death being said to “be stalking” you. This is no different than for “the grave”, or “Hell” as the English puts it, to be “excited” for the King to arrive. Hell is personified to appear as if it is a character that literally exists.
 
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In verse 9, we see that all the “chief ones” are kings of nations. This is identifying the human kings who ruled other nations that had not ascendedto the level of power internationally as the king of Babylon. These envious and equally power hungry kings were being prophesied to relish and take delight in the fall of Babylonand particularly the King of Babylon who is here called the “morning star”. In verse 10, the human King’s question, in a rhetorical sense regarding the imminent weakness of this fallen king, is another indicator that this passage is referring to a man. If this passage is referring to the “cosmic satan” who is believed to have supernatural powersafter being ejected from heaven, then why would human kings believe this entity will be as weak as they are, after the “fall”? Much of the present cultural belief in a Satan with powerto invoke evil and possess the spirits of humans, suggests “he” has much greater power thanany human does? Therefore, the descent from power that is spoken of in Isaiah 14 must bereference to Satan having his power drastically limited after the fall. However, because there is no Satan one can comprehend that this passage in Isaiah 14 is about a man. A man who has great political power would certainly become weak like the lesser kings, once his empire is ripped from him. As well, a cosmic being who is supposedly cast to earth where he is ableto manifest all manner of phenomena, would not be compared to a small time king andconsidered as being in the same category as other human kings. It is fractured andinconsistent reasoning to believe this passage is referring to a cosmic Satan. Verse 12, as I have already spoken of, is where the name “Lucifer” is gleaned from.Remember Lucifer is simply the Latin word for the original Hebrew word helel, and means the light bearer. The more correct translations use the term “morning star” or “day star”. True, many versions still utilize the word Lucifer in the English translation, however, it istypically the case that these translations are based on the KJV translation which has impartedto successive translators a mindset which continues to apply the word “Lucifer” to theHebrew term for “morning star”. Why did the translators of the KJV carry the Latin wordfor “morning star”, Lucifer, across to the English? Was it an intentional act to build this falseteaching on “Satan”?
 
 Translated incorrectly or perhaps with less than fair judgment, the use of the word“Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12, could simply have been born out of a misunderstanding. When atranslator has a belief system or a theological grid that claims that there is a “Satan”, then a word choice during translation may often be made which represents that belief. I am notstating unequivocally that the choice to use the word “Lucifer” for the Hebrew word helel  was the result of a skewed understanding of the Hebraic concept of the adversary. Thetranslators may well have recognized that the word “Lucifer,” which meant light bearer inLatin, was indeed referring to the planet Venus. The ruler of Babylon was believed to be theincarnate form of this God Venus, which was believed to be a God that rises before the sunin the morning. The translators may have understood, when making their word choices, that Lucifer meant “day star” or the like, and chose an analogous word to represent the power of the King of Babylon. They could have simply used the phrase, “daystar”, or “morning star”but chose the Latin term that meant pretty much the same thing. Many translations of thepassage in Isaiah have translated the Hebrew word helel more correctly. Below are selectionsof translations of this verse for comparison. Some of which do not use the word “Lucifer”to translate what was meant by the word helel in the Hebrew text.
 
Isaiah 14:12
(American Standard Version) How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star,son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, that didst lay low the nations!
(Jewish Publication Society) How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star,son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, that didst castlots over the nations!
(King JamesVersion-1611) How art thou fallen from heauen, O Lucifer,sonne of the morning? how art thou cut downe to the ground, which didst weaken the nations?
(Literal Translation of the Holy Bible) Oh shining star, son of the morning,how you have fallen from the heavens! You weakening the nations, you arecut down to the ground.
(The Message) What a comedown this, O Babylon! Daystar! Son of Dawn!Flat on your face in the underworld mud, you, famous for flattening nations!
(Youngs Literal Translation) How hast thou fallen from the heavens, Oshining one, son of the dawn! Thou hast been cut down to earth, O weakener of nations.
(Jeromes LatinVulgate) quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui maneoriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes
 
 These verses help to shed light on the issue and when reading the above Latin Vulgate version of the verse, we see the use of the word “Lucifer” not as a proper noun buta descriptive term, just as was intended by the Hebrew writer who originally wrote these words. The use of the more correct term for
helel being, ‘day star,’ or ‘morning star,’ doesindeed elucidate the concept which teaches “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14 is referring to thepompous attitude of the King of Babylon and not to some cosmic satan being.Perhaps in Disney’s version of the biblical story of the Exodus from Egypt, we can see how researching the culture that the story was set in, helps illuminate some of the concepts of “Kingship” at the time. At one point in the story, which is called “Prince of Egypt”, thePharaoh is recognizing that his power and authority are being challenged; it is at this point in the story that the Disney writers have Pharaoh saying, “I am the bright and Morning star.”Somehow, the Disney crew knew that this term had long been a chosen appellation for theking of some ancient nation in the Near East. Although one cannot rely entirely on the story  which is relayed by Disney as being completely factual, one certainly can add this thought tothe process of understanding the historical usage of a term such as “morning star” by powerful kings of the ancients. After all, even a kid’s cartoon, when depicting history, natureor otherwise, is often researched to represent the practice of the period as accurately asfeasible.
 
 Jerome Added the Word Lucifer in the Fourth Century
I have mentioned Jerome’s Latin vulgate and could easily accuse Jerome of trying to further the “satan” concept in using the word Lucifer for the word helel; however, I am not certain that Jerome purposely tried to further Satan doctrine. It may be more prudent tobelieve that Jerome was not intending to infuse Scripture with this doctrine but was simply applying the knowledge he had of language and translating to his work. To Jerome it waslikely a matter of using the Latin word, which at the time of the Vulgate translation, had thesame meaning as the Hebrew word helel.
He knew the word helel meant something along thelines of “son of the morning”, or “morning star”, as translated in so many versions of theScriptures. We already have more than enough information to conclude that Isaiah 14 is nottalking about a cosmic “satan”, but let’s continue to be thorough and explore the other cluesfound in the passage in question. What are we being told in Isaiah 14 verses 13 and 14, theoracle against Babylon and subsequently her king? These verses are recognition of the pride of the heart of this once great nation. Anation obviously cannot have an actual heart, yet the writer writes as if this nation does. Thisagain is an example of the poetic style of the writing that personifies things such as nations.
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.Isaiah 14:13-14 KJV 
 
We can see the message of these words when we look at a similar concept in Isaiah47:10. In this passage, we are told of Babylon boasting how “she” is the only one. Babylon is metaphorically said to have raised herself up as the only god. For this reason, she is castdown, brought to nothing.
For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath  perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. Isaiah 47:10 KJV 
 We are hearing highly poetic language to describe the aspirations of this great nation and her king. So often, the words of these few verses are affixed to the satanology of thepresent day. If these were statements referring to a cosmic, satanic archenemy of God, thenthe statement of this subject being a man in verse 16 would have to be rejected.
They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth totremble, that did shake kingdoms; Isaiah 14:16 KJV 
It is a human being that is referred to in the bulk of this oracle against Babylon. Another reference to indicate that the text is dealing with only human entities is verse 16. That verse speaks of this fallen one being gazed at by those who once saw the power andmight that emanated from this man’s rulership. Verses 18-20 talks of the human kings of thenations being asleep in their graves but this once proud king will not join them in burial.Does this mean that Satan will not be buried like the human Kings or is this perhaps astatement informing the subject that he is going to miss out on the honor of a Kings burial?It was the honor of a king to have a national memorial and royal burial after he died, however in this instance the fallen king of Babylon, known as the “morning star” and called Lucifer in Isaiah 14, would not receive this honor. He had caused the people to be slain, as verse 20 states, and due to his choice to believe himself a God and attain such an exaltedposition, he would be refused the funeral and burial that was typical of the kings of thenations.It is abundantly lucid that the Isaiah 14 reference to “Lucifer” is not referring to acosmic “satan.” Understanding this verse and passage from the cultural, historical, literary,and social context, helps us to understand what was being spoken and to whom. Inconclusion of the discussion on this section of Scripture, I will quote from the study notes inthe New King James Version, Nelson Study Bible. The “study helps” provided in that Biblesum up the entire passage quite nicely. We are given the meaning of the word “Lucifer”, the understanding of the term “fallen from heaven” as a figure of speech; the power of the poetic language that is used and the conclusion that there is no connection of this verse to Yeshua’s statements of seeing Satan fall like lightning.
 
Fallen from heaven is a figure of speech meaning cast downfrom an exalted political position. Jesus said, “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades” (Luke 10:15), and apparently with the same meaning, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” ( Luke10:18). The name for Lucifer in Hebrew literally means “DayStar,” or the planet Venus. The poetic language of this verse describes the aspiration of this brightest star to climb to the zenith of the heavens and its extinction before the rising sun.This is an apt summary of the failed goal of the king of Babylon (v.4) who wanted to grasp universal and eternal domination. Tertullian, Milton and others have linked this passage to the carreer of Satan on the basis of Luke 10:18, but the text does not specifically make this connection.
 
Isaiah 14 is not in any way referring to the Satan who supposedly is the archenemy of the Creator of the universe and of those who follow the Messiah. In an effort to conclude who and what Satan is, it is essential that we see clearly the mention of Lucifer in Isaiah, which has often been thought to be referring to Satan, as simply referring to the once greatKing of Babylon and by extension the nation he ruled and the subsequent fall from power of both of them.
 
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2 thoughts on “Trinity – God, Yahweh, Satan (3)

  1. myatheistlife September 19, 2013 at 5:41 am Reply

    I see your points, and will agree that your interpretation seems solid given the pretext of Isaiah 13. Whence then does the satan come from? Judging from the beginings I had hoped to hear a story if his origin. Highlighting the astronomical underpinnings of the superstitions that became Christianity is useful, but does nothing to explain the origin of the Satan. Can you cover that in a future post?

    • thesevenminds September 19, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Thanks for your comment. There will be many more posts on Satan. Set, Seth, Setan, and Satan. And any other name that I may come across.

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