Three Questions About Satan
There were three questions that we were left with in our previous lesson titled IS SATAN AN ANGEL ? One question is; Is Satan indeed an angel? Another is; Did God create Satan? And the last one is this; Is Lucifer another name for Satan? I mentioned that the name Lucifer was used one time in the bible, but that it does not refer to Satan. That indeed is a fact! Satan and the devil are the same, but the name Lucifer refers to the king of Babylon. The name is used in Isaiah 14:12, when the prophet Isaiah was writing about a vision that God had sent him. Here’s the verse..
Is 14:12 “How you have fallen from heaven, O lucifer, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations.”
You can see why people have assumed that this may refer to Satan because of the allusion to having, “fallen from heaven”. But you’ll see as we take a closer look at the whole chapter of Isaiah, where this verse is found, that the entire chapter refers first, to the release of Israel from their previous captivity in Babylon, and then, to the fall of Babylon itself, and specifically to the fall of the king of Babylon.
The Meaning of “lucifer”
First let’s look at the meaning of the word lucifer. Lucifer comes from the Hebrew word, “heylel”, pronounced, hay’-lale. it means, “the morning star”. The NAS version of the bible actually translates the word as, “morning star”, instead of lucifer. This Hebrew word comes from a root word meaning, “to be clear, to shine, to be bright; It can also mean, “to make a show of boasting, and thus to be foolish”. But the idea of “brightness” is the key meaning for the word translated “morning star” or “lucifer” in this verse.
Did you know there is a planet called “the morning star”? Besides the sun, it’s the brightest object in the sky. The planet Venus is the one known as the morning star, AND the evening star. It’s orbit around the sun is such that during one half of the orbit, it’s brightness becomes visible in the evening, just before the sun goes down, and the other half of the orbit, it’s brightness is visible in the morning sky, just before the sun becomes visible. So we see the very meaning of the word translated “morning star”, being applied to the planet Venus, the “brightest” planet in the sky. Even ancient literature referred to Venus as “the morning star”.. “Brightness”.
Now let’s look at Isaiah chapter 14 where that word is found. The first two verses talk about how the Lord will have compassion on Israel, concerning their captivity and their enslavement, and harsh treatment, in Babylon. And God speaks of how He will release them, and once again give them their “inheritance”.
Listen to verses 1-2..
“When the Lord will have compassion on Jacob, and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. Then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob.” God is going to exalt Israel once again. Their sins of idolatry and unbelief had caused them to be very much humbled, by going into Babylonian captivity.
“And the peoples will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land, as male servants and female servants; and the captors will become their captives, and will rule over their oppressors.”
Now listen to verses 3-4..
“And it will be in the day when the lord gives you rest from your pain and turmoil, and the harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say..” The word “taunt” simply means a proverb, or in other words, “a saying”. And the “saying” actually begins here in verse 4, and goes through verse 21.
Let’s read this saying, or this “taunt” beginning with the last part of verse 4, through verse 8.
“How the oppressor has ceased, and how fury has ceased! The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes. Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution. The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; They break forth with shouts of joy. Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon saying; Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.”
Let’s stop here for a minute.. God is telling His people that their slavery in Babylon will come to an end. The oppression of the king of Babylon will cease! He’ll no longer be able to take advantage of them and persecute them. “The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet” so to speak. “Even the cypress trees rejoice.” Isn’t it interesting how God “personifies” things in the bible. The earth is at rest, and even the trees rejoice!
Now here’s verses 9-11
“Sheol from beneath is excited to meet you when you come; It arouses (it awakens) the spirits of the kings of the nations; It has raised up all the leaders of the earth from their thrones. They will all respond and say to you; Even YOU have been made weak as we. You have become like us. Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you, and worms are your covering.”
The king of Babylon is dead! All his pomp and glory has ended. Sheol (the abode of departed spirits) is happy to see the king come. All the kings of the earth are happy as well, because the powerful king of Babylon, who used to oppress ALL the other nations, has been “made weak” like all the rest. It’s been shown that he was just a mortal like everyone else, and now, his body goes to the grave where it will rot.. Just like all the rest who have gone before him. And so the bible says, “maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you, and worms are your covering.” Sometimes God doesn’t “mince words”.. He tells it like it is.
Listen to verse 12..
“How you have fallen from heaven, O’ star of the morning (lucifer), son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!
The king of Babylon, thought he was the “brightest star in the sky”. He had really exalted himself, hadn’t he? But, remember what God says.. “For EVERYONE who exalts himself, SHALL be humbled!” Luke 14:11
Listen to how GREAT the king thought he was.. Verses 13-14..
But YOU said in your heart; I will ascend to heaven, I will EXALT my throne above the stars of God. And I will sit on the mount (in other words, in the highest place) of the assembly, in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself, like the Most High.”
The king was once “high and mighty”, as if he were “a god in heaven”! But now he’s been “cut down to earth”. In his pride and arrogance, he said in his heart that he would become the greatest who ever lived. His throne would be exalted “above the stars”. His glory would be “higher than the clouds”, he would be.. “on the mount of the assembly”, on the highest place. He would be so great, that he would be like the God of heaven, like “the Most High”. You’ve heard the saying, “he was a legend in his own mind” haven’t you? Well that was the way it was for the “self-exalted” , king of Babylon!
But God said in verse 15, “Nevertheless, you will be thrust down to sheol!”
The bible doesn’t specifically name, which king of Babylon is being spoken of here. But the words surely seem to fit the evil king Belshazzar, who we learn about in Daniel chapter 5.
You’ve heard about “the handwriting on the wall”, right? When something has become so very obvious, it’s referred to as being like the “handwriting on the wall”. Well that phrase comes from the bible, in Daniel 5:4-6. Let’s look to the bible and see how that phrase came to be.
King Belshazzar, king of Babylon, had called for a great feast, with “a thousand of his nobles”. And as they feasted and celebrated, here’s what the scriptures say in Dan 5:4-6..
“They drank the wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone. Suddenly, the fingers of a man’s hand emerged, and began writing opposite the lampstand, on the plaster on the wall of the king’s palace, and the king saw the back of the hand that did the writing. Then the king’s face grew pale, and his thoughts alarmed him, and his hip joints went slack, and his knees began knocking together.”
Here’s the words that the hand had written.. “Mene, Mene, Tekel, U-Pharsin”. Belshazzar the king summoned all his wisest men to decipher what the words meant, but no one could tell the meaning. Finally the king called for Daniel, the faithful servant of God, and Daniel told Belshazzar the meaning. And here’s what he told the king.. From Daniel 5:26-28..
“This is the interpretation of the message; Mene, Mene – God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it. Tekel – You have been weighed on the scales and found deficient. U-pharsin – Your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.”
And V-30 tells us, “That same night, Belshazzar the Chaldean king, was slain.”
Belshazzar, king of Babylon probably thought that he “shined brighter” than any man on earth. His thoughts were filled with such pride and arrogance, that he believed his kingdom, and his “throne” would be exalted above the clouds and above the stars, and that he would become “as the Most High God”
“How you have fallen from heaven, O’ morning star (O’Lucifer), son of the dawn. You have been cut down to earth.”
“Lucifer” Refers To The King Of Babylon
God himself, referred to the king of Babylon as “the bright morning star”. The word “Lucifer” of course isn’t in the old Hebrew scriptures. Lucifer is a Latin word, it comes from two smaller words. “Lux”, or “luc”, which means light”, and “fer” which mean “a bearer”. So the word means, “a light bearer”. The first time it appears in the scriptures, is in the Latin Vulgate translation from the late 4th century.
Roman astrologers used the word to refer to the planet we call Venus, the “light bearing, morning star”.
This word, whether it’s the Hebrew word “hay’-lale”, or the Latin word “Lucifer”, only appears this one time in the scriptures. In the bible, the word has NEVER had any reference to satan. People probably came up with that idea from the phrase in Isaiah 14:12, “How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer; O morning star”. But the word IS used in the bible, to describe a MAN, who had the same “attributes” as Satan. The same pride and arrogance, the same greed and avarice, the same spirit of “exalting” oneself. And the same “Spirit of Disobedience” to God.
Satan IS the very “Spirit of disobedience”, and the king of Babylon, “the morning star” was the very epitome of that “Spirit”. The phrase, “How you have fallen from heaven”, is a figurative expression used to illustrate how the king had fallen from what he perceived as his exalted position, “above the stars” and as “higher than the clouds” and as a “God of heaven”.
He Who Exalts Himself, Shall Be Humbled
The bible tells us over and over again, “For everyone who exalts himself, shall be humbled..”, Mat 23:12, Luke 14:11. Proverbs 29:23 tells us, “A man’s pride will bring him low”.
Jesus was once pronouncing “Woes” upon the cities, whose people had rejected His words. He said in Luke 10:13, “Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. He said in V-14, “But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you.” (Tyre and Sidon were both ancient cities, notorious for sin, especially idolatry, and notorious for rejecting Jesus)
Then Jesus continued with these words in V-15, “And you Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, You will be brought down to hades!” “To hades” in this verse means.. To the “unseen realm” of the dead!
Hades, in the Greek, means the same as Sheol, in the Hebrew. They both refer to that “unseen realm”.
Capernaum was a large and important city. In Capernaum was a military station, a tax-collector’s office, and a representative of king Herod Antipas. And Jesus said that they were “exalted to heaven”. No doubt, that was in their own estimation.
Remember that it was said of the king of Babylon.. “Sheol from beneath, is excited over you, to meet you when you come.” Isaiah 14:8
And so God said the very same thing to the king of Babylon, that He said to the inhabitants of Capernaum. To Capernaum, Jesus said, “You Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, you will be brought down to Hades.” And to the king of Babylon, God said, “How you have fallen from heaven, O’ morning star, son of the dawn. You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations.”
“For EVERYONE who exalts himself WILL BE humbled, and he who humbles himself WILL BE exalted.” That’s a law of God!
God urges us all, to humble ourselves before Him. And if we do, He has promised that He will exalt us in heaven. My prayer is that we will ALL, very humbly, “Seek first, His kingdom and His righteousness..” Mat 6:33.
And that we would all, “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, correctly discerning the word of God.” 2 Tim 2:15
And that we would, “reason together, says the Lord.” Is 1:18
It’s very reasonable, that we should hear and believe His word. And that we should repent of things that we’ve done, which are contrary to His word. And it’s reasonable that we should be willing to confess our faith in Christ, and that we should EAGER, to wash our sins away in baptism. And of course it’s only reasonable that we should continue faithful unto death, so that we can receive the crown of life.
In the next lesson, we’ll examine in more detail, what God’s word says, in answer to the two remaining questions; Did God create Satan, and is Satan an angel? Thanks for being here, and may God bless you in the study of His word.