Was Satan ever a morning star as commonly speculated?
There have been preposterous efforts, over misinterpretations and evil wills, to equate Revelation 22:16 and Isaiah 14:12. That is, quite outrageously, to call the Christ a ‘Satan’.
Yes, such have been rebutted, thankfully, many times, but it seems to be also true in the end that even the rebuttal often digresses to KJV advocates’ view on lucifer (note the lower ‘l’ for lucifer) must equal Satan (or to lesser degree to why it isn’t). This, nonetheless, does not help in explaining why Jesus is the one and only Morning Star at all.
Thus, there is a need to address this completely.
1. Heylel (rendered as ‘lucifer’) does NOT denote a term “morning star”
[Isaiah 14:12] “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!
“Lucifer, son of the morning” in the original Hebrew is הֵילֵ֣ל בֶּן־ שָׁ֑חַר (heylel ben shachar). ‘Ben shachar’ means ‘son of dawn’, but it’s ‘heylel (or helel)’, used as noun here and nowhere else in the Bible as Barnes note, that seems to be ambiguous and is much disputed till this day.
We believe it is from word הָלַל (halal) meaning either to praise, to shine or to boast (as in self-confident boasting). And many, for some very unknown reasons, have automatically including Jerome, who was said to have been demanded, against his will, to include Apocryphal writings in the translation of the Vulgate, linked ‘heylel’ to mean to shine as that perhaps links well with the following ‘son of dawn’.
However, even if we follow this rendering, simply to mean ‘shine’ in the form of noun, there is no reference that this is referring to a star.
Now, the Vulgate translation, which also linked ‘heylel’ to meaning of shine, of the Isaiah 14:12 is
quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes
Note how lucifer [luceo/lucere (meaning light) + fero/ferre (to carry, to bear – even this rendering could be wrong depending on how one views ‘heylel’ as] was rendered with lower ‘l’, not with capital letter.
This means that lucifer is not a name. It is, thus, simply a rendered description of Hebrew text, not an intrinsic name. It was John Milton and his epic poem, ‘Paradise Lost’ that contributed largely to the illusion of using this descriptive noun as a unique name of Satan.
2. Heylel (to shine?) vs Kokab (star)
Hebrew word for star is כּוֹכָב (Kokab).
In fact, Isaiah in previous chapter, chapter 13 verse 10, uses this word to describe stars: “For the stars(kokwbe) of heaven and their constellations will not give their light…” and nowhere in the Bible was ‘heylel’ ever used to denote a star, not to mention again nowhere else but in Isaiah 14:12 that such term appears for once and all.
So in terms of the Bible, lucifer ≠ morning star (or any stars) ≠ Satan. “Lucifer” in the light of pagan myths, namely ancient Babylonian and Greek, however, may indeed be attributed to Satan (but not in the light of the Bible).
3. Was ‘lucifer’ also a tree?
The latter part of Isaiah 14:12 “…How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!” which we often overlook as a result of engrossing on the first part, reminds a tree being cut down and laid. Expression “who weakened the nations”, it has been noted, is symbolic words that come from a tree overshadowing and we have no doubt that this refers to Babylon here (Hitzig, Hendewerk) as the context, after all, is about the King of Babylon (Isa. 14:4), not Satan.
A nation (or at the same time a ‘leader’ as we have examined on the previous article) likened to a tree is not a new concept considering Isaiah 10:5-15 and Ezekiel 17 similarly reflect such, and in a different context, Mark 4:32, Luke 13:18-19 as well.
Moreover, Nebuchadnezzar was specifically likened to a tree to be cut down (Dan 4:10-26) as, again, noted from the previous article whose stump and roots remained. This I shall come back to it later.
Of course, as John Gill pointed out, it’s appropriate to project the spotlight to Belshazzar, with whom the Babylon indeed fell, as if it has been cut down, yet there isn’t discrepancy to see the figure mentioned in Isaiah 14:12 as either Nebuchadnezzar or Belshazzar as Belshazzar knew all the Nebuchadnezzar went through and yet still remained evil just like his father. (Dan 5:18-30)
4. Isaiah 14 is laid against, and directed at, the King of Babylon.
The context as noted above is directed at the ‘King of Babylon’ (Isa. 14:4). Verses 4 to 20, and further verses 21 to 23 which talk about how God will indeed destruct Babylon, strongly support so.
Those who argue that even these verses refer to Satan, consider the following:
[Luke 10:15] And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.
Is Capernaum now, keeping the similar misconception employed for Isaiah 14, another name for Satan? Of course it isn’t.
5. Is Isaiah 14:12 alluding to Luke 10:18?
17. Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
18. And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
19. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
20. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
The above is NOT about Satan being cast out (passive) from the heaven. Satan and his angels WILL be cast out from heaven only by Revelation 12, after the war with Michael and his angels. (Revelation 12:7-10) When the devil comes down, as there is no place for him in the heaven, that is when the Great tribulation (or known as Jacob’s trouble of latter 3 and half years) really begins. That is, this is the event to come, not had taken place yet.
So then, the verse 18 above, as a response to the seventy reporting to Jesus on how the demons were cast out in Jesus’ Name, refers to how the Satan’s authority started to crumble.
In fact, Barnes interprets the above as “I saw at your command devils immediately depart, as quick as the flash of lightning. I gave you this power – I saw it put forth – and I give also now, in addition to this, the power to tread on serpents,”
JESUS AS THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR
6. Jesus – A Star (Kokab) out of Jacob
Now, as for Jesus’ other title as the Morning Star as mentioned by Him in
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
This is the fulfilment of the Prophecy from Numbers 24:17:
“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star (Kokab) shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.”
It has been noted a star represents a glory and dignity of a King (Matthew 2:2 et al) and a sceptre represents ruling authority (Genesis 49:10, Revelation 22:16 et al). Whereas, Moab here represents two; the actual Moab at the time and or the ones that stir all other nations to go against Israelites, as seen by the Balak’s intention to curse the Israelites above. So we have no doubt that this prophecy is referring to the Messiah.
7. Arising Star and stars
Furthermore, we have other supporting words from both Old and New testaments on how Jesus is the one and only Morning Star, and for He is, He, in turn, is able to make His people to rise and shine forth:
[2 Peter 1:19] And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
2. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
[Revelation 2:28] and I will give him the morning star.
8. Morning Star is also the Root and the Offspring of David
Let us cross-examine should one to maliciously equate Christ with Satan: When was Satan ever a root as well as the offspring of David? You know it’s absurd to make such argument.
HOW TO OVERLAP THE CHRIST WITH BEELZEBUB
For a better suggestion, it wouldn’t be contrived to render ‘heylel’ as ‘one that is boastful’. Why? As we have seen above, the verse is directly laid against King of Babylon. And the fact that the latter part of the verse visualises a tree being cut down corroborates so.
Then, we have a new question: Does the tree have stump and root, however, remaining as it was the case for Nebuchadnezzar and if so, would it be revived in the future?
At least, I think so, for Nebuchadnezzar (and Belshazzar too for he also walked in his father’s footsteps), as we have seen from the previous article, foreshadows the Antichrist to come. So here we have it; the verse is, likely, alluding to the Antichrist.
Moreover, Satan transforming himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14) does not tell us anything about how he had fallen or his identity before his ‘fall’ – the process which we do not know as the Bible focuses on how mankind has fallen, and how God is prepared to save, not anything else.
In that sense, I do agree with the fact it is not permitted for us to go over than what the Bible covers. Similar misconception, as if it was a “tale” of Satan, is found in Ezekiel 28 where the King of Tyre (Eze. 28:2, 12 & previous chapters) is likened to anointed Cherub in Eden. But Eden was created after the creation of the world, not before.
To say the fall of Satan AFTER the creation would make things far-fetched. In fact, God repeatedly tells Ezekiel on warnings to Tyre in previous chapters. This again proves that the Bible is not at all about how Satan and his angels had fallen.
So then, how does one overlaps, satanically, the Christ with Beelzebub (Matt 10:25; 12:24, 27, Mark 3:22, Luke 11:15, 18 -19), another name for Satan? It is not simply attributed to one’s ignorance, for there first has to be a will so devilish to make Him an accursed being (1 Cor 12:3). It’s another evidence that it’s obviously done in the absence of love towards Him. And what does the Bible tell of such?
[1 Corinthians 16:22] If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ,
let him be accursed. O Lord, come!
Amen, let it be so.