Questions From Readers
• Is Lucifer a name that the Bible uses for Satan?
The name Lucifer occurs once in the Scriptures and only in some versions of the Bible. For example, the King James Version renders Isaiah 14:12: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”
The Hebrew word translated “Lucifer” means “shining one.” The Septuagint uses the Greek word that means “bringer of dawn.” Hence, some translations render the original Hebrew “morning star” or “Daystar.” But Jerome’s Latin Vulgate uses “Lucifer” (light bearer), and this accounts for the appearance of that term in various versions of the Bible.
Who is this Lucifer? The expression “shining one,” or “Lucifer,” is found in what Isaiah prophetically commanded the Israelites to pronounce as a “proverbial saying against the king of Babylon.” Thus, it is part of a saying primarily directed at the Babylonian dynasty. That the description “shining one” is given to a man and not to a spirit creature is further seen by the statement: “Down to Sheol you will be brought.” Sheol is the common grave of mankind—not a place occupied by Satan the Devil. Moreover, those seeing Lucifer brought into this condition ask: “Is this the man that was agitating the earth?” Clearly, “Lucifer” refers to a human, not to a spirit creature.—Isaiah 14:4, 15, 16.
Why is such an eminent description given to the Babylonian dynasty? We must realize that the king of Babylon was to be called the shining one only after his fall and in a taunting way. (Isaiah 14:3) Selfish pride prompted Babylon’s kings to elevate themselves above those around them. So great was the arrogance of the dynasty that it is portrayed as bragging: “To the heavens I shall go up. Above the stars of God I shall lift up my throne, and I shall sit down upon the mountain of meeting, in the remotest parts of the north. . . . I shall make myself resemble the Most High.”—Isaiah 14:13, 14.
“The stars of God” are the kings of the royal line of David. (Numbers 24:17) From David onward, these “stars” ruled from Mount Zion. After Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, the name Zion came to apply to the whole city. Under the Law covenant, all male Israelites were obliged to travel to Zion three times a year. Thus, it became “the mountain of meeting.” By determining to subjugate the Judean kings and then remove them from that mountain, Nebuchadnezzar is declaring his intention to put himself above those “stars.” Instead of giving Jehovah credit for the victory over them, he arrogantly puts himself in Jehovah’s place. So it is after being cut down to the earth that the Babylonian dynasty is mockingly referred to as the “shining one.”
The pride of the Babylonian rulers indeed reflected the attitude of “the god of this system of things”—Satan the Devil. (2 Corinthians 4:4) He too lusts for power and longs to place himself above Jehovah God. But Lucifer is not a name Scripturally given to Satan.
After King Saul of ancient Israel turned away from true worship, Jehovah God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king. The divine record of this historical event, written by Samuel himself in the 11th century B.C.E., presents David as the eighth son of Jesse. (1 Samuel 16:10-13) Yet, the account penned by Ezra the priest some 600 years later says: “Jesse, in turn, became father to his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimea the third, Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, Ozem the sixth, David the seventh.” (1 Chronicles 2:13-15) What happened to one of David’s brothers, and why does Ezra omit his name?
The Scriptures state that Jesse “had eight sons.” (1 Samuel 17:12) One of his sons evidently did not live long enough to get married and have children. Having no descendants, he would have no claim in tribal inheritance nor any bearing on genealogical records of Jesse’s lineage.
Now let us think of Ezra’s day. Consider the setting under which he compiled Chronicles. The exile in Babylon ended about 77 years earlier, and the Jews were resettled in their land. The king of Persia had authorized Ezra to appoint judges and teachers of the Law of God and to beautify the house of Jehovah. There was a need for accurate genealogical lists to confirm the tribal inheritances and to ensure that only authorized people served in the priesthood. So Ezra prepared a full account of the nation’s history, including a clear and dependable record of the lineage of Judah and of David. The name of the son of Jesse who died childless would be irrelevant. Hence, Ezra omitted his name.