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Articles

“Is Satan Lucifer?”

Categories: Bible, Teaching

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

“Satan,” the personal name of the devil (Mt. 4:10), means “adversary.” We see that adversarial relationship played out through the entirety of Scripture but especially when our Lord was led away to be tempted by him in the wilderness. It is difficult to come to a full appreciate of Satan’s character and history but a few things are evident.

He is the leader of disobedient, what some call “fallen,” angels (Mt. 25:41; Rev. 12:7). Angels are created beings originally created, like everything that God made, “good” in the beginning. Like man, angels were given freewill. Like man, they “sought out many schemes” (Ecc. 7:29). But unlike man, when angels sin against God there remains no known means of forgiveness. Instead, they are “cast into hell… and committed… to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment.” (2 Pet. 2:4; Jd. 1:6).

On various occasions we see Satan speaking, lying, blinding, tempting, devouring, contending and otherwise interacting with God’s creation so as to deceive them to fall away from God’s presence. He is fighting a battle he knows he will lose.

Satan is an actual personality of evil. We see his evil in the Old Testament when he deceived Eve, attacked Job, incited David, and accused Joshua the high priest. We see his evil in the New Testament in his temptation of Jesus, his entering Judas, his blinding unbelievers, and his hindering Paul.

He is depicted as the great accuser of God and man. He accused both God to man (Gen. 3:4) and man to God (Job. 1:9; 2:4). For his evil actions and intentions he is consigned, along with all who follow him, to eternity in hell (Mt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10). He has been called the devil (Mt. 4:1), the enemy (Lk. 10:19), the father of lies (Jn. 8:44), the ruler of this world (Eph. 2:2; Jn. 12:31), the tempter (Mt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5) and the evil one (1 Jn. 5:19).

But such was not always the case. Satan is not deity therefore he is a created being like the angels. He would have been created good at the beginning but sometime before Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden Satan “fell” or was banished from God’s presence. Paul speaks of the danger of becoming conceited or puffed up with pride and calls it falling “into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6). So evidently, Satan was cast out of God’s presence because of his pride.

When Jesus’ disciples were given the power to cast out demons, agents at the disposal of Satan, they reported back to Him that “even the demons are subject to us in your name!” Because of the great authority they were given “over all the power of the enemy” Jesus responded by saying to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from the heaven…” (Lk. 10:17-20). His fall was “like lightning” probably due to its suddenness.

Some people see this text’s shadow in Isaiah 14:12 and make the connection by calling Satan “Lucifer.” Lucifer is a name or title which means “Helel son of Shachar”, which was probably a name for the morning star (Venus) or the crescent moon. But in this text, the remnant of Israel is taunting not Satan but the king of Babylon (Isa. 14:3-21). It was the king of Babylon who fell from his lofty throne of arrogance to a bed of maggots and a cover of worms in Sheol (v.11). He tried to make himself like the “Most High” (v.14) but was humbled.

This whole section is directed to a human ruler. He is even called a “man” (v.16) with a corporeal body (vv.19-20). Although this section is speaking poetically it is obvious its subject is the King of Babylon. And although the text is describing a situation remarkably similar to Satan’s “fall” it would be unfair to the text to designate the devil as “Lucifer.” 

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