"Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12 presents a minor problem to mainstream Christianity. It becomes a much larger problem to Bible literalists. LUCIFER IS NOT SATAN!
"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!"
"O Lucifer" was used to express "O shining one", and not the name of a biblical character, and certainly not Satan. Its own simple context clearly shows this.
The first problem is that Lucifer is a Latin word. So how did it find its way into a Hebrew manuscript, written before there was a Roman language? To find the answer, I consulted a scholar at the library of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati. What Hebrew name, I asked, was Satan given in this chapter of Isaiah, which describes the angel who fell to become the ruler of hell?
The answer was a surprise. In the original Hebrew text, the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah is not about a fallen angel, but about a fallen Babylonian king, who during his lifetime had persecuted the children of Israel. It contains no mention of Satan, either by name or reference. The Hebrew scholar could only speculate that some early Christian scribes, writing in the Latin tongue used by the Church, had decided for themselves that they wanted the story to be about a fallen angel, a creature not even mentioned in the original Hebrew text, and to whom they gave the name "Lucifer."
Why Lucifer? In Roman astronomy, Lucifer was the name given to the morning star (the star we now know by another Roman name, Venus). The morning star appears in the heavens just before dawn, heralding the rising sun. The name derives from the Latin term lucem ferre, bringer, or bearer, of light." In the Hebrew text the expression used to describe the Babylonian king before his death is Helal, son of Shahar, which can best be translated as "Day star, son of the Dawn." The name evokes the golden glitter of a proud king's dress and court (much as his personal splendor earned for King Louis XIV of France the appellation, "The Sun King").
The scholars authorized by King James I to translate the Bible into current English did not use the original Hebrew texts, but used versions translated ... largely by St. Jerome in the fourth century. Jerome had mistranslated the Hebraic metaphor, "Day star, son of the Dawn," as "Lucifer," and over the centuries a metamorphosis took place. Lucifer the morning star became a disobedient angel, cast out of heaven to rule eternally in hell. Theologians, writers, and poets interwove the myth with the doctrine of the Fall, and in Christian tradition Lucifer is now the same as Satan, the Devil, and --- ironically --- the Prince of Darkness.
So "Lucifer" is nothing more than an ancient Latin name for the morning star, the bringer of light. That can be confusing for Christians who identify Christ himself as the morning star, a term used as a central theme in many Christian sermons. Jesus refers to himself as the morning star in Revelation 22:16: "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."
And so there are those who do not read beyond the King James version of the Bible, who say 'Lucifer is Satan: so says the Word of God'...."
Henry Neufeld (a Christian who comments on Biblical sticky issues) went on to say,
"this passage is often related to Satan, and a similar thought is expressed in Luke 10:18 by Jesus, that was not its first meaning. It's primary meaning is given in Isaiah 14:4 which says that when Israel is restored they will "take up this taunt against the king of Babylon . . ." Verse 12 is a part of this taunt song. This passage refers first to the fall of that earthly king...
How does the confusion in translating this verse arise? The Hebrew of this passage reads: "heleyl, ben shachar" which can be literally translated "shining one, son of dawn." This phrase means, again literally, the planet Venus when it appears as a morning star. In the Septuagint, a 3rd century BC translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek, it is translated as "heosphoros" which also means Venus as a morning star.
How did the translation "lucifer" arise? This word comes from Jerome's Latin Vulgate. Was Jerome in error? Not at all. In Latin at the time, "lucifer" actually meant Venus as a morning star. Isaiah is using this metaphor for a bright light, though not the greatest light to illustrate the apparent power of the Babylonian king which then faded."
Therefore, Lucifer wasn't equated with Satan until after Jerome. Jerome wasn't in error. Later Christians (and Mormons) were in equating "Lucifer" with "Satan".
So why is this a problem to Christians? Christians now generally believe that a fallen Satan (or the Devil or Lucifer who they equate with Satan) is a being who has always existed (or who was created at or near the "beginning"). Therefore, they also think that the 'prophets' of the Old Testament believed in this creature. The Isaiah scripture is used as proof (and has been used as such for hundreds of years now). As Elaine Pagels explains though, the concept of Satan has evolved over the years and the early Bible writers didn't believe in or teach such a doctrine.
For instance, in the original Hebrew texts, Satan was not opposed to God. Satan was working with God. Satan was sent down to do Gods most important work. He did not fall from grace. The Roman Catholic Church takeover is responsible for spreading a literalist interpretation, of a translation of a translation of a translation. It fed the people a dualistic and highly contradictory gospel. Now its God VS Satan, which is the total opposite of the original teachings!
It is imperative that those who wish to gain the Jew-Els that the Bible has, understand that English language Bibles are far removed from original understanding, simply by language barrier.
The irony for those who believe that "Lucifer" refers to Satan is that the same title ('morning star' or 'light-bearer') is used to refer to Jesus, in 2 Peter 1:19, where the Greek text has exactly the same term: 'phos-phoros' 'light-bearer.' This is also the term used for Jesus in Revelation 22:16.
The literal meaning of phosphorus (Phosp-Horus = Lucifer) is "Light-Bringer."
Here is the definition that you will find on Wikipedia; Phosphorus (Greek Φωσφόρος Phōsphoros), a name meaning "Light-Bringer", is the Morning Star, the planet Venus in its morning appearance. Another Greek name for the Morning Star is Ἑωσφόρος (Heōsphoros), which means "Dawn-Bringer". The Latin word corresponding to Greek Phosphorus is "Lucifer". It is used in its astronomical sense both in prose and poetry.
And then there is this....
What if I told you that a well respected Christian Bishop was named Lucifer, and was elevated to a saint in the church? If Lucifer was truly believed to be Satan, Im sure he wouldnt have been made a saint, or even allowed his high position in the church. Christianity, unfortunately took a turn for the worse in the 4th century, and Bishop St. Lucifer of Cagliaria was in the front lines of the fight against the invading Roman horde, but they lost, and thus was birthed the Roman Catholic Church.
Isnt it amazing how so many that claim to follow Christianity know so little about such an important distinction? Their ideas of Lucifer come from Hollywood and ignorant preachers. Lucifer is Satan? NO! Lucifer is more likely Jesus! And original scripture clearly supports this much more than Lucifer being Satan.
Christianity is under attack today, and we risk losing much ancient spiritual knowledge simply because modern Christians do not know how to interpret their Bibles. Modern Christians look crazy with their overzealous ill-knowledge from pop culture art instead of actual sacred text.
The Bible is not something you can just read and expect to understand. One must read it in respect to previous versions. It takes work and dedication. It is meant for the few willing to go out of their way to understand. That is how the scriptures become illuminated, and for most people professing most religions, they never come see their sacred books in such a light.
"Lucifer, the Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the son of the morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with it's splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual or selfish Souls? Doubt it not!"
— Albert Pike (Morals & Dogma)
"What is more absurd and more impious than to attribute the name of Lucifer to the devil, that is, to personified evil. The intellectual Lucifer is the spirit of intelligence and love; it is the paraclete, it is the Holy Spirit, while the physical Lucifer is the great agent of universal magnetism."
— Eliphas Levi (The Mysteries Of Magic)
"Lucifer represents.. Life.. Thought.. Progress.. Civilization.. Liberty.. Independence.. Lucifer is the Logos.. the Serpent, the Savior."
— Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (The Secret Doctrine)
"The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane."
~ Erich Fromm