Chasing Lucifer

“How you have fallen from the heavens, O Hĕlĕl, son of the morning! You have been cut down to the ground, you who laid low the nations!” Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 14:12

“He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me. And the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Master, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan falling out of the heaven as lightning. “See, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and none at all shall hurt you. “But do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names have been written in the heavens.” Luqas (Luke) 10:16-20

Most of those who come from a Christian fundamentalist orientation, particularly from Pentecostal or charismatic backgrounds are taught that there is a continual, spiritual warfare being waged around them with demon spirits whose sole purpose lies in preventing them from acquiring all the good YaHuWaH has for their lives while here on earth.  The actual spiritual warfare scripture says we are engaged in, however, is quite different.  While not denying the presence of evil in the world or that demon spirits exist; in this article, since all of the activities of these spirits are supposedly orchestrated by a central figure, it behooves us to look at this figure in the light of what the original words of scripture actually say about him.  As traditionally taught, his name is ‘Lucifer’ (more commonly known as ‘satan’ or ‘the devil’) – a rebellious archangel who, having been cast out of heaven to earth from the beginning for his sinful acts, has been engaged in waging a warfare with YaHuWaH ever since.  It will come as a surprise to many to learn that the only reference to a ‘Lucifer’ in all of scripture is only found in this verse from Isaiah 14:12 above,, supposedly describing his fall from heaven due to pride.  In spite of this rendering, however, the proper name ‘Lucifer’ is not found anywhere in the Original Hebrew text or even in the translated Messianic Writings.  Plus, to add to the confusion, Lucifer is a Latin name – so how did this Latin name find its way into a Hebrew manuscript, written centuries before a Roman language even existed?  Just who is this guy, Lucifer, and more importantly – where did he come from?

In Hebrew, the phrase translated as “Lucifer, son of the morning” is helel ben shachar and should more accurately be translated as ‘shining one, son of the dawn.  There is no proper name mentioned in this passage in the original Hebrew.  The context of the whole passage of Isaiah 14 is not about a fallen angel, but an obvious epithet about a fallen Babylonian king who, during his lifetime, had persecuted the children of Yisra’El.  It also contains no mention of satan, either by name or reference.  Why, then, did the translators of the King James find it necessary to insert ‘Lucifer’ for ‘shining one’ in this passage?  The answer lies in two earlier translations.  The first translation of the Original Hebrew scriptures into Greek occurred 300 years before Yahusha by Ptolemy Philadelphus, the Greek-speaking Pharaoh of Egypt for his own library (285-247 BCE).  While local cultures spoke their native languages among themselves, Greek was the universal language spoken between cultures (much as English is the universal language today).  The seventy-two scholars commissioned by Pharaoh to perform this translation became known as ‘The Seventy” with the translated document itself called ‘The Septuagint’ or ‘LXX’ (the Roman numerals for ‘70’).  The Original Writings found in the bibles of today are an English translation of this Greek Septuagint – not translated from the Original Hebrew texts.  In translating Isaiah 14:12, the Seventy chose the Greek word, heosphoros, for the Hebrew helel ben shacharHeos means ‘in or of the morning’ and phoros means ‘that which is borne, or bearing’.  This is not an exact translation of the original Hebrew, but is reasonably close.

As empires rose and fell, the fortune of languages rose and fell with them.  Since Greek is a very different language than Hebrew, much of the original Hebrew meanings, nuances and intent became lost in the LXX through the ages.  The longer the Romans ruled, the more prominent the official language of the Roman Empire became – and that language was Latin.  By 325 AD, during the reign of Constantine, the Roman Empire co-opted gentile Christianity, politicized it, and made it the new state religion.  Shortly thereafter, the Latin ‘father’, Jerome (340 AD – 419 AD), who had risen to prominence within the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, began work on a Latin translation of the Bible at the suggestion of Pop Damasus.  After 20 years of toil, in the year 405 AD, the translation now known as the Vulgate was completed – seven centuries after the LXX translation.  While Jerome used the LXX version along with the Hebrew in translating to Latin, most historians and biblical scholars concede that the Vulgate can be charged with innumerable faults, inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and arbitrary dealing in particular – this verse from Isaiah 14:12 stands in testimony to that fact.  Jerome did not strictly translate the Hebrew helel ben shachar, nor did he use the Greek (LXX) heosphoros (which term, by his day, had fallen largely into disuse).  Instead, he chose to base his translation largely on the Latin word lukophos – which, by Jerome’s time, had become an epithet for the Greek gods Apollo and Pan who were worshipped alongside that of the first light of the dawn, the morning star Venus.  The word Lucifer comes from the Latin lux meaning ‘light’ and ferre ‘to bear or bring’, hence ‘light bringer’ –  but there is no scriptural justification for an arbitrary personification of that translated word.

The problem encountered here is, in spite of the traditional theology handed down through hundreds of generations as a result of this arbitrary translation and promoted as truth; according to the wording of the original Hebrew – the Bible contains no character named Lucifer.  Isaiah had never heard of such a being, nor had the apostles of Yahusha’s day or even Yahusha Himself.  Lucifer, characterized as a persona who is a manifestation of the devil, is a much later invention – there is no association between helel ben shachar of Isaiah 14:12 and satan.  The proper name ‘Lucifer’ does not find its way into any translation until Jerome’s time, some  years after the influence of the writings of earlier Catholic theologians Tertullian (160-230 AD) and Origen (185-254 AD) who had begun to symbolically read satan into the story of the King of Babylon in Isaiah 14.  However, if read in its proper context, the prophet Isaiah is taunting a man – the king of Babylon in power at the time:  “In the poetic and figurative language of the Hebrews …a star signifies an illustrious king or prince …The monarch here referred to, having surpassed all other kings in royal splendor, is compared to the harbinger of day, whose brilliancy surpasses that of the surrounding stars’ (A Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, John Kitto ed., 3rd ed., J. B. Lippincott and Co, Philadelphia, 1866, 2:857-8).  While there are those who claim that the real entity symbolically addressed in this passage is the persona, ‘satan’ – there is no scriptural evidence to support this theory.  To the contrary, Isaiah 14:16 says:  “Is this the man who made the earth tremble…?” and in 14:18, ‘All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb; but you are cast out…” – clear references to a man, the king of a nation, not an archangel.

“But the displeasure of Elohim burned because he went, and the Messenger of יהוה stationed Himself in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.” Bemiḏbar (Numbers) 22:22

…opposing forces

There is yet another reason why it makes no sense to read ‘the devil’ into Isaiah 14 – the primary role of satan in the Original Writings which (surprise!) means ‘adversary or opposed’, not ‘devil’.  In spite of the current culture we live in, there is a difference between an opposing force and ‘warfare’.  An adversarial force can simply mean two opposing ends of a magnet.  So, when the angel of YaHuWaH is sent as an adversary (here correctly translated from the Hebrew satan) to oppose the prophet Balaam in Numbers 22:22, – does that mean YaHuWaH takes on the personal of an evil ‘satan’?

“And this is the message which we have heard from Him and announce to you, that Elohim is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” Yoḥanan Aleph (1 John) 1:5

According to 1 John 1:5, that is not possible (Acts 26:18).

“to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and the authority of Satan to Elohim, in order for them to receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are set-apart by belief in Me.” Ma`asei (Acts) 26:18

“And the day came to be that the sons of Elohim came to present themselves before יהוה, and Satan also came among them.” Iyoḇ (Job) 1:6

When the word ‘satan’ appears artificially capitalized in Job 1:6, thus making it a persona, one has to ask, if light and darkness cannot abide in the same space at the same time – then, how did he get there?  We must remember there are no capitalizations used in the Hebrew language.

“And having been asked by the Pharisees when the reign of Elohim would come, He answered them and said, “The reign of Elohim does not come with intent watching, nor shall they say, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ For look, the reign of Elohim is in your midst!” And He said to the taught ones, “Days shall come when you shall long to see one of the days of the Son of Aḏam, but you shall not see it.” Luqas (Luke) 17:20-22

“But I say to you, do not swear [vainly] at all, neither by the heaven, because it is Elohim’s throne;” Mattithyahu (Matthew) 5:34

Since Yahusha reinforces that heaven, the place where YaHuWaH’s throne is located, which is within or among the children of YaHuWaH (Luke 17:20-22, Matthew 5:34); we must conclude that when the scripture says he came among the sons of YaHuWaH, if the force of opposition is against the Words of YaHuWaH, then he must have arrived as a force within the assembly that accuses the brethren.  Even then, we only find the Hebrew word satan in the first two of Job’s 42 chapters.  It is important when reading these passages, to keep in mind that the texts of the Original Writings did not reach their ‘final’ version until after the Babylonian exile.  Before this exile there is no evidence in the Hebrew scriptures of satan as an entity – only a force that opposes YaHuWaH (and even after the exile satan portrayed as an entity is still doubtful). Though the story of Job is very old, its final version is dated after the exile – after the Hebrews came into contact with the dualist Zoroastrian religion with its god of good and its god of evil, prominently worshipped in Babylon at the time.

The reason this transliterated Hebrew word, satan, that means ‘adversary’ has become associated with a personal persona called ‘Satan’ is because this Hebrew word was translated using the Greek word diabolos, which means ‘devil’ – then assumed to characterize a persona.  But the Hebrew word, satan, is never found to be an entity.  Here again, we find the theological influence of the translators overwriting the original Hebrew perspective to support a replacement theology.  In Hebrew, however, the word, satan, is projected as an opposing force with all of the following meanings: divide, set at odds with, accuse, slander, reject, deceive, oppose, be adversarial – but not once is it distinguishable as a persona.

“Each one should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Pilipiyim (Philippians) 2:4

“And He said to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his stake daily, and follow Me.” Luqas (Luke) 9:23

“And Elohim spoke all these Words, saying, “I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of slavery. “You have no other mighty ones against My face. “You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth, you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה your Elohim am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,” but showing loving-commitment to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands. “You do not bring the Name of יהוה your Elohim to naught, for יהוה does not leave the one unpunished who brings His Name to naught. “Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart. “Six days you labour, and shall do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of יהוה your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. “For in six days יהוה made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore יהוה blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart. “Respect your father and your mother, so that your days are prolonged upon the soil which יהוה your Elohim is giving you. “You do not murder. “You do not commit adultery. “You do not steal. “You do not bear false witness against your neighbour. “You do not covet your neighbour’s house, you do not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, or whatever belongs to your neighbour.” Shemoth (Exodus) 20:1-17

The Hebrew word satan exposes the principal strategy of evil – a force of determined opposition to the Words of YaHuWaH which, at their core, is found in the thread of selflessness – looking upon the issues of others as being more important than my own (Philippians 2:4, Luke 9:23, Exodus 20:1-17).  Yahusha’s Life is the testimony of the triumph of YaHuWaH’s power through submission – the power of weakness manifest in not seeking an individual’s will (Philippians 2:1-11).

“If, then, there is any encouragement in Messiah, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love, one in being and of purpose, doing none at all through selfishness or self-conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each one should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. For, let this mind be in you which was also in Messiah יהושע, who, being in the form of Elohim, did not regard equality with Elohim a matter to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and came to be in the likeness of men. And having been found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, death even of a stake. Elohim, therefore, has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of יהושע every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that יהושע Messiah is Master, to the esteem of Elohim the Father.” Pilipiyim (Philippians) 2:1-11

The force of evil is found in self-determination which is in opposition to self-denial.  The force of evil is the attempt to manipulate control over circumstance by insisting on individual ‘rights’.  To engage in activity that stands in opposition to the Words of YaHuWaH is to participate in the constructs of the force of evil.  Wherever opposition to YaHuWaH’s purposes arises, there is always satan (James 3:16).  If YaHuWaH is the good found in Exodus 20 – then, whatever force opposes that good is considered evil (John 14:23-24).

“יהושע answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he shall guard My Word. And My Father shall love him, and We shall come to him and make Our stay with him. “He who does not love Me does not guard My Words. And the Word which you hear is not Mine but of the Father Who sent Me.” Yoḥanan (John) 14:23-24

The same view holds true for ‘the serpent’ of Genesis 3, widely regarded in Christian theology to be an angel that had sinned, called ‘Satan’, and having been thrown out of heaven for his sin, he came to earth and tempted Eve to sin.  However, the Hebrew word satan does not appear anywhere in the Book of Genesis.  In these passages, more than anywhere else in scripture, we run the danger of eisegesis (reading into the text) rather than exegesis (reading out of the text) – reading what the words actually say, rather than projecting our own preconceived ideas onto the text and calling the process ‘Biblical interpretation’.  Metaphor, allegory and symbolism are problematic when approaching scripture.  Words like ‘do not lie’, ‘do not murder’ or ‘do not commit adultery’ are universally understood literally at their face value.  So, since much of the words of scripture are to be taken literally (and we are not given a codex anywhere spelling out what to follow); then, which words are to be taken literally and which words are to  have symbolism, metaphor or allegory applied to them – and who gets to decide which ones are which?  The Torah does not speak in purely symbolic, abstract concepts – there is always a literal reality at the core of the subject, which is only then interpreted in a symbolic way to underscore and enhance the truth contained in that reality.  The serpent, therefore, begs to be understood in this context as just that – a serpent.  Not much information is given in scripture about the serpent; but, in Genesis 3:1, scripture clearly states in that the serpent was one of the most intelligent of all the animals that had been created – another angelic being called ‘satan’ did not morph into or enter the serpent.  The fact that the serpent was created like the other ‘beasts of the field’ in Genesis 1:24-25 and ‘was good’ also dispels any notion of the presence of an evil angelic being.

That evil should even be associated with satan at all is highly suspect.  In the Original Writings, satan was not considered to be an evil persona, but only became identified as such in the translated versions of the Messianic Writings.  Accordingly, satan is an implement used by YaHuWaH to accomplish specific purposes.  There is much in the Book of Job to support this view with satan appearing only in the first two chapters and then disappears.  Some believe the first two chapters were added much later, for in the last chapter we read:  “they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that YaHuWaH had brought upon him” (Job 42:11).

“And all his brothers, and all his sisters, and all those who had been his friends before, came to him and ate food with him in his house. And they sympathized with him and comforted him for all the evil that יהוה had brought upon him. And they each gave him a qesitah and each one a ring of gold.” Iyoḇ (Job) 42:11

In Isaiah 45:7 YaHuWaH says:  “I form light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil; I, YaHuWaH, do all these things.”  The Hebrew word translated ‘evil’ in both these verses is ra’, which primarily means ‘calamity’.  YaHuWaH uses calamitous evil to incentivize men into seeking Him.  Sinful evil, which is standing in opposition to YaHuWaH’s purposes found in His Words, originates with man (Romans 5:12, James 1:13).

“For this reason, even as through one man sin did enter into the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned –” Romiyim (Romans) 5:12

“Let no one say when he is enticed, “I am enticed by Elohim,” for Elohim is not enticed by evil matters, and He entices no one.” Ya‛aqoḇ (James) 1:13

Valentine’s Jewish Encyclopedia confirms the idea that there is a radical difference between how satan is conceived in the Original Writings and the conception portrayed in the Greek to Latin to English New Testament – and that this new role as an evil persona did not develop from the original role.  There are no references ‘…to rebellious angels in any pre-Christian book…The figure of Satan in the Hebrew Bible and in the New Testament respectively emphasizes the difference in conception.  There is no development but a basic difference…It is only in Christian literature that the Persian idea of two opposing empires, with Satan as YaHuWaH’s enemy, has persisted’ (Valentine’s Jewish Encyclopedia, A. M. Hyamson & A. M. Silberman eds., Shapiro, Valentine & Co, London, 1938, p. 36).  With Job, YaHuWaH was endeavoring to refine a particular character of his spirit – that of pride.  The Hebrew definition of purity is ‘to be refined by fire’.

“And we have the prophetic word made more certain, 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,” Kĕpha Bĕt (2 Peter) 1:19

“And He said to them, “I saw Satan falling out of the heaven as lightning.” Luqas (Luke) 10:18

“I, יהושע, have sent My messenger to witness to you these matters in the assemblies. I am the Root and the Offspring of Dawiḏ, the Bright and Morning Star.” Ḥazon (Revelation) 22:16

He will give us the morning star

The irony of believing that ‘Lucifer’ refers to Satan is that the same title, ‘morning star’, is used to refer to Yahusha in 2 Peter 1:19, where the text has exactly the same Greek term: hos-phoros.  This is also the term used by Yahusha to describe Himself in Revelation 22:16.  When a similar thought expressed by Yahusha in Luke 10:18 seems to uphold the traditional viewpoint of Satan, it is forgotten that the Hebrew Yahusha only spoke what He had been taught of His Hebrew Father (John 5:30, John 8:28).  So, equipped with the understanding Yahusha had no familiarity with a persona called Satan and seeing evil as a force of opposition to YaHuWaH’s Words, when the entire passage of Luke 10 is compared alongside the primary Hebrew perspective given in the entire passage of Isaiah 14, – there are striking similarities.

“Because יהוה has compassion on Ya‛aqoḇ, and shall again choose Yisra’ĕl, and give them rest in their own land. And the strangers shall join them, and they shall cling to the house of Ya‛aqoḇ. And peoples shall take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Yisra’ĕl shall possess them for servants and female servants in the land of יהוה. And they shall make captives of their captors, and rule over their oppressors. And it shall be, in the day יהוה gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your trouble and the hard service in which you were made to serve, that you shall take up this proverb against the sovereign of Baḇel, and say, “How the oppressor has ceased, the gold-gatherer ceased!” Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 14:1-4

“And after this the Master appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two ahead of Him into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest indeed is great, but the workers are few, therefore pray the Master of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. “Go! See, I send you out as lambs into the midst of wolves. “Do not take a purse, nor a bag, nor sandals. And greet no one along the way. “And whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.” Luqas (Luke) 10:1-5

When Isaiah 14:1-4 says that when Yisra’El is restored they will ‘take up this taunt against the king of Babylon…’, then verse 12 can be seen as a part of this taunt song referring to the fall of authoritative forces opposing YaHuWaH through His Family in this earthly realm.  When compared alongside these verses, Luke 10:1-5 shows the exercise of the restored Kingdom’s authority over those forces opposing YaHuWaH and reinforces the power of that authority to the Family of YaHuWaH.

The ‘lightning’ used by Yahusha in Luke 10:18, however, does not appear in the Hebrew of the Isaiah 14 passage, saying only that this ‘bright star has fallen from heaven’.  This Greek word, astrape, translated ‘lightning’ in Luke 10:18, is actually derived from the root word aster, which means ‘a star’ (also found in Mark 13:25 describing the same event).  Remembering Yahusha’s words of Luke 17:20-22 that heaven is within, then the ‘heights’ this Kind of Isaiah 14 has ascended to is the elevation of the arrogance found in his own heart.  The Hebrew word translated ‘fallen’ in this passage is naphal, whose primary meaning is to ‘lay prostrate’ – the same definition given to the Greek word pipto, translated ‘fall’ in Luke 10.  This is a position of homage shown to a greater power.  When the ‘woes’ of Isaiah 14:21-32 are proclaimed against those who have set themselves in opposition against YaHuWaH through the persecution of His Family (Babylon being the foremost along with Assyria and Philistia) can be seen from this Hebrew perspective comparatively alongside the ‘woes’ of Luke 10:13-15; then we can see the satan Yahusha is referring to in verse 18 as being the same taunt spoken of in Isaiah 14:12 against forces of opposition ascending to heights of control and manipulation toward :YaHuWaH’s Words, manifest in the pure hearts of His Family, Yisra’El (Psalm 73:1).  Yahusha was reaffirming the Words He had been taught from His Father – not injecting new doctrine.

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rYm Covenant

To the Torah and to the witness! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because they have no daybreak [light]. Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 8:20

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