Satan the Devil
Does he really Exist?
or, was the devil ever an
angel that existed in heaven?
The Bible specifically mentions or alludes the subject of Satan and the devil at least one hundred times. If the Word of God teaches anything at all, it certainly tells us a whole lot about this great foe and enemy of God—the "prince of darkness" who is the universally recognized "mastermind" of all evil.
To most Bible believing Christians, the question of the existence of Satan is a given. One that should not even have to be asked, answered, or clarified. Ask just about any fundamental Bible believing Christian if he or she believes there is a literal Satan or a literal devil out there, and the response will come without equivocation.
For the Love of Villains
As humans we love to love our villains. From the drama and tragedy of a Shakespearian play, to Star Wars and Darth Vader, nothing is more dramatic than watching the antics of evil thrive and flourish, only to be eventually defeated and the bad guy obliterated. At almost every juncture of human life, nothing pleases us more than watching the eternal conflict between good vs. evil. If it was not for sin and every wicked tendency imaginable, Hollywood would be out of business in a heartbeat.
So when it comes to the eternal blasphemer and arch-enemy of God—we as Christians are no different. Preachers love to stomp on the devil. Our every woe and failure and sinful habit can most certainly be blamed on Old Sleufoot. We will even go so far as dressing him up in a red suit, face grimacing with horns and a pitchfork, just waiting to toss a batallion of sinners into the searing flames of hades.
A Good Jesus and a Bad Jesus
One day when I was a little four year old boy, I came home from Sunday school where we lived on Failing Street in Portland, Oregon. I looked up at my mother and said, "Mommy, There is a good Jesus and there is a bad Jesus."
No one had ever taught this child about the reality of Satan or the devil. But down in my little subconscious heart, I just knew if there was good Person, there had to be a bad person. Somewhere.
All my Christian life growing up, I never once doubted the existence of Satan. I believed with all of my heart in the existence of this "evil fallen angel," the same as all my other fundamentalist and evangelical friends.
Among Christians, the devil is indeed a popular subject. That is the reason why, when God wrote the Bible, He knew man's tendency and need to picture things in his mind. He knew how we as humans think and relate to things. So when the Creator laid out His eternal Word, He played upon that aspect of our human psychology—He portrayed evil with full personification and a dramatic "character," so that we could better understand and remember the spiritual nature of wickedness.
An Incorrect Picture
Yet we must look deeper if we are going to discover the ultimate meaning of Satan. In the last chapter of this section, Chapter 4b, the common understanding of Satan the serpent and the events in the garden of Eden were discussed. It was pointed out that people have formulated the wrong mental picture as to what actually took place in the Garden of Eden scenario of events (this will be explained more fully in the next chapters of this section).
Throughout this website, we will further correct the common misconception. We will also "connect the dots" as various Bible passages will clearly indicate the real meaning behind Satan and the devil.
The Purpose of This Discussion
The purpose of this chapter is to objectively examine this common Christian concept relative to the existence of a literal devil. One that almost everybody takes for granted. One that the vast volume of theomatics data seems to clearly indicate is not in line with the true reality. Not that it really matters all that much in the long run (nothing is going to change in this world, in and of itself, if you believe that Satan is literal vs symbolical—the devil is still just as bad).
However, if we better understand the fallacy of this misconception, it will help us understand the Bible better and open up the complete picture of Angelfall. It will help us obtain a more objective grasp on the objective nature of evil. And how we are implemented into the big picture and fall from heaven. Everything in the Bible will start to make more sense. We will start to see and understand the Bible more from God's point of view AS TO THE ACTUAL MEANING and how he communicates—objectively—spiritual matters and truth.
Note: There is a stupendous 112 pattern in theomatics, that clearly shows that Satan and the devil is an entity that we created WITHIN ourselves when we disobeyed the word of God and rebelled during the fall from heaven—see Chapter 9a on The Meaning of the Serpent in the Garden).
Also, we will learn where to properly place the blame—no more excuses "the devil made me do it." In otherwords, if you want to see the real face of the devil, go look in the mirror. Or go down to Blockbuster Video and rent just about any of 85% of the movies, i.e. the immoral, impure, and humanly degrading filth that people these days are polluting their minds and souls with.
As the author of Angelfall, I wish to clearly state that I believe everything that the Bible says about Satan and the devil. Every passage is to be taken in a dead serious manner. We dare not… I repeat... We dare not water down the significance of Satan and his hordes of literal demons. We are dealing here with definite and intelligent evil. This indeed is the very enemy of our eternal souls, and the Bible states that hell has been "prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mat 25:41).
The question that we will be answering is whether or not there is an actual conscious living being or person floating around out there somewhere named "Satan" or the "devil," i.e. "Lucifer" et all.?
Keep One Thing in Mind
Throughout this discussion, please keep one thing in mind. If Satan is a spiritual representation, instead of a literal being, then that would make "him" a hundred times worse. Sin would be more sinful. Evil would be more evil and sinister. And all forms of deception would be greater. Our enemy is much worse by being a spiritual force and power, rather than one naughty little person running around and doing all these wicked things.
Of course most Christians believe that Satan is BOTH literal and spiritual. However, if you think about it logically that is not reasonably possible. If literal, then he would be required to have God like powers, including being omnipresent and in total control of a vast supernatural realm. No created being has that sort of power or control over God's creation. Carefully thought through, the idea of a literal Satan controlling a vast kingdom against the sovereign will of God—is ridiculous and not even workable—at least in the cotext that God presents the subject in the Bible.
Comment: It should be pointed out that there does indeed exist a kingdom of wickedness. The demonic realm is huge and has the entire world in its grasp. But it is not under the control of one single mastermind at "command central." It is simply a combination of both spiritual anarchy and guerrilla warfare. Demons can do nothing but what God permits them to do (see Luke 10:17 and Mark 5:12,13).
Let's Take a Survey
Numerous religious polls have been taken over the years of those who study the Bible diligently. A recent poll of hundreds of evangelical and protestant pastors (catholics excluded), revealed some startling and interesting statistics.
51% of all protestant pastors stated that they did not believe in the personhood or literal existence of Satan (Barna Study, January 19, 2004). This fact is significant.
In surveying the general Christian population, the statistics fared no better. They found that only 27% of the adult population strongly disagrees that Satan is just a symbol of evil and not literal. There was a wide variation among members of various denominations:
Above average belief of Satan as a living entity:
Latter-day Saints (Mormons) 59%
Assembly of God: 56%
Christian - non-denominational (mostly Fundamentalist) 48%
Pentecostal / Foursquare: 47%
Seventh-day Adventist: 37%
Church of Christ: 36%
Below average belief of Satan as a living entity:
Roman Catholics: 17%
The complete report can be seen at the following link.
What conclusion can be drawn from these polls?
Two things are worth noting here.
- There is a serious cloud of doubt over a literal interpretation of scripture on this matter. In other words, the majority of Christians are not convinced that the literal personhood of Satan is a sure thing in the Bible. There is no universal consensus even by those who believe and have respect for the Word of God. In other words, the Bible is not crystal clear on this subject.
- The reason for this skepticism, is because the existence of Satan is nowhere a matter of historical record. There is no concrete HISTORICAL or CLEAR VISUAL EVIDENCE for the existence of a person or being named Satan. No one would doubt the historical validity of Jesus, or the Apostle Paul, or King David, or Noah, or the prophet Ezekiel.
Satan has been described by some, as "the obscure reality."
If the reader wishes to take the time, there are a large number of websites that vigorously debate this issue. There are staunch fundamentalist/evangelicals who will defend the literalness of Satan to the death—even to the point of saying that if you don't believe Satan is a literal person God will send you to hell along with him. Then there are scores of websites (by many who have equal respect for God's Word), who are just as adamant that Satan is only a symbol of evil.
A Vision of Angels
An honest fact to point out at this juncture, is that virtually no person from the above survey who doubts the existence of Satan (and believes the Bible), would ever doubt the validity of certain angels in the Bible—as individual persons—due to the clear and unambigous language of the text. Let's look carefully at two examples. The key point I am attempting to make here is simply this. There are no verses in scripture as crystal clear as the following when it comes to Satan.
Two angels are specifically mentioned and named in the Bible—Gabriel and Michael. Here is the book of Daniel from the Old Testament.
"And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision" (Dan 8:15,16).
"And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision" (Dan 9:20-23).
Now this "man Gabriel" appears again—twice in the New Testament. In his first appearance, Gabriel stood before the father of John the Baptist in the temple, and announced the birth of the forerunner to Jesus.
"And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple" (Luke 1:8-21).
Next, the angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary announcing the birth of the Saviour.
"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:26-35).
The following passages leave little room for doubt, as well, concerning Michael the Archangel.
"Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days" (Dan 10:8-13).
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" (Dan 12:1).
Then in the New Testament, the Bible specifically calls Michael an Archangel. But the passages do not refer to Satan or the devil as an Archangel.
"Yet Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee" (Jud 1:9).
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels" (Rev 12:7).
Comment: There is a common Christian conception that both Michael and Gabriel are Archangels. This is false. There is ONLY ONE Archangel so described in the Bible, and that is Michael. The word arch means "the highest" (many people believe that Michael represents Jesus the Only Begotten Son of God). Nowhere is Gabriel or anybody else (especially "Lucifer") ever referred to as "Archangel."
The Bible Nowhere Calls Satan an Angelic Being
There is no passage anywhere in the Bible concerning the devil and Satan—that compares in specificness—to these verses that refer to Gabriel and Michael. Satan or the devil is nowhere called either a man or an angel (or even a "spirit" being), yet Gabriel and Michael are specifically called men and angels. There is no question that they are actual beings. No such similar language is ever used in scripture reference to Satan or the devil.
Take the example of Michael the Archangel contending with the devil. To those who would interpret the Bible in a literal manner, they would assume if Michael is a literal angelic being (which the Bible says he is), and there was a confrontation, then why wouldn't the devil likewise be another "Archangel?" This is perhaps a reasonable assumption, but one that is NOT STATED and cannot be proven. Nowhere in scripture is the devil called any sort of angel.
Every Christian contends with the devil daily. But that does not mean he/she is contending with an actual person. They are fighting in the realm of the spirit, i.e. spiritual warfare.
Do we believe that a literal being (Satan) was fighting over a literal body or corpse of Moses? To take that as literal would be hard to imagine. What would a fallen Archangel do with a dead human corpse? And why would he want it in the first place? The body of Moses is obviously symbolical of whatever the Law represents. It is the the left over remains of the law. And the spiritual force of the devil as a spiritual entity was contending over it—wanting to bind mankind to the keeping of the law (Jesus came to fulfil the law and set us free from bondage to it). Can't Christians see that this verse in Jude has more meaning that just "an angel" fighting over dead biological remains? There is a symbolic meaning present in this account.
Likewise in the book of Revelation, when Michael warred against the serpent/dragon and his angels, it is all spiritually symbolic of the spirit of the devil that existed in and among the fallen angels. Again, all of this Michael/devil stuff must be highly spiritually symbolic. Yes, it is entirely possible that Michael is literal, his angels are literal, and the devil's angels are literal. But the devil himself is symbolic (compare this to our explanation on the book of Job below).
Comment: The fact that Michael contends with the devil, and the fact that he is mentioned in reference to having angels under him in the book of Revelation that fight against the devil/dragon's angels—this is pointing to the fact that the very law itself must have something to do with angels—it actually reverts back to and represents angelic law. The law of Moses in the Old Testament is in a certain sense, a shadow of the angelic law that existed out in the universe and to which the angels had to obey and submit to. They rebelled against that law/system when the fall took place. Yet the Jews, scribes and Pharisees never did quite get over it, and the Muslim world is still under the same fearsome Yaweh/Allah state of mind. That is why the devil is still contending over the body of Moses. The beautiful message of the Gospel is that GOD INDEED HAS A SON and through the sacrifice of that Son there is now a way into the holy of holies. His name is Jesus. And he came to destroy the works of the devil, whom the Bible says has the power of death (Heb 2:14 and Rom 8:2—the law brings about death). Praise God! There is no salvation or right relationship with the Creator apart from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus completely fulfilled the law and erased all its penalties for those who put their trust and faith in Him.
In associating Satan with an angelic being, some people may appeal to the following verse,
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Cor 11:13-15).
This passage does not say or even imply that Satan is an actual angel, simply that Satan (the spiritual aspect of what Satan represents) appears or changes itself into a messenger of light. This passage is talking about men who appear to be something different than what they really are—deceitful workers instead of apostles of Christ. This is all talking about spiritual matters, not about some being or angel of darkness becoming an actual angel of light. The word angel in Greek means simply "messenger," or someone who bears a certain kind of philosophy.
A Very Interesting Argument
Personally, I began to doubt the literal existence of Satan when a specific and impenetrable argument began to lope through my mind. I have never before heard this argument from any other person.
Virtually all Christians believe that Satan is this super evil being out there who is the arch enemy of God, and is supernatually arranging all this warfare against humanity and Christians. He commands an army of demons and fights God at every juncture. And he is working his darndest to defeat God's purposes.
Yet the Bible makes it very clear, that "he" knows he is defeated and has but a short time (Rev 12:12).
Certainly, if Satan was a literal being, he must certainly realize that for all these thousands of years, he has been fulfilling God's purposes by fighting against him. Certainly, he knows about the prophecies in the book of Revelation, and how he has been destined to fulfil them. Yet somehow he keeps marching forward, doing exactly what God has predicted he will do, thus bringing to pass God's purposes by fighting against God.
Stop and think about this for a minute. If you were walking in Satan's shoes and hated God as much as he supposedly does, you certainly would NOT TRY TO COOPERATE and you would do everything possible to deliberately thwart and mess up God's plan? Therefore, if Satan realized that by fighting God he is actually helping God out, then why wouldn't he cease and desist and take a whole different tact?
What is to stop him from going out into a cow pasture, sitting down and crossing his legs, looking up at God and telling him. "I'm through helping you out. I'm just going to sit here and do nothing from now on. I've given orders to all my demons to let loose. Now we are really going to mess up your plan."
If Satan was a conscious living being with a free will, he could actually do God more harm by doing nothing. There could never be a football game or sporting event for any athletic team, unless they had an opponent. If the opponent refuses to show up and play the game, there would be no event.
I believe that this argument completely destroys the possibility of a literal Satan who has an independent will and individual consciousness.
All the Major Bible Passages
Let us turn now and look at the major passages in the Bible that would perhaps seem to indicate that Satan is an actual being. In every instance, we will find that when the matter is given careful thought, there is no smoking gun evidence any place in the Bibler for an actual being named Satan. You will find this discussion to be very interesting.
#1: The Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness
Probably the most popular claim to the personhood of Satan by most Christians, is the temptation of Jesus that took place in the wilderness. The three gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke give the account. What is interesting to note is that in Matthew it refers to the devil as the "tempter" (Mat 4:3). In Mark's gospel, Jesus was tempted by "Satan" (Mark 1:13). And in Luke he was simply tempted by "the devil" (Luke 4:2).
If you ask most Christians this question; Do you believe when the temptation of Jesus took place, a physical man or fallen angel named Satan appeared before our Lord (or perhaps spoke in some sort of "audible" voice from another dimension). Or did Jesus simply go through spiritual warfare? In otherwords, was He dealing with an actual being, or did He simply sweat the devil out in His mind—just like all of us as Christians do today?
In order to answer this question, let's look at another very interesting passage. These are the words of the apostle Paul.
"But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us" (1 Thess 2:17,18).
A few verses later in this same chapter, the apostle Paul also refers to Satan as the tempter—this is obviously spiritual.
"For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain" (1 Thess 3:4,5).
Now here is the question for you to ponder. The apostle Paul was anxious to travel to Thessalonica to visit the Christians in that particular city. But he stated that he could not come unto them, because he was hindered by Satan. Now does this mean that when Paul tried to travel down the dusty road, a physical man named Satan stood in the road and blocked him? I don't think there is a Christian living on this planet who would interpret this passage to mean anything but the fact that Paul was hindered by spiritual matters and circumstances. No one would even imagine that an actual being or person confronted the Apostle.
THEREFORE, if Satan in this instance is not a literal manifestation, then why not the story of Jesus in the wilderness? What is there to make us assume that in the first instance, an actual being stood before Jesus and tempted him to turn stones into bread, any more than a literal being blocked Paul's travels?
The Case of Peter
"And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men" (Mar 8:31-33).
Here in this most famous passage, Jesus actually calls Peter "Satan." Would you suppose that Christ would ever call one of his disciples "Gabriel" or "Michael?" Obviously here it is talking about a satanic spirit that manifested itself through Peter. This passage is dealing solely with a spiritual issue and not an actual being or person. Another passage clearly shows the fact that Satan is a spiritual entity and the attack was not by a being named Satan, rather Peter was involved in spiritual deception.
"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" (Luke 22:31,32).
We find this consistent use of the terms Satan and devil, throughout theBible. Let us quote one brief statement from an excellent website that discusses this issue in depth.
As a word, "satan" is an untranslated Hebrew word which means "adversary" [or accuser], while "devil" is a translation of the Greek word "diabolos", meaning a liar, an enemy or false accuser. If we are to believe that Satan or the Devil is some being outside of us which is responsible for sin, then whenever we come across these words in the Bible, we have to make them refer to this evil person. The Biblical usage of these words shows that they can be used as ordinary adjectives, describing [any] ordinary people (emphasis mine). This fact makes it impossible to reason that the words devil and Satan as used in the Bible in themselves refer to a great wicked person or being outside of us.
Mt. 16:22,23 provides another example. Peter had been trying to dissuade Jesus from going up to Jerusalem to die on the cross. Jesus turned and said unto Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan...thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men". Thus Peter was called a satan. The record is crystal clear that Christ was not talking to an angel or a monster when he spoke those words; he was talking to Peter. Because the word "satan" just means an adversary, a good person can be termed a "satan."
#2: What about the Book of Job?
If there is any one place in the Bible that supposedly provides "proof" for a literal being, it would have to be the story of Job from the Old Testament.
The book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible, written even before Genesis. No one knows where it came from. This book is without question one of the most important in the entire Bible when it comes to Angelfall and the subject of the angelic rebellion in heaven. Much will be discussed on this later.
Note: Some people believe that the book of Job is a parable (a made up story intended to simply bring out truth—similar to the parables that Jesus gave). This author finds no reason to believe that the story did not take place both literally and historically.
The entire book is a contest between the Lord God and "Satan" over the loyalty of one man upon earth (who surely represents all Christians). It is truly significant that the oldest book in the Bible is all about the relationship of God with angels who rebelled—who subsequently challenge his "new" creation of man upon earth.
It is assumed that most people are familiar with this story. If you are not, please take the time to read the first two chapters, and then skip to Chapter 42, the last chapter. Sandwitched in between are 39 chapters where Job's faithfulness and reasoning abilities (along with Job's three friends and comforters) are challenged by both Satan and God. It is an incredibly deep and complex dialogue.
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord." (Job 1:6-12).
The expression "sons of God," is unquestionably referring to angelic beings. Five times the words "sons of God" appear in the Hebrew Old Testament, and it is referring to angels. We find apparent proof in the following verse.
"When the morning stars (angels) sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:7).
As it can be consistenly shown throughout the Bible, the expression "Satan" can be applied to any person. Theomatics clearly indicates that when the sons of God came, and "Satan was among them," this was not talking about another super angel who tagged along with the gang, but it was rather referring to a spirit of accusation that existed WITHIN and among the angels. What that means is that the dialogue that transpired throughout Job, was not a contest between God and a being named Satan. Rather it was the accusing "Satan spirit" that God was dealing with—it was rather the accusing spirit WITHIN THE HEARTS OF THE ANGELS that was challenging Job's loyalty. At the conclusion, in the last verse of chapter 41 of Job, it states,
"He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children (plural) of pride" (Job 41:34).
The final verdict of this chapter was that God and Job's loyalty had defeated the children of pride (or rebellious angels). We find the conclusive remark on this matter in the book of Revelation.
"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night" (Rev 12:10).
Another relative passage to the book of Job is found in the gospels, where we twice find these words of Jesus.
"And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?" (Mat 12:25,26).
When the sons of God appeared before Jehovah, "Satan was among them." This heavenly picture is the very obvious context that must be in view here in Matthew. Satan's kingdom is a kingdom of fallen angels who rebelled and were willing to attack and accuse anyone who showed loyalty to God. And it is a kingdom that is ultimately going to come apart at the seams.
This kingdom of fallen angels is also the same (now) demonic realm, that is continuously attacking and harassing mankind. Make no mistake about it. Demons are (apparently) actual beings in a spiritual dimension—evidently the worse of the fallen angels.
The point here is that when Jesus talked about this satanic kingdom, it must certainly have been a spiritual kingdom, because it all revolved around the thoughts of the scribes and pharisees—Satan's kingdom was in their thoughts, the same concept as Jesus stated in Luke 17:21, when he said "the kingdom of God is within you." If the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, then why isn't Satan's kingdom likewise a spiritual kingdom?
When the angels appeared before Jehovah, and "Satan was among them," this was no different than the case of Peter. Again, when Jesus called Peter "Satan," he was addressing something spiritual, not an actual person .
The New Testament
The idea of a literal being named Satan cannot be formulated from the Old Testament. The word Satan in Hebrew has no relationship to an actual being. In a web page entited, "The Origin of the Myth of Satan," the following quote appears.
Dr. George Lamsa, now deceased Aramaic scholar, also confirms that the term Satan simply means adversary or evil intent. It was NOT a literal person. It started out as a term to describe anyone who was an enemy or in an adversarial relationship, and was finely honed down [by Christians] into a literal being in the New Testament. While many people dealing with this issue are not true born again Christians, and do so from a historical/philosophical perspective, their arguments are still worth considering.
It was early New Testament Christians who tried to personify the concept of Satan. Yet a careful examination of every passage in the New Testament provides no smoking gun reference that could be fairly labeled as conclusive proof for Satan being an actual person or being.
#3: The Myth of Lucifer?
The word Lucifer appears on the internet over six million times (Yahoo search). It has created a life bigger than itself. If you want to know the true meaning of the expression, the following link is helpful (see addendum below at end of this chapter).
Probably the one verse used to try and connect Lucifer to Satan, is in Luke 10:18.
"And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven"
Also this verse in Revelation.
"Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Rev 12:12).
Scholars are divided over whether the word "Lucifer" represents the proper name of a person, or is simply an attribute. The term is used in reference to the earthly king of Babylon—this entire chapter in Isaiah is talking about the king of Babylon. However, it is presented in a mysterious heavenly context. It must be highly symbolical. No earthly king was capable of literally ascending above the stars of God and setting his throne in heaven. At least not at the time he was an earthly king (perhaps during the angelic rebellion that fact was true).
In Chapter 6e of Angelfall, we will discuss Isaiah 14 at length in conjunction with its sister passage, Ezekiel 28. That is the chapter that talks about the anointed cherub who was in Eden the Garden of God. Theomatics unmistakably points to who the anointed cherub and Lucifer really are. The answer will be a total surprise. It has nothing to do with a serpent or Satan or a fallen Archangel from heaven.
As has already been pointed out, the Bible nowhere refers to an Archangel named "Lucifer," or "Satan," or any such concept. The idea that an Archangel led a revolt in heaven is a wild assumption that has virtually no direct scriptural basis of support whatsoever.
Important Comments on the word Lucifer: This word used in Isaiah is exceedingly ambiguous (ŒŒ‰„ in Hebrew). Its commonly accepted translation came originally from a Latin word and was applied over the centuries to become a "reference" to the devil, an application that was eventually applied to Satan (see comment at end of this chapter). Without the possible article, or variable „, the word could potentially be related to one of two root Hebrew words. It could be either ŒŒ„ or ŒŒ‰ (see Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, Macdonald Publishing, Florida, Davidson, p. CLXXXIII). The first word ŒŒ„, means: to shine, boast, self glory, be proud, etc. This is the commonly accepted root which has become (arbitrarily) the understood meaning. The second possibility, ŒŒ‰, means: to wail, howl, lament, be an oppressor, etc. This second meaning is probably the correct one for two reasons. (1) The King of Babylon is described SPECIFICALLY as an oppressor throughout the chapter, and (2) with the established principle in theomatics of the variable and untranslatable article „ in Hebrew, the word is most likely ŒŒ‰, i.e. ŒŒ‰„ in its consistent and actual form used in Isaiah. If that is true, then the whole Christian concept of Lucifer being a bright shining light of sorts is erroneous, and the real meaning is that of a wailing and complaining oppressor. These are simply the bald facts that must be objectively analyzed, in spite of what people want to traditionally believe.
The Serpent in the Garden
It should be pointed out that Satan is not only a false representation of light, but he also has the character of a serpent. The following verses are extremely significant because they unmistakably tie and link together, and define Satan and the devil and the serpent—they are all one in the same.
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev 12:9).
"And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years" (Rev 20:2).
The interesting point to note in all of this, is that evil and sin did not originate on earth. It all originated in heaven with the rebellion of the angels. In Mat 25:41 it talks about the devil and his angels, and in Rev 12:9, the dragon and his angels. The dragon is the same thing as the serpent (compare Rev 12:9,14,15). All of this relates back to the garden of Eden story, where the serpent is the symbolic part of the story, obviously. When the text refers to the "devil's angels," it is referring to the satanic spirit that exists within the hearts of the angels (the same event as Eve's temptation), not to some Archangel leading a revolt.
#4: The Word "Prince"
There are three times the word "prince" or "ruler" is used in the New Testament.
- In three verses (Mat 9:34, 12:24, Mark 3:22) it talks about "Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons."
- In three verses (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11) it talks about "the ruler of this world."
- In one verse (Eph 2:2) it talks about "the prince (or ruler) of the power of the air."
Now the interesting fact, is that most all Christians believe that these three instances are referring specifically to a being named Satan. A careful examination will provide no proof whatsoever that these are referring to an actual living person or fallen angel.
The word "prince" is used in the King James, whereas other English words can be easily substituted. The words prince, ruler, chief, leader, and author are all legitimate translations.
When the scribes and pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub, it was a horrible insult. Beelzebub was a heathen Philistine God, also called the "dung god," or "Lord of the flies," which attracted thousands of demonic spirits. There is no evidence that this is a reference to a specific fallen angel from heaven named Satan.
When Jesus talked about the ruler (or author) of this world, this could have been a parallel reference to the devil, who indeed offered him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory during the temptation in the wilderness—it is definitely the spirit of Satan and the devil that is in view here. In one reference (Joh 12:31) He says that "NOW is the judgment of this world, NOW is the ruler of this world cast out." In yet another verse (Joh 16:11), he says that "the ruler of this world IS COMING." What Christ must surely be talking about here, is the issue of spiritual authority and predominance, which has both been defeated and removed (at the cross), but is still present and yet to come. Only a spiritual matter could be cast out and still be coming in the future. Not likely a person (although Adam or man in general is implicated as well in all of this since God created him to have dominion over the earth).
The last reference is in Ephesians 2:2, "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according tothe prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (the fallen angels)." This same usage ties in perfectly with the other references in John, and further shows that we are dealing here exclusively with a spiritual force and power in a spiritual realm or atmosphere, and not a specific individual person or fallen angel from heaven.
One word used to support this concept of Satan was "belial," a word used sixteen times in the Old Testament Hebrew that has a whole host of meanings and applications, particularly to wicked men. Generally it means "worthless or hopeless ruin." This expression appears only one time in the New Testament. Many Christian fundamentalists have tried to say that belial is a proper name for Satan.
"What agreement hath Christ with Belial? what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" 2 Cor 6:15).
It should be immediately apparent that it really stretches the imagination to take this passage, and couple it to obscure Old Testament verses, and say that this word is a specific reference to a fallen angel from heaven named Satan.
#6: Satan Bound a Thousand Years
Another example used by some is the famous watershed passage of Revelation 20. This is the place where it talks about the "thousand years"—a term applicable to what has been called "the millennium."
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season… And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison" (Rev 20:1-3,7).
One of the largest debates in the history of the Christian church rages over these few verses. The bone of contention is how this is to be interpreted—is the "thousand years" talking about a literal and future period of time on earth? Or is it symbolical and figurative? For centuries the church always interpreted it as symbolic (catholics, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and some evangelical groups still do). How a person interprets it will determine how everything else is interpreted relative to end time events, or Bible prophecy. There are Christians who are pre-millennialists, post-millenialists, a-millennialists, etc. (We have written an entire chapter in Theomatics II on this subject—theomatics generally supports the a-millennial view—see complete Chapter 13a in Angelfall to do with the subject of Bible prophecy.)
Here is the interesting fact. This passage talks about an angel who comes down from heaven, "having a key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand." Those individual who say the thousand years is a future and literal time period on earth (when Christ supposedly rules from Jerusalem for a thousands years with the Jewish people), would also say in the same breath, that Satan is a literal being as well. But what will be very revealing, is to ask these same people—whether or not when the angel descends from heaven, is he holding an actual key in his hand, and does he have a literal iron chain with which to chain up the devil in a literal prison (like putting a dog on a chain).
"Of course not," would be their reply. "The key and the chain are spiritually symbolic."
If the key is symbolic, if the chain is symbolic, if the prison is symbolic, if the thousand years is symbolic (as the a-millenialists believe), then why would Satan be literal?
#7: The Lake of Fire
Another argument that has been proposed, centers around the following.
"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev 20:10).
Some would argue, "How could God throw a symbolic or spiritual concept into the lake of fire? Only a literal person could be cast into hell!"
The question we have to ask ourselves is this. Is the expression "lake of fire" referring to an actual physical place—to actual physical fire and brimstone? One only has to read the book of Revelation casually to see that virtually everything in this book is symbolical. There are hundreds of things in Revelation, that to take them literally would be an absurdity. Yet it is amazing how people will try to "bend the rules" whenever possible and only take some things as symbolic, and try to literalize everything they possibly can. Thus they try to make the fire and brimstone literal.
If you do not believe that there are actual seven headed beasts rising out of the sea off the Mediterranean coast or Miami Beach, then why would there be a literal lake of fire burning with literal brimstone? Do people believe that there are going to be actual maggots or worms in hell? (Obviously, "worms" are symbolic of the nagging memory that will haunt those who die without Christ. It never ceases or dies.)
There is no way to prove that the lake of fire is a literal physical place? It is really dumb to become argumentative and dogmatic about some of these things because no one can prove it one way or the other. Yet it is entire possible that "hell" may be an actual "place" for the deceased who do not know Christ (only God knows for sure).
Examples that are Unequestionably Spiritual in their Interpretation
We have seen all (or most all) the verses and arguments used by various fundamentalists to try and prove the literal existence of Satan. Perhaps there are a few other arguments as well.
Now it's time to examine the major body of evidence—at least 80% of all the references—that common sense will tell anyone, that a symbolic/spiritual interpretation is the only logical or possible meaning. These passages prove unequivocally that a literal being/person is not a reasonable interpretation, thus casting serious doubt on the other references used to try and establish a literal premise.
It was mentioned earlier that in the Old Testament, the word Satan can be attributed to any person who is an adversary. It is not the proper name of any individual.
The Seed and the Soils
In the parable of the seed and the soils, Jesus talked about the devil taking away the word.
"Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12).
In Mark the same thing is said, only this time it is Satan.
"And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts" (Mar 4:15).
The above passages clearly show that Satan and the devil is a process that takes place in the minds and thoughts of men. It is the spirit of mankind that doubts the Word of God, not a literal person or being. Further confirmation that Satan is a spiritual concept, is this parallel example. Here Satan is simply called "the wicked one."
"When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side" (Mat 13:19).
Satan Enters the Hearts of Men
Before Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord, the text says that Satan entered into him.
"And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve" (Luke 22:2,3).
We have already seen how any person can be Satan. Yet Jesus himself called Judas the devil—the Greek word used is diabolos (äéáâïëïò). Note: There is no indefinite "a" article in Greek.
"Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is the devil?" (Joh 6:70).
In the book of Acts, a similar event took place where Satan entered the hearts of Ananias and Saphhira.
"But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?" (Act 5:3).
Demons and Devils
The word "devil" and "devils" is used in hundreds of verses, to describe demonic spirits that enter into and reside in people. This is obviously referring to spiritual entities from the spiritual realm. There is a big question as to what really comprises demons or evil spirits. Some may argue if demons can be spiritual beings, why not Satan also? The fact is the term devil can be applied to any person or spirit being (demons). There are devils everywhere. Adolph Hitler was a devil. The devil is any individual or any demonic spirit being who is a false accuser and slanderer of God.
In the New Testament, demons are described numerous ways, as "demons," "devils," and "unclean spirits." It is important to point out that neither Satan or the devil is ever described as a spirit in the Bible, as demons are described. This fact is very significant.
An interesting verse is this one, in reference to one who was demon possessed. Here the demon itself is actually called "the devil."
"(For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness)" (Luk 8:29).
The Children of the Devil
Those who do not belong to Christ, are referred to as being children of the devil.
"In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God" (1 John 3:10).
Here is another passage that refers to the children of the devil.
"But Elymas the sorcerer withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?" (Act 13;8-10).
Further confirmation that the above passages link to a spiritual concept, is from the parable of the wheat and the tares.
"The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one" (Mat 13:38).
Jesus referred to the scribes and pharisees as being of their father the devil.
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (Joh 8:44).
There is obviously no application to any of the above, other than a spiritual application. It is obviously not talking about us being the descendants of an Archangel in heaven.
The Power of Death
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb 2:14).
The devil indeed has the power of death. This can only be described as spiritual and eternal death—the same death that God spoke to Adam and Eve concerning when in the garden of Eden they were commanded not to eat of the forbidden tree. This passage in Hebrews has little or nothing to do with a literal devil killing physical bodies. Only God has control over the timing of death for any person, particularly Christians.
In Acts the power of Satan is obviously spiritual.
"To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me" (Act 26:18).
Satan bound a woman for 18 years in spiritual bondage. Jesus healed her.
"And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?" (Luk 13:16).
Here is just a few samples that will be very obvious.
Following Satan is following the spiritual definition of what Satan really is. Here we find the word "adversary" used in conjunction with the name "Satan."
"Give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan" (1 Tim 5:14,15).
Being oppressed of the devil is obviously spiritual and has much to do many times with physical sickness.
"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him" (Act 10:38).
Satan's snare is obviously a spiritual trap.
"In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will" (2 Tim 2:25,26).
Crushing Satan with our feet is obviously spiritual and not literal.
"For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom 16:19,20).
Here is yet further confirmation of Satan's defeat by Christians.
"I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one" (1 Joh 2:13).
Resisting the devil is 100% spiritual warfare.
"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jam 4:6,7).
"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one" (Eph 6:16).
A roaring lion is obviously spiritually symbolic. Similarly, the apostle Paul was delivered "out of the mouth of the lion" (2 Tim 4:17).
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" (1 Pet 5:8,9).
In the following passage, the devil is not casting the early New Testament Christians into a physical jail house (obviously), rather a prison of spiritual warfare.
"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev 2:10).
People ascribe the following passage to a supposed future "Antichrist." The language is very clear in this instance that the supernatural manifestations in the physical realm, "signs and lying wonders," and "all deceivableness of unrighteousness," as well as "strong delusion" and "believing a lie," are all spiritual issues—"after the working of Satan."
"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (2 Thess 2:8-11.
The depths or deep things of Satan are obviously a deep spiritual matter.
"But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden" (Rev 2:24).
The "synagogue of Satan" that Jesus spoke about in Revelation, is a spiritual matter and not an earthly structure or building.
"Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee" (Rev 3:9).
It has been often said, that "Satan's greatest tool is to make you believe that he does not exist." As the author of Angelfall, I would like to propose the exact opposite conclusion.
Satan's greatest tool is to make you believe that he DOES exist.
What is the difference? By believing that Satan exists as a literal being, this enables us to place at least some of the blame of our problems on somebody else, i.e. the old cliché "the devil made me do it." People like the idea of a powerful devil or a powerful Satan because it gives them an excuse for being defeated. If there is no literal devil and Satan as the first cause, then where is the first cause (or excuse)? The answer is simple. We are the first cause. It was our original rebellion in heaven that created Satan and the devil. It was "Satan among" the sons of God that rebelled. Theomatics, and the amazing 112 pattern (see Chapter 9a), proves this fact. It proves it conclusively.
The entire issue of the fall from heaven, is really a huge confrontation between God and the angels—the angels who accused him of being unreasonable and over bearing. They wanted their independence and freedom (and also their entitlements), but they also did not want to bow down any longer to the One creating them. That is the full meaning of the expressions Satan and the devil—it is the slanderous spirit of accusing God from being all that is good, the accusing spirit that exists at every juncture of this world and resides in the wicked hearts of fallen and rebellious men.
ADDENDUM: Notes on the Meaning of Lucifer
The word "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12 presents a minor problem to mainstream Christianity. It becomes a much larger problem to Bible literalists, and becomes a huge obstacle for the claims of Mormonism. John J. Robinson in A Pilgrim's Path, pp. 47-48 explains:
"Lucifer makes his appearance in the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Isaiah, at the twelfth verse, and nowhere else: "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!"
The first problem is that Lucifer is a Latin name. 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 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.
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.
So why is Lucifer a far bigger problem to Mormons? Mormons claim that an ancient record (the Book of Mormon) was written beginning in about 600 BC, and the author in 600 BC supposedly copied Isaiah in Isaiah's original words. When Joseph Smith pretended to translate the supposed 'ancient record', he included the Lucifer verse in the Book of Mormon. Obviously he wasn't copying what Isaiah actually wrote. He was copying the King James Version of the Bible. Another book of LDS scripture, the Doctrine & Covenants, furthers this problem in 76:26 when it affirms the false Christian doctrine that "Lucifer" means Satan. This incorrect doctrine also spread into a third set of Mormon scriptures, the Pearl of Great Price, which describes a war in heaven based, in part, on Joseph Smith's incorrect interpretation of the word "Lucifer" which only appears in Isaiah.