"Why are Jesus and Lucifer both referred to as the "Morningstar" in the Bible?"


  Thanks for noticing this perplexing phenomenon and asking this good question. This dilemma has caused some to unnecessarily vilify, even demonize the New International Version.

   The key passages you have likely noted are Isaiah 14:12 (which seems to call Lucifer "Morningstar") and Rev 22:16 (where Jesus calls Himself the Morningstar).

     First, the Isaiah passage: "How you have fallen, O morningstar," which in context, we clearly find is addressing  the historical king of Babylon/Assyria (verse 4: "Take up this taunt against the king of Babylon").  Lucifer/Satan is nowhere explicitly mentioned in this chapter, though I think the Lord intended for us to see the king of Babylon as a "type"/picture of Satan (Who else could have "fallen from heaven"?).  But some argue that Lucifer is NOT referred to in this passage, as the "Morningstar", or alluded to at all; but only  the human king of Babylon.  This scenario would of course solve the question you posed: Lucifer is not called "Morningstar."

       You will notice that the King James Version, though, actually  translates this Scripture as "How you have fallen, Lucifer."  What's going on here?  At issue is how to most faithfully translate the Hebrew word used here, "heylel". Most fundamentally, this term means "bright light", "light star" or "brightest star of the morning."  Thus the Kings James Version chose the Latin word, "Lucifer" or "light-bearer,." while the NIV, and basically all other Christian translations, translated "Morning Star".  Actually, the KJV's choice may actually create the "problem" you have proposed. Some, who think only the King James should  be used, see modern translations as severely--to the point of blasphemy--making a huge mistake, calling Lucifer "Morningstar', when only Jesus fulfills that role.  However, any careful Christian Bible scholar would not debate that one could (and likely should) translate "heylel" as "Morningstar."

     The Rev 22:16 passage is much more clear, in that we have a direct  quote from No One less than Jesus, identifying  Himself as Morningstar.  (By the way, think of the problems we would have if some translation translated this verse literally, so that Jesus calls Himself "Lucifer!!".  Remember, as a mere word, "Lucifer" means "light-bearer" or "Morningstar."  It is not in and of itself a "bad word."  The name Satan, however, is based on another term altogether, meaning "adversary."  Note that in Numbers 22:22, ...though no standard translation reads this way.. the original text actually used the word “Satan"  for the "good angel" in Balaam's path.  Anyway, more on the "Satan" concept/name later...it relates to the question currently under the microscope).

      So how could Lucifer and Jesus both be the ultimate Morningstar?. They can't.  Only Jesus is the True, Definitive, Morningstar, but because Satan is a counterfeiting copycat (check the Isaiah scripture, verse 13: he not only wanted to be God, but be "above God").

     And of course, the New Testament does coin Satan as a  god of sorts:  he is "the god of this world", according to 2 Cor. 4:4).  That does not mean he is a real and ultimate, all-knowing, worthy-of-worship "God", but that  he is a real and powerful spiritual being who attempts to usurp God's role and name (nickname, in our present case).  Have you ever considered the multiple meanings of Jesus' popular name  “King of Kings"?  It means, in part,. that He is King  and  Lord over all other kings and  lords."   It is not surprising then, that Lucifer would be a false Christ, a false king, a false Lord, a false "Morningstar."  Or even better,  an anti-Christ  and "anti-Morningstar " (Contrary to our usual English language mindset, the prefix "anti" in the biblical Greek doesn't connote "against" (Christ), as much as "place of" (Christ).

 So Lucifer/Satan is a "god", a king and lord, a ' Morningstar", but He is not the One True God/King/Lord/Morningstar, only a cheap demonic and doomed imitation.  That's one potential answer to your question: Lucifer is a Morningstar, but Jesus Christ is The Morningstar.  Calling Lucifer "Morningstar" doesn't have to imply that he is Divine, only that he is a supernatural "leader" and "light" (false as he is).

     All this brings us to the term "Morningstar" itself.  The term implies the brightest star that shines  before the morning sun eclipses it.  In our day, we know that literal star as Venus.  Pretty impressive that we can see the light of that planet/star, Venus, early in the morning skies.  But is that view anything compared with the glory of the brilliant and much larger sun an hour later?  Then neither is the "impressive" pseudo-brightness of Satan, compared to the Risen Sun/Son, Jesus.  Just as the light of a firefly is useless when the task at hand calls for a hundred Halogens; so is Satan's "little light" useless, small, and ultimately more dangerous than no light at all.

      By the way, one other angle on your answer would be that Lucifer and Jesus are indeed both named "Morningstar,"  BUT the devil  is nowhere else in Scripture (even in the King James) called "Lucifer”  Many would suggest that after his  fall from the heavens (remember, he was originally good..C.S. Lewis reminds us that "all evil..no matter how evil.. is only  fallen good,"  as "all God created is good"), his name changed to Satan.  So maybe it was only in his role in heaven as a good spirit, that he was Lucifer,a bright spirit,  and thus a "Morning Star"  Maybe we are to understand Isaiah 14:12 to mean, in essence,. "Now that you have fallen, Lucifer/Morningstar, and are no longer serving God, you are no longer Morningstar,  but a fallen-from-the-sky  "ex-Morningstar."  For if Venus, our morning star, literally fell from the sky, it would no longer be appropriate or accurate to call it , in fallen state, "Morningstar," would it?  It would be found crashed somewhere on (or into) earth,  just like Satan is now (“prowling the earth. looking for whom he may devour," as in 1 Peter 5:8, which also calls Satan  a 'lion", yet another title usually used for Jesus!! What a stupid copycat the devil is!).

    One should, on your own time,  for broader context and clarity,  also note the other Scriptures where "Morningstar" is used: in Rev. 2:8, Jesus promised the overcoming Thyatira church "the Morningstar" as a gift.  And Peter in his second letter (2:19), promises that in the end times, the 'Day dawns, and the Morningstar  rises in your hearts."  Study these scriptures and ask what they might be their intent. Also, Jesus, from the vantage point of Numbers 24:17, is also predicted to be a "Star”, surely aligning with the "Morningstar" title He claims boldly for Himself in Revelation.

    By the way, in examining the fascinating and horrifying truth that Satan "originally" was good, check Ezekiel 28:11-19,  the other key OT Scripture...also, like the Isaiah passage,  "literally" addressed to a human king. here the king of Tyre, but also by extension defining Satan..Ezekiel 2811-19.  This is spoken: "You were THE anointed cherub that I,. God, put there;. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created. until unrighteousness was found in you."  Satan was indeed bright and beautiful (28:17 ) in his day.

     So, in summary, how can Lucifer and Jesus both be "Morningstar"?  Possible answers:

 

 a) They are not, according to a careful reading/translation of Scripture.

 

 b) They are both called that, but they are not in the same league at all. One is a puny imposter morningstar (yet sadly,  the "real" Morningstar" for those  who follow him); the other, Christ, is the Definitive, brighter by far, Risen (as opposed to fallen) ,  "Morningstar."

 

 c.) True, Lucifer and Jesus shared that "nickname, " but in his current "dark" form and name, Satan, the devil is an "ex-Lucifer" and does not fulfill anymore a Morningstar role.

Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Rev 22:16 (NIV)

16 "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

return to top of page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ezekiel 28:11-19,

11 The word of the LORD came to me:
12 "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "'You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.
19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.'"

Return to top of page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isaiah 14:12 (NIV)

12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."

Return to top of page

Return to question page