For Christians the world over, Lucifer is the embodiment of pure evil. He is Satan, the Devil with a capital D, the lord of evil, deception and death. He is a fallen angel and the leader of the fallen angels and he is out to seek his revenge upon mankind by tempting man to disobey the laws of God.
The very image of Lucifer is meant to inspire fear and loathing. He is the Great Serpent who tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden.
He destroyed Job’s business and murdered his family.
He even tempted God himself, Jesus Christ, after his forty day fast in the desert.
Sometimes Satan was depicted as a snake or dragon; Sometimes as a goat-like creature;
But most often he was shown as a loathsome-looking man with horns and a tail wielding a three-pronged pitchfork.
And where does Lucifer live? In Hell, of course. An awful place of fire and brimstone and darkness filled with torment, pain and hate, Hell is the very opposite of heaven itself.
For Christians everywhere, there is a very real war being waged between God and Lucifer, and the ultimate prize is nothing less than the destiny of our very souls.
But many Christians might be surprised to learn that the name Lucifer never appears in the Hebrew Torah. In fact, it only appears in the Christian Old Testament as the result of a mistranslation!
The word Hebrew word Heylel (believed to be a variation of the word Halal, which means to shine forth but can also imply boasting), appears in Isaiah as a being who had fallen from heaven. It was translated in Latin as Lucifer by the scholar Jerome between 382 and 405 BC. The verse reads:
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer (Heylel), son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12).
The name Lucifer is a Latin word that actually means “Light-bringer” or “Light-bearer.” Anciently, it was applied to the planet Venus when it appeared as the morning star, and is generally translated as “morning star.” Interestingly, the term morning star, or son of the morning, is used multiple times in the New Testament, not in reference to Lucifer, but in reference to Jesus Christ.
“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” (Revelation 22:16).
Additionally, God, speaking of the righteous, says, “And I will give him the morning star” (Revelation 2:28). Certainly, the translation of the name Lucifer in Isaiah to indicate Satan is a mistake, as that was never the intention of the original Hebrew.
Further reading of the Isaiah passage explains that the morning star was cast out of heaven for its pride in trying to rise above the stars of heaven and become like God. As a result he was cast down to Sheol (the Hebrew land of the dead.) But instead of referencing Satan, the passage explicitly refers to the “king of Babylon” (Isaiah 14:3).
This imagery was used in an old Canaanite song in which the Morning Star, Heylel, tried to rise above the clouds and establish himself on the mountain where the gods assembled, but was cast down into the underworld.
In fact, Isaiah explicitly states that the Babylonian king would fall and the people would taunt him with the above limerick, commonly known among the Hebrews and Canaanites.
The word devil appears in the Christian Old Testament four times (Leviticus 17: 7; Deuteronomy 32: 17; 2 Chronicles 11: 15; Psalms 106: 37.) But, rather than referring to Lucifer or Satan, in each of these instances the word devil refers to one of the many false gods that were worshipped during that time.
In fact, in ancient Judaism there is no concept of a devil like we find in mainstream Christianity. There were numerous tribal gods who rewarded their obedience and punished them for disobedience without the need of a great Devil or Satan.