In quick follow up of the last ‘share’; when did beauty itself get converted to a fork carrying horned, writhing caricature?
Lucifer (/ˈluːsɪfər/ LEW-si-fər; “light-bringer”) is a Latin name for the planet Venus as the morning star in the ancient Roman era, and is often used for mythological and religious figures associated with the planet. Due to the unique movements and discontinuous appearances of Venus in the sky, mythology surrounding these figures often involved a fall from the heavens to earth or the underworld. Interpretations of a similar term in the Hebrew Bible, translated in the King James Version as “Lucifer”, led to a Christian tradition of applying the name Lucifer and its associated stories of a fall from heaven to Satan. Most modern scholarship regards these interpretations as questionable, and translates the term in the relevant Bible passage (Isaiah 14:12) as “morning star” or “shining one” rather than as a proper name, “Lucifer”.
As a name for the devil, the more common meaning in English, “Lucifer” is the rendering of the Hebrewword הֵילֵל (transliteration: hêylêl; pronunciation: hay-lale) in Isaiah (Isaiah 14:12) given in the King James Version of the Bible. The translators of this version took the word from the Latin Vulgate, which translated הֵילֵל by the Latin word lucifer (uncapitalized), meaning “the morning star, the planet Venus”, or, as an adjective, “light-bringing”.
As a name for the morning star, “Lucifer” is a proper name and is capitalized in English. In Greco-Roman civilization the morning star was often personified and considered a god.
We touch on this for the simple fact that I have entertained requests for more information on this topic.
In the Middle Ages European artists and theologians shaped a new terrifying vision of Satan and the punishments awaiting sinners in his realm.
This became the ‘standard’ image of Satan. Think of this in actuality. How could fallen angels be “demon like”? Their splendor was not taken away! They were cast out of Heaven.
Fallen angels are followers of Satan. However, they didn’t begin as his followers. They were God’s created spiritual beings who were meant to serve Him and act as messengers to His people. As with humans, fallen angels were given free will. Their choice led them to their fall from heaven and God’s grace.
Just as Christians take on the nature of their leader, who is Christ, the fallen angels have taken on the nature of their leader. Satan is known by many names that are used to describe different aspects of his character. The name Satan means “accuser.” He is also called Beelzebub (lord of flies), devil, the dragon, serpent, tempter, Lucifer, and the father of lies (Revelation12:9 and 20:2).
God created Satan as one of Heaven’s most beautiful angels. Lucifer means “light-bearer” and was referred to as the “morning star.” However, the devil was jealous and rebelled against God. Isaiah 14:12 says, “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!” The devil’s prideful revolt and greed for power turned him into a self-proclaimed enemy of God. He wanted to replace God in every way. Regardless of what name he is called, he is not on equal footing with God.
So Lucifer was cast down from heaven to earth, and some of the angels followed him by resisting God’s omniscient power and authority. Revelation 12:7-8 says, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.”
Satan, with his army of fallen angels and demons, are determined to corrupt and destroy all that is good and godly. We are warned, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But God gives us authority over the evil of this enemy as Jesus tells us in Luke 10:19-20.
All created beings have two choices, to accept this authority over the evil enemy or to follow Satan into “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
Perhaps the devil’s most famous depiction was crafted by English poet John Milton in his 1667 masterpiece, Paradise Lost. The epic poem tells two stories: one of the fall of man. and the other the fall of an angel. Once the most beautiful of all angels, Lucifer rebels against God and becomes Satan, the adversary.
So, we get a ‘clue’ of when satan was ‘converted’ into a heinous being. But, mind you! The Word says:
“Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (vv. 14–15a).
- 2 Corinthians 11:14–15
Second Corinthians 11:14–15 contains perhaps the most important bit of information all believers need to remember concerning the nature of Satan and his work. Paul tells us in today’s passage that the Devil “disguises himself as an angel of light” (v. 14). Of course, Satan and his minions are often the direct source of much of the outright perversity and evil that we see on this planet. However, since he is the “father of lies” (John 8:44), the Evil One would much rather approach us in the guise of something good and not something wicked. If he came at us blatantly, Satan would be easy to resist. We are more likely to embrace his lies if he approaches us under the guise of the good.
With respect to his influence on believers, the Adversary comes at us to accuse us and tempt us. The Devil can often appear to us as an angel of light when he works to accuse us. The story of Job gives a good example of the accusatory nature of Satan. Appearing before God on His throne, Satan once accused Job of being upright only because the Lord had blessed him (Job 1:6–11). In like manner, the Devil likes to remind us of our sin, to tell us the Father cannot possibly love us because we always serve Him with mixed motives. This work is very hard to distinguish from the work of the Holy Spirit, who convicts us of our wickedness and makes us feel the pain of offending God as well as the terrible sense that we are absent from His presence. Yet the Holy Spirit always wounds us so that He may bring healing and restoration with the Father (Ps. 147:1–3). Satan’s work of accusation only keeps us away from God and paralyzes us with the horror of sin, preventing us from serving the Lord and others. This is why we must remember God’s grace in the Gospel. True, every sin is deeply offensive to the Lord, but in light of our justification (Rom. 8:31–39) no charge can be laid against us. When we repent, God really does forgive us.
Our Creator is sovereign, not the Devil. As the story of Job also illustrates, anything that Satan does is done only because the Father has permitted it (Job 1:12). Sometimes God lets the Evil One tempt us and assault us, but even in these cases our Lord’s purpose is our ultimate good and His final glory (Rom. 8:28).
Today we can rejoice because the accuser of the brethren has been cast down and defeated (Rev. 12:7–12). Even though he rages on the earth because he knows his time is short, none of his charges can ever stick against those in Christ because we have been declared righteous in Him. If you feel as if God cannot forgive you for the things you have done, then your view of God is not biblical. He can and does pardon all those who repent and trust Jesus alone.
Passages for Further Study
2 Thess. 2:1–12