Is the Correct Rendering Lucifer or Morning Star?
Morning Star applies only to Christ: Hebrew poetic-style effects
KJV take up this proverb against the king of Babylon…Thy pomp is brought down to the grave…and worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning (an angel)…thou hast said in thine heart…I will ascend into heaven…I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell…
NIV take up this taunt against the king of Babylon…your pomp has been brought down to the grave…and worms cover you. How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn…You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven…I will make myself like the Most High. But you are brought down to the grave…
KJV translators rightly identified Hebrew word sense on the basis of diction & context. The KJV son of the morning (an angel at Creation morning) re- fers to satan as the archangel Lucifer who, desiring equality with God, is cast out of heaven, and into hell ultimately. In Lk.10:18 Christ says He beheld satan fall from heaven.
Scholars defend the NIV rendering, saying morning star refers mainly to the king of Babylon. But context & diction indicate a primary reference to satan, and morning star applies only to Christ, so to miss these factors, results in that which is intolerable in the ultimate extreme, a result of translation work ordained by men, not by God.
This context exhibits a metaphor within Hebrew poetic parallelism. Here the king of Babylon links metaphorically to Lucifer, or Satan, whose ways he follows, and from whom the metaphor derives; a parallelism results as Isaiah 14 does what the Psalms do at times in poetic prophecy. A Psalms text can abruptly change from speaking of trials of David, to prophesying parallel trials of the Son of David. In like fashion, but opposite nature, Isaiah 14 ab- ruptly changes from speaking of an earthly king of Babylon in verses 4-11, to Satan, the spiritual kindred of this king, in verses 12-15. Verses 12-14 sp- eak of the nature of Satan, and that of the king of Babylon is implied. The final end of the two is seen in verse 15 where the king & Satan both end up in hell, and then the text deals further with the king alone. Thus, reference to Lucifer in this context fits poetic-style expression, and this type of express- ion appears in Ezek.28:11-19 that refers to the king of Tyrus, and to Satan as a cherub (angel) cast out of the mountain of God (high heaven) & destroyed (in hell), supporting the proposed role of context & diction for interpreting the Isaiah 14 passage.
Now Babylon has an associated connotation of extreme evil, and can figura- tively refer to an earthly evil power, rather than the literal nation (Rev.18). Thus king of Babylon may refer to a human figure of vilest nature, leading nations & peoples to achieve goals of the worst kind. This would fit with the figurative sense of the king's association with Satan, the ultimate originator of evil. If this sense of his identity is correct, the king is a type of antichrist, and can relate to the ultimate antichrist (see Rev.19:11-21 that has a cont- extual relationship to Rev.18).
Modern scholars say Lucifer is not satan, removing the historical identity of satan as Lucifer, to replace it with a title dealing with morning, the descrip- tive element here. Now the Hebrew can mean morning star in another con- text, but not in Isa.14:12. In Job 29:3 it appears as a verb like shine, and context speaks of God shining light on Job's head in a figurative sense; that is, God shined light on the soul of Job, who had walked in the darkness of trials on the path of life. This could be rendered literally to indicate enlight-enment of the soul, but reads shined or shone upon my head in a metaphor- ical sense in the KJV & other versions since the verse and the passage con- taining it have a Hebrew poetic style. This passage too supports the validity of the KJV approach to interpreting the Isaiah 14 passage on the basis of context & diction.
Lucifer as a name for Satan is widely accepted, yet scholars view it as im- proper in the KJV Isa.14. Improper terminology here in the NIV includes grave in lieu of hell in verse 15 that limits the final abode to one for an earthly man, removing reference to satan's final abode. The main problem is replacement of the name Lucifer with the figurative title morning star that supposedly applies primarily to the king of Babylon of verse 4, who suppos- edly is the subject of verses 12-14. But that suggests the king of Babylon "fell from heaven," and Christ says in Lk.10:18 that it was satan who did so. Scholars seem to think fell from heaven is figurative language on the king’s demise, but Lk.10:18 language is literal, so the scholars’ view suggests an unlikely desire of this earthly king to be equal with God, a desire actually characterizing satan.
The point is made that the 1611 KJV had day star as an alternative to Lucifer in the margin at Isa.14:12. But that's just indicative of possible alternative renderings for the term, and KJV translators placed their actual choice in the text. A likely reason they would add the marginal note is to show readers an awareness of other historical references to the sense of the term, and to invite readers to explore the logic of their rendering, by contrast with alternate ren- derings, and thus profit by study.
Now it’s said Lucifer meant morning star historically, but that just illustrates confusion of morning star with son of the morning. It’s crucial that laymen, the main recipients of God's Word, have scripture in a clearly-expressed form. Established tradition will lead the laity to view morning star (either capitalized or not) as referring to Christ, and Lucifer as referring to satan, so they can be expected to be shocked & angry at a reference to satan being made one to Christ in modern versions.
The title morning star applies to Christ (Rev.22:16), as does day star (2 Pet. 1:19), whereas the Isaiah 14 context applies only to evil personages. Such titles in scripture apply only to Christ the Creator who gave the light of life at the morning, or dawn, of creation (a true star is a light source). His divine glory was the light source before creation of the sun (Gen.1:3, 2 Cor.4:4-6). The KJV Lucifer, son of the morning (a light-bearing son by creation, not a light source) rightly signifies the archangel, a created son present at Creation morning. He reflected original light bestowed by Christ the Creator, and was the first to corrupt it (Venus is called the morning star, but it just reflects light of our sun, earth's morning star, so Venus is an imitation morning star, as is Lucifer, the imposter trying to replace God’s Son in Isa.14:14) Like the most high is a status reserved for the Son of God, and differentiating terms for Christ and satan is vital, as in Rev.2:24-29 where God rewards those in the church of Thyatira who resist depths of evil from satan; these persons receive the morning star that clearly refers to Christ, not satan whom they resisted. Thus morning star can't apply in Isa.14:12 that refers only to evil ones, especially satan (use of morning star at Rev.2:28 & 22:16 and day star at 2 Pet.1:19 is likely why KJV translators placed day star in a marginal note at Isa.14:12, encouraging study by readers). Scripture doesn't assign or imply the title day star or morning star in regard to satan, or another angel, or an earthly king, or another man.
In Job 38:7 morning stars is not a title, but a descriptive name for created bright angels, as is plural sons of God in this verse. But the singular morning star or day star applies only to Christ, the giver of light, not just a created light-bearer at the creation morning. In the Job verse, angels are stars in the sense of created reflectors of light, rather than light sources. The NIV O morning star, an address to an individual, is too much like a title. At the minimum, use of morning star must not resemble a title, to avoid confusing a reference to satan with one to Christ. Lucifer in the KJV is a name that removes any sense of a title, preventing the slightest reference to Christ in the Isa.14:12 context where only evil personages are in view. The NASV, while not retaining the identity of Satan as Lucifer, and not specifying the identity of the angel as Lucifer, at least inverts the word order to lessen the sense of a title (O star of the morning). This suggests the angelic identity since star as a figurative term is easily seen to refer to a bright angel. Evid- ently, NASV translators were aware of the problem, but those of the NIV were not. The error is easily made by translators, but is intolerable, confus- ing a reference to satan with one to Christ, emphasizing the need for provid- ential guidance in translation. The KJV consistently shows evidence of such guidance, indicating scholarship of this version is providentially ordained.