Satan and Lucifer

This entry is part 332 of 374 in the series Inquiring Minds
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Are Lucifer and Satan the same? Is there a difference between them?

They are the same individual recorded in the Old Testament. However, the names “Satan” and “Lucifer” come from different places. Satan is a Hebrew name that may not be an actual name. Lucifer is Latin for the same person referred to in a few prophetic writings.

“Satan” in Hebrew means “adversary.” Scholars debate whether “Satan” is a name or an occupation because it is often preceded with the article, “The Satan.” But names can have the article in front of them as well.

We see him talked about in Job 1-2. He is the adversary of God who complains when Job does not turn away from God through the trials he gives him. God gives Satan permission to cause trouble for Job.

In both instances, God points out Job his servant and how righteous he is (Job 1:8; 2:3). This gets under Satan’s skin and he says that if Job suffered some trials, he would turn away from God (Job 1:9-11; 2:4-5).

In the first instance, Satan is allowed to touch anything around Job, but he is not allowed to do anything to Job’s person (Job 1:12). In the second instance, he is allowed to afflict Job with sickness, pain, and suffering, but is not allowed to touch his life, or to kill him (Job 2:6).

What we learn about Satan from the book of Job is that he is a celestial being. He is an angel because angels throughout the Old Testament are referred to as the “sons of God” (Job 1:6). He is not allowed to enter heaven because when God asks what he’s been doing (already knowing the answer) Satan says he has been walking around the earth.

This agrees with Revelation where Satan, the Dragon, is kicked out of heaven after the war with the other angels (Revelation 12:7-12). So “Satan” in the New Testament is just a transliteration of the Hebrew word. But in the New Testament, he is clearly a single being. The New Testament expands our understanding to speak of him as the chief ruler of the demons.

“Lucifer” is a Latin word for the way the prophets describe a fallen angel who is the epitome of a couple of human kings. They begin by talking about these human kings, but it is clear from the context that these are references beyond human kings.

First, in Isaiah 14:12-17, Isaiah uses high Hebrew poetry to talk about the king of Babylon, but really to talk about a fallen angel, Lucifer. This matches what we have already learned about Satan.

As with all prophecy, not everything will line up perfectly with all the talking about Lucifer or the king of Babylon. The images of the two are sort of stuck together by the prophet Isaiah. He talks about both of them in the same breath.

But the images we get of Lucifer throughout this passage talk about his pride, his fall from heaven, his desire to make himself God, and is being brought low. The king of Babylon represents the same attitude and motives of Lucifer.

“Lucifer” is the Latin equivalent of “Day Star, Son of the Dawn” or “Morning Star” depending on the you are looking at. These terms stand for the one who stole the same terms from Jesus (Revelation 22:16). It shows how he is the usurper of God’s throne.

Another place in the prophetic writings you will find prophecy about Lucifer, or Satan, is in Ezekiel 28. The prophet speaks of the Prince of Tyre, but as with the king of Babylon, it is clear that this language goes far beyond speaking of the human king.

Once again we see the same themes as Ezekiel talks about the Prince of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:1-10. But it provokes more supernatural imagery than for a human king in Ezekiel 28:12-19. Once again, an elevated Hebrew poetry, the prophet describes what seems to be a different person, Satan.

The prophet describes a beautiful angel that had something to do with the Garden of Eden (that’s how we know it’s not just about the king of Tyre) (Ezekiel 28:12). This may refer to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. He is a created being by God (Ezekiel 28:13).

He then says that this being as an anointed cherub, an angel (Ezekiel 28:14). He dwelled on the mountain of God (in heaven) and unrighteousness was found in him (when he fell) (Ezekiel 28:15-16). He sinned in God’s presence in contrast heaven (Ezekiel 28:16).

Ezekiel 28:18 speaks of the arrogance and pride of the angel. God brought him low and he will be no more forever (Ezekiel 28:19). This speaks about his final defeat at the end of time. So you see, there are many correlations to Satan or Lucifer in these prophecies.

These two aliases or names refer to the same person in Scripture. This is the devil, prince of demons. He has many names, but these are the two most commonly referred to in our culture.

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