A Brief Discussion
The difference between Lucifer and Satan
By Guardians of Darkness
Rev. M. S.
The traditional Christian view is that Lucifer and Satan are synonymous (the same), but this is, in fact, in error. In fiction written in the West, such as "Paradise Lost" by John Milton, Lucifer was used as an archetype of the freedom fighter or rebel. But Milton wrote fiction, not scripture or theology.
The word "Lucifer" is found only once in the King James bible (Isaiah 14:12) where we read "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!"
Now, the word "Lucifer," here, is a translation of the Hebrew word "heylel" (#1966 in the Strongs' Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew Dictionary) and means "brightness" or "shining." Heylel is a common name ascribed to kings of the Old Testament time in order to convey their "glory" or "greatness" as kings. The verse here refers to a Babylonian king named Nebuchadnezzar. There is no indication of any "fallen angel" or any other such mythical gibberish. King Nebuchadnezzar was a real person and Isaiah 14:12 is referring to him.
"Lucifer" comes from the Latin term "lucem ferre," which means "bringer of light," and is a name applied to what we now know as the planet Venus. It is the first star to appear in the morning and so is called the "morning star." It was St. Jerome in his early translations of the bible who first translated "Heylel" as "Lucifer." In doing so, he was more or less correct, since this is what they would have called the morning star, but later Christians began to associate Lucifer with Satan because of some passages of the New Testament which seemed to relate to this, such as Luke 10:18 where Jesus states "I beheld Satan fall like lightning from heaven." This, of course, has nothing to do with King Nebuchadnezzar or the "morning star" - and in fact, Jesus later states that HE HIMSELF is the "morning star" in Revelation 22:16 "I [Jesus] am the root and offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star."
In Saint Jerome's time, Lucifer did, in fact, mean "Venus" as the morning star in Latin, so the Vulgate translation of "Lucifer" is not technically wrong. The error was made by later Christians who thought Lucifer and Satan were the same.