How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! (Isaiah 14:12)
A text without a context is a pretext. This is one of the most fundamental principles of Biblical exegesis. The Bible is written in such a fashion that requires diligent effort to examine the text in the framework of its context allowing the reader to conclude a meaning desired by God. It is impossible to consider the Lord giving humanity a book that could not be understood. The commandments of God are not burdensome or written in some vague language that few people can read and understand. What happens often is the wisdom of man clouds the meaning of scripture to fill some ideal or philosophy he is attracted to. This is the case with the identity of Lucifer in the book of Isaiah. Many believe Satan was a beautiful angel of God named Lucifer who rebelled against the Lord and was cast from Heaven. While this story fills the mind with fanciful images of intrigue and mystery, nothing is further from the truth.
Lucifer is found in one place in scripture. Isaiah is the only writer who refers to someone as the “day star.” Where the connection of the Lucifer of Isaiah and the devil first appeared is unknown. Some believe the correlation of Jesus’ remark to the returning seventy of how the Lord saw Satan falling from heaven connects the Lucifer of Isaiah with the devil. Nothing in the context of the gospel account says anything about Lucifer. Sadly, the label of Lucifer to Satan is an example of how easy the word of God can be distorted to teach something completely foreign to scripture. The context of Isaiah is clearly defined by a previous verse (Isaiah 14:4) that identifies the subject of the text as the king of Babylon. Whether Isaiah is speaking of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, or a reference to the Babylonian empire, it is clear the prophet is not speaking about Satan.
There are clear warnings against corrupting the word of God. In the Law of Moses, it was forbidden to add or take away from the Law. The apostle John warns in the Revelation not to add to or take away from his book. This principle is an abiding doctrine of God’s word that should not be tampered with by the philosophies of men. What is striking is how many things people believe and hold dear that is not found in the Bible. There is a long list of misguided and uninformed teachings readily accepted by most people. The following is a list of common doctrines never found in scripture: the Pope, a star over the manger of Jesus, wise men visiting Jesus at His birth, salvation by grace alone, salvation by faith alone, salvation by works alone, the names of almost every Protestant church, the early church using instruments of music; and a host of beliefs never found in the Bible too numerous to number.
Lucifer is not Satan. The lesson is a wake-up call for true disciples of Christ to be diligent about what they believe and practice that is NOT found in the word of God. What is forgotten is the danger of going beyond the word or denying the word. Will the Lord hold a man guiltless who adds to His book or refuses to acknowledge His word? It has an eternal consequence. If you find you believe in something you cannot find in scripture, you must reject it. You must let others know what they believe cannot be proven by scripture. When honest hearts follow the Bible and the Bible alone, the religious world will be turned upside down. Let’s start a revolution. Teach only what the Bible teaches. Believe only what the Bible says. Accept only what the word of God declares. Shall we?