Can you please explain why tho NIV bible called The "evil one" the morning star in Isaiah? Isn't it strange that it would be translated that way to you? Isaiah is speaking about a someone cast out of heaven, right? Please enlighten me...
Post by Mike Miller on Sept 14, 2015 16:12:51 GMT -5
James, I'll be glad to explain this. Thanks for asking.
Now, to give a complete explanation, I'll have to start with the translation of the verse in question (Isaiah 14:12). Then I'll move on to look at the context of the verse so we can understand to whom it's referring, and in the process, I'll explain what the verse means in its context. Finally, I'll address the controversy surrounding the verse.
First, here is Isaiah 14:12:
King James Version: "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!"
New International Version: "How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!"
English Standard Version (my preferred translation): "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!"
To begin with, the term in question is translated as "Lucifer" in the KJV and as "morning star" in the NIV and "Day Star" in the ESV. The most important place to start is by examining the term in the original language. In Hebrew, the word helel literally means "morning star," "day star," or "morning light." Both the ESV and the NIV represent attempts to translate the word literally. But where does "Lucifer" come from? Lucifer comes from the Vulgate (the Latin translation conducted by Jerome as commissioned by Pope Damasus I and completed in the early 5th century). Lucifer is simply the Latin word for Venus, which is derived from the Latin lucem ferre, or "bearer of light." Therefore, Lucifer is not a Hebrew name, or even a Greek name (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, uses the word heosphoros, which means "light bearer"). It is the Latin name for Venus, the morning star (or sometimes called the evening star), and the translators of the King James Version adopted this usage from the Latin, but not from the Hebrew.
So now the question is whether this verse refers to Satan, which is the assumption held by many. This is a belief held by a few people in the early church, most notably Tertullian and Origen in the third century, though they did not use the name Lucifer. Lucifer was popularized as a name for Satan by John Milton in his 17th century epic, Paradise Lost and has been widely used since then. Moreover, since Luke 10:18 and Revelation 12:7-10 both refer to Satan falling/being cast from heaven, many have made the assumption that Isaiah 14 refers to the same event. However, most scholars recognize that Isaiah 14 does not refer to Satan's fall. Why? Context.
Context is the single most important factor in reading, interpreting, and understanding the Bible. So, we need to consider the big picture, and when we do, the passage is actually pretty clear. Instead of taking one verse (verse 12) as a stand-alone, we must consider what comes before and after. Isaiah prophesies about the fall of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) to Babylon, but in chapter 14, he provides hope for the time when He will restore Israel to their land and their place of prominence. In 14:3-4, He explains that after He has given them rest from their captivity, they will mock the king of Babylon who had set himself up in the place of God, seeing himself as the ultimate ruler of all nations. 14:4-21 contain the content of that mockery, and God concludes by giving assurance of the destruction of Babylon. In that lengthy taunt, the king of Babylon is quoted as saying that he would ascend to heaven and establish his throne, making himself like the Most High. Nevertheless, he is brought down completely, his body trampled and not even given the respect of burial. Verse 12 is part of the mockery: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!" The term used, by the way, refers to an ancient pagan myth about a star-deity (the day star, or morning star) that wanted to exalt himself above all other deities, so he was cast out of heaven. The king of Babylon is thus referred to as this fallen false god who was cast out of heaven. This has nothing to do with Satan, but it has everything to do with the king of Babylon. Isaiah 14:1-23 make that abundantly clear, so that the only way someone could attribute this to Satan is by stripping the verse from its context.
Now, your original question is why the NIV "called the 'evil one' the morning star in Isaiah." I think you can see that it actually didn't do that. The NIV simply translated the verse literally from the original language. But some see the NIV as equating the "morning star" in Isaiah 14:12 with Jesus. Why is that? It's because Jesus refers to Himself as the "bright morning star" in Revelation 22:16. However, the language there is completely different than the language in Isaiah 14:12. Remember, the Greek translation of Isaiah 14:12 uses the word heosphoros, which means "light bearer," but the Greek term in Revelation 22:16 is ho aster ho lampos ho proinos (literally "the star, the bright, the morning").
Therefore, to summarize. While I can see your confusion, since the KJV uses "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12, and since many have used the term "Lucifer" to refer to Satan, the NIV simply translated the verse accurately from Hebrew. Isaiah 14:1-23 is about the fall of the king of Babylon who had attempted to exalt himself to the highest place. He is mockingly called the "morning star" and the "son of the dawn," but he is brought as low as anyone can go. Figuratively, like the mythical false god, he is cast from heaven.