Question & Answer Forum

Is the title, “Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16) the same as the “Day Star” (2 Peter 1:19)?

As our brother Harold Paisley pointed out in Words in Season recently (p. 163, July, 2006), the “Day Star” is our Lord Jesus Christ. Several translations (e.g. JND, ESV, NASB), however, use “Morning Star” here. The Greek word is “phosphoros,” and means “light bearing” (Strong, WEV), “light bringing” (Thayer), or the specific name of Venus (Liddell & Scott). The two Greek words used in Revelation 22 translate directly as “Morning Star.” The word Peter uses, then, has a different emphasis from John’s two words. In Peter, the emphasis is on His coming to the earth, but in Revelation 22 on His coming to the air for the Church.

In the one passage (2Pe 1:16-21), the Spirit of God, through Peter, emphasizes the certainty of the Lord’s coming to earth in glory. The brightness of the Morning Star (“the light bringer”) captures their (and our) attention and gives assurance of the coming day, when the “Sun of Righteousness shall arise” (Mal 4:2). In the Bible’s last chapter, the bright (“radiant”: Strong) Morning Star captures the affection of the churches and stirs anticipation of His personal coming to the air for His Bride. The Spirit and Bride unite in calling for Him to come.

D. Oliver

Why do some translations not include the name Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12?

The meaning of the word translated Lucifer is “shining one, light-bearer, morning star” (Brown-Driver-Briggs). In English, we capitalize names; without capital letters to guide them in the Hebrew text, translators must sometimes decide whether a word is a general noun or a name. This is one of those cases.

Interestingly, if Darby’s French translation of this verse (cited by the believer who submitted these questions) were paraphrased in English, the Hebrew word would be translated “brilliant star.” However, in Darby’s English translation, the verse reads, “How art thou fallen from heaven, Lucifer, son of the morning!” A translator may decide whether to translate a word as a general noun (as in Darby’s French translation) or a title (as in his English translation) based on the context. This involves some degree of interpretation in translating. Since the meaning of this passage is the subject of much debate, perhaps some translators (ESV, NASB, YLT, and others) gave a neutral translation – not interpreting the passage, but simply translating the words exactly.

The difficulty with interpreting this passage is knowing where the quote from “all the kings of the nations” (v 9) ends. The words of their mourning for the fallen king of Babylon (v 4) continue at least to the end of verse 11. The passage likely contains an allusion to Canaanite and Syrian mythology (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, TWOT). Purportedly, the son of one of the gods wanted, but was unable, to hold the supreme throne. He “attempted to scale the heights of heaven and as the dawn star [emphasis added] was ever condemned to be cast down into Hades.” If the heathen kings are still speaking in verse 12, they may be citing this myth when “the dawn star” was cast down. Even if this is the allusion, the Spirit of God moves from this to the more profound incident of which this is a reminder (perhaps elements of the myths were actually perversions of truth revealed long before). Only one truly aspired to ascendency above other angelic creatures (“upon the mount of assembly” with a throne above “the stars of God” in v 13, also see Job 1:6; 2:1; and 38:7) and to be “like the Most High.” The pride of the king of Babylon was a reflection of Satan’s consummate pride, and the fall of the king is parallel to Satan’s eventual banishment to the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:10). The “light-bearer” or “morning star” in this passage clearly seems to be Lucifer, Satan himself, whether the word is translated “morning star,” “light-bearer,” or “day star” rather than “Lucifer.”

D. Oliver

How could the Lord Jesus and Lucifer both be the Morning Star?

(The question submitted is quite lengthy. As in the case of most Q&A Forum questions, this is a summary of the question that was submitted)

Let no one have any question. Our Lord did not fill a role that Satan vacated through pride. Our Lord was infinitely higher in rank and being than Satan. His mission to come as the Morning Star predates creation (John 17:24) and the existence of Satan.

Could there be some irony in the reference to the Old Testament’s morning star as compared to the New Testament’s Morning Star? The morning star in the starry heavens stands out above all others in its early morning brilliance. So Satan stood out among all God’s creatures; he was the “anointed cherub that covered” (Eze 28:14). He was set in this exalted orbit, but he attempted to move higher than the role God designed for him. He fell from heaven (Luke 10:18) and will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10). Only One can hold such brilliance without fault or failure. He “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Phi 2:6, ESV). The orbit God designed for Him descended to the lowest place, “even the death of the cross” (v 8). Now exalted in unrivaled brilliance, He is both Morning Star and Sun. He is indeed “far above all” (Eph 1:21), and it shall ever be so!

D. Oliver