In this third instalment of our series on the bible version controversy, I want to take a look at a passage that has changed in the new versions, Isaiah 14. The following started off as an introduction to part 3 of Brian Sirois’ article, but it turned into an article in its own right. . . too long to be a mere introduction. I will get back to Mr. Sirois’ article in a few days…
The Isaiah 14 controversy centres over one word translated as “Lucifer” in the AV, and other reformation era bibles.
The translation of הֵילֵל (helel) as “Lucifer” comes from an old Jewish tradition, but the insertion of “Morning Star”, or “Daystar”, also comes from ancient Jewish traditions dating from around the same time.
According to Strongs, הֵילֵל can indeed be translated as “Light bearer” which is the meaning of Lucifer.
It can also mean “Morning Star”, and “Daystar”. So which is it?
The answer is not found in translation, but in the context of the passage itself. The AV translation is based on one old tradition, but the modern version translations are also based on other equally old traditions. One of these traditions actually does damage to the cause of Christ.
Here is the AV rendering;
Here is the Czech Kralicka, a bible from the same generation as the AV. You don’t have to be able to read Czech to understand their conclusion on the issue;
12Jakž to, že jsi spadl s nebe, ó lucifeře v jitře vycházející? Poražen jsi až na zem, ještos zemdlíval národy.
Even the New King James translated this word as “Lucifer”, and some of the members of this translation committee had also served on the NIV committee. Obviously there are still modern translators who understand that this word can be translated either way. Linguistically, neither group is wrong.
Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer) says about this translation;
“Translation of הֵילֵל as “Lucifer”, as in the King James Version, has been abandoned in modern English translations of Isaiah 14:12. Present-day translations have “morning star” (New International Version, New Century Version, New American Standard Bible, Good News Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Contemporary English Version, Common English Bible, Complete Jewish Bible), “daystar” (New Jerusalem Bible, English Standard Version, The Message), “shining one” (New Life Version) or “shining star” (New Living Translation).”
The issue is not which is a legitimate translation, but who is this passage referring to? The answer to that question can actually be found in the text. A close examination reveals who it is referring to, if you cross-reference with the book of Revelation. Since the ancient Jewish scribes did not have Revelation to compare to, they must be excused for the confusion their interpretations have caused.
Who does the AV say is the Morning Star?
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. Revelation 22:16
So does the NIV, by the way;
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
So while they changed the identity of the person in Isaiah 14, they didn’t in the book of Revelation. The NIV is actually saying that the person in Isaiah 14 is Jesus. So are all the other new versions, including those that use Daystar. Jesus is also known as the day star.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the daydawn, and the day stararise in your hearts: II Peter 1:19
Does the text bear any similarity to Jesus? Let’s have a look;
3And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, 4That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!
The timing of this passage is in the distant future. “The day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve”is a reference to the end of the Tribulation period, and the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ. This “king of Babylon” is an End Times king. Not Nebuchadnezzar, or some other ancient Babylonian king.
5 The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. 6 He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.
This person has been broken by the Lord Himself. Haters of Jesus Christ would hope that it is Jesus in view here, but it isn’t!
This “king of Babylon” ruled the nations in anger. In fact he ruled over rulers. Similar to Jesus’ rule in the future, but no similarity to Jesus at his first coming. This person’s rule will be characterized by anger and violence.
7 The whole earth is at rest,and is quiet: they break forth into singing. 8 Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.
The conditions of verse seven will not occur on this planet until the Millennial reign of Christ begins. Wars have been prophesied until the end of man’s rule, so for the earth to be at peace and quiet will not occur until Jesus returns. The problem here is that someone else will first rule the world, and will claim to bring peace and quiet. That person is actually the one in view in this passage, not Jesus.
9 Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10 All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?
Jesus went to Hell, didn’t he? So, couldn’t this be Jesus? No, actually. Jesus went to Hell in triumph. He went there to release the believers who had been incarcerated in Abraham’s bosom, until Justice was satisfied at the cross. This person is as weak as the people who are addressing him. In fact they know who he is. It is likely they are people who were killed in some of his wars. Rivals and leaders of his opposition.
11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. 12 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!
I think this is why this person is identified as “Lucifer” in many bibles, the translators are looking at the phrase “How art thou fallen from heaven”, and thinking that this indicates he is a fallen angel, since he has “fallen from Heaven”. There is another explanation for this statement that few have considered; this person has fallen from Heaven in the sense that, at one time in his life, he understood, and professed to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact I would argue that he has a complete understanding of the gospel, so much so that he is able to produce a believable counterfeit!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yes indeed, Lucifer wants to be worshipped as God, but he is not alone. Lucifer has a partner who wants the same thing. Daniel 11:36 tells us that the Antichrist “… shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods”. This person is to Satan, what Jesus Christ is to God the Father, and it is he who is the subject of Isaiah 14. “The king of Babylon” will be one of his official titles, or at least one of his functions.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. 16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; 17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
Lucifer is a powerful angelic being, a cherub, but this person is a man. This man has caused the earth to tremble, and his actions will shake-up the whole world. Though he lifts up himself as God, Though he will be at the peak of human political power, he will die and spend time in Hell, just like the other world rulers.
This ruler will not release his prisoners. They will die in custody. He will destroy everyone he finds who professes faith in Christ. (Daniel 7:25, Revelation 13:7)
Helel is not exactly like those he meets in hell, however, for his stay in hell is rather short;
18 All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. 19 But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. 20 Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.
The kings of the earth, even the evil ones, get a burial with some kind of honour, and some kind of memorial. This man is thrown out of his grave like an “abominable branch”. Who is the “Branch”? This is a term for the Messiah, Jesus, found in Isaiah 4:2, 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15, Zechariah 3:8, and 6:12.
The word “abominable” indicates that while this person is like the Branch in some ways, he is really the opposite. Something that is abominable is detestable, disgusting, worse than useless! This is the anti-Branch, the Antichrist!
Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, this casting “out of thy grave” is not about his body being destroyed, but actually a prophecy about his resurrection! Just as the Branch was raised from the dead, the Antichrist will also be raised from the dead. While many scholars have stated that they believe that the Antichrist’s resurrection will be faked, this passage indicates that it will, in fact, be genuine. (Revelation13:3, 12)
Verse 20 indicates that this man’s body will not be buried like the other kings in Hell. This is because he will be resurrected, but then 3 and a half years later, he will be picked up and thrown into the Lake of Fire. The rest of the kings of the earth, and their armies, will spend their time in Hell until Judgment Day, at the end of the Millennial reign, then they will join the Antichrist in the Lake of Fire.
21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. 22 For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD. 23 I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.
This wind-up passage tells us that the Antichrist’s family will also suffer the wrath of God. So much so, that there will not be anyone left to inherit the land that was allotted to their ancestors. As I have stated, I believe the Antichrist will be from the tribe of Edom, founded by Jacob’s brother Esau. This same fate is prophesied for the descendants of Esau;
And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it. Obadiah 1:18
There are a lot of possibilities as to why the king of Babylon could come from Edom. He could conquer Babylon (Iraq), or he could start off as being a United Nations appointed governor, after a major war, such as the Psalm 83 war, for instance. Just as the Queen of Canada was not born in Canada, the king of Babylon does not need to be of Babylonian stock, nor even born in that nation.
I think history will prove that this man will actually have been born in the city of seven mountains, today known as Amman.
So, is the Authorized Version incorrect for using Lucifer in Isaiah 14? Well, yes, and no. The person involved is not Lucifer, but they are actually more correct than the modern bible versions. This person is Lucifer’s closest associate on the earth.
The modern bibles will actually be used by the Antichrist to “prove” that Jesus was the Antichrist, and that he is the legitimate Messiah. He will not be able to use this passage in the King James bible, however, because it would not support such a conclusion.
It may not be the deliberate intention of the modern translators, nevertheless, the NIV, NCV, NASB, et al have turned out to be Antichrist bibles! If you are using one, I recommend you get a copy of the AV, and a good dictionary.