The name Lucifer occurs once in the Scriptures and only in some versions of the Bible. For example, the King James Version renders Isaiah 14:12: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”
The Hebrew word translated “Lucifer” means “shining one.” The Septuagint uses the Greek word that means “bringer of dawn.” Hence, some translations render the original Hebrew “morning star” or “Daystar.” But Jerome’s Latin Vulgate uses “Lucifer” (light bearer), and this accounts for the appearance of that term in various versions of the Bible.
Who is this Lucifer? The expression “shining one,” or “Lucifer,” is found in what Isaiah prophetically commanded the Israelites to pronounce as a “proverbial saying against the king of Babylon.” Thus, it is part of a saying primarily directed at the Babylonian dynasty. That the description “shining one” is given to a man and not to a spirit creature is further seen by the statement: “Down to Sheol you will be brought.” Sheol is the common grave of mankind—not a place occupied by Satan the Devil. Moreover, those seeing Luciferbrought into this condition ask: “Is this the man that was agitating the earth?” Clearly, “Lucifer” refers to a human, not to a spirit creature.—Isaiah 14:4, 15, 16.
Why is such an eminent description given to the Babylonian dynasty? We must realize that the king of Babylon was to be called the shining one only after his fall and in a taunting way. (Isaiah 14:3) Selfish pride prompted Babylon’s kings to elevate themselves above those around them. So great was the arrogance of the dynasty that it is portrayed as bragging: “To the heavens I shall go up. Above the stars of God I shall lift up my throne, and I shall sit down upon the mountain of meeting, in the remotest parts of the north. . . . I shall make myself resemble the Most High.”—Isaiah 14:13, 14.
“The stars of God” are the kings of the royal line of David. (Numbers 24:17) From David onward, these “stars” ruled from MountZion. After Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, the name Zion came to apply to the whole city. Under the Law covenant, all male Israelites were obliged to travel to Zion three times a year. Thus, it became “the mountain of meeting.” By determining to subjugate the Judean kings and then remove them from that mountain, Nebuchadnezzar is declaring his intention to put himself above those “stars.” Instead of giving Jehovah* credit for the victory over them, he arrogantly puts himself in Jehovah’s place. So it is after being cut down to the earth that the Babylonian dynasty is mockingly referred to as the “shining one.”
The pride of the Babylonian rulers indeed reflected the attitude of “the god of this system of things”—Satan the Devil. (2 Corinthians 4:4) He too lusts for power and longs to place himself above Jehovah God. But Lucifer is not a name Scripturally given to Satan.
*Jehovah is a Latinization of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה, a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible, which has also been transcribed as “Yehowah” or “Yahweh.”
Source: The Watchtower, September 15, 2002. Published by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society