The word "Lucifer" in the A.V. of Isaiah 14:12,

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!

is derived from Jerome's Latin translation of the Old Testament, known as the Latin Vulgate.

quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes

How many times does the Latin word lucifer or an associated declension occur in the Latin Vulgate?


4 Answers 4


I have searched my electronic copy of Biblia Sacr JUXTA Vulgatam Clementinam and it seems in all three cases I could find, lucifer means the morning star (the planet Venus) or possibly just the day in one instance. It seems to be used as an image which suits both the Devil and Christ. It is only Capitalized as a personification in Isaiah where it seems to be describing the Devil.

“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! (Isaiah 14:12, ESV)

12 Quomodo cecidisti de cælo, Lucifer, qui mane oriebaris ? corruisti in terram, qui vulnerabas gentes ? (Isaiah 14:12)

'lucifer' is used for the word 'morning' in Job:

And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. (Job 11:17, ESV)

17 Et quasi meridianus fulgor consurget tibi ad vesperam ; et cum te consumptum putaveris, orieris ut lucifer. (Job 11:17)

'lucifer' is also used for the 'morning star' (Venus) in 2Peter:

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19, ESV)

19 Et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem : cui benefacitis attendentes quasi lucernæ lucenti in caliginoso donec dies elucescat, et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris : (2Peter 1:19)

'luciferum' is also used for the 'morning star' (Venus) in Psalms 110 and Job 38:

Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power,in holy garments; from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours. (Psalms 110:3, ESV)

3 Tecum principium in die virtutis tuæ in splendoribus sanctorum : ex utero, ante luciferum, genui te. (Psalms 110:3)

Note: The ESV translates the 'morning star' more generally as the actual constellations (Mazzaroth) and not Venus:

Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,or can you guide the Bear with its children? (Job 38:32, ESV)

32 Numquid producis luciferum in tempore suo, et vesperum super filios terræ consurgere facis ? (Job 38:32)

  • 1
    Mike, I know this answer is old, but good job on the research! Oct 25, 2013 at 12:47
  • Indeed, this is an excellent answer.
    – Dan
    Jan 5, 2014 at 20:15

It seems if you translate as "morning star" you have a huge problem with Rev. 22:16. Jesus is the "morning star" there. It would make Jesus the subject of Isa. 14. The "O Lucifer" was a rebel and turned against God. The context of Isa. 14 is prophecy and the fall of Babylon. Rev. 17-18 documents the fall of Babylon in the Tribulation. Satan and Lucifer are the same. He is the one who rebelled against God.

"Tertullian made a comment on Lucifer and said, 'How is Lucifer, who used to arise in the morning, fallen from heaven!' (sic) Origen alluded to this event and Augustine suggests the same in his comments on 1 Jn 3:8 & Jn 8:44" (Ronald Youngblood, The Fall of Lucifer (In More Ways Than One) an excerpt from The Way of Wisdom published by Zondervan Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI. Essays in honor of Bruce K. Waltke, J.I Packer/Sven K. Soderlund, editors, 2000.)

  • Why the "(sic)"? If it's the use of "is" rather than "has", it used to be standard to conjugate English motion verbs like that. "is gone", "is fallen", "is come", etc. Using "has" is a more recent development. Nov 3, 2021 at 13:21
  • Welcome to the site, Bayouparson. If you care to take the 'Tour' (link at bottom of this page) you will find helpful info. Re. Ray's comment, perhaps the "(sic)" in your answer points to the exclamation mark, which should have been a question mark. Or, so it seems to me!
    – Anne
    Nov 3, 2021 at 14:59
  • The word (sic) is added because it has an exclamation point "!" instead of a "?" which usually follows a question. The phrase is written as a question. The "sic" is used in literary documents to indicate a quotation is not correct or strange and belongs to the source quoted and not the mistake of the person quoting the source. Nov 8, 2021 at 12:22
  • Either Ronald Youngblood made a mistake or the man who translated the document containing Tertullian's statement, which the quote was, thus the insertion of (sic). The mistake is probably from the translator. It has nothing to do with the tense of the verb. Nov 8, 2021 at 12:29

This is in addition to the accepted answer.

The history of the name "Lucifer" goes back to the fourth century, but it's purely about translation, never a name...


In 382 A.D. Pope Damasus commissioned the scholar Jerome to make an official revision of the many Latin versions of the Bible that were floating around in the Catholic Church at that time. Jerome went off to a cave in Bethlehem, where he proceeded to make his translation, the Old Testament part of which he supposedly based on the Hebrew text. But in practice Jerome based his Old Testament very largely on the Greek language Septuagint version (i.e. "LXX") of the Old Testament, which Origen had produced about 140 years earlier, while in Caesarea.

By A.D. 405 Jerome had completed his work, which we today know as "The Latin Vulgate" Bible. It is far from a particularly accurate translation of the original texts. Rather, it is an interpretation of thought, put into idiomatic, graceful Latin! But "an interpretation of thought" is only good when the translator has a perfect understanding of "the thoughts" he is translating. But if a translator has a flawed understanding of the thoughts he is trying to translate, then his "interpretation of thoughts" results in a very flawed and misleading translation.

For 1000 years this Vulgate translation was without a rival, and herein lies the problem! The Latin Vulgate translation was the only version of the Bible available to the people of Europe during that period of time. There was no possibility for anyone to compare the Vulgate with any other translation, or with Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

Here is a nice walk through the Latin and Hebrew...

Is "Lucifer" the Devil in Isaiah 14:12? - The KJV Argument against Modern Translations (Daniel B. Wallace)

In Isa 14:12, The KJV translators did not actually translate the Hebrew word ‏הילל as ‘Lucifer.’ This word occurs only here in the Hebrew Old Testament. Most likely, the KJV translators were not sure what to make of it, and simply duplicated the word used in the Latin Vulgate that translated ‏הילל. In the Vulgate, Isa 14:12 reads as follows:

quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes.

Notice the fifth word of the text—lucifer. It is not a proper name but the Latin word for ‘morning star.’ The word lucifer occurs four times in the Vulgate: Isa 14:12, Job 11:17, Job 38:32, and 2 Peter 1:19. In Job 11:17, the KJV renders the Hebrew word ‏בקר as ‘morning’:

et quasi meridianus fulgor consurget tibi ad vesperam et cum te consumptum putaveris orieris ut lucifer

In Job 38:32, the KJV renders the Hebrew word ‏מזרות as Mazzaroth...

numquid producis luciferum in tempore suo et vesperum super filios terrae consurgere facis

The word means ‘constellations’ or ‘crowns’...

In 2 Peter 1:19, the KJV renders the Greek word φωσφόρος (phosphoros) as ‘day star.’ Again, the Latin Vulgate has lucifer here:

et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem cui bene facitis adtendentes quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco donec dies inlucescat et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris

In other words, lucifer is not a proper name, but is the Latin word for ‘morning star’ or ‘day star.’ The KJV simply reproduced the Latin in Isa 14:12 because they were not sure what ‏הילל meant.

He closes with...

Since that time, Lucifer has made its way into English Bible interpretation as another name for the devil. If there is a conspiracy to sabotage the deity of Christ by translating the Hebrew word ‏הילל in Isa 14:12 as ‘morning star,’ the same as is done with φωσφόρος in 2 Peter 1:19, then this conspiracy goes back to Jerome at the beginning of the fifth century AD! In reality, he translated the Hebrew word faithfully and the Greek word faithfully.

So, while the word "Lucifer" has made its way into Christian Bible lingo without a good basis, it does have an understandable development through history. Still, "Lucifer" is not and never was any name for any fallen angel in any text of Scrupture.


The truth is, the word “Lucifer” means “Light bringer” or “Light Bearer”, and indeed this is a title reserved for Jesus. For centuries, the Church used this word to refer to Jesus. There are psalms and hymns till today in the Church that use this word speaking about Jesus. St Peter in his epistle used this word referring to Jesus. But… A wrong translation of the old testament texts to Latin is the source of all the confusion.

The word Lucifer, is the translation of the Greek Φωσφόρος. (Used in 2 Peter 1:19) Φως = Light, φόρος = Bearer.

But the Latin text that uses the word Lucifer that refers to Satan (to a human King who is a depiction of Satan) is translated from the Greek “Εωσφόρος” not “Φωσφόρος”.

Εωσφόρος -> Εωσ = dawn , so Εωσφόρος means Dawn bringer or Dawn bearer and not Light bearer.

The Latin Bible used the same word for both Satan and Jesus, hence the confusion. The word Εωσφόρος (Dawn bearer) is translated as “Morning Star”. It refers to the star that appears in the sky when the dawn comes, hence the name Dawn bringer.

They translated two different words as Lucifer causing Jesus to come out like he was satan in Isaiah 14

Jesus = Φωσφόρος = Lucifer = Light bringer (Used in 2 Peter 1:19)

Satan = Εωσφόρος = Lucifer = Dawn bringer (Used in Isaiah 14:16)

Two similar words, with the same Latin translation, referring to different persons.

Ancient Greek φωσφόρος

Alternative forms Φαοσφόρος (phaosphóros) (Poetic) Φαεσφόρος (phaesphóros)

Etymology From φῶς (phôs, “light”) +‎ -φόρος (-phóros, “bearing”), from φέρω (phérō, “I carry”).

Adjective φωσφόρος • (phōsphóros) m or f (neuter φωσφόρον); second declension That which brings light, light-bearing torch bearing (often as an epithet of a god or priestess)

The Latin word corresponding to Greek Phosphoros  φωσφόρος is Lucifer.

I also found an excellent article that gives a better explanation of Heyel which never really should have been translated like it was. https://www.franknelte.net/article.php?article_id=218

  • This is Great work Jun 23, 2023 at 11:24

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