Idolatry, Oppression and the Development of Demons: Part 4, Lucifer is the King of Babylon

We're following a demonic trail through the Bible, noting how demons connect the spiritual and the political, idolatry and oppression.

In the last post we noted how in Daniel 10 Michael the Archangel comes into conflict with the national deity of Babylon, a territorial spirit described as the "prince of the kingdom of Persia." Here we see how a demonic spirit is associated with a political entity.

We see this exact same connection when we consider one of the most famous names for Satan.


I wrote about these associations last month, but let me review the details that help illustrate the associations I've been drawing our attention to in this series.

As I shared last month, Satan is never actually named Lucifer in the Bible. The name "Lucifer" comes from the King James Version translation 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!
Modern translations translate the Hebrew word helel here as "day star" or "morning star." The meaning can also be "bringer of light" as the "morning star" (Venus) was considered to be a bringer or herald of the dawn.

The Latin for "bringer of light" is "lucifer," so that's what we find in Isaiah 14.12 in the Latin Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Bible from the late 4th century:
quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer [bringer of light, morning star] qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes. 
The KJV translators in 1611 didn't translate the Latin word "lucifer" as "morning star." Rather, they transliterated the word, keeping it "Lucifer" in the English.

Now getting to the point of this series, we can ask: Who was the original Lucifer in Isaiah 14.12?

Well, surprise, surprise, the original Lucifer in Isaiah 14 was the Babylonian king being decried by the prophet of God.

Here we have, once again, demons showing up at the intersection of the spiritual and the political.

Grabbing ahold of this connection, the diabolical association with Babylon, the New Testament writers use the image from Isaiah 14.12--a wicked star falling from heaven--for the Devil. At multiple locations in the New Testament Satan is described as a star or light falling from heaven:
Luke 10.18
Jesus replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."

2 Corinthians 11.14
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

Revelation 12.3-4a, 7-9
Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth...Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
The imagery here is so close to that of Isaiah 14.12--"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer!"--that the proper name Lucifer, originally given to a Babylonian king, also became associated with the Devil.

Once again, our following the demonic trail through the Bible brings up the connections between the spiritual and the political, between idolatry and oppression.

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