Lucifer has been synonymous with Satan for hundreds of years. Some religions believe that Lucifer was the original name for God’s opposition and that he changed into Satan.
Lucifer and Satan are Different Entities
According to Roman mythology that was not the case at all. Lucifer and Satan are actually two quite different entities.
Lucifer in Latin
Lucifer is a Latin word meaning “Light Bearer.” Lucifer is also a Roman God associated with the planet Venus, which was once known as Lucifer in Roman astrology. Venus, the daughter of Jupiter and the Goddess of love eventually bumped him from that position, and the planet was renamed, Venus. The reason Lucifer was given the name Light Bearer is that Lucifer/Venus was the morning star rising at the brink of dawn, heralding the new light of day.
God of light
Actually, he was considered a God of light, an antithesis of evil and darkness. Neither the ancient Hebrews nor the early Christians associated him with Satan. In fact, his name was generally interpreted as meaning “illumination.” It also referred to one who searched for enlightenment or knowledge.
Lucifer was eventually adopted into the ancient beliefs of the Hebrews but was given the name Shahar or God of the dawn. Jerusalem literally means “House of Shalem” and is tied into the worship of Venus, the second “Bringer of Light.”
So how did a Roman God who once had a planet named after him, the name of which got usurped by a beautiful Goddess named Venus, who then became a Hebrew God named Shahar, get mixed up with an entity named Satan? It all started out with politics of course.
Enter a cleric named Origenes Adamantius circa 185-254 CE of the early Greek Church. He was the first to incorrectly translate verses of the bible referring to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon into a reference to Satan’s fall from Heaven. Many biblical scholars have translated these passages into a description of how the ego can cause the fall of a mighty king.
The idea fostered by Adamantius that Lucifer was the Devil, was built upon by Augustine of Canterbury during the 7th century in England. St Jerome made matters worse by equating Lucifer with Satan in his Vulgate. He was the first to claim that Lucifer was the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which led to the transgression of Adam and Eve.
St Jerome’s reasons for this misguided and inaccurate translation was his hatred of an orthodox movement which had been started in the 4th century by the Bishop of Cagliari. His name coincidentally was Lucifer Calaritanus, and the group he founded was called the Luciferians, which had nothing whatsoever to do with Satan. St Jerome hoped that by linking Lucifer with Satan, the Luciferians would be considered to be heretical and would be abolished.
In all actuality, there is no scriptural source that defines Lucifer as Satan. The scriptures relating to Nebuchadnezzar became mistranslated and Lucifer wound up like an angel who was cast from Heaven. Over the years movies and plays have used picked up this theme, thus adding more appeal to the idea of Lucifer as Satan.
So, will the real Satan please stand up?
There are actually three different types of Satans present in the Bible. The first is ha-satan or the adversary. The secone is rucha ra’a, the injurious, evil spirit. And, the third is mal’ak, the messenger. These references appear a number of times in the scriptures referring to human opponents of God, or in some cases figures sent by God. In Ancient Hebrew and Muslim belief, Satan represented an ego within oneself that went against the will of God. Satan was an internal force rather than an external entity. In short, anything that opposes God is considered to be a “Satan”
The word devil is not mentioned at all in scriptures. He is a comic mixture of old Greek, Roman and Pagan mythologies.