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Lucifer (Cathedral St. Paul Liege, Belgium)

In modern and late Medieval Christian thought, Lucifer is a fallen angel commonly associated with Satan, the embodiment of evil and enemy of God.



Lucifer was originally a Latin word meaning "light-bearer" (from lux, "light", and ferre, "to bear, bring"), a Roman astrological term for the "Morning Star", the planet Venus.

The word Lucifer was also the direct translation of the Greek eosphorus ("dawn-bearer"; cf. Greek phosphorus, "light-bearer") used by Jerome in the "Vulgate". In that passage, Isaiah 14:12, it referred to one of the popular honorific titles of a Babylonian king. however, later interpretations of the text, and the influence of embellishments in works such as Dante's The Divine Comedy and John Milton's Paradise Lost, led to the common idea in Christian mythology and folklore that Lucifer was a poetic appellation of Satan.


Lucifer is described as a handsome angel riding a white horse. His face is said to be characterized by a bright gladness.

Lucifer, Gustave Doré's illustration for Paradise Lost by John Milton.


Lucifer is generally considered, based on the influence of Christian literature and legend, to have been a prominent archangel in heaven (although some contexts say he was a cherub or a seraph), prior to having been motivated by pride to rebel against God. When the rebellion failed, Lucifer was cast out of heaven, along with a third of the heavenly host, and came to reside on the world.

In Christian demonology, he is considered as a Ruler of Hell and the King of the Earth with 90 legions under command.


Lucifer sustains good marital relations, may raise storms, and advise about hidden as well as spiritual matters.

Lucifer is often associated to:

  • Satan, the King of Babylon, served by Stanackia and Agalierap
  • Prometheus



The origin of Lucifer goes back to Canaantie or Phoenician myth about Helel, who is the son of the god Shahar.

Roman tradition

Lucifer, as a poetic name for the "morning star", close translation of the Greek hesperus or eosphoros, the "dawn-bringer", which appears in the Odyssey and in Hesiod's Theogony.

A 2nd-century sculpture of the moon goddess Selene accompanied by Hesperus and Phosphorus: the morning star was later Latinized as "Lucifer" Lucifer is also a character in Islam which too has quite a similar explanation about him.

A classic Roman use of "Lucifer" appears in Virgil's Georgics (III, 324-5):

Luciferi primo cum sidere frigida rura
carpamus, dum mane novum, dum gramina canent"
"Let us hasten, when first the Morning Star appears,
To the cool pastures, while the day is new, while the grass is dewy"

And similarly, in Ovid's Metamorphoses:

"Aurora, watchful in the reddening dawn, threw wide her crimson doors and rose-filled halls; the Stars took flight, in marshalled order set by Lucifer, who left his station last."

A more effusive poet, like Statius, can expand this trope into a brief but profuse allegory, though still this is a poetical personification of the Light-Bearer, not a mythology:

"And now Aurora, rising from her Mygdonian resting-place, had scattered the cold shadows from the high heaven, and, shaking the dew-drops from her hair, blushed deep in the sun's pursuing beams; toward her through the clouds, rosy Lucifer turns his late fires, and with slow steed leaves an alien world, until the fiery father's orb be full replenished and he forbid his sister to usurp his rays."
Statius, Thebaid 2.134

Isaiah’s belief

In the Vulgate, an early-5th-century translation of the Bible into Latin by Jerome, Lucifer is a Latin word that appears in many translations of Isaiah 14:12-14. The original Hebrew text of this verse was הילל בן שחר (heilel ben-schahar), meaning "Helel son of Shahar." Helel was a Babylonian / Canaanite god who was the son of another Babylonian / Canaanite god named Shahar.

Helel was the god of the morning star and his father was Shahar, god of the dawn. Some translations of Isaiah 14:12 "How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning!" American Standard Version translating Hebrew Helel as "day-star" and the Hebrew word Ben as son and the Hebrew word Shahar as "of the morning." Others translate it as "Lucifer, son of the morning" (21st Century King James.)

The Hebrew does not speak of a devil named Lucifer. Lucifer appears nowhere in Isaiah. It is Helel, a fallen Babylonian god which appears in the original text.

The term Lucifer first appeared in Latin translations of the Book of Isaiah in the 4th century. Through the years most translators kept the latin word "lucifer" in Isaiah 14 rather than properly translating it as "god of the morning star" or even leaving it as the Hebrew Helel.

14:4 You will recite this parable about the king of Babylonia: How has the oppresor come to an end, the arrogance been ended?
14:10 They will all proclaim and say to you, "You also have been stricken as we were; you are cmpared to us.
14:11 Brought down to the nether-world were your pride and the tumult of your stringed instruments; maggots are spread out under you, and worms are your covers.
14:12 How have you fallen from the heavens, O glowing morning star; been cut down to the ground O conqueror of nations?
(Isaiah, Artscroll Tanakh)

The Jewish Encyclopedia reports that "it is obvious that the prophet in attributing to the Babylonian king boastful pride, followed by a fall, borrowed the idea from a popular legend connected with the morning star". Jewish Encyclopedia: Lucifer; also Fall of Angels However, this metaphorical "falling from the heavens" was later interpreted as a literal fall from heaven by Christians when the passage's original meaning was made opaque by retranslations and eventually forgotten.

Judaism does not believe in fallen angels (as do Christians). In Judaism angels do not possess free will and thus cannot rebel against God. It is only in folk tales and homily called Midrashim aggadah where such tales are found in Judaism. Helel in Isaiah 14 has nothing to do with the Jewish concept of HaSatan (the adversary). The prohet is speaking of the fall of Babylon and along with it the fall of her false gods Helel and Shahar. In Judaism there is no concept of a devil or a fallen god. There is satan which is a Hebrew word meaning "adversary" and in the Tanakh one will find many instances of the word used to describe human and angelic adversaries to man.

In Judaism G-d doesn't have any adversaries. He is One. He is all powerful. Satans are to tempt man not G-d. Angels do not have free will and so can not go against G-d's desires.. Satans are to tempt man not G-d. Angels do not have free will and so can not go against G-d's desires.

Christian tradition

The fall of Lucifer, Gustave Doré's illustration for Paradise Lost by John Milton.

Jerome, with the Septuagint close at hand and a general familiarity with the pagan poetic traditions, translated Heylel as Lucifer. This may also have been done as a pointed jab at a bishop named Lucifer, a contemporary of Jerome who argued to forgive those condemned of the Arian heresy. Much of Christian tradition also draws on interpretations of Revelation 12:9 ("He was thrown down, that ancient serpent"; see also 12:4 and 12:7) in equating the ancient serpent with the serpent in the Garden of Eden and the fallen star, Lucifer, with Satan. Accordingly, Tertullian (Contra Marrionem, v. 11, 17), Origen (Ezekiel Opera, iii. 356), and others, identify Lucifer with Satan.

Homer's description of the supernatural fall:

"the whole day long I was carried headlong, and at sunset I fell in Lemnos, and but little life was in me" relates the fall of Hephaestus from Olympus in the 'Iliad I:591ff, and the fall of the Titans was similarly described by Hesiod; through popular epitomes these traditions were drawn upon by Christian authors embellishing the fall of Lucifer.

In the fully-developed Christian interpretation, Jerome's Vulgate translation of Isaiah 14:12 has made Lucifer the name of the principal fallen angel, who must lament the loss of his original glory as the morning star. This image at last defines the character of Satan; where the Church Fathers had maintained that lucifer was not the proper name of the Devil, and that it referred rather to the state from which he had fallen; St. Jerome gave it Biblical authority when he transformed it into Satan's proper name.

It is noteworthy that the "Old Testament" itself does not at any point actually mention the rebellion and fall of Satan. This non-Scriptural belief assembled from interpretations of different passages, would fall under the heading Christian mythology, that is, Christian traditions that are derived from outside of church teachings and scripture. For detailed discussion of the "War in Heaven" theme, see Fallen angel.

In the Vulgate, the word lucifer is used elsewhere: it describes the Morning Star (the planet Venus), the "light of the morning" (Job 11:17); the constellations (Job 38:32) and "the aurora" (Psalms 109:3). In the New Testament, Jesus Christ (in Second Epistle of Peter 1:19) is associated with the "morning star" (phosphoros).

Not all references in the New Testament to the morning star refer to phosphoros, however; in Revelation:

Rev 2:28 And I will give him the morning star (aster proinos).
Rev 22:16 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 (aster orthrinos).

In the Eastern Empire, where Greek was the language, "morning star" (heosphorus) retained these earlier connotations. When Liutprand, bishop of Cremona, attended the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus II in 968, he reported to his master, Holy Roman Emperor Otto I, the greeting sung to the emperor arriving in Hagia Sophia:

"Behold the morning star approaches, Eos rises; he reflects in his glances the rays of the sun— he the pale death of the Saracens, Nicephorus the ruler." [1]

The Qur'an

At-Tariq, "The Night Comer", is the 86th surah (chapter) in the Quran. It begins:

Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim

1. By the heaven and the Morning Star

2. Ah, what will tell thee what the Morning Star is!

3. The piercing Star!

4. No human soul but hath a guardian over it.The Meaning of the Glorious Qur'ân,: 86. at-Tariq: The Night-Comer

Mormon tradition

Latter-day Saints (Mormons) hold to the belief, confirmed by the teachings of their modern prophets, that Lucifer (Helel in Hebrew) was a particularly brilliant and powerful archangel, a son of Elohim (God the Father) and brother to Yahweh (God the Son, Jehovah or Jesus) and to all of the children of Elohim including all of the souls of humanity. This "bright god" (direct translation of Helel) according to LDS teaching became obsessed with pride and attempted to take over Elohim's family and subvert The Father's plan for His children which was to give them freedom of choice coupled with a law of consequences, to allow them to fall into darkness or to ascend to divinity (or any state in-between those extremes) through the mediation of a Savior. Lucifer tried to persuade Elohim's children to accept his plan of guaranteed righteousness, returning to Heaven without risk, but losing their chances of becoming divine and making him, Lucifer, their God to replace Elohim. This offer was in contrast to that made by Yahweh (Jehovah), the Father's eldest and most obedient son, to follow the Father's (Elohim's) plan and allow Elohim's children to be tested, offering himself as the sacrificial Savior to bring the faithful back into the Father's presence. A great struggle of wills ensued (war in heaven) in which the Father's plan was upheld and Lucifer with his followers were cast out of Heaven and exiled to Earth where they were permitted to tempt Elohim's children. When the purposes of Elohim are fulfilled and his children have been adequately tried, Lucifer and his followers will be further exiled to a state called "Outer Darkness", which is described as a state in which they will be completely cut off (by their own choice) from the Light and Love of Elohim (the Father), Yahweh (The Son) and the Holy Spirit. (References include LDS Standard Works, LDS Gospel Principles, and [])

Lucifer and the Satanic Bible

Lucifer has been acknowledged by the Satanic Bible as one of the Four Crown Princes of Hell, particularly that of the East. Lord of the Air, Lucifer has been named "Bringer of light, The morning star, Intellectualism, Enlightenment."

Freemasonry and Luciferianism

Freemasons have been accused by various Christian organizations of worshipping Lucifer, despite the fact that Freemasonry does not consider itself a religion, and has members from many religions including Christianity. This theory originates with the famous Taxil hoax perpetrated by Léo Taxil, who had himself been expelled from Freemasonry within months of joining. According to the theory, leading Freemason Albert Pike had addressed "The 23 Supreme Confederated Councils of the world" (Taxil's invention), instructing them that Lucifer was God, and was in opposition to the evil god Adonai. Taxil also promoted a book by Diana Vaughan (actually written by him) that purported to reveal a highly secret ruling body called the Palladium which controlled the organization and had a Satanic agenda. As described by Freemasonry Disclosed in 1897:

With frightening cynicism, the miserable person we shall not name here [Taxil] declared before an assembly especially convened for him that for twelve years he had prepared and carried out to the end the most sacrilegious of hoaxes. We have always been careful to publish special articles concerning Palladism and Diana Vaughan. We are now giving in this issue a complete list of these articles, which can now be considered as not having existed. Freemasonry Disclosed April 1897

Despite the fraud having been revealed for over a century, Pike's spurious address and other details of the hoax continue to be quoted by anti-masonic groups.

Persian and Sufi Traditions

Joseph Campbell (1972: p.148-149) illustrates an unorthodox Islamic reading of Lucifer's fall from Heaven which champions Lucifer's eclipsing love for God:

One of the most amazing images of love that I know is Persian – a mystical Persian representation as Satan as the most loyal lover of God. You will have heard the old legend of how, when God created the angels, he commanded them to pay worship to no one but himself; but then, creating man, he commanded them to bow in reverence to this most noble of his works, and Lucifer refused – because, we are told, of his pride. However, according to this Muslim reading of his case, it was rather because he loved and adored God so deeply and intensely that he could not bring himself to bow before anything else, and because he refused to bow down to something that was of less superiority than him. (Since he was made of fire, and man from clay.) And it was for that that he was flung into Hell, condemned to exist there forever, apart from his love.

This interpretation of the satanic rebellion described in the Quran is seen by some Sufi teachers such as Mansur Al-Hallaj (in his 'Tawasin') as a predestined scenario in which Iblis-Shaitan plays the role of tragic and jealous lover who, unable to perceive the Divine Image in Adam and capable only of seeing the exterior, disobeyed the divine mandate to bow down. His refusal (according to the Tawasin) was due to a misconceived idea of God's uniqueness and because of his refusal to abandon himself to God in love. Hallaj criticized the staleness of Iblis' adoration. Excerpts from Sufi texts expounding this interpretation have been included along with many other viewpoints on Shaitan (by no means all of them apologetic) in an important anthology of Sufi texts edited by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, head of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.

The Sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan taught that 'Luciferian Light' is Light which has become dislocated from the Divine Source and is thus associated with the seductive false light of the lower ego which lures humankind into self-centred delusion. Here Lucifer represents what the Sufis term the 'Nafs', the ego.

New Age beliefs

In a little known tome, The Urantia Book, published in 1955, Lucifer was a brilliant spirit personality, a "son of God" who at one time ruled this constellation of 607 inhabited planets. He fell into an iniquitous rebellion against the ordained universe governmental regime in a denial of God's existence saying he was God. "There was war in Heaven" but, according to The Urantia Book, the story has become convoluted over time. Lucifer recruited Satan, another brilliant being of the same order, to represent his cause to the universe authorities on earth. The then planetary prince of earth, Caligastia - one and the same as "the devil", believed Lucifer's cause and subsequently aligned himself, along with 37 other planetary princes in the system, with the rebels. They all attempted to take their entire populations of their planets under the assertion of a false doctrine, a "Declaration of Liberty" which would have driven them to darkness, evil, sin and iniquity. When Jesus of Nazareth went up to Mount Hermon for the "temptation", it was really to settle this iniquitous rebellion for the triumph of the entire system. "Said Jesus of Caligastia: "Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast down." Subsequently, Lucifer, Satan, Caligastia and all the personalities who followed them, figuratively "fell from Heaven". They were actually and literally all "dethroned and shorn of their governing powers" by the appropriate universe authorities and most have been replaced. Subsequent to their efforts to corrupt Jesus while incarnated in the flesh on earth, any and all sympathy for them or their cause, outside the worlds of sin and rebellion, has ceased. See Paper 53 - The Lucifer Rebellion and Paper 54 - Problems of the Lucifer Rebellion.

The "Sigil of Lucifer" (alternatively, the "Seal of Satan"), a magical symbol used by modern Satanists. Originates from sixteenth century Italian "Grimoire of Truth".

Modern occultism

In the modern occultism of Madeline Montalban Lucifer's identification as "The Morning Star" (Venus) equates him with Lumiel, whom she regarded as the Archangel of Light, and among Satanists he is seen as The "Torch of Baphomet" and Azazel. In this modern occult teaching, an obvious appropriation of Christian soteriology, it is stated that it is Lucifer's destiny to incarnate in human form at certain key times in world history as a savior and redeemer for humanity. A symbol for this process is the Tudor Rose. The Tudor Rose can be red, representing Lucifer, or white representing Lilith. The Tau cross is also a symbol of Lumiel/Lucifer and his role as an avatar for the human race.

Astronomical meaning

Because the planet Venus (Lucifer) is an inferior planet, meaning that its orbit lies between the orbit of the Earth and the Sun, it can never rise high in the sky at night as seen from Earth. It can be seen in the eastern morning sky for an hour or so before the Sun rises, and in the western evening sky for an hour or so after the Sun sets, but never during the dark of midnight. Venus (Lucifer) is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon. As bright and as brilliant as it is, ancient people couldn't understand why they couldn't see it at midnight like the outer planets, or during midday, like the Sun and Moon. Some believe they invented myths about Lucifer being cast out from Heaven to explain this. Lucifer was supposed to shine so bright because it wanted to take over the thrones or status of Saturn and Jupiter, both of which were considered most important by the worshippers of planetary deities at the time.

In Romanian mythology, Lucifer (Romanian: Luceafar] means the planet Venus and some other stars. It is also linked with Hyperion, a figure who animates bad spirits (but is not the Devil himself).

Theory and analysis

Identification with Satan

Many modern Christians have followed tradition and equated "Lucifer" with Satan, or the Devil. The King James Version of the Bible, which has been enormously influential in the English speaking world for several centuries, retains the reference in Isaiah 14:12. In addition, a parallel description of Lucifer's fall is thought to be found in Ezekiel chapter 28 ("A Prophecy Against the King of Tyre"), which contains a lament over an "anointed cherub" who was in the "holy mountain of God". He is described as "perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." The passage goes on to describe this being's expulsion from the "mount of God", apparently because his "heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." Afterwards the passage describes the eventual fate of this corrupted cherub: "therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more."



  • Lucifer is a character in Kaori Yuki's Angel Sanctuary manga, about a boy who is the reincarnation of one of his fellow fallen angels.

In literature

  • "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heav'n."Paradise Lost, Book I, 263

Lucifer is a key protagonist in John Milton's (1667) Protestant epic Paradise Lost. Milton presents Lucifer almost sympathetically, an ambitious and prideful angel who defies God and wages war on heaven, only to be defeated and cast down. Lucifer must then employ his rhetorical ability to organize hell; he is aided by Mammon and Beelzebub. Later, Lucifer enters the Garden of Eden, where he successfully tempts Eve, wife of Adam, to eat fruit from the Tree of knowledge of good and evil.

  • Lucifer is a character in The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (1604)
  • Lucifer appears in Joost van den Vondel's Lucifer (1654)
  • In Miguel Serrano's Nos, Book of the Resurrection (1980), Lucifer is identified as the King of the White gods.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series (1968-1997), Jupiter was renamed Lucifer after its transformation into Earth's second sun.
  • Lucifer is a character in the view-from-the-other-side fantasy novel To Reign in Hell (1984) by Steven Brust.
  • Lucifer is a character in The Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman.
  • Lucifer is the protagonist of the graphic novel series Lucifer (since 1999) by Mike Carey.
  • Lucifer is the main character in Catherine Webb's novels Waywalkers (2003) and Timekeepers (2004), under the name of Sam Linnfer.
  • Lucifer is also a poem by the Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu Luceafarul (the Evening Star)
  • Lucifer is identified by the name of "Memnoch" in Memnoch the Devil, by Anne Rice.
  • The fall of Lucifer is a central element of the universe portrayed in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.
  • Lucifer is a character in Michael Moorcock's Von Bek series. Here he is a multi-faceted and complex character.
  • Lucifer is the protagonist of Glen Duncan's I, Lucifer, in which he is offered a shot at redemption by God, and must live a mortal life free of sin.
  • Lucivar is the name of a main character in Anne Bishop's Black Jewels books, a character tortured for hundreds of years by one cruel matriarch and redeemed by a kinder, loving one.
  • Lucifer is a character in Anatole France's la Révolte des anges; he is said to have led men to philosophy, science, and art.
  • Lucifer is one of the main characters in the Hungarian dramatic poem, The Tragedy of Man.


  • Lucifer is a vital character in the roleplaying series Shin Megami Tensei, and its related spin offs. In the series, Lucifer is portrayed as a multi-faceted, almost noble enemy of YHWH (God). His human alias is Louis Cypher.
  • Lucifer is mentioned as being the former ruler of the Netherealm before he was overthrown by Quan Chi and Shinnok in the Mortal Kombat series.
  • Lucifer is also the name of a Shivan capital ship, from the game Descent: FreeSpace.
  • Lucifer is the main character in "The Fall of Lucifer: The Chronicles of Brothers" by Wendy Alec
  • Lucifer is the basis for the character Horus in the fictional universe of Warhammer 40,000. His story is much the same as Horus' (including his fall from grace, or in Horus' case, fall to Chaos), but Horus slew Sanguinius, while Lucifer was cast down by Michael.
  • Lucifer is the name of a playable character in the Warcraft III custom map DotA.


  • Lucifer was played by Viggo Mortensen (to Christopher Walken's Archangel Gabriel) in the 1995 film The Prophecy
  • Lucifer’s character is played by Robert De Niro in Angel Heart. 1987
  • Lucifer is played by Peter Stormare in the movie Constantine.
  • Lucifer is played by Al Pacino in the movie The Devil's Advocate, with Keanu Reeves as a lawyer who finds out he is the Devil's son.
  • Lucifer is one of the demons that possesses the title character in the movie The Exorcism Of Emily Rose.
  • Lucifer is the name of the household cat in the movie Cinderella.
  • Lucifer is played by Rodney Dangerfield in the movie Little Nicky.


  • Iron Maiden’s lyrics to the song "Moonchild" (out of the "Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son" album) say "be the mother of a birth strangeled babe, be the devils own, lucifers my name
  • On Black Sabbath N.I.B. the following lyrics are used Look into my eyes, you will see who I am, My name is lucifer, please take my hand
  • Lucifer is the first-person "narrator" in The Rolling Stones' song "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968)
  • Lucifer is used in "Lucifer Sam", from the Pink Floyd's album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Lucifer Sam is a Siamese cat who belongs to a witch named Jennifer Gentle, as described in the songs lyrics by Syd Barrett. (preview this song).
  • The 13th section of Jethro Tull's A Passion Play is subtitled Flight From Lucifer and its first lyric-line is "Flee the icy Lucifer. Oh he's an awful fellow!".
  • "Father Lucifer" is the name of a song by Tori Amos
  • "Lucifer" is also the name of the song byJay-Z produced by Kanye West.
  • "Lucifer's Angel" is the name of song composed by Rasmus in their album "Hide from the Sun" – 2005
  • "Lucifer's Angel" is the name of song composed by Rasmus in their album "Hide from the Sun" - 2005
  • Lucifer is mentioned in the chorus of Tenacious D’s "Tribute".
  • W.A.S.P - Song title: Sleeping in the fire. Lucifer's magic.
  • Stephen Lynch's song "Beelz" portrays Satan as a bisexual man.
  • The symphonic black metal band Cradle of Filth devoted an entire album ("Damnation and a Day") to telling the story of creation and mankind's progression through Lucifer's eyes


  • Lucifer is played by Will Ferrell in a Saturday Night Live sketch.


See also

External links

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