I was reading the aomin blog today when I ran across this email, which someone sent to James White:
“I've been doing a lot of research about the occult recently and I must say that the newer versions give lots of breathing room for the Isaiah 14:12 debate. Here's a link to a pro HP Blavatsky page. As you're probably well aware, HP Blavatsky is one of the HUGE names of the occult. Notice how she connects Jesus with Lucifer as being the same person. Remember that Satan said in his heart that he will ascend into heaven. Why is it that 99% of the versions drop Lucifer, son of the morning and replace it with ‘morning star’ like the NIV or the ‘bright morning star’ in the CEV or ‘daystar’ in the Amplified Bible, which is one of Jesus' titles in 2 Peter 1:19, and in Rev 22:16.”
A few quick comments:
i) This is a classic example of assuming that if a word as the same meaning, it has the same referent. That semantic fallacy is the major basis for limited atonement (e.g. “all means all”).
It should go without saying that the same proper name can denote more than one person. Just open the white pages to “Jones” or “Baker” or “Smith.” Same name, different referents.
ii) ”Lucifer” comes from a Latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate). The church fathers took Isa 14:12 to be describing the angelic fall of the being we now know as Satan or the Devil.
Even if that were the correct interpretation, which is debatable, the same name can name different individuals. Same thing with titles, viz. successive kings.
iii) So “Lucifer” is just a traditional name for the devil, based on a Latin translation of Scripture.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using that name. We can’t refer to things unless we name them, which is why Adam gave names to the animals in the garden–before naming his wife.
“Lucifer” is useful because it gives us a way of denoting this creature before he fell. “Satan” or the “Devil” inevitable connotes the creature after he fell. So it’s useful to have different names which distinguish his prelapsarian identity (heavenly angel) from his postlapsarian identity (fallen angel).
But that’s merely for convenience, for ease of reference. And this point it’s nothing more than a linguistic convention.