Sunday, March 15, 2015

Satan In The Old Testament (Part 7)

You can see the previous installments to this series by clicking the following links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4Part 5, and Part 6.

AP: I want to treat a minor issue today, but for some it's definitely not so minor. In the Old Testament the name "Lucifer" never appears as an appellation of Satan. To designate Satan/Devil in this way is a Christian invention, and it comes directly from the way the Church Fathers exegeted Isa. 14:12-15. That passage reads as follows:
"How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol (the underworld), to the recesses of the pit." (Isa. 14:12-15)
This beautiful poem, with its heavily ironic tone, was composed by Isaiah to celebrate the death of the Assyrian king Sargon II, or against the arrogance, overcome by Yahweh, demonstrated by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. But the Church Fathers took this prophetic text associated with Luke 10:18: "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning." These words were spoken Jesus and expressed his joy at the success of the mission of the seventy-two disciples, who were sent out to preach in different communities in Israel.

The vision of the fall of Satan signified for Jesus the failure of the Devil's opposition to the coming kingdom of God. The Fathers believed Isaiah had prophetically foreseen what was later referred to by Jesus. That's why this "Lucifer, son of Dawn," which was actually a symbol of the crash of the greatness of a Mesopotamian king, came to be the name of the Devil.

This is a pretty exciting interpretation, but it has nothing to do with Isaiah's original intent. You know there is more that is gleaned from these passages as a result. Based on this some have imagined Satan as endowed with immense beauty, comparable to the morning star.

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