Aren't Jesus and Satan both referred to as the morning star?
Aren't Jesus and Satan both referred to as the morning star?
A question that arises from time to time by people unfamiliar with the Bible is the relationship between Jesus and Satan. Most have heard Jesus is the Son of God and Satan is a fallen angel. But what was Satan like before he fell? Are Jesus and Satan equals?
One reason that some think they may be equals is the fact that both Jesus and Satan are referred to as the morning star in the Bible. If that’s true, it seems logical that they are equals. Let’s take a look at this question and see what the Bible says.
First, let’s look at the verses people refer to when asking this question. The verse about Satan is in Isaiah.
How you are fallen from
O morning s ar, son of dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low! (Isa. 14:12)
The verse about Jesus is in Revelation.
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star. (Rev. 22:16)
It’s clear from the context that these two passages aren’t talking about the same person. The passage in Isaiah is a poetic reference to Satan and his fall. In the context of Isaiah 14 Satan is referred to as the king of Babylon. Some don’t agree and say this Isaiah passage isn’t about Satan but is indeed about the king of Babylon. The problem with that view is that no earthly king could do what this king aspired to do. If this passage isn’t talking about Satan then the question about why Satan and Jesus are both called morning star is irrelevant. Our discussion would end here as there is no basis for asking the question about why Satan is called morning star.
believe Isaiah is talking about Satan and so we’ll continue our discussion.
Revelation 22:16 is clearly identified as Jesus who is talking. He claims the title of bright morning star for Himself.
The first difference we need to mention are the original words used for “morning star” in both passages. The original words from the Hebrew and Greek translated “morning star” aren’t the same words. Let’s look at this more closely.
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek. The Hebrew word in Isaiah 14 for morning star is helel and literally means shining one. There are other Hebrew words that mean “morning star” (see Job 38:4-6) but those words aren’t used in Isaiah 14.
In Revelation 22 the Greek word for star is aster. The meaning of helel and aster are similar, but they are not the same exact words in meaning. There is a Hebrew word with a meaning closer to “morning star” than the one used in Isaiah.
Another difference between the passages is that in Revelation Jesus calls himself “the” morning star. In Isaiah “the” isn’t there. Isaiah is often translated “O morning star” for that reason. Jesus claims a unique role as “the” morning star as we’ll see in a moment. Even if Isaiah is calling Satan “morning star” he is “a” morning star, not “the” morning star!
significant observation we can make is that Satan and Jesus are not described
with the same words. This is important. If the words had the exact same sense
or meaning much more weight could be given to this correlation. As it is, it’s
possible the two passages are saying the same thing about Satan and Jesus but
it isn’t a certainty.
People naturally look for meaning and significance wherever we can find it. There is a logical fallacy that states that when two things have a correlation it’s significant. That just isn’t true. Just because two things seem to be connected (correlation), it doesn’t mean they are. Correlation does not demonstrate significance. We have seen some evidence to suggest that the correlation between Jesus and Satan both being described as the morning star may not be true. However, let’s say that it is. Even if there is a correlation between Jesus and Satan both being called morning star, that doesn’t prove anything.
It’s also important to note that this isn’t the only possible correlation between Jesus and Satan in the Bible. Jesus is called the Lion of Judah in Revelation 5:5. Satan is called a roaring lion in 1 Peter 5:8. Jesus and Satan share a similarity to lions. Jesus has the characteristic of being regal and powerful. Satan has the characteristic of devouring other creatures. Their similarity to lions is very different from each other! Even though there is a correlation, that doesn’t mean anything.
Further, these two passages, Isaiah 14 and Revelation 22 aren’t the only passages where the term “star” is used of Jesus or of angels.
Angels are called morning stars in Job 38:6-7 when they sang for joy when God created the heavens and the earth. Satan was created as the most beautiful of all God’s angelic beings Ezekiel 28:12-15. Astrologers consider Venus, the morning star as the brightest. Since Satan was the most beautiful and powerful of all the angels before he sinned, it’s appropriate that he is called morning star.
In the Old Testament there was a false prophet Balaam who prophesied about a star coming out of Jacob Numbers 24:17. Jesus is claiming this title for himself in Revelation 22:15. Jesus is called morning star in in two other passages, Revelation 2:28 and 2 Peter 1:19, as well.
Satan is one of the angels. As the highest or greatest of all the angels it’s appropriate that he would be called brightest, morning star. Yet Jesus is called the morning star, clearly a difference between him and all the other stars.
If all we knew about Jesus and Satan was what we find in Isaiah 14 and Revelation 22 there might be a basis for wondering if they are similar beings. But these are by no means the only passages about Jesus and Satan.
We could write volumes about what the Bible says about Jesus. One key passage will tell us what we need to know that relates to this issue. According to Colossians 1:16-17 Jesus is the creator and Satan is a creature. This passage says,
For in him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Jesus created Satan and every other spirit being. The passage in Isaiah that refers to Satan as morning star or shining one is all about his fall from his position of beauty and importance. He had an exalted position but he no longer holds it.
Jesus is the bright and morning star that all will one day see in his beauty and glory! Satan was a morning star that fizzled out. Jesus is the morning star that will give all those who turn to Him light and joy for all eternity!
Those who would like to read more on this topic are encouraged to check out:
--- ONLINE RESOURCES ---
Got Questions – Why are Jesus and Satan both called the Morning
Compelling Truth – Was Jesus or Satan the Morning Star?
--- PRINT RESOURCES ---
Chuck Swindoll – Jesus: The Greatest Life of All