4

I've read in various places that Lucifer was 'Chief of the Seraphim,' 'Cherubim that covers,' and 'Archangel of the Crown'. All accounts say he was God's greatest angelic creation, but what kind: Seraph, Cherub, or Archangel?

I'm a novelist and I am currently doing research. If you don't mind, I would like to know what the general consensus or most common views are across Christianity.

migrated from hermeneutics.stackexchange.com Aug 11 '17 at 8:15

This question came from our site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts.

  • The "cherub that covers" is from Ezekiel 28:14, and is generally considered to refer to Satan. The other two quoted expressions don't appear to be Biblical. Other than "various places", where specifically do they come from? – Ray Butterworth Mar 14 at 1:35
3

You have hit upon a very popular misconception which many have turned into a fable. The only place in the Bible which names "Lucifer" is in Isaiah 14:12.

" How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" (KJV)

This verse is contained within a section that is discussing the king of Babylon. We can know this by looking at the entire chapter, and we find in vs. 4 that the text actually says "king of Babylon" and also calls him "the oppressor".

Then, in vs. 16 it identifies him as "the man"...

"They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;"

The entire section is one of prophetic judgment which was pronounced against the king of Babylon for his pride and conceit and claim to be like the most High.

Adam Clarke's commentary is most helpful here, and regarding "the parable" of vs. 4 includes:

"The Septuagint in this place render the word by θρηνος, a lamentation. They plainly consider the speech here introduced as a piece of poetry, and of that species of poetry which we call the elegiac; either from the subject, it being a poem on the fall and death of the king of Babylon, or from the form of the composition, which is of the longer sort of Hebrew verse, in which the Lamentations of Jeremiah, called by the Septuagint Θρηνοι, are written."

And regarding vs. 12 he has:

"O Lucifer, son of the morning - The Versions in general agree in this translation, and render הילל heilel as signifying Lucifer, Φωσφωρος, the morning star, whether Jupiter or Venus; as these are both bringers of the morning light, or morning stars, annually in their turn. And although the context speaks explicitly concerning Nebuchadnezzar, yet this has been, I know not why, applied to the chief of the fallen angels, who is most incongruously denominated Lucifer, (the bringer of light!) an epithet as common to him as those of Satan and Devil. That the Holy Spirit by his prophets should call this arch-enemy of God and man the light-bringer, would be strange indeed. But the truth is, the text speaks nothing at all concerning Satan nor his fall, nor the occasion of that fall, which many divines have with great confidence deduced from this text. O how necessary it is to understand the literal meaning of Scripture, that preposterous comments may be prevented! Besides, I doubt much whether our translation be correct. הילל heilel, which we translate Lucifer, comes from ילל yalal, yell, howl, or shriek, and should be translated, "Howl, son of the morning;" and so the Syriac has understood it; and for this meaning Michaelis contends: see his reasons in Parkhurst, under הלל halal ."

And on vs. 13:

"I will ascend into heaven - I will get the empire of the whole world. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God - above the Israelites, who are here termed the stars of God. So the Targum of Jonathan, and R. D. Kimchi. This chapter speaks not of the ambition and fall of Satan, but of the pride, arrogance, and fall of Nebuchadnezzar." Source: here

Clarke's entire discussion of this chapter would be helpful to you.

Young's Literal Translation of Isa. 14:12 does not use "Lucifer" at all.

" How hast thou fallen from the heavens, O shining one, son of the dawn! Thou hast been cut down to earth, O weakener of nations." (YLT)

Prophetic language of the Bible has some common metaphors which can be identified through scripture. "Heaven" or "Heavens" is used for the kingdoms and realms of authority of kings as they have a higher authority over the people of the land. As God has authority over all men, and as He raises up and brings down the rulers / kings over men, then the king's rule is a "heaven" / authority appointed by God.

"Casting down to earth" was being removed from power. The earth was a metaphor for the realm of the common people who had no authority above one another.

The "stars of God" were those stars of heaven that are identified through metaphorical statements as the children of Israel / Jacob and his father Abraham.

Gen. 26:4, remembering the oath to Abraham,

"And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven,..."

Joseph's dream in Gen. 37:39,

"... and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me."

is defined in verse 40:

"...What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?"

The eleven stars were Joseph's brothers. So all of the children of Jacob / Israel were referred to in prophesy / poetical language as "the stars of heaven."

We need a Prophetic Language Class 101 so that these metaphors can be more readily recognized.

I do not know that the particular king spoken of in Isa. c. 14 was Nebuchadnezzar as verses 19 & 20 says he slaughtered his people, and destroyed his land. As Nebuchadnezzar returned to his sanity (Dan. 4:22-37), and seemed to have repented of his pride, this king in Isa. c. 14 might very well have been Nebuchadnezzar's grandson Belshazzar. Belshazzar was the last king of ancient Babylon mentioned in Dan. c. 5.

This may not be of help to you in your novel. Contrary to what most people believe, "Lucifer" is actually a mistranslation, and is not a reference to any fallen angel, nor to Satan.

Unless otherwise noted, all scriptural references are from the KJV. All bold emphasis is mine.

  • 1
    "Young's Literal Translation of Isa. 14:12 does not use "Lucifer" at all." What is the significant difference between lucifer (light-bringer) and "O shining one"? – Sola Gratia Aug 13 '17 at 17:04
1

Most Christians believe that Lucifer or Satan was a Seraphim.

Please be aware that the word "Lucifer" has been used in Latin to refer to other persons (including Jesus) or things other than the Devil.

Isaiah 14:12 is not the only place where the Vulgate uses the word lucifer. It uses the same word four more times, in contexts where it clearly has no reference to a fallen angel: 2 Peter 1:19 (meaning "morning star"), Job 11:17 ("the light of the morning"), Job 38:32 ("the signs of the zodiac") and Psalms 110:3 ("the dawn").[51] Lucifer is not the only expression that the Vulgate uses to speak of the morning star: three times it uses stella matutina: Sirach 50:6 (referring to the actual morning star), and Revelation 2:28 (of uncertain reference) and 22:16 (referring to Jesus).

Nevertheless Lucifer ("light-bringer" in Latin) is a name that, according to dictionaries of the English language, refers to the Devil or Satan.

The rest of this answer will be based on the Catholic traditions in regards to Satan and the nine choirs of angels.

Although it is now generally accept that there are nine choirs of angels and each choir is of angel is different and ranked accordingly.

During the Middle Ages, many schemes were proposed, some drawing on and expanding on Pseudo-Dionysius, others suggesting completely different classifications. According to medieval Christian theologians, the angels are organized into several orders, or "Angelic Choirs

Pseudo-Dionysius (On the Celestial Hierarchy) and Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica) drew on passages from the New Testament, specifically Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 1:16, to develop a schema of three Hierarchies, Spheres or Triads of angels, with each Hierarchy containing three Orders or Choirs. Although both authors drew on the New Testament, the Biblical canon is relatively silent on the subject, and these hierarchies are considered less definitive than biblical material.

Choirs in medieval theology

St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica (1225–1274):

1.Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones;

2.Dominations, Virtues, and Powers;

3.Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. - Christian angelology (Wikipedia)

St Thomas Aquinas' list is by far the most widely accepted list of angelic choirs and places the Seraphic order of angel as being at the highest level of angels followed by the Cherubim, and so on. According to St Thomas:

  1. The angels that rebelled and became demons did not lose their nature or their connatural gifts. They cast away, by their sin, the grace in which they were created. They did not cast away the beatific vision, for they never had it. Now, if we think of angelic orders as orders of angels in glory, then, of course, there are no orders of bad angels. But if we consider angelic orders as order of angelic nature simply, there are orders among the demons.

  2. Certainly, there is a precedence among bad angels; there is a subjection of some to others.

  3. Demons of superior nature do not enlighten inferior demons; enlightenment here could only mean the manifestation of truth with reference to God, and the fallen angels have perversely and permanently turned away from God. But demons can speak to one another, that is, they can make known their thoughts to one another, that is, they can make known their thoughts to one another, for this ability belongs to the angelic nature which the demons retain.

  4. The nearer creatures are to God the greater is their rule over other creatures. Therefore, the good angels rule and control the demons. - ORDERS AMONG THE FALLEN ANGELS

This stated it only makes sense that Satan was a Seraphim, for surely some of the Seraphim fell in great revolt against God. Although one can not say with certainty it is generally believed Satan was a Seraphim.

SIN OF THE FALLEN ANGELS

3.Lucifer who became Satan, leader of the fallen angels, wished to be as God. This prideful desire was not a wish to be equal to God, for Satan knew by his natural knowledge that equality of creature with creator is utterly impossible. Besides, no creature actually desires to destroy itself, even to become something greater. On this point man sometimes deceives himself by a trick of imagination; he imagines himself to be another and greater being, and yet it is himself that is somehow this other being. But an angel has no sense-faculty of imagination to abuse in this fashion. The angelic intellect, with its clear knowledge, makes such self-deception impossible. Lucifer knew that to be equal with God, he would have to be God, and he knew perfectly that this could not be. What he wanted was to be as God; he wished to be like God in a way not suited to his nature, such as to create things by his own power, or to achieve final beatitude without God's help, or to have command over others in a way proper to God alone.

4.Lucifer, chief of the sinning angels, was probably the highest of all the angels. But there are some who think that Lucifer was highest only among the rebel angels. - ANGELS: FROM THE TEACHINGS OF SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS

  • 2
    Two Catholic bishops are known to have carried the name Lucifer as meaning a "bearer of light": Lucifer of Cagliari (d. May 20, 370 or 371), and Lucifer of Siena (3rd century – 4th century). In modern times this usage of the name of Lucifer for someone would not be looked on in a favorable light. – Ken Graham Aug 11 '17 at 12:02
0

EZEKIEL 28:12 "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "'You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. (NIV)

This clearly indicates Satan/Lucifer/Devil/King of Tyre/etc. was a cherub. This is also supported by the fact that Satan was in the garden of eden who's population at the time was limited to 2 humans, 2 cherubs and God.

  • 1
    "2 humans, 2 cherubs and God". Besides Satan, who was the second cherub? – Ray Butterworth Mar 14 at 1:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy