The 1534 Luther’s German Bible, which is on the KJV-only line of good Bibles, has “morgen stern” [morning star] at Isaiah 14:12. In his lectures on Isaiah concerning this verse, Martin Luther indicated that the Hebrew word “denotes the morning star, called Lucifer and the son of Dawn” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 16, p. 140). According to this translation of his own comments, Luther’s rendering was likely the result of the influence of the Latin Vulgate or at the very least his rendering “morning star“ was intended to mean the same as “Lucifer.” Of the earlier English Bibles of which the KJV was a revision, the 1535 Coverdale’s Bible first used “Lucifer” at Isaiah 14:12. Coverdale is said to have translated primarily from the German with guidance from the Latin, and he is not known to have had a manuscript copy of the old Wycliffe‘s Bible. Is it possible that Coverdale’s rendering “Lucifer” was his translation for Luther’s German Bible’s “morgen stern?” Does this evidence suggest that the rendering “Lucifer” was first introduced into the English Bible from the direct or indirect influence of the Latin Vulgate?
Since the Hebrew word in this verse occurs only once in the whole Old Testament, it was perhaps easy for English translators to follow this interpretation of the Latin translators. Lucifer was the Latin name for the planet Venus when it appears as the morning star. The Liberty Annotated Study Bible confirmed that “the name Lucifer is actually the Latin designation for the morning star” (p. 1038). The 1968 Cassell’s New Latin Dictionary indicated that the Latin word “lucifer” comes from two root words meaning “light-bearing, light-bringing” and that it would be translated into English as “Lucifer, the morning star, the planet Venus.” According to the English-Latin section of this dictionary, the translation of “morning-star” in English is given as “lucifer” in Latin. The Oxford Latin Dictionary gave two definitions for lucifer: “light-bringing, light-bearing” and “the morning star” (p. 1045). The Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories affirmed that Lucifer is “a Latin word originally, meaning ’light-bringing, morning star” (p. 309). At its entry for day-star, John White listed “lucifer” as its meaning in Latin (Latin-English Dictionary, p. 100). For Lucifer, this definition is given: “the morning-star, the planet Venus” (p. 355).
At the end of Isaiah 14, the 1549 edition of Matthew’s Bible has some notes that include these words: “Lucifer, the morning star, which he calleth the child of the morning, because it appeared only in the morning.” The marginal note in the 1560 and 1599 editions of the Geneva Bible for this word included the following: “for the morning star that goeth before the sun is called Lucifer.” These two notes from two pre-1611 English Bibles that are on the KJV-only view’s line of good Bibles provide clear credible evidence concerning the meaning of the word “Lucifer” in English in the 1500’s. The 1657 English translation of the 1637 Dutch States-General Version and Dutch Annotations also indicated this meaning with its rendering “O morning-star” at Isaiah 14:12.
What did the KJV translators themselves mean by the choice of the word “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12? The 1611 KJV gives in its margin the literal meaning or acceptable alternative translation for “Lucifer” as “daystar.” The KJV translators were aware of the marginal note in the Geneva Bible, and they would have recognized that their marginal note at this verse would have associated this meaning “daystar” or “morning star” with this rendering “Lucifer.“ D. A. Waite seemed to suggest that alternative translations in the marginal notes of the 1611 N. T. were “merely synonyms of words that could have been used rather than the ones chosen to put into the text itself” so would he say the same about the marginal notes of the 1611 O. T.?” (Fundamentalist Distortions, p. 18). In a sermon, KJV translator Lancelot Andrewes referred to “St Peter’s Lucifer in cordibus [daystar in your hearts]” (Hewison, Selected Writings, p. 112). Clearly, Andrewes used the word Lucifer in his sermon with this understood meaning “daystar.“ Daystar is Old English for morning star. A 1672 edition of the KJV has the following note at Isaiah 14:12: “for the morning-star that goeth before the sun is called Lucifer.“ Thus, several credible sources from the 1500’s and 1600’s clearly establish how this word “Lucifer” was commonly used and understood in that time period.
The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defined daystar as following: “The morning star, Lucifer, Venus; the star which precedes the morning light.” In her 1997-1998 catalogue, Riplinger claimed that the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary “defines words as they were used during the writing of the KJV 1611.” The 1992 Roget’s International Thesaurus listed as synonyms: “morning star, day star, Lucifer, Phosphor, Phosphorus” (p. 757). Rodale’s Synonym Finder listed the following as synonyms for morning star: “daystar, bright planet; Venus, Lucifer, Phosphor, Phosphorus” (p. 750). The preponderance of evidence shows that the renderings “Lucifer,” “daystar,” and “morning star” were used as synonyms so that any arguments which can be validly used again the rendering “morning star” in this verse would also apply to the rendering “Lucifer.” D. A. Waite wrote: “I didn’t count synonyms as being different. Synonyms are acceptable” (Central Seminary, p. 126). Waite may be unwilling to apply his own statement to this example. Gail Riplinger wrote: “Synonyms can be substituted; these provide the Bible’s built-in dictionary” (In Awe, p. 168). In jumping to their seeming hasty conclusions, KJV-only advocates failed to consider that a consistent application of their arguments could actually harm the KJV.
KJV-only author Kirk DiVietro claimed: “It is confusing to assign Satan the same title as Jesus Christ, morning star, especially when the Hebrew does not demand it” (Anything But the KJB, p. 46). Under the heading “Lucifer, Son of the Morning,” Clarence Larkin wrote: “The ‘Morning Stars,’ (probably other glorious created ruling beings like himself), sang together” (Job 38:7) (Rightly Dividing the Word, p. 97).
If KJV-only advocates are really concerned about any possible confusion caused by either the rendering “Lucifer” or its synonym “morning star,” they could consider another possible rendering. Several Bible scholars think that a better literal translation of the Hebrew Helel is “shining one” or perhaps “shining star” with star implied. For example, G. Rawlinson stated: “The word translated ‘Lucifer’ means properly ‘shining one,’ and no doubt here designates a star” (Pulpit Commentary, X, p. 245). Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible defined the Hebrew word Helel as the “shining one” (III, p. 159). DiVietro himself acknowledged that a literal meaning of the Hebrew word was “shining thing” (Anything But the KJB, p. 46). D. A. Waite wrote: “If you look up helel, the masculine noun, you see the meaning is ‘the shining one'” (Foes, p. 56). He added: “’Shining one’ is certainly a good translation” (p. 56). In his commentary Understanding the Bible, David Sorenson, a KJV-only author, asserted that the Hebrew word “has the sense of a ‘shining one,‘ or ‘light bearer,‘ or even ‘morning star’” (p. 428). In David Cloud’s Concise KJB Dictionary, this definition of the Hebrew word “shining one” is listed as the definition for “Lucifer” (p. 57). The Criswell Study Bible affirmed that the Hebrew word helel “means ‘shining one’” (p. 794). The 2002 Zondervan KJV Study Bible also maintained that “the Hebrew for ‘Lucifer’ is literally ‘shining one’” (p. 975). At least four English translations use “O shining one” at Isaiah 14:12 (Young’s Literal Translation, Rotherham’s The Emphasized Bible, 1912 Improved Edition, and Tanakh–the 1985 English translation of the Masoretic Text by Jews). The Literal Translation by Jay Green and the Modern King James Version have “O shining star” at this verse. This would be one possible answer to the claimed problem. Another response would be to consider Satan as the false daystar or false morning star in contrast to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true morning star.