The planet Venus is known as the Morning Star. It circles the Sun faster than the earth and often appears in the east just over the horizon before dawn. As the earth rotates it gives the appearance that Venus is leading the sun, bringing the light, to the earth. In biblical times, shepherds would watch for the planet, waiting for it to appear, and when it did they knew the terrors of the night were almost over.
The Latin Vulgate translated the word Morning Star in the book of Isaiah as Lucifer. The King James Version kept the word, and that is how Lucifer became a proper name for Satan in English. I have been asked many times during my ministry, “Why did God allow Satan to be in the Garden of Eden?” And I believe the answer is this: Satan was in the Garden of Eden because he was created to be in the Garden of Eden. He was not there to tempt, but to bring light, to be a messenger of God, one who brings truth! That is what angels do, but Satan forgot his purpose. He was so caught up in his own splendor, his own apparent perfection, that he lost sight of who he was created to be.
How you have fallen from heaven, morning star [Lucifer], son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?”
In his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul calls Satan the god of this world (4:4). Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18). As Christians, we live in a hostile world, a world that clings to different ideals, hopes, and goals than those set forth in Scripture. This should not surprise us. Satan plays to our sinful desires. He tells us to seek fame and fortune, to live as if we are gods, but the Bible tells us something very different. It tells us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). Those are two radically different philosophies, and they are not compatible.
The devil would have us shrink back, to lose sight of who we were created to be, but that is something we must never do.
We have been placed in this world with a purpose. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). We are to be a constant and consistent reminder to a world lost in darkness that dawn is coming. Jesus said, in the book of Revelation, “I am the bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16).
Satan may have forgotten his purpose, but in the Scriptures we are given the story of One who will never forget his. In Jesus Christ we have a Savior, One who was dead and rose again, One who has set the captives free, One who is making all things new.
In this world we are surrounded by darkness, but there is light.
Look to the light!
The Morning Star sits just over the horizon, reminding us that night is nearly over; the day is almost here.
Rev. Troy Tysdal is Director of Communications and Prayer for the Church of the Lutheran Brethren and serves as editor in chief of Faith & Fellowship magazine.