Lucifer:" Care for a light, anyone?" John Calvin: "No, thank you."
About a week or so ago, this old subject came up again within the family. None of us were JWs, but I see evidence that many have mulled this subject over too. And then were a couple of remarkable coincidences.
But my less than casual reading of Isaiah and Ezekiel was reference to Nebuchadnezzar and the King of Tyre respectively. And the epithets employed in Isaiah depended on whose translation you studied. In some cases Lucifer is not used in translation. Especially outside of the English language. And with the Vulgate in Latin, it is not entirely clear what Jerome had meant if proper nouns were not denoted by capital letters. King James uses this expression. Others use Day Star, whatever that would be. But taken in context, where both Isaiah and Ezekiel are predicting or calling on downfall for earthly monarchs in other chapters - and these as well, I don't see the satanic connection. And if the Prince of Darkness is, well, the Prince of Darkness, how could he be Lucifer as well?
In both cases these ruminations on the nature of evil distracts from some other problems with the passages. For in the case of Isaiah, he never met Nebuchadnezzar - or Cyrus. So a copy of Isaiah must have been interesting reading during Exilic times and the century leading toward them after Isaiah died. And in the case of Ezekiel, calling down God's wrath on Tyre or Egypt both appear to be unsuccessful prophecies, aside from the issue that Isaiah had remarked on Nebuchadnezzar already in the same context. But Egypt stayed intact against the Babylonians and the Prince of Tyre held off the Babylonians for 13 years as an island fortress and traded with its prosperous colonies. Nebuchadnezzar did not effect a blockade because he had no navy of any consequence. Ezekiel appears to have been playing the odds.
He addressed Isaiah chapter 14, but not Ezekiel. For that see Barnes.
Since Calvin wrote and did much, I do not suggest that anyone (non Presbyterian) take him as someone above error. But considering from whence a lot of what we hear (literally) about the origin of evil comes from his preaching successors ( hear it is nearly 500 years later), I have to wonder just how far we have really come.
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven!
Isaiah proceeds with the discourse which he had formerly begun as personating the dead, and cloncludes that the tyrant differs in no respect from other men, though his object was to lead men to believe that he was some god. He employs an elegant metaphor, by comparing him to Lucifer, and calls him Son of Dawn; and that on account of his splendor and brightness with which he shone above other. The exposition of this passage, which some have given, as if it referred to Satan, has arisen from ignorance; for the context plainly shows that these statements must be understood in reference to the king of the Babylonians. But when passages of Scripture are taken up at random, and no attention is paid to the context, we need not wonder that mistakes of this kind frequently arise. Yet it was an instance of very gross ignorance, to imagine that Lucifer was the king of devils, and that the Prophet gave him this name. But as these inventions have no probability whatever, let us pass by them as useless fables.