The brightest star in the sky is in fact a planet,
Venus is closer to the sun than our Earth. Because of this, seen
from Earth, it is always in the region of the sun, appearing before
sunrise as a morning star, or during sunset, as an evening star.
Due to its extreme brightness and proximity to the rising or
setting sun, Venus is easy to locate.
The Venusian year is 225 (Earth) days long. While Venus orbits the
sun, the Earth orbits in the same direction. As a result, the period
of Venus around the sun, as seen from Earth, seems longer:
584 days. The astronomical term for this period is synodic period.
For about 8 months of its synodic period, Venus appears in front of
the sun, in other words, west of the sun. It rises as a morning star,
at most three hours before sunrise. When Venus goes behind the sun,
a state which astronomers call 'superior conjunction', it disappears
for about three months. Afterwards, it reappears east of the sun,
and becomes an evening star for 8 months. When Venus passes
in front of the sun, at inferior conjunction, it disappears for only
about a week.
Of course, the planet was named after the Roman goddess of Love and
The relationship between the star and the goddess is not a unique Roman
tradition. The Romans likely borrowed the idea from the Greeks, who
associated the star with their goddess of Love, Aphrodite. The Greeks
probably took the idea from the Babylonian cult of
Ishtar was a complicated goddess, representing Love, Lust, Fertility,
Passion and War. Babylonians called her the Lady of Heaven, and
considered the evening star hers.
The earliest astronomers did not know that the morning star and the
evening star were in fact the same object. According to some sources, the
(572-492?) first discovered this fact. According to other sources, it was
(500-450?) who made the discovery. In any case, the fact became known
at least by the fifth century BC.
Nevertheless, the Greeks had two separate names for the morning and
evening stars. The evening star was called Hesperos, which is
derived from an Indo-European root which means 'western'. The morning
star was called Phosphoros, which means 'bringer of light', or
Eosphoros, 'bringer of dawn'. (Note that the Latinized forms of these
names end in -us instead of -os.) Bringer of Light or Bringer of Dawn are
logical names, because the morning star appears shortly before the sun,
like a herald.
(Reference: 1 )
The Romans also had two names for the star. The evening star was
called Vesper, or Noctifer (bringer of night), and the morning
star was Lucifer (bringer of light).
Many years ago I learned that the Romans called the morning star
Lucifer, but I did not know why the goddess of Love and Beauty,
Venus, was associated with the Christian idea of the Devil, who is also
called Lucifer. Scientists have recently learned that the surface of
Venus is a hellish 480 degrees (Celsius), but the ancients certainly
could not have known that. Why did the Bringer of Light become the
Prince of Darkness?
I will return to this later.
More than 20 years ago, while I was watching a parade, some of the
marchers threw small rolls covered in tin-foil. These rolls looked like
rolls of candy, and kids ran to collect them. I picked up one, and peeled
off the tin-foil. There were no candies inside, but a small rolled up
comic book. I do not remember the story in detail, but generally,
it promised salvation for those who accepted Jesus and eternal
damnation in hell for those who refused.
That comic was a publication of
Jack Chick who during the last
40 years has been publishing religious tracts to convert people to
Christianity. Since the time when I read that first comic, I have
occasionally found his comics on the seats in buses and restaurants, etc.
People leave them there hoping to 'save' a few souls.
Lately I have discovered that his comics are available in the internet,
in more than 100 languages in fact.
Chick's stories aim to unmask Satanic conspiracies which condemn
people to hell, and to guide them to Jesus-Christ instead. He attacks
the usual enemies of fundamental Christianity, liberal sexual mores,
homosexuality, rock music, the theory of evolution, etc. He also
writes comics to convert Muslims, Mormons, and 'false'
Christians. Catholics might find his tract 'Are Roman Catholics
Probably many people, like me, find the simple-minded paranoia of
Jack Chick fascinating. Parodies of Chick-comics can also be found
on the net.
Several days ago I read a Chick tract against Freemasons entitled
The Curse of Baphomet.
What is a Freemason?
According to Reta Vortaro
(an Esperanto dictionary on the internet), a Freemason is:
"A member of a cultural society with secret rites, which exists in many
countries and promotes cooperation between members and generally the
improvement of morality, fraternity, and justice in society."
(translated from Esperanto).
According to the story, the son of a couple has attempted suicide with a
gun. He is lying in a hospital, and the doctor is afraid he will die,
because he has lost his will to live. The couple is confused. They have
always been good Christians. Why would God allow such a catastrophy?
A friend explains that it happened because they are Freemasons, and
Freemasonry is a Satanic cult. The couple is shocked. They deny that they
worship the devil. The friend 'proves' that Freemasonry is a Satanic cult,
by explaining the symbols, and quoting a Freemason leader, Albert Pike,
who praised Lucifer as a god.
"... the MASONIC RELIGION should be, by all of us initiates of the
high degrees, maintained in the purity of the LUCIFERIAN
doctrine. If Lucifer were not god, would Adonay... calumniate him?
YES LUCIFER IS GOD..."
The couple rejects Freemasonry, and asks for God's forgiveness. Happily,
the son recovers.
I occasionally come across accusations against Freemasons, that they
worship the Devil. I do not believe such nonsense, and can sympathize
with people falsely accused. On the other hand, I think that if one creates
a secret society which uses occult symbols, such accusations are
In any case, I wanted to get the Freemason reaction to Chick's accusation.
Searching the internet using the words Chick, freemason,
Lucifer, and Pike, I found what I was looking for.
I will briefly summarize.
First of all, the Pike quote which Chick cites is a fake by Leo Taxil
(real name: Antoine Jogand-Pages). Taxil, who publicly confessed
in 1897, sought to defame Freemasonry and embarass the Catholic church.
Hoaxers such as Taxil know that the most clever lies are based on an element
of truth. The Freemason philosopher Pike, in his book Morals and Dogma,
in fact wrote about Lucifer:
"Lucifer, the light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to
the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it HE who
bears the Light, and with its intolerable light blinds feeble, sensual
or selfish souls?"
Pike speaks of Lucifer as a bringer of Light (a metaphore for Wisdom,
Knowledge), and expresses surprise that the name became associated
with the Spirit of Darkness. Elsewhere Pike wrote of "the false Lucifer
So what then is the relationship between Satan and the morning star? I
found the answer in the pages about Freemasonry.
In the English Bible which king James commissioned in 1611, the name
Lucifer appears in Isaiah 14:12. The English translation, and probably
other vernacular translations, are based on the Latin translation of
Saint Jerome (340?-420), from the fourth century.
Here is the Latin text:
14:12 quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti
in terram qui vulnerabas gentes |
(Why did you fall from heaven, Lucifer, who rose in the morning? You are
ruined on the ground, you who wounded the people.)
Reading this text out of context, one might suppose that it's about the
Devil, Satan, the evil angel who fell from heaven. Many Christians
interpret the verse that way. For modern Christians, Lucifer is another
name for Satan. But the verse is not about Satan. It is about a Babylonian
king who persecuted the Jews. It is part of a satirical song.
The original author of Isaiah, who wrote in Hebrew, mockingly called the king
Helal, which means 'day star'. Jerome based his translation on the
Greek translation, the Septuagint, which translates the Hebrew word with
the Greek name Eosphoros (= morning Venus). As mentioned above,
the Latin equivalent of Eosphoros is Lucifer.
In the time of Saint Jerome, Lucifer was not a name of Satan. In fact, a bishop
from Sardinia, the founder of a Christian sect, was named Lucifer. (It is
interesting that Jerome wrote a sarcastic essay against the Luciferians. In my
opinion, 'Lucifer' is an appropriate translation of the Hebrew Helal,
(or the Greek Eosphoros). However, I think that Jerome must have smiled
when he wrote the above verse.)
The above explanation is somewhat complicated. I will summarize the
At first Lucifer was not a name for Satan, but the Latin name for the
morning star, Venus. Saint Jerome used the Latin name for the
star to translate a biblical verse which mocks a fallen
Babylonian king. Afterwards, people misinterpreted the verse as a
reference to the fallen angel, Satan. In this way, Lucifer became
a name for Satan.
The Freemason Albert Pike mentioned Lucifer in his writings, as the
bringer of Light, and was perplexed by the false modern idea that Lucifer
is the Devil. The hoaxer Taxil, in order to defame Freemasonry and
ridicule Catholicism, spread a lie that Freemasonry is a Satanic cult.
As part of that lie, he invented a false quote in which Pike praises
Lucifer as god. Taxil confessed in 1897, but some fundamental Christians
such as Jack Chick continue to repeat the lie to attack Freemasonry.
I will finish this essay with a little irony.
In the Apocalyps of Saint John (Revelation), 22:16, Jesus says:
"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things
in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and
the bright and morning star."
Jesus says that he is the morning star, in other words, Lucifer. Some
malicious sorts like to quote this verse to annoy Christians. Of course,
I would never do such a thing.
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