We’ve been looking at the names of God and how his names help us understand him better. This week I want to look at the name, ‘The Bright Morning Star’.
Last week we looked at the name, ‘The Root of David’ which the Apostle John spoke of in his vision in Revelation. John also reported another name that the Lord Jesus called himself at the same time as referring to himself as the Root of David: ‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star’ (Revelation 22:16).
So what is meant by the name ‘Bright Morning Star’? Again, our Old Testament helps us. When the pagan prophet Balaam was asked to curse Israel, God forced him to bless them. This was one of his oracles: ‘The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of one whose eye sees clearly, the oracle of one who hears the words of God, who has knowledge from the Most High, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong. A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city’ (Numbers 24:15-19). Balaam prophesied that a royal star would come out of Israel with a scepter to crush God’s enemies. Thus the Jews associated the symbol of a star with the coming Messiah who would save them. So by referring to himself as the bright morning star Jesus is telling his people that he has risen to conquer all his enemies. But why is Jesus called a ‘bright’ star? Why a ‘morning’ star? The scholar Barnhouse explains that in the ancient world, the stars ‘were the heavenly time pieces by which the shepherds told the different seasons of the year, and the various watches of the night. It was the “morning star” which heralded the sunrise and the breaking of a new day.’ So Jesus is the sign that darkness is ending and light is coming to his people.
And Christ has already begun to rise as the bright morning star. At the beginning of his earthly ministry, Matthew told us: ‘Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali– to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles– the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned”’ (Matthew 4:13-16).
And when Jesus returns on judgement day, he will be the bright morning star who appears in the heavens and ushers in a new age of never ending light. Jesus will rise in the lives of believers and take them to dwell with him in his brilliant heaven. Peter refers to this event: ‘And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts’ (2 Peter 1:19).
Is Jesus your bright morning star because you trust in him? Are you filled with joy as you know the darkness is almost over and a new day is dawning?