• Rev. Mark Burkill

The Morning Star

I have recently moved from a big city (London) to a smaller city (Sheffield). I grew up in Sheffield and in returning I have been reminded how much easier it is there to see the stars at night. This is where I learned to identify some of the constellations and planets when I was young. It is not surprising that the Bible has various references to the lights of the night sky. However the most prominent reference is probably that of the Morning Star, which is plainly identified with the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Revelation 22:16 Jesus says ‘I am the Root and Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star’. The first expression testifies to the way Jesus must be identified as the Christ from the line of David, something which Matthew and Luke make much of in the events surrounding of Jesus’ birth. Yet he is also the originator or Root of King David since ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God’. But what about the Morning Star?

In Revelation 2:28 the believers in Thyatira who persevere with Christ and do His will in the face of the false teaching of ‘Jezebel’ are promised that they will be given the Morning Star. Since the Morning Star is identified with the Lord Jesus Christ, this appears to be a promise of participation in the light and glory of Christ’s future kingdom. But why the Morning Star?

In ancient times the Morning Star was a term used for the planet Venus. Venus appears as a bright shining light in the evening just after sunset, or in the morning just before sunrise. There is a good astronomical reason why this is the case. A planet like Venus can never be found high in the night sky because the planets travel round the Sun in something approaching a plane, and Venus is nearer to the Sun than the Earth. The consequence of this is that if you see a really bright star towards the end of the night then you know it is very likely to be Venus and that dawn cannot be far away. This explains why it was called the Morning Star in New Testament times.