Section 1: The Light of the World
With the advent of the electric light, the darkness of night often doesn’t quite capture our imagination like it did for our ancestors. Prior to street lights and cities lighting up the night sky, the most significant night lights came from the moon and the stars.
On a moonless night, when the stars are all that light up the sky, there is one star that shines brighter than the others; it’s called the morning star. This January, you should look for yourself; the morning star, also known as Venus, is distinctly visible as a herald of the coming morning light during the first month of our calendar year.
Revelation is full of symbols laden with meaning. Jesus saying that He is “the root and descendant of David, the bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16), combines two deeply evocative symbols from Scripture that refer to Jesus as the rightful King of Israel whose throne has been established forever and connects Jesus to the deeply significant symbol of light shining brightly in the darkness.
As Numbers 24:17 says, “I see him, but not now; I perceive him, but not near. A star will come from Jacob, and a scepter will arise from Israel.” This prophecy, spoken by the selfish prophet Balaam, is about the house of David and its descendants, before the name of David was even known. In 2 Samuel 7:8–17 and 2 Chronicles 21:7, God affirms this promise—in spite of death and the unfaithfulness of kings who would come in this line, God will remain faithful to His covenant promise to bring about a forever King.
The Gospel of Matthew continues this theme of speaking of Jesus as the descendant of David, making this crystal clear in the opening genealogy: “An account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). Peter tells us the prophecy we have about Christ serves as a lamp does in the darkness, giving us the light we need “until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2Peter 1:19).
Jesus is the bright morning star. He is the King who now reigns in light, who pushes back the darkness, and promises us morning is coming. This Advent, in a season with Christmas lights, and candles glowing in the darkness, enjoy their beauty and remember Christ, who was, and is, and is to come.