In the final book of the Bible near the end, Revelation 22:16, Jesus is called the “bright morning star.” It says, “I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” John is not making up this image. It’s in the book of Numbers in the Old Testament. It says in Numbers 24:17, “I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.” The “star” that shone in the night skies over Bethlehem pointed the way for the three kings from the East to find Jesus. . Every Christmas we celebrate that star’s appearing. It was a miraculous sign. In The Star Hymn by Ignatius, who died around 110 AD, we read, “A star shone forth in heaven brighter than all the stars; its light was indescribable and its strangeness caused amazement. All the rest of the constellations, together with the sun and moon, formed a chorus around the star, yet the star itself far outshone them all, and there was perplexity about the origin of this strange phenomenon which was so unlike the others.” 1 It’s not only mentioned in Balaam’s prophecy as mentioned in Numbers but Isaiah, the best Christmas prophet in the OT, mentions the idea in Isaiah 60:3. It says, “And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

If you research the “bright morning star” you’ll see that many people want to associate it with Venus. One writer agrees with that and says, “Most scholars believe (and I tend to agree) that this is a reference to Venus, perhaps the brightest light in our sky next to the sun. Venus is one of the most recognizable planets in the sky, visible with the naked eye, even when the sun has risen. Though not a star, early astronomers referred to Venus as “the morning star” because it typically appeared in the western sky around 4:00 am just prior to the sunrise” (see The handbook for Bible translators that the United Bible Society published seems to want to associate this as the morning “dog star” also. It comes while it’s still dark but you can see it even after it gets light. The picture we can get from this is just like the morning star announces the coming of the new day, so too will the “bright morning star” of revelation announce the inauguration of a new era. The Handbook says this, “As the morning star announces the day, Jesus is the sign and evidence of the coming of God’s new Day.2 Furthermore, sailors have navigated by the stars, and this star particularly, for centuries.

But at John ends his Revelation it’s with the hope of Christ’s return to earth to set things right. Hope is the message from the bright morning star. Exell writes, when you see the “Bright morning star,” “You know that the sun will soon rise and shine, and then there will be light enough for everything. You will be able to see the fields and the woods, and the beautiful flowers, and all the glorious things that God has made. That morning star gives us the hope that the darkness will soon be gone, and the light of day be shining all about us. And Jesus may well be compared to such a star, because when He rises and shines on our hearts He fills them with the sweet hope that the darkness of this world will soon pass away, and the bright, clear light of heaven will be shining around us.”3

1 Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, Updated ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 149.

2 Robert G. Bratcher and Howard Hatton, A Handbook on the Revelation to John, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 322.

3 Joseph S. Exell, The Biblical Illustrator: Revelation (London: James Nisbet & Co., n.d.), 759.