The Bright Morning Star
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star (Revelation 22:16).”
Yesterday we looked at the first part of this “I am” statement of Jesus drawn from the text of Isaiah 11. The concluding part of the statement, “the bright morning star,” is drawn from the fascinating story of Balaam told in Numbers 22-24. This intriguing story includes a talking donkey and a very imperfect spokesperson for God.
Balaam had been paid by the Moabites to pronounce a curse upon the Israelites, but the Lord ensured that all Balaam could do was speak a word of blessing - a blessing God had for his people. Among the words that Balaam spoke upon Israel were these: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab (Numbers 24:17a).”
What was “not near” to Balaam has now come and will come again. The morning star announced the dawning of a new day. And when the one of whom Balaam spoke arrived, he ushered in a new day of salvation. It is a day which will be culminated in his return, and so as Jesus identifies himself with this Old Testament reference he is reminding us that in his coming he will bring judgment on all those who have opposed his people.
By identifying himself with promises of old, Jesus reveals that he is not some new fad thought up by people at the time, but rather he is the one who has long been promised. Indeed, if we have eyes to see, we would see hints of him on every page of the Old Testament. He is the one toward whom all of history has been moving. May this one shine brightly in our lives for he is as he says he is: “the bright morning star.”