The morning star

imageMorning star is a phrase that appears in the bible a few times (I’ve found three). It was a source of confusion to me, but I think I got it sorted this morning. Are you interested?

Isaiah

Let’s begin with the morning star’s first appearance (chronologically) in Isaiah.

“How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12 NIV)

Isaiah was a prophet during a dark time for the Israelites. They had disobeyed God in idol worship, so God let them pursue their sin. God allowed a neighboring superpower, Babylon, to invade Israel and take the people into exile. Israel was completely destroyed by this Babylonian king.

Isaiah 14 offers a picture of future hope to the Israelites. It describes God’s future indictment of the Babylonian king for his prideful and ruthless ways. Verse 12 says that power will be stripped from this “morning star”. Good news for the Israelites!

We shouldn’t read over the phrase “fallen from heaven, O morning star“, however. Jesus said something similar during his ministry on earth. In chapter 10 of Luke’s gospel, Jesus’ response to 72 disciples he had sent out to preach the good news of the son’s (his) arrival is recorded:

He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Verses 18-20)

So it seems that we can extend God’s description of the Babylonian king’s destruction to Satan as well. Good news for us!

Revelation

Revelation 22:16 says:

“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.”

Now we see the term morning star used by Jesus to describe himself. That’s a bit surprising.

Let’s read one more verse. It cleared up this apparent paradox for me.

In Revelation 2:26-29 Jesus is speaking to the church in Thyatira (an ancient Greek city in modern Turkey).

To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Aha! The “morning star” is not Jesus or Satan or the Babylonian king. It denotes authority. Morning star = authority.

So what?

Let’s think about this idea of authority. In an election year when we have a pair of presidential candidates who can only hope to defeat his/her opponent (in other words, given any other option the majority would choose the new alternative), in a state of global unrest, terrorism, and conflict, we may find only fear, trepidation, and doubt in authority.

Return to Jesus’ words in Revelation 2:27. “…just as I have received authority from my Father.” True authority comes only from God. If God has not blessed the leadership, it is only temporary. Jesus’ rule is undisputed. Don’t let today’s uncertainty cause you to fear. The true morning star has already arrived!

 

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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