In order to understand what is meant by ‘Morningstar’ we best board a ship and go far from the coast so that light pollution does not hamper us.
We call a planet ‘Morningstar’ when it emerges over the horizon before the sun rises. The planet Venus is part of the year Morningstar: depending on the angle with the Sun, Venus is either Morningstar or Eveningstar for us. (Of course Venus is not a star at all but a planet: in ancient times people thought Venus was a star, hence the name.)
The Morningstar and the adjustment of the compass.
Navigators can calculate the exact time of the day when Venus should rise above the horizon, and also in what direction they should look to see Venus. That is very nice, because then the ship’s compass can be compared and adjusted, so that the ship can sail a true and correct course, so that it will reach the destination.
The rise of the Morningstar.
When Venus rises it shines beautifully. This is caused by the atmosphere which breaks the light of Venus into many different colors, just like the rainbow. This only happens when Venus is still very low in the skies, and Venus shines very brightly and very white. And of course it should be very dark, because in the light of the rising sun this phenomenon cannot be seen.
Once the time of rise has been calculated the navigator sharply watches the East: there the Morningstar must rise. He waits and waits: any moment now! And suddenly: there is Venus! So, even if you know when and where Venus should appear, it still takes time and you must wait till it really is visible. And with great joy you can see the beauty of the Morningstar.
The Bright Morningstar.
In the Bible, Revelations 22 verses 16 and 17 we read: "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright Morningstar. The Spirit and the bride say ‘Come’.”
For the people of the world and for Israel Jesus Christ is the Root and the Offspring of David. They expect Jesus to come, and He will reign as King over all Earth. This we can read in Isaiah chapter 11, where the Thousand Year Kingdom is described.
Those who believe in Jesus Christ do not expect their King, no they expect their Bridegroom. To those Jesus calls himself: ”the Bright Morningstar”.
There are several analogies between the Morningstar as described above and the coming of Jesus Christ for the believers
His sudden, shining arrival.
All the nice colors of Venus do remind us not only of the many-colored wisdom of the Lord, but also of his majestic appearance (see Revelations chapter 1).
Also the signs of time clearly show us that Jesus can come any moment to gather his believers so that they will always be with Him. But the exact time only the Father knows. Indeed: we can expect Jesus any moment, but yet His arrival will be suddenly.
When will that happen?
Is it possible to know a little bit more about the ‘when’ ? We saw that Venus must rise before it is getting light. Likewise Jesus shall come to gather His bride, when for us it is still dark night. Spiritually interpreted: the darker it gets in this world with increasing sins, the closer His arrival is.
We learned that the bright Morningstar appears before daybreak. Now let us read in the Bible what happens at dawn, then we can discover another parallel.
In Genesis chapter 19 verse15 and onwards we read that Lot is taken from Sodom at dawn, after that the judgment over Sodom is executed.
In Joshua chapter 6 verse 15 we read that Israel had to go around Jericho seven times after dawn. Then the walls of Jericho collapsed and the town is taken.
In Jonah chapter 4 verse 7 we read that God sends worm at daybreak, causing the miracle-tree to die.
So: God’s judgment takes place just after daybreak.
Thus: the name ‘Bright Morningstar’ implies that Jesus Christ arrives to gather his believers BEFORE dawn and BEFORE the judgment is executed (see Revelations).
This means that the believers are gathered by Him before the great tribulation begins.
Just above the horizon.
We saw that Venus is not visible at the horizon, but just above it..
And therefore we read in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 verse 17 that we shall be caught up …. And meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
It is a meeting in the air and then we go together to the Father’s house with the many dwellings,
When Venus is just visible it casts a narrow, clear silvery path on the water, in which the sea can be beautifully observed. Even seabirds can be spotted. Outside this path-of-light it is very dark and the sea is almost invisible.
Again we see an analogy the our Bright Morningstar!
When we look at Jesus and expect His coming with joy, then we clearly see the straight narrow path leading to Him.
But if we watch other ‘stars’ – such as other believers, pastors or even worse: the world and all that happens there – then we do not steer for the Bright Morningstar and we do not see the path-of-light to Him.
Therefore Peter writes in 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 19 to invite the Morningstar to shine in our heart: the Bright Morningstar: Jesus Christ. Then our heart is filled with Jesus and we look forward to His coming. Peter encourages us to expect the coming of the Lord and to study the prophecies of the Bible, so that the true light shines on our path.
Adjustment (calibration) of the compass.
If a compass has even a small error, after a long trip over the ocean the ship will not arrive at its destination. Many ships have experienced that …
There are many issues asking the attention of the believers. What a relief that again and again we can look up to our Lord Jesus Christ and tune the compass of our live so that we do not shipwreck.
Dim stars cannot be seen with the naked eye, but when it is very dark, we can see dim stars that are invisible under other conditions, such a light pollution. It is darkest just before dawn and the we can see the maximum number of stars. Therefore we looked for the Morningstar in the middle of the ocean, where we are not hampered by light pollution.
Just assume you put a burning candle in a brightly illuminated room. Nobody will notice the light of that candle.
In a dark room however, such a candle illuminates the whole room!
This encourages the believers: we are as bright stars in a dark environment. The darker it gets, the more our light shines. Even from small candles …
Great! No stress Christian! Just be who you are. A small believer. You will be seen, more and more.