The term “morning star” appears in the Bible four times, all in the New Testament. It refers to the planet Venus, which appears in the eastern sky just before sunrise. In ancient times, Venus was often called the “morning star” because it was the brightest star-like object in the morning sky. But in the Bible, the term takes on symbolic meaning when referring to Jesus Christ. Let’s explore the biblical meaning and significance of the morning star.
- The morning star refers to the planet Venus when it appears in the sky before sunrise.
- In 2 Peter 1:19, the morning star metaphorically represents the soon return of Christ.
- In Revelation 2:28 and 22:16, Jesus calls himself the morning star, meaning he is the light that shines in the darkness.
- The morning star represents Jesus coming to rule as King, bringing justice, light, and hope to the world.
- For believers, Jesus as the morning star means his presence and glory will continually increase in their lives.
The Morning Star in 2 Peter 1:19
The first reference to the morning star is in 2 Peter 1:19 (NKJV):
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
Here Peter compares the morning star to the dawning of a new day. He speaks of a “prophetic word” which points ahead to the return of Christ, using symbolic language about the morning star rising in believers’ hearts.
In the first century Roman Empire, the morning star Venus represented victory. So the “morning star rising” indicates the imminent return of Christ in victory and judgment. As the dark night precedes the dawn, evil reigns in the world for a time. But the morning star brings the light of day, overcoming darkness.
Peter is giving this encouragement to suffering Christians. Though times are dark, the dawn of Christ’s return brings hope. Believers have prophetic Scripture as a guiding light until Christ, the morning star, rises to consummate his kingdom.
So in 2 Peter 1:19, the morning star represents the coming victory of Christ at his second coming, bringing the daylight of his rule and reign to the world.
Jesus as the Morning Star in Revelation
The other New Testament references to the morning star are in Revelation 2:28 and 22:16, where Jesus proclaims himself to be the morning star.
Let’s look first at Revelation 2:28 (NKJV):
And I will give him the morning star.
This verse comes at the end of Jesus’ letter to the church in Thyatira. Thyatira was a city in Roman Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey. Jesus rebukes this church for tolerating “Jezebel,” a false prophetess who led people into sexual immorality and idolatry.
Despite the church’s compromises, Jesus encourages Christians who have “kept My word” and “do not hold this teaching.” He promises to give these faithful believers “authority over the nations,” meaning resurrection life ruling with Christ (cf. Rev. 2:26-27).
The reward for their faithfulness is the “morning star.” Just as Venus rules the sky at dawn, so faithful believers will share in Jesus’ rule over the nations during the Messianic age.
Now let’s look at Revelation 22:16 (NKJV), where Jesus declares at his second coming:
I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches.** I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.**
This verse comes near the end of Revelation, right before the climactic return of Christ. Jesus again associates himself with the morning star, this time calling himself “the Bright and Morning Star.”
The title “Root and Offspring of David” identifies him as the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. As the coming King of David’s dynasty, Jesus is the morning star announcing the new dawn of his messianic reign. All the prophecies and hopes find their fulfillment in him.
So in these verses from Revelation, Jesus is the morning star signaling his coming as conquering King to reward his faithful people and establish his kingdom on earth.
The Meaning of Jesus as the Morning Star
When Jesus calls himself the morning star in Revelation, he takes a familiar natural image and fills it with symbolic meaning. Let’s explore some of the significance for Jesus as the morning star:
1. Jesus overcame darkness at his resurrection
In the ancient world, morning stars were seen as overcoming the darkness of night. At daybreak the morning star heralds the coming sun and the power of its light.
This fits with Jesus’ resurrection after his crucifixion. On Easter morning Jesus emerged from the grave, having conquered sin and death (1 Cor. 15:54-57). The darkness of evil could not overcome him (John 1:5). Like the morning star foreshadows daylight, Jesus’ resurrection foreshadows the coming dawn of God’s kingdom on earth.
2. Jesus brings light and hope to the world
As the morning star overcomes night, so Jesus brings the light of truth, justice, and hope. The world lies in darkness and desperate need of salvation (Rom. 1:18-32). Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, he provides forgiveness, redemption, and restoration. He is the only source of salvation and life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Believers have hope because of Christ’s coming and his promise to make all things new (Rev. 21:5). The morning star means the darkness is almost past and a new day of Christ’s rule has arrived.
3. Jesus is the promised King and Conqueror
The morning star was historically linked to kingship and emperors. Caesar Augustus even considered himself the incarnation of Venus, the morning star. But Scripture says Jesus is the true King and Conqueror, prophesied to rule the nations with a rod of iron (Psalm 2; Rev. 12:5, 19:15).
As the morning star signals sunrise, the nations will one day wake up to the rulership and reign of Christ the King. The morning star means the kingdom of God nears and the Messiah will establish his capital in Jerusalem.
4. Jesus is coming for his bride, the church
In the ancient world, Venus as the morning star announced sunrise and the coming of a new day. As morning star, Jesus foreshadows his return for the church, his bride.
The New Testament often portrays Jesus as a bridegroom and the church as his beloved bride (Matt. 25:1-13; Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7). Christ’s coming for his bride is like the morning star signaling the dawn of a new day.
The morning star means Christ is returning soon for his waiting bride, to live with him forever. His people eagerly await the sunrise of their full redemption.
The Morning Star for Believers
What does it mean for Christians that Jesus is the morning star? Let’s look at some key implications for believers:
1. Jesus’ presence dispels darkness in our hearts
Before knowing Christ, we were in spiritual darkness (Eph. 5:8). Our hearts were darkened by sin and turned away from God’s truth (Rom. 1:21). But when Jesus, the morning star, rises in our hearts, he dispels sin’s gloom and brings the light of salvation (2 Cor. 4:6).
As morning star, Jesus enlightens our hearts to know God’s love, grace, and truth. His presence within through the Spirit transforms us from the inside out.
2. Jesus’ coming gives us hope for the future
For followers of Christ, this evil age is not the end of the story. Jesus as the morning star means he is returning to make all things new. No more sin, suffering, darkness, tears, pain, or death (Rev. 21:1-5).
Believers have an unshakeable hope because Jesus is coming quickly (Rev. 22:7,12). The morning star means our redemption is drawing near. We look forward to Christ’s return and the glorious dawn of God’s eternal kingdom.
3. Jesus’ glory increases as we reflect him
As morning star, Jesus promises to give his light to believers who faithfully follow him (Rev. 2:26-28). The more we yield to Christ’s lordship, turn from sin, and obey him, the more his light shines in our lives.
The morning star rises in our hearts as we grow into Christ’s image (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18). When others see us, they get glimpses of the coming King and his approaching kingdom. We live each day to reflect the morning star.
So what does “morning star” mean in the Bible? In summary, it is a symbol and description of Jesus Christ in his glory, sovereignty, and soon return.
As morning star, Jesus overcomes the darkness, brings light to the world, fulfills Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah, and signals his imminent return for his beloved church.
For believers, Jesus as the morning star gives us hope, dispels the darkness in our hearts, and increases in brightness in our lives as we reflect him.
The morning star points to the dawn of a new day when Jesus returns to reign over all things. He is the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star, and the light of the world. Let’s hope fully in Christ, the morning star who promises to return soon. Maranatha!