March 6, 2024

Carl & Joy Follingstad
"Jesus says, 'I am the root and the descendent of David, the bright morning star […] To the one who conquers I will also give the morning star'”
Revelation 22:16; 2:28 NRSV

I’ve always been captivated by stars and planets. My Dad had wall charts of the Milky Way and Universe hung up all over his study. I got my first telescope early on and devoured the lore behind the constellations. Later on in our missionary life, when we lived in a village in northern Nigeria, I had great views of the heavens; our village had no electricity and was completely dark by the force of nature! I still remember the light-giving joy of my star and planet gazing while lying down, yet looking up from the roof of our water tank. This hobby was life-giving to me during the difficult and challenging time of those early days of language learning, cross-cultural adjustment, bush-living, and not a little sickness. The planet Venus, especially, was always easily identifiable by its brightness.

In Revelation 22:16, Jesus describes himself as the “Bright Morning Star,” a Biblical phrase that refers to the planet Venus, a symbol of victory, and John uses it as a symbol of Jesus’ victory over death, playing on the ancient prophecy of the future Messiah, “a star will arise from the house of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17). The rising of Venus in the sky often announces the arrival of dawn, of new light. In the same way, Jesus — “The Bright Morning Star,” will bring in a victorious new day of resurrection after a long, dark age of sin and death.

Jesus even promises to give His persecuted believers that same “Morning Star” of victory (Rev 2:28) — that is, He promises to transfer to us His victory over death and sin despite the dark worldly circumstances. I find that ‘astronomically’ encouraging! So now, when I look up and see the light of the planets and stars — and especially Venus — in the midst of the dark night sky, I am reminded that Jesus is victorious over death and sin’s darkness.