I am descended from the family of David, I am the bright morning star. Revelation 22:16
The book of Revelation was primarily written to comfort the faithful who suffered many hardships and were persecuted by the Roman rulers. When Paul wrote the letter to the Romans in 55-57 AD the persecution had already started and it gained momentum under Emperor Nero in 64 AD. After the temple was destroyed in 70 AD both Christians and Jews were persecuted more severely.
During the rule of Domitianus (81 – 96 AD) it went from bad to worse. The book of Revelation was written during his rule to strengthen the Christians in their faith and give them something to look forward to during the dark times they were experiencing.
Although many Christians came from the Greek-speaking world, a large number of Christians were Jews. For them, our verse for the day would have held great significance. As we can see from the genealogy in Matthew chapter one, it was very important to be able to trace the lineage of Jesus back to King David, probably because of the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse.” Jesse was the father of King David. John wanted the believers to know that although the emperor had power over life and death here on earth, Jesus was King of heaven and earth.
The metaphor of the bright morning star was used to encourage the believers who might have felt lost in a night of persecution. We all know that when the morning star appears in the sky, the night is almost over. Maybe we should think of the prophecy made by Balaam in Numbers 24:17: “I look into the future, And I see the nation of Israel. A king, like a bright star, will arise in that nation …”
We might not suffer persecution, but we might sometimes feel lost in a very dark night. Remember then that the bright Morning Star is also the sign to us that even the darkest night will pass. Jesus is indeed King over every dark night.
Prayer: We are grateful, Lord, that we are not persecuted because of our faith. Thank you for being with us and holding us very tightly when we sometimes see only darkness around us. Amen