In Revelation 22:16, John records a bold claim from Jesus: “I am both the source of
David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star” (NLT). Jesus is both the source
and heir of David’s throne. The NASB translation uses the terms “root” and “descendent.” What
does this claim mean?
Heir or descendent refers to how the Messiah will come from the line of David (as prophesied in
Isaiah 11). Source or root refers to how Jesus created this line. Since Jesus is both the source
and heir, His claim is one of complete control. Therefore, only the Messiah can offer true
The second claim in Revelation 22:16 is one often missed. Jesus says He is the bright morning
star. Everyone in the ancient world knew about the bright morning star. It was the brightest spot
in the sky after the sun and moon. Poets and artists used the star to refer to someone or
something standing out. You find it throughout ancient literature. You find the bright morning
star in paintings like Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.
Ancient scholars discovered that the “morning star” and “evening star” were the same celestial
bodies. The first star to appear is also the last star to disappear. They are one and the same.
How else does Jesus describe Himself in Revelation 22? Check out verse 13: “I am the Alpha
and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and End, the Source and Heir.
Advent reveals how Jesus isn’t just the brightest star. He’s the star that begins and ends it all. In
Matthew 2, sometime after Jesus’ birth, a group of magi come to recognize the rightful king.
How did they know where to go? A star.
What about the star? Some believe it was an actual star. Others think perhaps a comet or
meteor. It may have been these things, but it pointed to something greater. These wise men
knew where to go. They followed the glory of God.
Look up to the sky on a clear night. Before the other stars come out, there is one shining
brightly. It’s obvious. We know more about this star now. It’s fundamentally different than the
other stars. It’s made of rock, not gas. It reflects the sun. The bright morning star is the planet
When John wrote Jesus’ words in Revelation, there is no way he could have known the science
behind the bright morning star. Perhaps he thought it was just as far away as the other stars. In
reality, it’s 175,000 times closer than the closest star.
The bright morning star is in a class of its own—unlike the other stars, closer than the other
stars, and brighter than the other stars. Jesus is brighter than you can imagine. Jesus is closer
than you realize.