The Morning Star

Revelation 22  •  15 min. read  •  grade level: 6
CHRIST presents Himself to us as “the bright and Morning Star,” which appears just before the day. Whatever manifestation of glory there may be, all glory is connected with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. For “to him every knee shall bow;” and that it should be so, He will come again. It must be the desire of our hearts to see the evil set aside which has desolated this lower world, that had gone wrong and been blighted by man's sin and unfaithfulness to see all set right.
In the seventh verse He says, “Behold I come quickly.” The Lord announces that He is coming, and gives the prophecy with “blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book,” —they who listen and take heed. But He applies His prophecy in a different way afterward in verse 12, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man,” &c. It is not in the sense of a promise, but He goes farther to pronounce what will be the character of His dealings when He comes, as a warning against negligence and indifference, and encouragement to those who have been faithful, that they might be patient and bear with the evil. “Be patient, brethren, for the judge standeth at the door.” “Behold I come quickly.” It is a solemn warning that He announces to every man's conscience: He is going to judge every man according to his work. The Lord would apply it to the saints also to keep their conscience alive to their responsibility. For as He executes judgment on the world, so the fruits of the works and ways of the saints will be shown out, but not as connected with condemnation, and not at all affecting, therefore, their salvation.
In the manifestation of a saint's life, two things are brought to light: 1st, the fruits of the operation of the Spirit of God in the walk and ways of a saint; and, 2ndly, the value of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, which at the first makes him a saint, and which is alike to all saints, to the feeblest as well as to Paul himself, In this portion there is no difference.
Christ is as much my righteousness as He was Paul's when He made an apostle of Paul. We may be very little in ourselves, but still the righteousness is the same. We have the same life and are partakers of the same glory. The many brethren all go together in Christ's blessed redemption; but then there is the reward to each according to his works. I have said so much that we may understand what the Lord's grace is. “I Jesus have sent my angel to testify these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and Morning Star.” All in which God is setting up glory on the earth will come out of that. He is the root—the source of all the promises; and He is the offspring or fulfillment of the promises, “made of the seed of David according to the flesh,” and this now as risen from the dead.
But we have a better portion as risen with Him—the same portion as Himself. He presents Himself as the bright and Morning Star. He is speaking of Himself— “I am.” It is what Christ is: what He presents to our heart and conscience, whether saint or sinner, is Himself. “I am the bright and Morning Star.” Now, it is I myself coming to put everything right. Is Christ precious to you? If Christ is not precious to you, you are at war with God. If He is not more precious to you than everything beside, then you are in a bad state as a saint. If you are tired of hearing of Him, then what God delights in wearies you, and heaven could have no charm for you. For heaven itself would not make you happy. if you have no delight in Christ; for there He is the chief object of delight. Is it still true of, you, that you see no beauty in Christ that you should desire Him? In God's sight He was perfect beauty—all loveliness; and where there is anything of God in the soul, He is the desired one, to see Him, not that we may be charmed for a moment as with a beautiful picture, but to know Him, to love Him. He has laid hold of the affections. We may not have the answer yet, but there is the desire, there is the thirst in the soul after Him, which He alone can answer. If you have no desire after Christ, and can do without Him, then your heart is still alienated from God, who delights in Him alone, and there is not a common thought between you and God; for when He is saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” you have no delight in Him, and do not know Him as the desire of your heart. I am not speaking of duties, nor of victory over this and that; but I ask whether, day by day, Christ is the desire of your heart? Oh! how often when we desire to talk of Christ, the soul turns aside the conversation from the subject, because the conscience is uneasy and knows that Christ is not loved.
The Lord, calling Himself the bright and Morning Star, awakens in our souls blessed hopes before the morning comes that is to usher in the day, thus bringing in the blessedness of that time when evil is put away before the day comes in. It has not come yet; it is the night, but our proper position lathe world is as children of the day, during the night:—that is, as having nothing in common with the world. We ought to be gracious to the world, but we are not of it; we are children of the day. Hence all that is in the world is discordant with our hope, and must be all trial to the Christian, except when he is inconsistent with himself. As connected with the Morning Star, we are associated with Christ, hid in God, and we have our portion with Him before the day comes in which “He will arise with healing in His wings.” The world will see Him then, but to us He says, I have given you a portion with myself before the day come. That is, Christ revealed to the soul as the day-star which is to usher in the day. “I will give power over the nations—He shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessel of a potter shall they be broken, and I will give him the Morning Star.” Besides all the rest, He has given us what Christ is. He will associate us with Himself. The morning star precedes the day—that is our portion with Christ—our sweet hope: a Christ revealed to the soul, before the day is come. This tells of the day coming, and is known to those who watch, who are awake in the night, they see this star, and know Him in a way the world does not. And they not only know Him in this way, but they know they have the same portion as Christ. “I will give Him the Morning Star” —thus associating us not only with the blessing of the day itself, but with Himself in the bringing in the day. It is not merely the thought that I shall have the glory, but have it with the Lord. If I am looking at the day, I shall have the glory. But if I am looking at Christ, I see Him in it and say I shall have it with Him. “So shall we ever be with the Lord.” That is all that Paul need say to comfort the Thessalonians, and the necessary effect of knowing this is, the desire that He should come. That characterizes the saint. Christ is revealed to the soul, as He is not to the world, in the consciousness that we are to be with Him and to be like Him forever. “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come.” The proper affection of the soul is to desire His coming. Christ having ascended up on high, and the Holy Ghost come down to witness of His exaltation, the eye is fixed on Him in the revelation of Himself; up there and having seen Him, the heart responds. The way He fixes the affections is by saying “I come.” In the next place, there are those in whom the Holy Ghost awakens the desire, and who can answer “Come.” That which stamps the power of the revelation of God is that the heart is really fixed on Him, and the soul desires His coming, if the world is not between our souls and Him,” to be with Him and to see Him as He is.” Can you truly say, “All here is dross and dung compared with Christ?” What we have to do is to advance in the knowledge of Christ. Now it is the character of everything in the world—all that daily occupies my soul and spirit is that which hinders my soul's satisfaction with Christ—hinders my affections flowing out to Him—hinders my communion with Him. It is the character of all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, &c., not of the Father, &c.; so that the heart gets occupied with it and cannot advance in the knowledge of Christ, nor say, the one thing I desire is, “Come, Lord Jesus.” There must be an entire estrangement from the world to say, “Come.” The next thing, the Heart must be fixed on Himself. Another thing is, the conscience must be perfect. No one could desire Christ to come, if his conscience whispered he might be punished with everlasting destruction, &c. You cannot say, Come, if your conscience is not purged. How can we have a perfect conscience? I will tell you. “As it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment, so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin,” &c. Then the coming of Christ is in connection with a perfect conscience. In speaking of a perfect conscience, I must have a perfect measure: I must look at God's judgment about sin in the perfect sacrifice of Christ. Are you in the light as God is in the light? for the light manifests all evil. What matters your conscience, if you have not been in God's presence? How often our conscience is not up to the measure which God requires! If you make a mistake, is your conscience up to the light as God is in the light? This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light. Christ has been presented to every man's conscience for life, and as the perfect pattern of life, like God, and always pleasing Him. There is the light. “The word that I speak unto you, it shall judge you in the last day.” “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart.” Christ did—are you like Christ? You know you are not up to that measure. Take Christ's life down here. He never did anything for Himself, and you never did anything but for yourself. Show me one instance in which Christ acted from mere natural affection. Was it when His mother and His brethren were without? No; for His reply was, “Who is my mother and my brethren?” Christ never did anything to please Himself, except in the sense of delighting to do the Father's will. Do you say God has sent His Son into the world to be the light of the world, and that He will after all judge by another principle`? If it be so, that the light has come into the world, have you that light? Are you like Christ? Or if not, are you condemning yourself that you are not? Have you allowed Christ His place and authority in your heart? Have you joined in the condemnation against yourself, saying, God is right—taking the judgment of God and siding against yourself? If so, the soul has taken the path of light and truth. Do you judge sin as God judges it? Not by saying, That is wrong, when it must condemn another. This is not conscience. But when you say, I am wrong, and God is right, and thereby condemn yourself, you so feel the need of grace. Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many. A perfect and effectual work is done. It was done according to God's estimate of sin; so that sin is put away in God's sight, and that makes my conscience perfect. I see here, in divine energy, Christ coming down and putting away sin according to the poor sinner's need. He did not appear without sin the first time, but with sin, in the sense of bearing it, not for Himself, but for us. Personally, He was ever without sin. When He comes the second time, it is without sin, having once borne our sins, and blotted them out forever. So entirely has He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, that He has nothing to say to sin, but, as He said, to “come again and receive you to myself.” Is there anything about sin there? No. The first time it was about sin; but He will come a second time, without sin—not to receive us in our sins, for sin is put away, but to receive us in our sins, for sin is put away, but to receive us to Himself in perfect, divine love. What! am I to be where Christ is? Yes, but not to carry my sins in there. God could not bear it, for He is perfectly holy. No. If Christ is there, all my sins are put away. Thus, the conscience being purged, there is no hindrance to my saying in full liberty of conscience, “Come.” If Christ says, “I am the bright and Morning Star,” then I have nothing to fear; but it is the joy of my soul to look for Him, and to be with Him. The affections set on Christ, and the conscience being thoroughly purged, I say, “Come.” The soul desires Christ, knowing its association with Himself as the bright and morning star, and says, “Come.” Judah said, (not Iscariot) “Lord, how is it thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” And according to this is the proper hope of the saint. “Let him that heareth say, Come.” There is the love of a known relationship. It is founded on a known relationship. One cannot love as a brother one that we do not know as a brother. I cannot love a man as my father, if I do not know him as my father, and that I am his son. It is founded on a relationship existing; so all the affections of a saint belong to a relationship already existing. Grace puts us in relationship that we may have the affections proper to that relationship. And unless I am walking in worldliness, or so as to grieve the Spirit of God, there will be the desire to see Christ, that I may be with Him, and be like Him.
When the relationship is known, there will be the love of the relationship. But you must be a wife and know it, to love like one. Well, you are one now. Conduct yourself like one. And this is true of every one who has heard the voice of the Shepherd and believed. And let him come in the consciousness of the relationship and join to say, “Come.” And I would say, if there be anyone present who has not yet got the consciousness of relationship, let him receive Christ and this relationship at once, that he may rejoice with us at the prospect of Christ as the “bright and Morning Star,” and say, “Come.” As long as we are in the world, we are where Christ is not known. I have not got my place yet in glory; but I have got the well of water springing up within me; therefore I turn in the consciousness of what I have got in myself and say, “Come.” It is the Spirit within me that awakens the desire. Why am I longing to see Him? Because I know he loves me. Why to be in the Father's house? Because it is my proper place and portion as a child. All the springs of joy are known as our own in that relationship: therefore I can say, “Let him that is athirst come.” That is, the joy I have myself in God, necessarily shows itself in love, and every desire for others to have it too.
Besides this, in Rev. 22:1616I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16), Christ is the bride's object; and the moment he says, I am the bright and Morning Star, she, directed by the Spirit, says Come. “And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” The bride is not the water of life, but she has it and can say, Come. It is Christ for the poorest sinner.