The Bright Morning Star

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.”
Revelation‬ ‭22‬:‭16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus confirmed the reason why John had been given this vision, that we have been reading about in the Book of Revelation. It was a “message for the churches”. And what a message! As we have been following it, our tortuous journey has taken us through many different scenarios, some easy to understand, others not so. But through it all, Jesus’s concern and care for His church shines through, a Royal thread sealing the contents for eternity.

In today’s verse, Jesus starts by confirming that it was Him who sent the angel to be with John, an angel acting as a projectionist, as though rolling the films that have made up the End Time story. Interspersed with the visuals there were moments of audio, podcasts declaring Jesus’ messages. And Jesus then declares once again, as if we didn’t already know, who He is.

Jesus said He is “the source of David and the heir to his throne”. He, of course, was referring to the Jewish King, who ruled in Israel around 1,000 BC. Right at the beginning of the New Testament, in Matthew 1:1, we read, “This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham:”. So Jesus was confirming His human lineage right back to David and even before. But He mentioned David, because it was through a vision given to him by Nathan the prophet that confirmed Jesus’s Royal status, to come at the end of time. We read part of Nathan’s prophecy in 2 Samuel 7:12-14a, “For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son….. ”. Jesus didn’t just “pop-up” in history, with no pedigree, no mandate. God had ordained His future role – it was part of His plan for mankind, for peoples blighted by sin and wickedness. And the reference Jesus made to David confirmed His humanity, as well as His divinity.

Jesus continued to inform John that He is “the bright morning star”. For those astronomers amongst us they will know that the morning star, the planet Venus, appears at dawn, just before the sun rises. Some Bible interpreters have concluded that this means Jesus will return first for His church before returning for His people, Israel. But whatever we decide, when He appears in the sky it will precede something significant.

So the usual question. What does all this mean for us pilgrims? We must carefully consider the messages contained in Revelation. There are many. This is, at first sight, a rather scary and complex book, but interspersed through it there are nuggets of gold, designed to correct us, to encourage us, and to guide us. We need to read it frequently, and discern the times.

Dear Lord. Thank You for Your care, Your love, Your provision. The spiritual food contained in this book will sustain us on our journey through life. We thank You. Amen.

God’s Mysterious Plan

“Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand toward heaven. He swore an oath in the name of the One who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and everything in them, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it. He said, “There will be no more delay. When the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as He announced it to His servants the prophets.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭10:5-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We return to the picture of the huge angel standing astride the sea and land. He raises his hand to Heaven and swears an oath in the name of God. And he then made an announcement, that “God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled”. Do we swear oaths in the name of God? I suppose the nearest we get to such an event is in a court of law, when we take the witness stand. And raising a Bible in our right hands, we declare an oath, “I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. There is something significant and solemn about such an occasion. And the angel declared an oath in God’s name, affirming without doubt that “God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled“. This event was to take place when the seventh trumpet is blown.

In Ephesians, Paul wrote about what God intends to happen one day. Paul called it a “mysterious plan”  and that description continues in John’s writings. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:9-10, “God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfil his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.” So the angel’s announcement that “God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled” implies that this must be the “right time” referred to by Paul. All those End Times prophecies in both the Old and New Testament are about to be completed.

We all make plans but they are hardly a mystery. We plan our holidays. We plan our lives. We plan the week ahead. And once the plan has been made, we communicate it to those around us, those who will be affected by it. Before the foundation of the world, God made a plan. We read in Ephesians 1:4, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” God could see that one day sin would enter the perfect world that He had made and He needed to make provision for mankind to be reconciled to Him. And the plan was absolutely amazing. Who would have ever thought that the Creator of the Universe would plan to allow His Son to come to this earth as a human being and end up being crucified on a Roman cross, to redeem the sins that had so blighted the world He had created? God didn’t tell anyone about this part of His plan right at the beginning, but instead revealed that the Messiah would come through His prophets, warning the peoples of their times about what was to come. And their prophetic voices continued with what would happen after the Messiah had returned to Heaven. The Book of Daniel is a fascinating read.

Paul revealed more about God’s “mysterious plan” in Ephesians 3. We read “God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:10-11‬). God’s plan didn’t end with the coming of Jesus. As mankind embraced His Son, the plan continued with the creation of the Church, to be His Son’s bride, holy, spotless and unblemished, free from sin and wickedness. And at the Time of the End, the Kingdom of God will finally reign supreme. Jesus spoke much about His Kingdom during His time here in Planet Earth. He taught during His short time here on earth that His Kingdom was near. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” Isn’t it both humbling and amazing that pilgrims like us are instrumental in bringing about the end times through our sharing of the Gospel? Through sharing our messages of hope, our testimonies, with our neighbours and friends. In our communities and nations.

But we look around us in our wicked and war-torn world, and wonder if the End Times have already started? Hmmm..

Father God. We thank You that Your plan for mankind is still in process and that You have graciously allowed us time to become part of Your family. Once again I pray that we would have more opportunities to share Your Good News with those around us, giving them the chance of joining Your family as well. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


“Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, 
and I will go in and thank the Lord. 
These gates lead to the presence of the Lord, 
and the godly enter there.”
Psalms‬ ‭118:19-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Gates. What picture comes into our minds when we think about gates? There’s the wooden gate at the entrance to someone’s garden. Or the motorised gate that can be triggered remotely to allow a vehicle through. Wrought iron fancy gates are sometimes fashionable. Or perhaps a substantial oak door complete with cast iron studs. The picket gate in the gatehouse, perhaps, at the entrance to a churchyard. But whatever pictures we form in our minds, the Psalmist highlights three things about the gate that is set before him. Firstly, he has to ask someone else to open it – its not something that he can do. Secondly, he has to be righteous to go through it,  and thirdly, once through the opened gate, he can join the godly to enter God’s presence. And the reason he wanted to go through it was to thank the Lord. What a gate that must have been! 

But many years later, Jesus made an astonishing statement. He said, as recorded by the Apostle John in John 10:9, “Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures.” But is Jesus the Gate described in Psalm 118? Is this a prophetic glimpse of the coming Messiah? Well, Jesus is the Gate, the Someone who opens the gate for us. I once was shown around the cash handling hall in a major British bank. To get in was difficult. It needed someone to vouch for me, and sign me into the compound in which the cash hall was located. And this analogy aptly describes what Jesus does for us. He vouches for us, and because we have been saved through His blood shed for us at Calvary, we can securely and confidently enter His gate. You see, to enter the Gate that is Jesus we meet the qualifications required to get in. And the essential qualification is righteousness. Only the righteous can enter into God’s presence. Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthian church, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God“. Because Jesus took on Himself all our sins, past present and future, we can receive the gift of God and stand righteously before Him. Lastly, when we pass through the Gate we enter into God’s presence. In Hebrews 10:19 we read, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.” 

The Psalmist asked for the gates to be opened. Tick. The Psalmist said the righteous can enter. Tick. We can go into God’s presence. Tick. So what the psalmist said in Psalm 118 was confirmed many years later by the first coming of Jesus. However, there is just one more thing we must do once we are in the presence of the Lord. That is, we must thank Him, and never stop thanking Him. Joining with many saints around the world and in past, present and future times. Thanking God for all He has done for us. Must be worth an amen?

The Messiah Comes

“The Lord swore an oath to David
    with a promise He will never take back:
“I will place one of your descendants
    on your throne.
If your descendants obey the terms of My covenant
    and the laws that I teach them,
then your royal line
    will continue forever and ever.”
For the Lord has chosen Jerusalem;
    He has desired it for His home.
“This is My resting place forever,” he said.
    “I will live here, for this is the home I desired.
I will bless this city and make it prosperous;
    I will satisfy its poor with food.
I will clothe its priests with godliness;
    its faithful servants will sing for joy.
Here I will increase the power of David;
    My Anointed One will be a light for My people.””
Psalm 132:11-17 NLT

It’s Christmas Day, Folks. And believe it or not, there were prophetic verses in the Psalms that pointed forward to the coming Messiah. Part of the prophesy in these verses has been realised. For example, David was an ancestor of Jesus and His genealogy can be seen in Mathew 1. But other verses are yet to come to fruition – puzzling until we realise that Jesus is going to come again. And in this context we see that He will make His home in Jerusalem. It will be a prosperous city, spiritually rich with Godly priests, full of joy and singing and Jesus will be the Light for all. 

But today we celebrate the first coming of Jesus. That amazing event when God Himself, through the Person of His Son, came to this earth, taking on a human body, starting His life as a baby, living a life like us. All because we were a lost people, part of the human race, heading through a sin-filled life into a lost eternity. He came first to His own people, but taught that God loved everyone and wanted none to perish and come to a dark and dismal end. 

Sadly, today, this day of remembrance has turned into a materialistic cacophony of tinsel and turkey, crackers and crackling, drinking and dozing, giblets and gadgets, where even the “Happy Christmas” has been replaced by “Happy Holiday”. The spirit of the world doesn’t want the challenge of having to face into the reality that Jesus, God’s Son, was born as a human being with one mission – to reconcile them to God Himself – if they would only accept His invitation. So today, as we enjoy a meal together with our loved ones, perhaps we should remember that Jesus is the Light, sent to guide us on our pilgrimage through life to a time when we can join Him. He was the first born of many brothers and sisters – He has gone before us to prepare a place where “His faithful servants will sing for joy“. Don’t forget that there will be others around us who perhaps are on their own this Christmas, and who would like the Light of the World, Jesus, to illuminate their lives too.  If you are one of them, remember that you are not alone – there are three other People with you – Jesus, Father God and the Holy Spirit. Oh – thinking about Jesus being the Light of the World – are we not His torch bearers?