By Horatius Bonar
"And I will also give him the morning star."--Revelation 2:18-29.
He who speaks in Jesus Himself. He spoke to His Asian Churches once--He speaks to us now. He speaks directly--He speaks from heaven. 'I, Jesus, have sent;' and again, 'Behold, I come.' He is the speaker of these sure words of prophecy--'He who hat an ear, let him hear!'
He speaks as a promiser. It is to something future that He points the eye of His Churches--the things 'not seen,' the 'things hoped for,' in their sevenfold fullness and glory. His discourses on earth referred to these futurities in a very general way--and often not at all. The two great futurities of which He then spoke were, (1) the Holy Spirit, as the promise of the Father; and (2) His own return. Here His promises all pertain to the glory. He takes these things for granted, and proceeds to speak of others.
He speaks a giver. 'I will give.' He has been a giver from the first. He was Himself the Father's gift, and He is the depositary of all gifts for us, present or future. All is gift--even the rewards are gifts, not wages. For wages are measured by bargain, or desert, or profit--but these gifts are beyond all measure and desert!
He speaks to the overcomers. Though the gifts are not wages, yet they depend on our winning a battle. They are something beyond mere salvation. In believing we are saved; but there is something more than this held out to us--and that something is the reward to the fighters of the good fight. You say, 'I believe.' It is well; but is that all? No! it is but the first step. The battle now begins--and to cheer you on, the prize is hung out to view. You are not to fight for nothing. Your Captain, who leads you to victory, will share His spoils with you. He will lavish the whole treasury of His gifts upon His faithful soldiers. What will He not give of glory and honor and blessedness in His kingdom forever?
He speaks of the MORNING STAR. This is His promised gift, and a very glorious one it is. Let us inquire about this 'star of the morning'.
(1) What is NATURALLY. It is not any star that appears in the morning, but one--one 'bright particular star'--a star to which the special name belongs; a star which, above all others, is known for its splendor, and is connected with the departure of the night and the arrival of the day. It is the fairest and brightest of the bright and fair; especially as it is seen rising over the Mount of Olives. It says, Night is done--day is coming--the sun is about to rise.
(2) What is SYMBOLICALLY. Christ Jesus--He is the Star. 'I am the bright and morning star' (22:16). He is the giver and the gift; as if He said, 'I will give him myself as the morning star.' In Him all that is comprised in the idea of morning star is found and displayed. He says--Night is just at an end; day is about to dawn; the sun is about to rise. Forerunner of day--yet also day itself. Sun of righteousness--yet also morning star. Bright and fair to look upon; attractive and glorious; joy of the traveler, or the sailor, or the night-watchman. He is the Star of Jacob; the glory, not of Israel only--but of the earth.
(3) What it is PROPHETICALLY. We get Christ, in believing, just now, but we do not get Him as the 'morning-star'. That is yet to come. His 'unsearchable riches' are yet to be unfolded. The day of the bringing forth of the gems and glory is yet future. It is the day of His second coming. Then it is that He rises on our world as the morning star. There are three periods to which Scripture points our eye--
(1) the present, which it calls night, during which we get Christ as our light personally, and in that light the earnest of the future glory. 'I am the light of the world--he who believes on me shall not walk in darkness.'
(2) the millennial period, which ends the night, and which is not yet full day. 'Joy comes in the morning.' This is the period of the morning star; the second coming; the first resurrection; the deliverance of creation; the restoration of Israel, and the kingdom of the saints. It is to this that the promise here refers, 'I will give him the morning-star;' and it corresponds with the 20th of the Revelation, 'Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.' It is something very bright and glorious, yet not perfect--intermediate between night and noon.
(3) The eternal state. There the full sun shines in its noonday glory. All is perfection; every trace of the curse is wiped away; every cloud and mist pass off; the new heavens and the new earth are manifested in their perfect glory.
1. Seek to be sons of the morning. In one aspect this is identical with being children of light and day. But it expresses more. Such have their special portion in the glory and freshness of the dawn. They catch the first ray of coming sunshine. The world's night will soon be done--and all whose portion is in it shall perish with it. But the morning comes! Let us seek our portion there, and, seeking it, be conformed to the glory which is then to be revealed. Live, and act, and walk--as sons of morning. Let the world recognize you as such. Let there be rays of dawn seen upon you.
2. Live upon your future eternal prospects. The 'things hoped for' are the Christian man's prospects--prospects in which there is no uncertainty, and over which there hangs no cloud. Look at them; study them; keep them constantly before your mind. Fix your eye upon the morning-star. Draw strength, joy, comfort, vigor, out of them. They are meant to yield all these.
3. Live up to your future eternal prospects. They are very bright, unspeakably glorious--live accordingly. Live worthy of your hope. Aim high. Set your affections on things above. Be not conformed to this world. Take up a high and true position. Forget the things behind; reach forward to that which is before. Press toward the mark. Be molded by these blessed hopes. Think of the morning, and the morning star--keep separate from the night, and the men of the night--and the things of the night.
4. Seek to make other partakers of your future eternal prospects. Say to all you meet with, Will you go with us? We are traveling eastward to the land of the morning; for we are children of the morning--will you not cast in your lot with us? Pity a dark world, and its dark children--who have no hope and no morning before them. Point out the morning-star to them; bid them look at it; tell them what its anticipated brightness has done for you. Win souls to Christ. Draw many into the kingdom by your words and by your walk. There is little time to lose; for the coming of the Lord draws near!