Rev. Kuiper is pastor of Southeast Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The stars were created by God’s Word of power on the fourth day of the creation week, along with the sun and moon (Gen. 1:16). We ought not accept the view of scientists that the sun is simply the closest star, and a rather small one at that; God created the sun specifically to rule the day, and the moon and stars to rule the night. The seed promised to Abraham is compared to the stars of the heavens for multitude (Gen. 15:5, etc.), but God is able to count the stars (Ps. 147:4). The stars form one of Sabaoth’s hosts, fighting in behalf of Israel (Jud. 5:20). Stars cause wonder and humility when the believer contemplates them (Ps. 8:3); are reminders of God’s mercies (Ps. 136:9); praise their Maker (Ps. 148:3); are useful for navigation (Acts 27:20); and differ in glory from the sun and moon, and even from other stars (I Cor. 15:41).
The Holy Spirit uses stars in the Scriptures as a figure for various spiritual entities. They stand for the large number of angels that Satan drew down with himself in his rebellion against God (Rev. 12:4). False teachers are compared to wandering stars, probably comets, which do not keep to God-ordained pathways but wander at will (Jude 13). Strikingly, stars also stand for the angels, or gospel ministers, of the seven churches of Asia Minor (Rev. 1:20). The church of the old dispensation is described in Revelation 12:1 as a woman with child (Christ), clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. The church of God is altogether glorious, and her crowning glory of twelve stars represents the glory of God in electing her, saving her, all by His wonderful grace. The day star (II Pet. 1:19), the morning star (Rev. 2:28), and the bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16) are references to Jesus Christ, and are promised to them who hold fast to the Scriptures, faithfully overcome in battle, and wait for Christ’s coming. Christ is the truth of Scripture, the One in whom we can do all things, and whose salvation is our reward.
Since there will be no sun or moon in the new heavens and new earth, neither will there be any night (Rev. 21:23, 25), we may say that there will be no stars in the new creation either; for the glory of God and the Lamb shall be the light of it. At the end of the world, when the need for symbols and figures is past, God will roll up the heavens as a scroll (Is. 38:4; Rev. 6:12-14), the stars shall fall from heaven (Matt. 24:29) and shall be destroyed.
At this time of year, Christians everywhere love to think on the Star. We remember that wicked Balaam could not but bless the Israel of God, saying, “There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Num. 24:17). Accordingly, God announced the birth of the Christ to the wise men in the East with a star. Having seen “his star” (Matt. 2:2 ff.), they came to worship the “born King of the Jews.” After they failed to find the King in Jerusalem, the star reappeared and led them to Bethlehem and the exact house where Jesus lived. This star was not the conjunction of two planets, or a brilliant comet, or a nova, but a specially created star- a wonder of God! What a fitting sign of the true Light that came into the world (John 1:7-9), who lightens the Gentiles, is the glory of God’s people Israel (Luke 2:32), and gives light to them that sat in darkness (Is. 9:2; Luke 1:79).
What a perversion to call actors, actresses, athletes, and such like, stars! Call them what they are: idols. Christ is the Star! His glory differs from, and is infinitely greater than, the glory of all others. When Christ arises in our hearts, the darkness of death is driven out, and we have the light of life which shineth unto the perfect day. Then the glory of God in Christ will radiate everywhere, even through us! With the wise men, bow before His scepter, and offer Him royal gifts of thanksgiving.