Many of us believe that “the dayspring from on high” in Luke chapter 1 verse 78 refers to Jesus Christ. This has been the belief of conservative Christians for at least five centuries.
In the year 1537, John Rogers published the Matthew’s Bible with this note: “Christ is the day spring and giveth light to them that sit in darkness of the ignorance of God.” Also, in the late 17th century, Dr. John Collinges confidently wrote in what is known as Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible, “It is for certain Christ is meant” as the dayspring.
The problem is it’s difficult to know, without further study, who or what the dayspring from on high is at first glance. Dr. John Collinges, along with others throughout the centuries, believed for certain that it was Christ. This is what we agree to believe, but the question is why.
There are at least 5 reasons why the dayspring from on high is Jesus Christ. However, it’s somewhat difficult to arrive at this conclusion without looking at related Scriptures and “rightly dividing the word of truth.”
The Bible says, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” Below are five witnesses to prove that the dayspring from on high is Christ.
So let’s get started…
#1 The Spirit testifies of Christ
The first step, before making any conclusions, is we need to get the context, which is found in Luke 1:67-79. When we read these Scriptures, we read the prophecy of Zacharias. The Bible says, “Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost and prophesied.” Zacharias was the second man mentioned in the Bible as being “filled with the Holy Ghost.” John the Baptist, his son, was the first said to be filled (Luke 1:15). Both men are known for bearing witness of Christ.
The first thing Zacharias did when he was filled with the Spirit was prophesy. This reminds us of the importance of waiting on the power of the Spirit before prophesying. Often when someone is filled with the Spirit, he begins to proclaim truth (Acts 2:4; Acts 4:8, 31, Acts 13:9-10).
Zacharias prophesied of the salvation the Lord God of Israel had brought to the people. This salvation could be in none other than Jesus Christ, for the Spirit testifies of Him (John 15:26). Therefore, here is one reason to believe Jesus is the dayspring Zacharias declares. For the Spirit testifies of Him.
#2 The Salvation message proves Christ is the dayspring from on high
The Bible says at the end of Zacharias prophecy, “Through the tender mercy of our God… the dayspring from on high hath visited us.” And at the start of his prophecy, he says, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people.” The point is this: There are two visitations found in these Scriptures; however, the context only suggests one person: the Lord God. Therefore, the dayspring must be a reference to God.
The Bible says that the Lord God of Israel hath visited and redeemed His people. It also says through God’s mercy the dayspring hath visited us (the people). This is obviously a prophecy of the coming Saviour and Redeemer. However, it says through the mercy of God, the dayspring hath visited us, seemingly speaking of someone other than the Lord God. Often the Bible speaks like this to prove the deity of Christ, because in reality, God came as Christ (1 Timothy 3:16). We see further examples of this in creation, for God created everything by Christ (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:9-20), yet it was God who created everything. Therefore, the visitation from on high was Jesus Christ, sent from God, as God in the flesh.
In reference to Christ, the Bible says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” The Son of God is the stone which the builders (Jews) rejected (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17). The dayspring from on high is a person, and that person is Jesus Christ, because Jesus visited the people. Hopefully you can see the correlation.
We also know that this is a reference to Christ, because He is our Redeemer (Isaiah 54:5). Zacharias’ prophecy brings hope of salvation and redemption. His own son was to “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.” And we know there is salvation in none other than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
# 3 The Scriptures support Christ as the dayspring
The Scriptures are the final authority for everything a Christian should believe about God and life. They approve or disapprove our actions, beliefs, and doctrine (teaching). There are times when we have difficulty interpreting God’s Word. In these times, the best action is to compare other Scriptures. The Bible does a fantastic job of explaining itself!
To get greater insight to a word, usually the best practice is to look at the first place it’s mentioned in the Bible. In our case, the dayspring from on high isn’t mentioned, but we do find the word dayspring in the book of Job (Job 38:12-15).
The dayspring in Job and Luke are somewhat different, in that the dayspring in Luke is from on high. The Bible says the Lord dwelleth on high (Psalms 113:5-6). Therefore, we have scriptural support that the dayspring from on high is the Lord Jesus Christ!
In Job’s account, God speaks to him about the condition of wicked men, He says, “And from the wicked, their light is withholden.” This can imply two things: 1) The dayspring is something that gives light; 2) The light reserved for the wicked was held back at this time.
In contrast to the condition of the wicked, which is darkness, the dayspring in Job denotes light. The Bible says it stands as a garment to give light upon the Earth (v. 14). Furthermore, light is often used in the Bible as a garment (Psalms. 104:1-6).
Looking at Luke 1:79, we see the purpose of the dayspring from on high is also “To give light;” therefore, the dayspring in both accounts gives light.
The Bible uses the word dayspring as a light in these verses of Job and Luke. Therefore, we conclude that the dayspring is a light, even as the Matthew’s Bible says.
#4 The Son of Zacharias preached Christ as the light
Seeing that the dayspring from on high is God, and knowing that Jesus Christ was God manifest, we can already conclude that the dayspring in Luke’s Gospel is a metaphor for Christ. However, it never hurts to dig a little deeper.
The dayspring is a light, and we know from John the Baptist’s witness Jesus was that light.
John 1:6-13: There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John and his father Zacharias both proclaimed the same light. It’s obvious the true light in these Scriptures is Christ. It is Jesus Christ coming as the Lord God of Israel to bring salvation. Again, this salvation is only in Christ.
Therefore, through the witness of the son of Zacharias, we know who Zacharias meant when he spoke of the dayspring from on high. It was the Saviour of the people: Jesus Christ.
#5 The Son of God declares Himself as the light
Christians believe Jesus Christ is the light of men (John 1:4). The Bible says in John chapter 1 verse 7, John the Baptist “came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe.”
John confessed that he was not the Christ (John 1:20), but his purpose was to testify of Christ. His testimony was so that men might believe Jesus was the light of the world. Even Jesus Himself said on different occasions that He was the “light of the world” (John 8:12, 9:5). The dayspring from on high is another way to say the light of the world, because it is the garment of the world, and the garment is light.
The problem is “men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). Men who reject Jesus Christ love darkness! Life without Christ is dark. All unbelievers are in a state of darkness. There only hope is that enlighten them with the knowledge of Christ.
Jesus Christ first came to the Jews to bring about salvation, but they did not receive Him, instead they crucified Him! The Bible says, “The people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” This is the dayspring from on high! The fifth reason to believe Jesus is the dayspring from on high is because He said so.