Jude:1.4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus... Jude 1:13 Christ. raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

Since Stars shine, I want to understand why Jude refers to these men who turned grace into lewdness as "wandering stars".

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    BDAG says about the term: "only in the combination ἀστέρες πλανῆται" and "mostly of the planets, which appeared to ‘wander’ across the skies among the fixed stars". Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 4:59
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    It might be worth adding that the English word "planets" is borrowed from the Greek πλανῆται.
    – fdb
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 9:40
  • Stars are very bright, so it is a perfect analogy. Someone can start out as a saintly follower of Christ (with a soul as "bright as a star," figuratively) but later on go astray into sin and be lost for all eternity. Commented Jun 7, 2018 at 5:44
  • Interesting passage equating lewdness with denying our Lord. Chastity, then, must have been what Jesus displayed on the cross. Him crossing the head of the snake. A snake can also stand for poison, in the form of toxic consumables, but that meaning has to be secondary to the meaning of chastity Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 13:33

8 Answers 8


The Greek word behind the English 'wandering star' is planetes which is the word, both ancient and modern, for the heavenly bodies which behave other than the stars, their course being very perplexing until it becomes evident that they are circling the sun.

Their orientation is not fixed in the heavens, nor fixed according to the earth. They wander and they circle a ball of fire. The allusion is inescapable. And this is the description that Jude applies to certain people. He thus comments upon their unearthly behaviour and their inescapable destiny.

The opposite description is given to Moses, who is described as asteios - in Acts 7:20, by Stephen, and also by the writer to the Hebrews, in 11:23 - aster being the Greek term for a star that is fixed in relation to the earth and whose course is predictable.

'Fair' and 'proper' are the translations applied by the KJV to Moses when asteios is used, indicating the opposite condition to the persons commented upon by Jude.

[Note regarding comment : There is dispute as to the derivation of asteios from aster. I take my reference from 1) the link here (though obscure, I personally favour it) and 2) the fact that holy scripture never uses 'astu' for city, always using 'polis'.

Scripture has a very organised vocabulary and never expects us to go outside of it to determine meaning, I find. I know of no instance where it is necessary to refer to profane Greek literature (in order to make connections of the kind I have made here, regarding aster and asteios).

Had Stephen, or Luke, or the writer to the Hebrews wished to liken the infant Moses to that which is of the city, they would have chosen the word 'polites' - a citizen - or a close derivative. I do not accept that they would have referred to a very obscure word, never otherwise used by writers of scripture.

So, I stand by what I have written.]

Ateios from Aster

  • Excellent observation as regarding the use of "Aster" and "planetes". Thanks!!
    – user20490
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 16:53
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    Unfortunately wrong. asteios is from astu "city". It has nothing to do with aster "star".
    – fdb
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 18:18
  • So what would it mean that Moses' mom noticed that he was "starry"? And are you saying that it would mean "starry" in every place this word is used in scripture? Also, are you aware that this is the word that translates "TOV" in the LXX Exodus 2:2?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 17:39
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    -1 I consulted B-Greek and was told that "asteios" doesn't work because it does not account for the rho: ibiblio.org/bgreek/forum/viewtopic.php?p=31853#p31853
    – Ruminator
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 11:26
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    One comment seemed particularly insightful: "...Stack exchange is largely a crap shoot. The individual's "criterion" for his belief that it derives from ἀστήρ simply shows that he is ignorant of linguistics."
    – Ruminator
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 15:40

"Wandering stars" were understood to be the planets (Gr. planetes - the word used here), whose transit in the sky appeared quite chaotic in antiquity compared to the paths of the other bodies.

In his commentary on Jude, Bede (ca 672-735) explains:

The wandering stars, which are seven1 never rise or set in the same place as they did on the previous day but are seen now low on the horizon at the winter solstice, now high at the summer solstice, and now in an intermediate position at the two equinoxes. So, undoubtedly, so are the heretics, who promise the light of truth and never persevere in the stance they assume in their teaching, but now presenting their teaching in this way, now in that, they themselves certainly indicate how the manifestation of light they promise is to be rejected.2

1. In antiquity, there were thought to be seven such bodies, including the sun and the moon
2. Commentary on the Seven Catholic Epistles (tr. from Latin), p.248


These are all quite interesting and diverse answers. Just like some people enjoy nuts in their fudge, and some don't, we are all so unique and we interpret things just a little different from each other due to individual perception. Here is my take.

Jude was written long before a heliocentric model of the universe was brought up (and THEY were considered heritics at the time). Wandering stars were like Mercury in retrograde. It's chugging along to the left and one day it stops! The next day.... It's moving to the right! Unpredictable. Wandering stars were unpredictable to an ancient nomadic culture.

There is also the idea that God set them apart for condemnation'long ago'. I think we all understand that we do not understand God's time. But long ago would make me think it was before their conception. Before the heartbeat. Before their life. Did God see this behavior in advance and decide to withhold grace and mercy? I have no idea. But there could be an entire discussion on that point right there.

Then we have the accusation of turning grace into lewdness. Sounds to me like a preacher who is having marital relations outside of the marriage. Be it opposite or same sex relationships.

So if I am even close (I make no assumptions) wandering stars are people who have unpredictable behavior, possibly in ministry and perverting the scriptures to lead others into lewd or debauched behavior, and were condemned before the spark of life entered their little fetus.

And their reward? Blackness of darkness forever.

If we are the sheep, I would give a metaphorical tug on the pastor's hair to make sure they aren't a wolf in costume.

For me, I am looking forward to the void mentioned some day. I have no wish to see *loved ones or my creator. And if the hippies are right , I never want to come back to this world. Ugh. Sounds miserable.

  • Welcome, from another relatively new user! First, a personal thanks for making this comment, since it flagged the question and answer to my attention, and I haven't studied the Book of Jude in so long I don't remember the last time. It seems exceptionally relevant now. Second, I suggest you give added attention to the newer posts, in addition to researching the things that interest you. The more recent Q&A will be more likely to give you responses to your contributions. I'm GLAD you didn't do that in THIS case, though!
    – Papa Pat
    Commented Dec 4, 2019 at 18:38

What does “wandering stars” mean in Jude 1:13?

Ungodly men : This is the title given to the Epistle of Jude by the NASB, this is so because ungodly men have slipped into the congregation (verse 4 ) with the purpose of bringing moral defilement. Jude compares these ungodly men to wondering stars and calls them "wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars," (verse 13)

These ungodly men or wondering stars go from house to house and from one congregation to another [while they feast with you- verse 12 - it was the custom in those days] throwing thrash and dirt and being reckless with regards to God's laws , cast up their own shame like foam.

Also read Peter's description of such wicked men, 2 Peter 2:10-22

Below is excerpt from Gill's Exposition on Jude 1:13 on Bible hub.

Wandering stars; they are called "stars", because they have the appearance of such, and blaze for a while, in seeming light, zeal, and warmth, and in fame and reputation; and "wandering" ones, not comparable to the planets, which go their regular course, but to fiery exhalations, gliding and running stars; because they wander about from house to house, as well as from one nation to another, and being never settled in their principles, nor at a point in religion; and wander also after their own carnal lusts, and cause others to wander likewise,


The wandering Stars are God's former heavens, the Fallen creation.

Isaiah 14:12 " how you have fallen from Heaven O star of the morning, son of the Dawn! You have been cut down to the Earth, you have weakened the nation's! NASB

They would be cast down to the Earth and judged.

Then another sign appeared in heaven and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads 7 diadem's. And his tail Swept Away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the Earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. NASB

God would make a new Heaven

Revelation 12:1 A great sign appeared in heaven a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve Stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. NASB

And these are God's new heavens of which we were all born from, God's New Creation.

Jerusalem which is above is free and she is a mother of us all..." New Creation"


I just enjoyed doing a word study on stars in the Bible and conclude that the wandering stars are angels which fell with Lucifer "who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus" (Jude 1:13). Planets dont do that, it makes no sense does it?

Recommend you read the passages which use stars symbollically side-by-side. Find all the ones which appear in a symbolic way and not just talking about the stars in the sky…. [https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?search=star&version=NIV&searchtype=all]

CONSIDER HOW THEY MAY BE RELATED, WHAT DO ALL THE PASSAGES HAVE IN COMMON? They have authority, (a ruler). Could it be that the star symbolizes a ruler in the Bible? We have seen in some of these contexts, that the star in view is a different type of being....in Revelation 22 the star is Jesus Himself – So symbolizes deity – in another passage, (Job 38) the star was a created being. IN Rev 1 – it is best considered a human being. The species or type of being is not a key part of the symbolism – what they all share is the fact that they are rulers… beings with authority…angels have authority, Jesus has authority, Satan has authority if we take him as a reference in one of those… they are authority figures.

What does a star have in common with a ruler? Both exercise authority Ps 136:9 “the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever. ” they rule at night….


  • Thanks Tommy. Your study is stirring. And your answer borders on something I've been thinking about too. Abraham was told that his descendants would be "like the stars".
    – user20490
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:54
  • But I've been struggling to concatenate two interpretations of the star symbolism in a way that would be meaningful in that passage.
    – user20490
    Commented Nov 21, 2017 at 12:55
  • Notice Moses says "like the stars", this is different usage (simile), whereas in Jude star is used as a symbol. Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 16:23

The simplest solution to this question is the comment by Ellicott -

The Jews called their teachers stars, and Christian teachers are represented under the emblem of stars, Revelation 1:20; Revelation 2:1. And as the planets seem to have a very irregular motion, being sometimes stationary and sometimes retrograde, they are very proper emblems of persons unsettled in their principles, and irregular in their behaviour, such as these men were. To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness, &c. Who will soon be driven to an eternal distance from the great original of light and happiness, to which they shall never return. Thus the apostle illustrates their desperate wickedness, by comparisons drawn from the air, earth, sea and heavens.

Barnes reaches a similar conclusion

The sense seems to be, that the aid which we derive from the stars, as in navigation, is in the fact that they are regular in their places and movements, and thus the mariner can determine his position. If they had no regular places and movements, they would be useless to the seaman. So with false religious teachers. No dependence can be placed on them. It is not uncommon to compare a religious teacher to a star, Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:1. Compare Revelation 22:16.


I am a little confused. At first I thought wandering stars meant something metaphorical. It must be. Scriptural doctrines are usually parables and meant to be understood metaphorically. I read Bible. I believe in GOD. But I am not a scholar like most of people who gave replies here. I will try to explain.

My experience suggests me understand something different. It will sound something different than the previous answers given by the scholars here, but still it lies parallel to the doom of the ungodly people.

Wandering stars here means "wandering stars" literally. I saw this with my own eyes. It was a collection of 3 to 5 stars going above our house. People will think its UFO. But I think its a mysterious object yet to be understood. A spiritual experience about ungodliness preceded that evening mixed with a sense of divinity lead to see that strange object in the sky. So Jude 1 13 is a bit more thought provoking issue to me materialistically and spiritually combined. I don't neglect the metaphorical approach but also unable to neglect the experience of my very own eyes. The experience is a bit long and not mentioned here, for every minute detail regarding it is worth mentioning.

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    Can you provide anything to back up what you saw? And how do you know that what you saw relates to this passage?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 8:53
  • My own experience that I am honestly sharing is the only evidence that I've. One more thing, for a few days I was fasting and then I read about the human atrocities being done against thier fellowman. That evening itself I saw that object. Ungodly literature might impacted somewhere in my soul, I don't know and my eyes saw that. That ungodly things are condemned to darkness in jude 1 13. Its just a guess. But I am still skeptical. I think scriptures will never disregard my experience. .
    – Mystery
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 9:42
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