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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". – Paul Vargas Nov 21 '17 at 4:59
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    It might be worth adding that the English word "planets" is borrowed from the Greek πλανῆται. – fdb Nov 21 '17 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. – Pascal's Wager Jun 7 '18 at 5:44
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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 Nov 21 '17 at 16:53
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    Unfortunately wrong. asteios is from astu "city". It has nothing to do with aster "star". – fdb Nov 21 '17 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 Feb 20 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 Feb 24 at 11:26
  • 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 Mar 10 at 15:40
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"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

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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….

A WORD STUDY LIKE THIS IS A DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURE BETTER – HAVING AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOW IT USED WHERE IT IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND CAN HELP US UNDERSTAND HOW IT IS USED IN A PASSAGE WHERE IT NOT SO EASY LIKE Jude 1

  • 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 Nov 21 '17 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 Nov 21 '17 at 12:55
  • Notice Moses says "like the stars", this is different usage (simile), whereas in Jude star is used as a symbol. – Tommy Cox Green Nov 23 '17 at 16:23
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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"

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