Wandering Stars

“[They are] wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” (Jude 1:13)

This short reference is somewhat enigmatic. The five “wandering stars” of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn were clearly known in Jude’s day, and their behavior had been plotted for many centuries. The Bible also uses “stars” as figures of speech for angelic beings in Job and Revelation.

It is clear in context that Jude is referencing ungodly people, most likely influential leaders in the churches who are damaging and defiling the work of the Kingdom. The particular focus of this example is that they are “reserved” for a “blackness of darkness for ever.”

Earlier, Jude cited “the angels which kept not their first estate” as being “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (v. 6). Peter alludes to the same punishment of “angels that sinned” who were delivered “into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4).

But it does not appear that Jude is speaking of angels in today’s text. Beginning in verse 8, Jude begins to tie his illustrations to people—leaders who are misusing their role and privileges for evil rather than good. All of the previous examples are obvious: filthy dreamers, natural beasts, those behaving like Cain, Balaam, or Korah—even the waterless clouds, fruitless trees, and foaming waves are easily compared to human behavior.

How do we apply this illustration? Since the Creator made all things, His revealed Word often provides insight about the true nature of the universe long before we discover it. Comets were observed in Old Testament times. Today we know that they “wander” for some time but eventually dissipate into “the blackness of darkness for ever.” Just so, these “stars” may wow some for a season, but they are reserved for an eternity in hell. HMM III


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