Jude 1:13
They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
Outer DarknessH. Macmillan, D. D.Jude 1:13
The Character and Doom of the WickedT. Manton.Jude 1:13
Wandering StarsG. B. F. Hallock.Jude 1:13
The LetterR. Finlayson Jude 1:1-25
Reasons for Resisting Evil MenJ.S. Bright Jude 1:5-16
A Vivid Picture of the Moral Corruption of the Ungodly SeducersT. Croskery Jude 1:12, 13

I. THEIR SELFISH AND SINFUL PERVERSION OF THE CHURCH'S FELLOWSHIP. "These are they who are hidden rocks in your love-feasts when they feast with you, shepherds that without fear feed themselves."

1. They, like sunken rocks, wrecked those who unsuspectingly approached them.

(1) Their profession of religion was so belied by their immoral ways, that men, taking them to be Christians, abhorred the true gospel and turned away from it to their destruction.

(2) Their evil example led others into unchristian courses to their eternal ruin.

2. They mingled, without fear or misgiving, in the loving fellowships of the Church.

(1) The love-feasts were connected with the Lord's Supper, which is itself, indeed, a love-feast. They were designed to maintain brotherly love, and especially to refresh the poor saints. They always began and ended with prayer. They were no places for self-indulgence or gluttony.

(2) These godless persons attended the love-feasts, with no fear of the Divine displeasure, with no reverence for the holy society into which they intruded themselves.

(a) It is not possible in this world entirely to separate the godly from the ungodly. It is impossible for ministers to read the hearts of men so surely as to keep a sharp line of distinction between believers and unbelievers. Yet the discipline of the Church ought to enforce a conformity to the terms of their profession.

(b) These seducers were unfit guests at a feast designed to commemorate the unity of the body of Christ and the brotherhood of all believers. "Who shall abide in thy tabernacle?"

3. They feasted themselves luxuriously, regardless of the poor. Their conduct reminds one of the shepherds of Israel. "Woe be to the shepherds of Israel, that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flock?" (Ezekiel 34:2).

(1) They feasted immoderately. "Their hearts were oppressed with surfeiting." Like the Israelites in their idolatry, "they sat down to eat and to drink" (Exodus 32:6).

(2) They wronged the poor, whom they suffered to fast while they were feasting.

II. THEIR EMPTINESS AND INSTABILITY. "Clouds without water, carried along by winds."

1. Instead of being like clouds dropping refreshing rain upon the earth, they, as rainless clouds, while promising much, were profitless and disappointing to the hopes of the Church. They could not give what they had not, but they professed to have something to give. Their deluded followers "spent their money for that which was not bread, and their labour for that which satisfied not." When people are athirst for God - " the heart punting for the water-brooks" - it is hard to find no water at hand to satisfy the soul. Yet the Lord says, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." It is a great sin to profess a goodness to which we are utterly opposed, because

(1) it profanes God's Name;

(2) it grieves the hearts of true saints;

(3) it hardens the wicked;

(4) it is utterly unprofitable to the empty professors themselves.

2. They were as unstable as clouds whirled every way by the wind.

(1) They were unstable in doctrine, carried about by every intellectual caprice, like those who halt between two opinions, and are not settled in the truths of religion. They were not "grounded and settled" because they were off the true Foundation (verse 20).

(2) They were unstable in their affections, now fervent, now cold, "framing to themselves such a moderation as will just serve the scantling of the times."

(3) They were unstable in their practical conduct. At one time they were ascetic in their ideas; then self-indulgent, loose, evil. With all their changes they begin in the flesh and end in the flesh.

(4) Christians ought to be warned against unsteadfastness. They ought to continue in the things which they have learned (2 Timothy 3:14), and not to be "tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14).

III. THEIR UTTER UNFRUITFULNESS. "Autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots." Saints arc fruit-bearing trees of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3). Where is an evident climax in this picture of the godless seducers. First, they are like autumn trees, which ought to be full of fruit, yet they are without fruit, like the barren fig tree; then they are utterly dead - dead in appearance and dead in reality; then they are like uprooted trees concerning which there can be no more hope of fruit. There is a logical as well as rhetorical fitness in the picture.

1. There was no fruit because there was no life in the tree. These godless persons were spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:2).

2. This death implies ignorance, darkness, alienation from God.

3. The torn-up roots imply not only that there is no hope of growth, but that the world sees the secret rottenness that was at the root of such trees. They will never again be taken for fruit-bearers. "From them who had not, even that which they seemed to have is taken away" (Luke 8:18).

4. The picture before us is a solemn warning to believers.

(1) It is their duty to be spiritually fruitful (Philippians 1:11; John 15:2; Colossians 1:10).

(2) They must bring forth fruit at every season, even in old age (Psalm 92:12).

(3) Believers, therefore, ought to plant themselves by the rivers of water (Psalm 1:3).

(4) They ought to guard against apostasy. "Be not high-minded, but fear."

(5) They ought, therefore, to pray for the dews of God's blessing. He alone can give the increase.

IV. THEIR SHAMELESS AND TURBULENT TEMPER. "Wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame."

1. There was a restless agitation in their life. They were "like the troubled sea, whose waters cast up mire and dirt" (Isaiah 57:20). "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Their consciences were unquiet; they were fretful and arrogant; they troubled the peace of those Churches into which they crept, by their hard speeches, their obscene talking, their blasphemous suggestions.

2. As the wild waves lash themselves into foam, these seducers throw forth upon the world all the shamefulness that was buried in their wicked hearts. "Boldly belching out their abominable opinions and their detestable doctrines;" but, above all, giving a free outlet to all licentiousness. Evil things come forth from "the evil treasure of the heart."

3. It is the lot of the Church to live in the midst of these "raging waves" of wickedness and folly.

4. The Church is most districted by enemies within her communion.

5. The enemies of God proclaim their own shame, and bring confusion upon themselves.

6. The saints ought ever to pray that the peace of God may dwell in their hearts.

V. MISLEADING GUIDES AND THEIR FUTURE DESTINY. "Wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved for ever."

1. These seducers were like stars, conspicuous by their position and their exploits. They were false lights to mislead the people into error and destruction.

2. They were wandering stars,

(1) because they kept no certain course;

(2) because they blazed brightly for a moment, then went out in darkness.

3. They threw down no light upon the world lying in darkness and the region of death.

4. It is a fearful thing to seduce others from the way of truth. "They which lead thee cause thee to err" (Isaiah 3:12).

5. God shows great forbearance even to seducers. He "endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction" (Romans 9:22).

6. Divine judgments are often in kind. The seducers who loved darkness rather than light will be plunged into still deeper darkness - "into the very blackness of darkness for ever."

7. Let believers be warned to seek the light - to walk in the light, to walk decently as in the day. - T.C.

Raging waves of the sea.
The scope of the apostle in all these similitudes is to show that these seducers were nothing less than what they pretended to be: "clouds," but dry, barren clouds; "trees," but such as bore either none or rotten fruit; "waves," that seemed to mount up unto heaven, and to promise great matters, as if they would swallow up the whole earth, but being dashed against a rock, all this raging and swelling turneth into a little foam and froth.

1. From the scope observe that spiritual boasters will certainly come short of their great promises. All is but noise, such as is made by empty vessels.

2. But let us a little examine the force of the words. The whole similitude alludeth to what is said of wicked men in general (Isaiah 57:20). Observe that they are waves, which noteth their inconstancy (Genesis 49:4). Water, you know, is movable, soon furled, and driven to and fro by the winds; so were these (Ephesians 4:14). Note thence that seducers are unsettled and uncertain in their opinions (2 Peter 3:16). Why? Because they are not rooted and grounded in their profession, but led by sudden affection and interests rather than judgment; they are unstable because unlearned; such as do not proceed upon clear and certain grounds. Well, then, discover them by their levity; you will never have comfort and certainty in following them who, like weathercocks, turn with every wind. "Waves of the sea." There you have their restless activity, they are always tossed to and fro (Jeremiah 49:23). They are acted by Satan, who is a restless spirit. "Raging waves of the sea." There you have their turbulency; they fill all places with troubles and strifes. Why? Because they are urged by their own pride and vanity, and have lost all restraints of modesty, and are usually, as to their constitution, of violent and eager spirits. Well, then, be not borne down with impudence and rage; there may be daring attempts and much resolution in an ill cause. The next expression is "foaming out their own shame," as a raging sea casteth up mire and dirt; or it alluded to that scum and froth which the waves leave upon the rocks, and so it noteth the abominableness of their opinions and practices. So errors come in like a raging wave, as if they would bear all before them, but they go out like foam and froth, in scorn and infamy. Well, then, observe the fruitless-ness of all Satan's attempts. We come now to the next similitude, "wandering stars." It may be taken two ways — properly or improperly.(1) Properly, for the stars which we call planets, or wandering, though indeed no stars wander less than they do; they have their name from the opinion and common judgment of sense, because they are not carried about the whole circuit of the heavens, but in a shorter orb and course.(2) Improperly; there are a second sort of wandering stars, which Aristotle calleth running and gliding stars; not stars indeed, but only dry exhalations inflamed, which glare much and deceive the eye with an appearance of light, but soon vanish and are quenched. Now these glancing, shooting stars do excellently express the quality of these seducers, who pretended great knowledge, being therefore called Gnostics, and gave out themselves for illuminate and profound doctors, but were various and uncertain in their motions, and soon extinguished and obscured. The guides of the Lord's people should be stars, but not wandering, gliding stars. These seducers pretended to be "stars," and great lights of the Church, but were indeed "wandering stars," and such as did seduce and cause to err.

1. Stars they should be —

(1)In regard of the light of doctrine (Matthew 5:14).

(2)In regard of the lustre of their conversations.It is said of all Christians (Philippians 2:15) that they "should shine as lights in this world"; they are the bright part of the world, as the stars are the shining part of heaven; as the star directed the wise men to Christ, so they must shine to light others by their example to Him. Alas! we are but dim lights; we have our spots and eclipses, but this sets the world a-talking.

2. They must not be gliding, falling stars; that is charged upon these seducers. A false teacher and a falling star symboliseth in three respects —(1) It is but a counterfeit star; so is he an "angel of light" only in appearance (2 Corinthians 11:14). A true Christian should covet more to be than to seem to be; to be "light in the Lord" before he is a "light in the world."(2) In respect of the uncertainty of its motion. Falling stars are not moved with the heavens, but with the motion of the air, hither and thither, and so are no sure direction. So are they inconstant in the doctrines which they teach, running from opinion to opinion; vagabond lights, that seduce, not direct, as meteors mislead travellers out of the way.(3) In regard of the fatal issue. A wandering star falleth to the ground, and becometh a dark slime and jelly; so their pretences vanish at length, and they are found to be those that were never enlightened and fixed in the firmament of God; counterfeits cannot last long; we see stars shoot in the turn of an eye, and Satan's instruments fall from heaven like lightning. Well, then, for a guide to heaven, choose a star, but not a wandering star. New light is admired, but it should be suspected rather. True stars have influences; they do not only enlighten and fill you with notions, but enflame and stir you to practice. The last clause of the text is, "to whom is reserved blackness of darkness for ever."In this threatening three things are notable —

(1)The dreadfulness of the punishment;

(2)the sureness;

(3)the suitableness of it.

1. The dreadfulness, in two circumstances —

(1)The nature of it;

(2)the duration of it.(a) The nature of it, "the blackness of darkness." It is a Hebraism for exceeding great darkness, called in the gospel "outer darkness," as being furthest from God, the fountain of life and glory, and so expressing that extreme misery, horror, and torment which is in hell. Well, then, let us not begin our hell ourselves, by shunning God's presence, by preferring carnal pleasures before the light of His countenance, by remaining in the night or darkness of ignorance or error, by darkening the glory of our holy profession through scandalous living, by sinning against conscience, and so providing food for the gnawing worm, or matter of despair to ourselves to all eternity.(b) The next thing is the duration, "the blackness of darkness for ever." The torment prepared for the wicked is everlasting (Mark 9:44). This is the hell of hell, that, as the torments there are without measure, so without end. Here they might have life and would not, and now would have death, and cannot (Revelation 20:10).

2. So much for the terribleness of the judgment; now, secondly, let us consider the sureness of it: it is "reserved." Hell torment is sure, prepared, kept for the wicked (Matthew 25). Carnal men may lord it abroad for a while, and ruffle and shine in worldly pomp, but "the blackness of darkness is kept for them."

3. Observe the suitableness of the judgment to the sin; he saith "darkness," not fire. Clouds that darken the truth are justly punished with "the mists of darkness for ever" (2 Peter 2:17). They that would quench the true light are cast into eternal darkness.

(T. Manton.)

Wandering stars
Dean Alford, with many other commentators, says, "These words, 'wandering stars,' mean comets, which astonish the world for a while and then pass away into darkness." The Bible takes up this thought about comets, or "wandering stars," and applies it to certain kinds of people. Let us trace some of the features of similarity.


II. Notice, THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE COMETS IN THAT THEY ARE EASILY SWAYED OUT OF THEIR ORBITS. The metaphor applies to unstable men, driven hither and thither by temptations, whose life presents the strongest kind of contrast to the safe, well-ordered life of Christians, more fixed, like the orbit of a planet.(a) Young friends, keep to your orbit of purpose. Have an aim and stick to it. Many a life goes to waste and ruin simply because, like an abandoned and drifting vessel, or a wandering star, no guiding purpose directs its course.(b) More important, young friends, keep to your orbit of right. Let no Jupiter attraction sway you out of it.

III. Notice, again, THAT COMETS GROW BRIGHTER AS THEY GET NEAR THE SUN AND DARKER AS THEY GO AWAY FROM IT. So do we all grow more bright and beautiful as we get near to Christ, and darker as we go from Him.

IV. Notice, lastly, THAT SOME COMETS ARE TRULY "WANDERING STARS." As unstable, disrupted ruins, they are hastening forward to a final darkness. Surely this is very suggestive of the sad ending of sin. To die in one's sins is the darkest of deaths.

(G. B. F. Hallock.)

The blackness of darkness for ever.
You have been out in a very dark night, when you could not see an inch before you, and the whole world seemed blotted out of existence. I dare say you thought that there could be no darkness deeper than that. And yet the darkest night that any one has ever seen is not the "blackness of darkness" to which the apostle alludes; for there is some light mixed with it — light which other creatures can see, such as cats and owls, though you cannot. The stars are shining all the time, and their rays are piercing through the universal gloom and lighting it up, so that it is not so dense as it would otherwise be. We know nothing of the "blackness of darkness" — darkness without light; darkness in blank, empty space. There is one spot in the visible universe that can in some measure enable us to realise the awful conception of Jude. When Sir William Herschel examined the southern part of the starry heavens on one occasion with his huge telescope, he noticed in the constellation of the Scorpion — the eighth sign of the Zodiac, into which the sun enters about the 23rd of October — a particular dark spot; and he was very much startled and said, "There is certainly a hole in the heavens there." There was in that spot a total absence of any star, or gleam of light such as elsewhere, in countless myriads, overspread the entire firmament. His son Sir John was some time afterwards at the Cape of Good Hope as Astronomer Royal, and with the same telescope, in the clear atmosphere of South Africa, he looked up at the same spot in the starry sky, and saw that his father was correct. He was, indeed, looking at a hole in the heavens, where no mortal eye with any instrument that the highest skill could devise could detect one solitary glimmer of far-off light. It is into outer darkness like that that lost souls are cast which have separated themselves from God and refused to obey His law of love and light. Human beings cannot bear darkness. There are some creatures that love it — that hide themselves under stones and in dark corners of the earth. But man was made for the light, and therefore dreads darkness more than anything else. God has given to us this instinctive fear of darkness because it is injurious to us, except during the short time that it is necessary to aid and deepen our sleep at night, which may be said to be a kind of death. He meant us to dread it and avoid it, and to live in the light. I said that in this world it is impossible to get out of the reach of light. In the natural world God has placed the orbit of our earth amid regions that are continually lit up with the light of suns and stars everywhere. And so too in the spiritual world God has placed your sphere and orbit in a region of light. The Sun of Righteousness shines upon you always. You cannot get beyond the reach of God's light. Behind the gloom in which you bury yourself by conscious and wilful sin, He works to bring you out of the darkness into His own marvellous light. God wishes you in His own light to see light upon all the great things that concern your immortal welfare. He wishes you to walk in the light, for He knows that darkness is your greatest enemy; for darkness means the loss of power to use the organs of life, the loss of enjoyment in the bright and beautiful world which He has made for your happiness, and, if carried to an extreme, the loss of life itself. Have you ever seen a root, say a potato, or a dahlia root, sprouting in a dark cellar? What a brittle, feeble, monstrous growth does it produce; the semblance of a plant, without sap, or strength, or beauty — a white, death-like ghost! But even that feeble abortive effort to grow is caused by the small quantity of light that finds its way into the darkest cellar, and cannot be shut out. But supposing that you could exclude the light altogether, and make the place absolutely dark, then not only would the root of the plant make no effort to grow, but it would wither and die away altogether; it would lose the life that it had. Complete darkness is fatal to all life. And so, hiding yourself from the light of God that shines all around you, loving darkness rather than light, because your deeds are evil, you become like blind fishes — you lose some faculty or power of your soul. You make yourself blind to the things that belong to your peace. You deprive yourself of much that is fitted to bless and ennoble your life. But separating yourself from God altogether, you would lose the life itself of your soul. Your living soul would become a dead, inanimate thing, without a pulse of love or a glow of hope. It would be all darkness — not the darkness cast by the shadow of God's presence, but the utter, deathly darkness of the absence of God. You would wander out of the region of God's light, out of the Milky Way of God's gracious influences, into outer darkness, where Dante's terrible words would be realised to the full, "All hope abandon, ye who enter here." Does not the thought of that awful "blackness of darkness for ever" urge you to cry for the light, to come to the light, to ask God to lighten your eyes lest you sleep the sleep of death — to walk in the light while you have the light?

(H. Macmillan, D. D.)

Adam, Balaam, Cain, Core, Enoch, James, Judas, Jude, Korah, Michael
Egypt, Ephesus, Gomorrah, Sodom
Age, Age-long, Astray, Black, Blackest, Blackness, Casting, Darkest, Darkness, Dense, Duration, Eternity, Foam, Foaming, Forever, Gloom, Kept, Nether, Raging, Reserved, Shame, Shames, Stars, Store, Streaming, Violent, Wandering, Waves, Wild
1. He exhorts them to be constant in the profession of the faith.
4. false teachers crept in to seduce them, for whose evil doctrine a horrible punishment is prepared;
20. whereas the godly may persevere, grow in grace, and keep the faith.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Jude 1:13

     4212   astronomy
     4266   sea
     4281   stars
     4801   black
     4812   darkness, God's judgment
     5933   restlessness
     9122   eternity, and God
     9510   hell

Jude 1:3-23

     6169   godlessness

Jude 1:4-19

     5714   men

Jude 1:8-16

     8706   apostasy, warnings

Jude 1:12-13

     5558   storing

The Holy Spirit and the one Church
Our text suggests to us three things: first, an inquiry--Have we the Spirit? secondly, a caution--if we have not the spirit we are sensual; thirdly, a suspicion--there are many persons that separate themselves. Our suspicion concerning them is, that notwithstanding their extra-superfine profession, they are sensual, not having the Spirit; for our text says, "These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit." I. First, then, our text suggests AN INQUIRY--Have we the Spirit? This
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Persevering Grace. Jude 1:24,25.
Persevering grace. Jude 1:24,25. To God the only wise, Our Savior and our King, Let all the saints below the skies Their humble praises bring. 'Tis his almighty love, His counsel, and' his care, Preserves us safe from sin and death, And every hurtful snare. He will present our souls, Unblemished and complete, Before the glory of his face, With joys divinely great. Then all the chosen seed Shall meet around the throne, Shall bless the conduct of his grace, And make his wonders known. To our Redeemer,
Isaac Watts—The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts

The Manifestation of the Church with Christ.
The last time the world saw the Lord Jesus He was alone--all alone in death. But when He returns to this earth He will not be alone. His saints will accompany Him. He is the "Firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29), and when He appears again they will be with Him. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, bringing His sheaves with Him" (Ps. 126:6). Yes, that blessed One who humbled Himself to become the Sower shall return with "His sheaves"--"Behold,
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

The Twofold Bearing of this Fact.
We come now to a point concerning which it behooves believers, particularly young believers and beginners in the study of prophecy, to be quite clear upon. Like the other two great Facts which we have reviewed--the First Advent of our Lord to this earth and His going away, and the presence now of the Holy Spirit upon this earth--this third great fact of the Redeemer's Return also has a double bearing, a bearing upon the Church and a bearing upon the world. The Second Coming of Christ will occur in
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

The Redeemer's Return is Necessitated by the Present Exaltation of Satan.
One of the greatest mysteries in all God's creation is the Devil. For any reliable information concerning him we are shut up to the Holy Scriptures. It is in God's Word alone that we can learn anything about his origin, his personality, his fall, his sphere of operations, and his approaching doom. One thing which is there taught us about the great Adversary of God and man, and which observation and experience fully confirms, is, that he is a being possessing mighty power. It would appear, from a
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

Salvation is the song that was to be sung by the redeemed in that day. "Behold now is the day." Our salvation has come. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men." Salvation means deliverance. A prophecy concerning the Christ--our salvation--says: "He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Isa. 61:1. Christ our Savior came to deliver us from the prison-house of sin. In the
Charles Ebert Orr—The Gospel Day

Saved by Grace;
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Character of Its Teachings Evidences the Divine Authorship of the Bible
Take its teachings about God Himself. What does the Bible teach us about God? It declares that He is Eternal: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou are God" (Ps. 90:2). It reveals the fact that He is Infinite: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee" (I Kings 8:27). Vast as we know the universe to be, it has its bounds; but we must go beyond
Arthur W. Pink—The Divine Inspiration of the Bible

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