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Genesis 1:14-19 DAY 4
Wandering Stars

Planets in the ANE were called "Wandering stars." Jude 13 says, "They (false teachers) are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever" (NIV). The Greek is asteres planhtai meaning "wandering stars." According to modern science planets are not stars. Planets just reflect the light from the sun.


OT-Isaiah 46:1 mentions "Nebo" who is Nabu the son of Marduk (Bel) the scribe god, and identified with the planet Mercury (ISBE, 298; Black & Green 1992, 133). Nabu is the divine scribe of the destinies.

NT-Acts 14:11-12 says, "When the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker" (KJV). Barnabas is thought to be Zeus who is identified with the planet Jupiter, and Paul is thought to be Hermes who is identified with the planet Mercury.


OT-Venus is called the "morning star" or "Daystar" in Isaiah 14:12. I translate it, "O Daystar (Venus) son of Dawn." The Hebrew llth is masculine in form. See below.

NT-2 Peter 1:19 says, "And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shinning in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (NIV).

Revelation 2:28 says, "I will also give him the morning star." This is a promise to the victorious Christians. It does not mean Christians will inhabit the planet Venus which is 900 degrees. This planet is more like hell. Aune states, "The gift of the morning star must refer to the fact that the exalted Christ shares his messianic status with the believer who conquers" (1997, 212).

In Revelation 22:16 Jesus is called the "bright and morning star." More will be said below.

ANE- Venus is referred to as the largest star (Pliny, Natural Histories 2.37). Cicero says that Venus is the lowest planet nearest the earth (De nat. deor 2.53, LCL). In the Greek it is referred to as Fwsforos (see 2 Peter 1:19) or Eosphoros the morning star while the evening star is called Hesperos (brother of Atlas). In Job 9:9 the LXX translates lysk (probably Orion) as Hesperos.

The Latin for Venus when it proceeds the sun in the morning is Lucifer, and Vesper when it follows the sun in the evening (Aune, 212; Pliny Natural Histories, 2.36-38).

Lucifer, the day star is mentioned in the great battle of the stars in the Sibylline Oracles (Charlesworth, 1983, 405; book 5:512). All twelve constellations are named.


OT-2 Kings 17:30 mentions "Nergal" who is identified with the planet Mars (ISBE, 299). Nergal is associated with the underworld. His wife was Ereskigal, queen of the underworld. Their love story is told in Nergal and Ereskigal (Black & Green, 136).


NT-In Acts 14:12 Barnabas is thought to be Zeus (Greek; Jupiter is the Latin name for the same god) who is identified with the planet Jupiter.


OT-Amos 5:26 says, "But you have borne the tabernacle of Molech and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made yourselves" (KJV). The NIV takes these two nouns as proper names from Akkadian. The alternate translation is "lifted up Sakkuth your king/ and Kaiwan your idols/ your star gods" (NIV, r). This is probably referring to Saturn, especially the LXX translation.

NT-The star of Rephan mentioned in Acts 7:43 was most likely the planet Saturn. This is a quote from the LXX in Amos 5:25-26. Saturn is also thought to be the planet of the Jews because of these verses (also Damascus Document 7:14-15). Saturn is also "the star of the sun" in Akkadian texts (ISBE, 298).

Names of the Planets in Ancient Times

Language Sun Moon Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn
Latin Sun Moon Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn
Greek Helios Selana Hermes Aphrodite Ares Zeus Cronus
Hebrew Shamash Yareah Nebo Helil Nergal Baal Kiyyun
Canaanite Shapash Yarah Astarte/ Resheph Baal El Ashtaroth
Akkadian Shamash Sin Nabu Ishtar Nergal Markduk Ea(Bel)
Sumerian Utu Suen/ Nabu Inana Nergal Enki Nanna


Comets were also called "wandering stars." Pliny calls them "stars that suddenly come to birth in the heaven itself" (Book II.xxii.89). Comet in Greek means "hairy." They look like a fuzzy or hairy spot in the sky. Some have a long tail or what looks like a sword. Some have thought that I Chronicles 21:16 describes a comet which says, "David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem" (NIV). This may have been Halley’s comet that would have returned in 988 BC. David reigned from 1010 to 970 BC. Pliny describes a number of different kinds or shapes of comets. Some comets look like a sword. He writes, "Javelin-stars quiver like a dart; these are a very terrible portent. The same stars that are shorter and sloping to a point have been called Daggers; These are the palest of all in colour, and have a gleam like the flash of a sword, and no rays. Once hitherto it has happened that a Mane-shaped comet changed into a spear; this was in the 108th Olympiad, A.U.C. 408" (Natural History, II.XXII.89).

When Caesar Augustus began to rule, a comet appeared for seven days at the games over Rome Pliny writes, "a comet was visible for seven days in the northern part of the sky. It was rising about an hour before sunset, and was a bright star, visible from all lands" (Pliny Natural History II.XXIII.94).

Halley’s Comet appeared in 66 AD during Nero’s reign. Pliny describes it as follows:

Sometimes there is a comet in the western sky, usually a terrifying star and not easily expiated—during Nero’s principate shining almost continuously and with a terrible glare. People think that it matters in what direction a comet darts, what star’s strength it borrows, what shapes it resembles, and in what places it shines (Ibid, 92).

In Egyptian arrows of war are compared to "shooting-stars." Ramses III in his second war against the Libyans said, "He sends arrow upon arrow like shooting-stars" (Breasted, IV.91, 62). In the Hymn of Victory of Thut-mose III it says, "I caused them to see thy majesty as a shooting star, Sowing its fire in a flame, as it gives off its steam" (ANET, 374).

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