Lord's Day (!)
By Charles H. Welch
"I was in the spirit on the Lord's day" (Rev. 1:10). The expression "in the spirit" en pneumati "in spirit" occurs four times in the Revelation, each time recording an experience of John himself. The other passages are:
Are we to believe that all that Revelation 1: 10 teaches is that John was in a spiritual frame of mind one Sunday? The remaining references point to a special intervention of the Lord in the revelation of things to come. We read in Ezekiel eleven of a similar experience:
In Ezekiel 40:2 we have a parallel with Revelation 21:10, the "very high mountain", and in verses 3 and 4 the man with the measuring rod, and the command to declare what he saw, are repeated in the Revelation. Ezekiel 8: 1-3 is a most pronounced parallel with Revelation one.
The same word which is translated "was" in Revelation 1:10 is found in verse 9. Both passages could be rendered "I came to be" in Patmos, and "I came to be" in the Lord's day. The reader will suspect a certain bias on the part of the translators when they read "IN the isle that is called Patmos" but "ON the Lord's day" when they know that the preposition en is used in both passages. The key to the book of the Revelation hangs at the door. It is the prophetic phrase "The Day of the Lord".
A mistaken zeal, and the idea that "the Lord's Day" is sanctioned by Scripture to take the place of the O.T. Sabbath, or that it should now be used for the pagan name Sunday, has robbed the believer of this key, and instead of being concerned with the great day of the Lord, he is side-tracked into the question of observing days. Strictly speaking, the term "Lord's day" as applied to the first day of the week is as pagan in its origin as is the name Sunday-for pagan Rome called this day dies Dominica, consequently the use of the term Lord's day for the first day of the week is but exchanging one pagan name for another.
English or Greek permits the speaker to say "the Lord's day" or "the day of the Lord" as may seem most fitting. The Hebrew language however will not allow this, and the speaker can only say "the day of the Lord". Should any reader maintain that there is an essential difference between "the Lord's day" and "the day of the Lord" let him endeavour to persuade a builder, or an insurance company that there was an essential difference between "a wooden house" and "a house of wood". The difference is one of emphasis, but the essential meaning is the same. A parallel can be found in 1 Corinthians 4:3 where the words "man's judgment" is really "man's day"-man's day evidently being the time when man sits in judgment, and the Lord's day the day when the Lord will ascend the throne.
There are sixteen references to the Day of the Lord in the O.T. where the original reads yom Jehovah. Four passages have the Hebrew lamed inserted, and mean "a day for Jehovah", and in the N.T. the term occurs four times according to the Revised text. The references to the O.T. usage are as follows:
In the N.T. we have the Day of the Lord he hemera kuriou in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:2 (R.V.) and 2 Peter 3:10. In addition there are occurrences in the O.T. where such words as "wrath" or "vengeance" are interposed, which but add to the volume. No one is qualified to express an opinion on Revelation 1:10 who is a stranger to the prophetic utterances concerning the day of the Lord. And anyone who will observe the points of contact with these O.T. references to features that occur in the body of the book of the Revelation would be convinced that in Revelation 1:10, the whole of the O. T. teaching concerning the great and dreadful day of the Lord is focused on the visions which passed before the eye of John in the island of Patmos. To contemplate using Revelation 1:10 as a platform text concerning the observance of the Lord's Day (so-called) is too childish to command serious thought, while the robbery of the child of God of this key to unlock this great prophecy makes us wonder how they will stand who do such things in the light of the warning given in Revelation 22:19.
For a fuller exposition of this term, and of the book of the Revelation as a whole, see the volume entitled This Prophecy.