By George T. Eldridge
The words “the Lord’s day” are found only once in the scriptures (Rev. 1:10). The author of the book of Revelation is God Himself, who “sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John” (Rev. 1:1). God’s bond-servant is the apostle John. He was one of Jesus’ most intimate earthly friends and was selected by the Lord with two other disciples to be present on a high mountain when He “was transfigured” and “Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him” (John 20:2; Mt. 17:1-3). John was the disciple whom Jesus “loved” (John 19:26). While on the cross, Jesus spoke to John these words concerning His mother, “Behold, your mother” (John 19:27). Therefore, the responsibility of Jesus’ mother became the obligation of John.
The Lord’s Day
It is quite certain that when John uses the expression “the Lord’s day,” he is using it as we use it. As I have said, this is the first passage in God’s Word where there is any mention of “the Lord’s day.” “The Lord’s day” is the first day of the week, commonly called today Sunday.
The word here translated “Lord’s” occurs only twice in the Bible: Rev. 1:10 and 1 Cor. 11:20, where it is applied to the Lord’s Supper. The word “Lord’s” comes from the Greek work kuriakos and properly means pertaining to the Lord. The Lord’s day, the first day of the week, means a day pertaining to the Lord because He claimed it as His own and had set it apart for His own service. Also, the first day of the week was designed to commemorate some important event pertaining to Jesus and was observed in honor of Him.
It is clear, (l) That this refers to some day which was distinguished from dl other days of the week, and which would be sufficiently designated by the use of this term. (2) That it was a day which was for some reason regarded as peculiarly a day of the Lord, or peculiarly devoted to him. (3) It would further appear that this was a day particularly devoted to the Lord issue; for …. (a) if the Jewish Sabbath were intended to be designated, the word Sabbath would have been used. The term was used generally by the early Christians to denote the first day of the week. It occurs twice In the Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians (about A. D. 1011, who calls the Lord’s day “the queen and prince of all days.” Chrysostom (on Pa. exia.) says, “It was called the Lord’s day because the Lord rose from the dead on that day:” Later fathers make a marked distinction between the Sabbath and the Lord’s day; meaning by the former the Jewish Sabbath, or the seventh day of the week, and by the latter the first day of the week, kept holy by Christians . . . . No one can doubt that it was an appellation given to the first day of the week; and the passage, therefore, proves (l) that that day was thus early distinguished in some peculiar manner, so that the mere mention of it would be sufficient to identify it in the minds of those to whom the apostle wrote; (2) that it was in some sense regarded as devoted to the Lord Jesus, or was designed in some way to commemorate what He had done; and (3) . . . the observance of that day had the apostolic sanction (Albert Barnes, Barnes on the New Testament, Revelation, p. 491.
Therefore, the Lord’s day means beyond all reasonable doubt the first day of the week, which we call Sunday. “From Ignatius onwards, we have a complete chain of evidence that” the Lord’s day was “the regular Christian name for the first day of the week” (The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation, p. 5).
In the Spirit
This state of mind, emotions, feelings, and thoughts should be experienced by all honest and good hearts, especially born-again individuals, when the first day of the week arrives! This means God-fearing people will have the right attitude and correct manner of thinking on Sunday so as to be in church services. At church, we have the (1) observance of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7), (2) giving of one’s money into the church treasury based on his prosperity (1 Cor. 16:1-2), (3) singing of praises to God through congregational singing (Col. 3:16), (4) preaching of God’s Word (Acts 20:7), and (5) stirring up of one another to love and good works by our presence (Heb. 10:23-25).
John could not be in church services on the first day of the week, Sunday. He was on the Isle of Patmos, having been banished there under the persecution of Domitian, Emperor of Rome. Being “in -the spirit,” John recalls the usual church services. He had the spirit of true devotion. Though on that desert island, John was in a religious enjoyment state of mind to devote Sunday to the worship of God and to the honoring of the risen Savior. What a rich spiritual influence the soul enjoys when “in the spirit on the Lord’s day.”
The Attitude Seen Today .
You seldom hear Sunday called “the Lord’s day.” The conduct of too many individuals, even some baptized believers, is that the first day of the week is their own personal day to do with as they choose. Some churches encourage this attitude by disbanding all Sunday services during certain months of the year or having church services on another weekday instead of Sunday, “the Lord’s day.”
Where is the Lord’s day for many? Their reply1s in their behavior! No church services for me! It is my own personal day for activities such as these:
1. Sleep-late day.
2. Be-at-the-cottage-on-the-lake day.
3. Return-from-weekend-activities day.
4. Wash day.
5. Overhaul-the-car day.
6. Free-will-to-work-overtime-at-the-factory day.
7. Mow-the-lawn day.
8. Roof-the-house day.
9. Paint-the-house day.
10 Clean-the-house day.
11. Hunting day.
12. Fishing day.
13. Golfing day.
14., Go-visit-relatives day.
15. Stay-at-home-with-company day.
16. Only-day-I-have-to-work-on-the-farm day.
17. Only-day-I-have-to-rest day.
18. Mother’s day.
19. Father’s day.
20. Tour-the-country day.
21. Boat-racing day.
22. Hot-rod day.
23. A-loaf-and-take-it-easy day.
24. Football day.
25. Baseball day.
26. Read-the-Sunday-paper day:
Also, the Lord’s day has become the “Too-Hot Day” or “Too-Cold Day” or “Too-Rainy Day” or “Pain-in-the-Body Day” instead of “in the spirit on the Lord’s day.” They use Sunday for their own personal selfish interest and gratification.
God permits you to decide how you will treat “the Lord’s day” and whether you will “be born again.” “Yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). Believe the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12). Be “in the spirit on the Lord’s day.”
Truth Magazine XXII: 1, pp. 11-12
January 5, 1978