Meaning of "The Lord's Day" and Introduction to the Seven Churches
Revelation 1, verse 10 and more
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Text
Comments
.10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,   The Lord's day Discussed below.
  Voice as of a trumpet The message of the vision is obviously important. God's trumpet sounded at Sinai calling the people to hear His great law of happiness, the ten commandments. See ex19.
.11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Comments for this verse begin below.


  Alpha and Omega He is for everyone always is4406.
  Write in a book The instruction to write the messages in a single book or scroll helps us see that they weren't separate letters sent in different directions to the churches. Perhaps the scroll was taken from church to church for reading, or parts of it may have been copied and sent directly. Jesus comes back to the book being for the "churches" in re2216.
  Seven churches Was the book Jesus asked John to write only for these seven churches? Notice the invitation repeated for each of the seven: Anyone with an ear is encouraged to listen re0207Also there were churches in places other than these seven: ac1301, ac1601, ac2017, 1pe0101, co0102.Messages appropriate beyond the time of the seven contemporary churches of chapters 2 and 3 are included in the book. 
  {1} End time messages are included re1406ff, re1418, and
  {2} John called the whole of Revelation a "book" in his final remarks re2207, re2218f.
And for us beginning the 21st century, the time is at hand v3. This book is packed with what we need to strengthen our personal relationship with the One who declared Himself to be the Alpha and the Omega.
.12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;   I turned to see the voice He turned to see the voice he had heard. The Spirit changed channels of communication from hearing to seeing. Voices aren't normally seen. The emphasis is on the voice. I expect he recognized the voice that he had heard many times as a disciple.
  Candlesticks The Greek word means "lampstands." Candles were not in use in ancient times. The oil for the lamps represents the Holy Spirit that brings light. The churches could lose their lamps re0205. Part of the holy place ministry included keeping the lamps burning le2402.
.13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.


  In the midst of the ... candlesticks The picture turns our attention to the preparation of the sanctuary. "And the Lord spake to Moses, saying: speak to the children of Israel. . . . And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. . . .  And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold. . . . And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof. ex2508, 31, 37; Also see zc04.
  The Lord came to John on Patmos re0109 and was seen among the lampstands representing the seven churches. So we may consider the setting of this first vision as on the earth. (By contrast, see re0401b). Yet, Christ was then in the sanctuary in heaven.
  Like unto the Son of man This name emphasizes His humanity. Here we have one of us in the heavenly courts! he0214 and mt1613ff. He is our link with eternal life. Compare this description with the one in da1005ff.
  The Greek here translated "Son of man" is an exact translation of the Aramaic kebar 'enahs of da0713.
  Paps Greek mastos meaning "breast." Here "chest."
.14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
.15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
  Hairs were white Worthy of the respect toward those of experience.
  Feet like ... brass ... furnace See on re0218 and da0327.
.16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.   Out of his mouth ... sword I don't picture Him holding a sword in His mouth but that one was moving from His mouth. It represents the divine words. Also see re1915 where the sword slays the wicked.
  Twoedged sword Greek rhomphaia distomos literally, "sword of two mouths." This was a large sword with two handles. The Septuagint (translation of OT into Greek) uses the equivalent word for the sword that was used to guard Eden ge0324. Seeing the sword as the word of God, the two-edged sword may represent its dual nature. See on re0102.
  Countenance was like See mt1702.
.17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:   As dead Others who received visions of a divine being appearing in the glory of heaven also felt their weakness and unworthiness. For example ez0128, da0817, ac0904.
  Fear not The pattern continued by being strengthened jg0622, mt2805, ez0201f, da0818
.18  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

  Keys of hell See jn1111-26, Also jn0524 & 1co1551.
  Hell The word means the grave. It may be translated so in 1co1555.
  Death Jesus' death occurred at the time of the Passover in the Jewish yearly calendar of feasts mt2602ff. The feast originated from God's instruction to the Children of Israel to sacrifice a lamb and eat it the night they left Egypt (Ex. 12: esp. verse 11 ex1211). That same night the destroying angel  passed over homes with the lamb's blood on the doorposts. The Passover pointed forward to the sacrifice of the Saviour which would provide spiritual strength for our journey to the heavenly Canaan. 1co0507. Here in Revelation, Jesus, the Lamb of God, could walk among the candlesticks of the churches because His sacrifice had provided  the keys.
 19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;   Write the things This is simply a charge to record this vision and others as noted.
.20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.   Right hand Symbol of power. Here Jesus could keep His stars.
  Angels The word also means "messengers." The note below explains.
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Notes for verse 10
Which is the Lord's day?

     "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet." (Rev. 1:10)

   From the context of our verse, we cannot tell what day John referred to as "the Lord's day." The term is applied to Sunday today. Is that what it meant to John? Did Jesus his Lord ever identify a day as His own? Because we attach a certain meaning to a term, we naturally think of our definition when reading the words in the Bible. Follow carefully as we look at how the Bible itself clarifies which day is the Lord's.

   "And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man  for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath." (Mark 2:27)

   In reading from Mark you noticed that the Lord's day is the day Christ made for all of humanity and blessed on the seventh day of creation. "The Sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2:27; cf. Matt. 12:8). "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God" "the Lord's day." ex2010.  Because He does not change he1308 He is still Lord of the same Sabbath. The story of the resurrection clarifies which day was the Sabbath. It was the day before the day of the resurrection. Read from lu2350 into ch. 24. If Jesus had changed the day, certainly His closest followers would have known about it, and Luke, writing long after the event would have clarified that Christ arose on the new Sabbath. And, in our verse, John saw it the same way. His inspired testimony confirmed that the Lord's special day was the same as it had always been. Also see mt2420.
   Christ identified Himself to the Jews as the I AM that was before Abraham jn0858. They understood this as His claim to divinity because they were ready to stone Him. He had told Moses, "I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." (Ex. 3:14). In His statement to the Pharisees, He also identified Himself as this Lord of the exodus who had given them the commandments. "And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." (Ex. 20:1, 2). And in the fourth commandment, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. . . . But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God. . . ." ex2008ff, cf. le2303, de0515, ex2008, de0515)
   When Jesus revealed Himself as Lord of the Sabbath, He had been walking through a grain field and His disciples were taking heads of grain and eating the kernels. This was accepted practice then. The Pharisees accused the disciples of breaking the Sabbath because a rule of the Jews had defined such activity as thrashing grain. Jesus helped them and us see that the Sabbath, while sacred time, is to be a blessing.

Why the Lord's day John mentioned is not Sunday
First, because John was "in the Spirit" on a specific day, not just any day. Sunday is not the day God set apart and blessed as a day to rest in recognition of His work. To choose any other day is a claim that we can decide to replace the specific time he asked us to meet Him. Wouldn't this be righteousness by works? "teaching for commandments the doctrines of men"? (Mark 7:7)
You may be aware that early church fathers began to call Sunday, the Lord's Day. The first known reference clearly designating Sunday as the Lord's day is in what is known to Bible scholars as a pseudopigraphia a counterfeit writing titled The Gospel of Peter. It was written around A.D. 175, long after Peter would have been dead. Some translations of the letters of Ignatius mention the term, "Lord's Day," without clear reference to its being Sunday. They were written around 110. All of these sources appeared after John's time. According to Eerdman's Bible Dictionary, p.662, Allen C. Myers, Ed., 1987, "it was not until the fourth century that the Sabbath commandment was applied to Sunday by Christians." Even if this early literature had been available to John, he would have understood the Lord's Day as Seventh Day Sabbath. The Lord he personally knew had said which day was His. The apostle no doubt heard Him make the statement.
Could the readers to whom the book of Revelation was directly addressed have understood the term, Lord's day, to mean Sunday? Remember that John identified them as "the seven churches which are in Asia [Asia Minor]" (Rev. 1:4). In about A.D. 191, church leader Polycartes convened a council of the church leaders of Asia Minor to discuss a summons from Bishop Victor of Rome to adopt Easter Sunday. They unanimously refused the idea choosing to retain their observance of the Passover on the Jewish date of Nisan 14. We must conclude that John's first readers would likewise not have been recognizing "the Lord's day" as Sunday in honor of the resurrection.

Why the Lord's day is different from "the day of the Lord"
   Recall that the day of the Lord is the time of His final vengeance. It was foreshadowed in events of the Old Testament, but we cannot ignore its ultimate future fulfillment. See jl02. In Malachi 4, the Lord of hosts says that He would send Elijah the prophet before "the great and dreadful day of the Lord." (mal0405) Jesus said that John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of the coming Elijah, but He also predicted a future fulfillment mt1710f. Here is why John was not in vision on "the day of the Lord."

In verse 1, We read: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass. . . ." The Greek for "shortly" is literally, "in speed." The KJV translation is reasonable, but the events of Revelation weren't all going to happen immediately because we see long time periods predicted (re1102f, re1305 for example). I see the quickly as meaning, "to begin right away and follow in quick succession." There is also an element of surprise in the events. Whatever is meant by "shortly come to pass" it does not fit well for "the day of the Lord" as we see in Joel and elsewhere.
Then notice something about the immediate context. "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet re0110 (below). The passage is literal up to the middle of verse 10 (or to the end). John tells who he was, where he was, and when his vision came.
The day of the Lord is definitely future in re0609ff, and it is definitely past in re2104. I'll let you look at the verses.

   The focus of the book is Jesus Christ. It's purpose is to help us recognize our true situation in order to be ready to meet Him. The "day of the Lord" is in the picture too. It's what we want to avoid. I see it, for example, in re1409ff, re1911ff, and da1201.
   John's brief reference to the Lord's day, is a reminder to us that He loves us and wants us to rest in Him in the way He has provided. Wonderful Saviour! The Bible has plenty to reveal about our Lord's special day. See the page with links to the various study comments about God's day of rest.


Keys to understanding

   Our purpose as we bridge over to Chapter 2 is to sort out the meanings and relationships among angels, churches, and stars. Here is the final verse in Chapter 1:

   Angels  From the Greek aggelos which literally means "ones sent."  The word is translated "messenger" in mr0102 and lu0724.  In the next two chapters are messages for the seven churches, with each section of counsel introduced as "To the angel of the church of [or in] ______."  By reading through the messages we can see that they were intended for the churches.
   To resolve the problem we notice, in this verse, that Christ held the stars in His right hand indicating His special care and blessing. We are told: "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches."  In John's time, these no doubt  represented leaders who brought God's appeals to the people of the particular churches on the mainland not far from Patmos. As we study through the next two chapters we will see that the seven congregations were also symbols of the church in successive eras after the cross. Each angel, down through history, would represent God's special messengers raised up to express the divine call to faithfulness.
   In John's own situation, he was given light to pass on as a messenger (or angel) to all the churches. The angel he later bowed down to told him not to bow and identified himself as a fellow servant with the apostle. They were both messengers. "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev. 19:10)
   In Chapter 14 we see angels flying with world-wide messages. They would likewise be symbols of God's human messengers to whom heavenly angels with the Holy Spirit would communicate the divine appeals of invitation and warning.
   Thus, for the seven churches in broader context, we may see the "angels" as messengers sent by God calling for reform and making the Scriptures relevant at significant times in history.

    To see them also as stars (as indicated in our verse), turn to Daniel.
   "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." (Dan. 12:3).

   What a challenge for each of us to shine like that, reflecting the glory of our Lord!


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