A reader asks, "Why do you use ‘Lord’s day’ for Sunday? It seems to me that the day of the Lord (or Lord’s day) is a dreadful day of judgment (Joel 2:31; Zeph. 1:14; II Peter 3:10), the day Jesus said is the worst there ever has been or shall be (Matt. 24:21). " The answer to this question lies in distinguishing between the Lord’s day and the day of the Lord, which differ both in the original and in English. First, we shall study the Lord’s day (and its observance), before considering the day of the Lord. Then we shall show how the two differ. This will take more than one issue of the News.
The phrase "Lord’s day" is only found once in Scripture. In Revelation 1:10, John writes, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day." Just about everybody agrees that the Lord referred to here is the Lord Jesus Christ and not the Triune God. Moreover, I will prove that the Lord’s day in our text refers to the first day of the week, the day on which Christ rose from the dead, the day we call Sunday.
Obviously, the "Lord’s day" (Rev. 1:10) is so named because it (above all other days) peculiarly pertains to the Lord in some special sense for certain reasons. It (presumably) is a day which commemorates some special event pertaining to Him, a day which He claimed as peculiarly His own, a day He set apart for His service, a day observed in honor of Him. Otherwise, why call it His (the Lord’s) day?
What do we find in Scripture? First, Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week, our Sunday. Is this not a wonderful day worthy of being called the Lord’s day? Second, Christ met with His disciples on the first Sunday after His resurrection and on the following Sunday too (John 20:19, 26). As one of the disciples who fellowshipped with Christ on those two Sundays, is it surprising that the apostle John should refer to the first day of the week as the Lord’s day? Third, the Lord poured out His Holy Spirit upon His church on the first day of the week, for Pentecost, coming 50 days after a Saturday, was on a Sunday ( Acts 2). What is more natural than to name that day of the week the "Lord’s day" on which Christ manifested Himself as Lord of His one, universal church? Fourth, the church met for public worship on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The saints assembled to hear a sermon delivered by a preacher (Paul) and to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Similarly, we read of collections for the poor made on the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:1-2). This is the day the apostolic church observed in honor of the Lord and set apart for serving Him.
From the evidence of Scripture, the Lord’s day is—and can only be—the first day of the week, the day on which the Lord arose, the day on which He poured out His Spirit upon His church, the day on which He met with His disciples (John 20:19, 26) and the day on which He meets His saints in their public worship (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2).
- Volume: 10
- Issue: 4
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851