THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST

Previous: Revelation 1:10a

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, - Revelation 1: 10

The vision was given to John on the Lord's Day. This, of course is Sunday, and it is now common for us to refer to Sunday in this way, but this is the only place in the Bible where the expression is found. Most Christians worship the Lord on Sundays, but Jewish people observe the Sabbath on Saturdays.

Christianity was originally a Jewish sect, since Jesus and all of His disciples were Jewish. Jesus taught on the Sabbath (Mark 1:21), and He caused controversy by healing on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:10-12; Mark 3:1-4). In the early days of the spread of the Gospel Christians apparently observed the Sabbath, especially in their missionary work, where, for example, it was Paul's custom to find the Jewish people first (Romans 1:16), and spend at least three Sabbaths reasoning with them (Acts 17:2) before sharing the Gospel with the Gentiles.

However, right from the beginning, Sunday was special to Christians because it was on that day of the week that Jesus was raised from the dead. All four Gospels mention that His resurrection was on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). John also recorded the fact that it was on that first day of the week, while the disciples were gathered together, that Jesus appeared to them (John 20:19).

Later, when the Apostle Paul was ministering to new believers at Troas, the people met on the first day of the week, behind closed doors, to share a meal and to hear his final message there (Acts 20:7).

As Gentile believers became more numerous, and Jewish opposition grew, the Church became more independent, while they never denied their roots in Judaism. The Jerusalem Council decided that Gentile converts did not need to be circumcised (Acts 15).

Circumcision was a special sign of the covenant between God and His Chosen People, the Jews (Genesis 17:9-14), and, for that matter, so was the Sabbath (Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12). In his instruction to Gentile converts, Paul told them that they did not need to be circumcised the same way as their Jewish brethren (Colossians 2, esp. v. 11). And he added this about festivals and Sabbaths:

16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. - Colossians 2:16-17

By the time John penned The Revelation, nearly a generation later, it was common to refer to Sunday as the Lord's Day.

Today practicing Jews still observe the Sabbath. When we visit the hotels in Israel, we notice that the food served on the Sabbath is prepared in advance, and some of the elevators are set to automatically stop at every floor so that the devout will not have to even push a button!

There are also some Christian Groups, such as Messianic Christian congregations, that do observe the Sabbath. We do not criticize them for that.

One other thought needs to be considered on this matter. Some commentators think that, in the context of this vision, the "Lord's Day" might mean "The Day of the Lord." This would mean the Day of Judgment spoken of by various Old Testament prophets (example: Joel 3:14) and New Testament writers (example: 2 Peter 3:10). The answer to this is that this introductory section is talking about the Church, even though some judgment will be involved, not the end of this age. Furthermore, the Greek construction would not be translated that way. As others have explained, kuriake hemera is "Day of the Lord," but hemera kuriou is "The Lord's Day." It is interesting that The Revelation doesn't use the expression "Day of the Lord," even at the Battle of Armageddon or the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth.

The actual vision begins with a startling sound. John says, I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet. This is the first of many loud (Greek megas - "great") sounds that will punctuate the headlines of this story. The literal meaning for the word for trumpet (Greek salpiggos) is "war horn." It symbolizes the calling of God's people to action. With all of the other Old Testament symbolism in this picture, it would probably have sounded like a shofar, or ram's horn. It produces a very loud and unforgettable sound!

However, the sound was not a trumpet, but a voice "like a trumpet." When he looks, he sees that the voice emanates from his Savior and his beloved friend. But this is not the way he might have expected to see the gentle shepherd; the loving, patient teacher whom he knew so well.

In his Gospel John had written these most-memorable words:

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. - John 3:16-16

Jesus came the first time to fulfill the prophecies that Messiah would be a suffering Savior. But He is coming again, and even as John wrote about His first coming, he felt compelled to warn that He was coming again - this time as Judge of those who do not believe.

36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. - John 3:36

Would Jesus' voice be so loud? Consider this: It was the supernatural voice that brought the Universe into being! God the Son was the very creator of our world, and He did it by His voice. The record of each day's work of creation began with "Then God said..." (Genesis 1). The New Testament affirms in several places that it was Jesus who created all things (John 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2-3).

Such a clear and powerful voice! It demands our attention for what comes next...


Next: Revelation 1:11


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