Does The Bible Say That Sunday Is The Lord’s Day ?
In the latest edition of the Gospel Minutes newspaper, a question was submitted by someone, concerning Christians calling Sunday, “the Lord’s day”. They said that in the scriptures, they couldn’t find anything to verify that Sunday was called “the Lord’s day”. And I thought that Clem Thurman gave a good answer, so I’d like to read his answer to you, and so here it is..
The only reference to “the Lord’s Day” is in Revelation 1, verse 10, when John writes; “I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me, a great voice, as a trumpet.”
In The Spirit
Now let me stop and interject a thought here. Where your bible says “I was in THE spirit”, be aware that the word “The” has been added by the translators. the original wording is “I was in spirit”. And I bring this up so that you don’t think that the bible is saying that John was somehow surrounded by the Holy Spirit.
The meaning of “I was in spirit”, simply means that John’s focus that of his spirit, and not of anything fleshly, or worldly. He might have been in prayer, or simply in spiritual meditation. The bible tells us in John 4:24, that when we worship God, we need to be worshipping “in spirit”, and in truth. In other words, our focus, is on our spirit, and on God’s word of truth, instructing us how to worship.
The Day Belongs To The Lord
So then John was “in spirit”, on “the Lord’s day”. That means that it was on a day, which specifically belonged to the Lord. The word translated “Lord’s”, is the Greek word “kuriakos”, which means.. something pertaining to the Lord, or related to the Lord, or belonging to the Lord. That word is only used once more in the scriptures, and that’s in 1 Corinthians 11:20 where it speaks of the “Lord’s” supper. The communion which we partake of, on the first day of every week, belongs to the Lord. We partake of the unleavened bread which represents the Lord’s body, and the fruit of the vine, which represents the Lord’s blood. And we as Christians, have the privilege of sharing, in that which belongs to the Lord.
It’s just like the bible says in 1 Corinthians 10, verse 16; “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion..” (and the word communion, simply means.. a sharing) “..is it not the sharing of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? I hope that we all recognize the privileges that we have as Christians, as being sharers, of what truly belongs to the Lord.
And one more little fact about the word translated “Lord’s”. Again, it’s from the Greek word “kuriakos”, and it is the equivalent of our word “church”. The word “church”, means.. “belonging to the Lord”. The Greek word “ekklesia” which is commonly translated as “church”, actually means.. “the called out, the congregation, and the assembly”. So you can see how the word “church” got to be commonly interjected there. The “ekklesia” is what we Christians are. We are the called out assembly, and we belong to the Lord.
So there’s just a little history on those words; “Ekklesia”, which means.. the called out assembly, and “Kuriakos”, (or church) which means.. belonging to the Lord.
But let me get back to reading the answer from Clem Thruman, concerning the phrase, “the Lord’s day”, the day belonging to the Lord.
The scriptures often speak of “the day of the Lord”, or “the day of God”, and usually it refers to a special time of God’s activity, in the affairs of man, either to punish, or to reward. Such terms are often used in the scriptures, especially in the writings of the minor prophets.
The term “Lord’s day”, can only be found in Revelation 1, verse 10, but there is nothing in the text that would indicate that the first day of the week was meant. (So then that verse doesn’t tell us what day “the Lord’s day” is)
And Mr. Thurman goes on to say; It is also certain, that every day belongs to the Lord.
Romans 14:5 thru 8 says; “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; And he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; And he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; And whether we die, we die unto the Lord: Whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”
And so is every day, the Lord’s, Thurman concludes.
What did John mean by “the Lord’s day”, in Revelation 1:10; And why do people refer to the first day of the week, as the “Lord’s day”? The answer to what John meant, may not be certain, but the answer to the latter question is easy. The early Christians used the term “the Lord’s day” quite often in their writings. Notice these examples..
The Christian writer Ignatius, wrote, in AD 130; “No longer observing the sabbath, but living according to the Lord’s day, in which also our life arose.” In other words, Jesus who is our life, arose on that day.
Justin wrote, in AD 150; “On the day called Sunday, there is a gathering in the same place, of all who live in the city or rural district. W all make our assembly common on the day of the Sun, since it is the first day. On the first day of the week, of Jesus Christ our Lord.” You see how every day of the week belongs to the Lord, but Justin says that our assembly, is on the first day, of the Lord’s week.
Clement wrote, in AD 200; “He (the Christian) does the commandment according to the gospel, and keeps the Lord’s day.. signifying the Lord’s resurrection.” And which day was the Lord resurrected? The first day.
Tertullian wrote, in AD 200; “Others suppose that the Sun, is the god of Christians, because it is well-known that we regard Sunday as a day of joy. To us, sabbaths are foreign.” Sun-day is the day in which Christians assembled.
And Eusebius wrote, in AD 300; “The Ebionites were accustomed to observe the sabbath, and other Jewish customs were on the Lord’s day, to celebrate the same practices as we, in remembrance of the Savior’s resurrection.” On the Lord’s day.
From these and many other statements from antiquity, it is evident that the early Christians spoke of the first day of the week, as “the Lord’s day”.
Jesus, His Resurrection, and His Kingdom
The first day of the week was the day Jesus arose from the dead. (Mathew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20) He appeared to the apostles, on the first day of the week. John 20, verse 19 says; “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus, and stood in the midst, and saith unto them; Peace be unto you.”
The “church”, (the called out congregation of the saved) had it’s beginning on the first day of the week. The bible says in Leviticus 23: 15-17; “You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; There shall be seven complete sabbaths. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; Then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord. You shall bring in from your dwelling places, two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; They shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the Lord.”
(This is a description of when the day of Pentecost would occur. The day after, the seventh sabbath. It was to occur fifty days after the sabbath. And since the sabbath is always on Saturday, the last day of the week, Pentecost is therefore always on Sunday, the first day of the week.)
Acts 2, verse 1 says; “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord, (with one purpose) in one place. (the apostles were together in one place) And suddenly, there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” (the tongues of fire sat upon the apostles)
And of course we know how it was Peter, who went on the preach to the people on that day of Pentecost, the first day of the week, and how he unlocked the gates to the kingdom of God, with these words, from Acts 2, verses 38 & 39; “Then Peter said unto them; Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For THE PROMSIE, is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
And then we’re told, in verse 41; “Then they that gladly received his word, were baptized; And the same day, there were added unto them, about three thousand souls.” And what were they added to? They were added to the kingdom of God, which had now become the kingdom of Christ, which is His called out assembly, which is what we call, “the church”.
And the early church met, on the first day of the week, for the Lord’s supper, as we’re told in Acts 20, verse 7.
Is it little wonder, that within a generation after the death of the apostles, Christians were referring to the first day of the week, as “the Lord’s day”? Especially when some would accuse them of being “Sun worshippers”, to which both Tertullian and Justin referred. Christian would naturally seek some other word, other than “Sunday” to designate their day of worship. And so, they spoke of it as “the Lord’s day”.
From the scriptures, and even from other evidence, it is not certain, that John meant the first day of the week, when he referred to “the Lord’s day”. It is certain however, that disciples in the following generation after John, did indeed use the term “the Lord’s day”, when referring to the first day of the week.
In Spirit Every Day
And that’s Clem Thurman’s answer, and I think it’s a good one. And personally, I think that John did mean the first day of the week, when he said that he was “in spirit, on the Lord’s day”, but that’s only my opinion. John was in exile, on the island of Patmos, in the Aegean sea. And I would imagine that John was “in spirit” every day of the week, praying to his father, and simply meditating on things spiritual. And I hope that we will be inclined to do that very same thing. But I think that if Christ was going to appear to John in a vision, to complete the full revelation of His will, I think that He’d do it on the first day of the week. But then that’s just my opinion.
Let’s not JUST be “in spirit”, when we come together for worship. Let’s make sure that we’re “in spirit” each and every day, for at least some part of the day. We know that we should be praying every day, and several times per day actually. So then let’s be “in spirit” several times a day.
Jesus tells us, in Mathew 6; verse 33; “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” If we do that, then we will certainly be spending plenty of time, “in spirit”. And we’ll be pleasing our God and Father in heaven.