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The phrase, the Lord's day, found in Revelation chapter one, occurs only once in the New Testament. What grounds do we have to determine what day John was speaking about (the day his readers would have understood him to mean)?

The ways it seems to generally be understood are as follows:

What concrete textual evidence do we have to indicate what this day is or is not?
I am looking for traceable, logical steps, leading to a logical conclusion.

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Kindly inform me on the literary immediate context of the text in question. –  bonifresh muhollo Nov 17 at 17:30
    
Thank you for your request. I inserted a couple links into the question to provide the literary context, one on "the Lord's Day" and the other on "Revelation chapter one." The first brings you to a page that has the verse translated in several languages. The second contains the entire first chapter of Revelation in which this verse if found. By clicking on the arrows at the top of the second page one can progress through the rest of the book of Revelation. –  Sarah Nov 18 at 18:14

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's unlikely that John intended the phrase to refer to the "day of the Lord" as found in the prophets.

While the phrase found in Revelation 1:10 isn't found elsewhere in the New Testament, the phrase "day of the Lord" is found in several places. When the phrase is used elsewhere in the New Testament, the grammar matches that found in the prophets. In 1 Thessalonians 5:2, for instance, the phrase "day of the Lord" is ἡμέρα κυρίου, where κυρίου (Lord) is in the genitive case. The same is true in 2 Peter 3:10. In the LXX, the phrase "day of the Lord" always appears with the genitive case.

In Revelation 1:10, the phrase used is κυριακῇ ἡμέρᾳ, where κυριακῇ is in the dative case and is being used as an adjective. This doesn't rule out the possibility of it referring to the same thing, but it does make it highly unlikely and puts the proof of burden on those who would claim otherwise. Authors tend to retain phraseology when it carries a heavy theological weight.

The context also suggests that John does not intend to refer to the eschatological "day of the Lord" found in the prophets. The phrase in the prophets is accompanied by a dread of expectation and judgement. Yet John's experience, while disturbing, is not shaped after the day of the Lord but after Daniel's experiences with his visions.

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So what is the "Lord's day" are you saying it is Sunday? –  Bagpipes Aug 3 at 10:36
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@Bagpipes, At the time I answered this question, the question at stake was, "Is it possible that the Day of the LORD prophecied by Zephaniah is the same as the day of the Lord referred to by John in Revelation 1:10?" It appears to have since been significantly edited. –  Soldarnal Aug 3 at 20:36

(Supplementary answer)

kuriakē(i) (LSJ) (from κυριακῇ ἡμέρᾳ) is an adjectival form of kurios, "lord", which could be rendered "lordly" (on analogy of "royal" = "kingly", roughly!). As the adjective "royal" indicates something belonging to the monarch ("the royal palace"), so kuriakos indicates something belonging to the "lord".

Rev 1:10 uses it with day: "on the lordly day" (= bad translation! just to attempt to clarify) + see other phrases at link, above; whereas "Sarah's Day = Day of Sarah" is like "Lord's Day = Day of Lord" from OT.

Some other early Christian writings use the Rev 1:10 phrase. In Didache 14:1, for example:

On the Lord's Day of the Lord come together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure

Which precise day is in mind of these options (first day? Sabbath day? Easter Day?) is not specified. However, one or two of the early Christian apocryphal writings are explicit aboout which day this is, e.g. Acts of Peter, in the prologue [scroll down to second line of I. THE COPTIC FRAGMENT]:

On the first day of the week, that is, on the Lord's day...

These are from the second century, however, and might be deemed to be too late to determine the usage of the phrase in Revelation 1:10.

Some of these references and themes are touched on already by James Moffat in the Expositor's Greek Testament (Hodder & Stoughton, 1897), vol. 5, p. 342. For a more modern treatment see (among many options), David Aune, Revelation 1-5 (Word; Dallas, 1997), p. 84.

Just about all the data and assessment one could want on this are assembled in the article by R. Stefanovic, "'The Lord's Day' of Revelation 1:10 in the Current Debate", Andrews University Seminary Studies 49/2 (2011) 261-284.

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This is just what I was looking for. Thank you again! –  Sarah Mar 13 at 1:17
    
This is all very helpful,but it does not answer the question (it only acts as a guide) In your own conclusion, what is "the Lord's day" as written in Rev 1:10 ? –  Bagpipes Aug 3 at 10:44
    
@Bagpipes - My "supplement" to Soldarnal's answer goes as far as I can in brief answer to the question: we lack evidence to decide definitively between Sarah's helpfully outlined options. Each has merit; none is without problems of some kind. My own evaluation - FWIW - is that neither the "eschatological" day nor the Sabbath day is most likely, since they both have clear and long-established designations; so my hunch is that this "innovation" is more likely to refer to the "first day of the week" just as we later get unambiguously in the Acts of Peter reference cited above. –  Davïd Aug 3 at 12:21

Revelation 1:10 says

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,"

The Lord's Day is defined as the seventh-day Sabbath in Isaiah 58:13-14

“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the LORD

Jesus, the apostles and even Gentile Christians observed the seventh-day Sabbath for a few hundred years after the resurrection (Acts 13:42, Luke 23:55-56, Matthew 28:1, http://www.sabbathtruth.com/ ) This is best proved by Hebrews 4:9 which says

"There remains therefore a rest for the people of God."

The word rest there is sabbatismos which means a keeping of the Sabbath - http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4520&t=NKJV

The day of the Lord in the Hebrew Bible sometimes refers to a coming judgment which did not occur on the day that John wrote Revelation...

Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. “I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. (Isaiah 13:9-11)

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