Does the Lord’s Day in Revelation 1:10 mean Sunday or judgment day?

Question: In Revelation 1:10 where John uses the term “the Lord’s Day”, is he speaking of a day of the week or referring to the day the Lord returns. This has been a point of disagreement in my workplace. Although we may never agree I enjoy talking scripture with fellow Christians at work among non-Christians. This is my subtle way of spreading the Gospel into my small part of the world.

Answer: Though my former professor Dr. John Walvoord, president emeritus of Dallas Theological Seminary, believed it refers to the day of the Lord, that day of judgment and the restoration of the kingdom, I think the first day of the week, Sunday, is probably the correct connotation. Though, as Dr. Walvoord says, “The word ‘Lord’s’ is an adjective and this expression is never used in the Bible to refer to the first day of the week” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary), this expression did become the normal term used for Sunday meeting of the church in subsequent Christian literature and so, most likely, finds its origin in John’s usage. It also seems that John was expressing here what was an otherwise normal day interrupted by an incredible revelation. Besides, in what sense would John have been in the Lord’s day? He understood the Day of the Lord (that, by the way, is the normal expression for the day the Lord returns, not “the Lord’s day”) to be a day of God’s coming in judgment to purify the earth in anticipation of the re-establishing of the kingdom. That would not describe John’s day but the vision of what he saw coming. You are right, of course, that this is a relatively unimportant issue, but it is important to try to think clearly about what the Scriptures actually mean in any context.

Randall Johnson

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