LORD’S DAY OR DAY OF THE LORD? (3)

Rev 1-10 cPMT 2015-076 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is my final installment of a brief study on Rev 1:10. In this series I have been arguing that John’s “Lord’s day” is a reference to the eschatological “Day of the Lord” which crashes down on Jerusalem in AD 70. For context see the two preceding articles.

Third, John’s phrase is functionally equivalent to the more common one. Though Bauckham rejects this interpretation, according to Aune he “concludes that kuriakos is virtually synonymous with (tou) kuriou.” Thus, kuriakos can, in fact, be a synonym for the more common expression of the day of the Lord. Conceivably, John could simply be rephrasing the eschatological designate by using an adjective instead of noun in the genitive.

Thus, with Terry we must ask: “What remarkable difference is there between hemera kuriou and kuriake hemera?” The only other use of kuriakos in the NT refers to the “Lord’s supper” (kuriakon deipnon). This simply defines the sacramental supper as especially belonging to the Lord. This is exactly the significance of the judgmental “Lord’s day” in Rev for it signifies “the wrath of the Lamb” (6:16) and even “the great day of their wrath (6:17), i.e., God and the Lamb’s.

In the OT that judgment day especially belongs to God as a special day designated for his vengeance (Isa 13:9, 11–13; Eze 30:3, 8, 10, 12–16, 19; Zep 1:7–9, 14, 17). Later Origen (John 10:20) remarks on John 2:20 that “the whole house of Israel shall be raised up in the great Lord’s [day]” (Gk: pas oikos Israel en te megale kuriake egethesetai). This surely means the day of the Lord, and not Sunday.


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A similar grammatical problem appears in Rev: this one regards the phrase “like to a son of man” in 1:13. Some commentators, such as Swete and Beasley-Murray, take the phrase “like to a son of man” in v 13 as not equivalent to Christ’s self-designation in the Gospels as “the Son of the Man.” This argument rests largely on the structural differences between the phrases: 1:13 leaves out the definite articles, which are found in the Gospels. (Surprisingly, Beasley-Murray contradicts himself by speaking of the same phrase in 14:14 as “the Son of man.”) Yet others, such as Charles and Hendriksen, identify the phrases. Charles even boldly states that the Apocalyptic statement here is “the exact equivalent” of that in the Gospels. Consequently, it would seem that identifying slightly different phrasing regarding the “Lord’s day” / “day of the Lord” would be tolerable here at 1:10, as well.

Fourth, in stating his Lord’s day experience he mentions the voice “as a trumpet (h s salpiggos] (1:10b). Osborne observes regarding the trumpet that “in almost every NT occurrence it has eschatological significance as a harbinger of the day of the Lord” (e.g., Mt 24:31; 1Co 15:52; 1Th 4:16). We should note the OT backdrop in Isa 27:13; Joel 2:1–2 (cp. Jer 4:5, 9; Hos 5:8; Zep 1:14–16; Zec 9:12–14). This association arises from the paradigmatic theophany at Sinai (Ex 19:16, 19–20) which shows the power of God’s coming and presence on earth. In Ex 19 “the Advent of Yahweh’s Presence at Sinai is the formative event of OT faith” (WBC) which is an “indescribable experience of the coming of Yahweh” (WBC). Hence, there we read of “the sounding of a trumpet to signal Yahweh’s arrival” (WBC); it “was, as it were, the herald’s call, announcing to the people the appearance of the Lord” (Keil and Delitzsch). Thus, later “day of the Lord” references pick up this trumpet sound; and in 1:10 John associates the trumpet with his “Lord’s day.”

Fifth, we discover important parallels between John’s experience in 1:10 and an identical one in 4:2 that strengthens the day of the Lord view. In both experiences John states egenomen en pneumati (“I became in Spirit”), hears a trumpet (1:10; 4:1), sees a member of the Godhead (1:12–18; 4:2–11), and in both contexts learns that God is the one “who was and who is and who is to come” (1:8; 4:8). Then in 1:19 he is directed to write about the things “which shall take place after these things,” while in 4:1 the trumpet voice informs him that “I will show you what must take place after these things.” Now whereas John becomes in the Spirit on the “Lord’s day” (i.e., “the day of the Lord”) in 1:10, in the vision following his transport into heaven at 4:1–2 he sees the slain Lamb (5:6) who takes the seven-sealed scroll (5:7) and opens it (6:1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12) culminating in “the great day of their wrath” (6:17), i.e., the wrath of “Him who sits on the throne, and the from the wrath of the Lamb” (6:16). Both “in Spirit” visions mention the day of the Lord — if we interpret the phrase thus in 1:10.


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Sixth, it is highly unlikely that John received all of the visions in Rev on one day, Sunday. There are too many and they are too vigorous. Again, attached to his statement is the command to write what he sees in a book (1:10b), which is the book of Rev — the whole book of Rev (1:2). In response to this command he not only records the immediately following vision, but the seven letters (2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 12, 14), and other visions (10:4; 14:13; 19:9; 21:5). In fact, the command in 1:19 clearly covers the entire work, not just this vision.

Thus, strong evidence supports the eschatological “day of the Lord” interpretation in 1:10. Of course, as we know from the OT there are many “day” of the Lord judgments, each of which is eschatological in orientation (i.e., they reflect the final day of the Lord that concludes history). For instance, in Isa 13 we see OT Babylon (13:1, 19) being threatened by a “day of the Lord” (13:6, 9, 13). This day comes about by the hands of the Medes (13:17) as they devour by the sword (13:15). This is not referring to the final-final eschatological day of the Lord. John’s day of the Lord also is not final, focusing instead upon the AD 70 judgment against the first Jews and their temple.


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2 thoughts on “LORD’S DAY OR DAY OF THE LORD? (3)

  1. Gloria November 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Hello Dr. Gentry,

    How many different “Day of the Lord” judgements are prophesied in scripture and how many of those different judgments have already occurred? References for each prophesy and its fulfillment would be very helpful.

    Thanks in advance for your answer and body of work.
    I am anxiously awaiting your Revelation Commentary!

    Gloria P.

  2. Kenneth Gentry November 30, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    The concept of the “day of the Lord” speaks of historical judgments brought about by God. There will be a final, ultimate “day of the Lord” at the Second Coming. In fact, all the historical “day of the Lord” episodes before the Second Coming are pointers to it. To find out how many “day of the Lord” judgments there are would require extensive research. Sometimes they are called “day of the Lord,” while at other times they are called “that day,” “the day,” “day of wrath,” “day of visitation, and several other such terms. I hope this is helpful.

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