The Revelation of Jesus Christ: Rev 1:10

Jeff "Miztah" Rogers By Jeff "Miztah" Rogers, 29th Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying,

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day

In the introductory article in this series I stated that I believed that the best way to understand the book of Revelation was to "Let the text speak for itself". In this study I believe that allowing the text to speak for itself is essential. But not only allowing the text of Revelation speak for itself, but allowing other passages to speak, if they might enlighten the text to which we have now come.

"I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea." Revelation 1:9-11

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet," Revelation 1:10

In this section we have seen John introducing himself in verse nine as a companion, in tribulation and a brother. He is encouraging his fellow sufferers to be patient and to bear the testimony of Jesus Christ. All this is going on in the physical and tangible experience of his first century audience. There is no great mystery in this suffering. There is brutality and pain in the suffering, but it is normal human suffering. Even John hints at the evidence of his participation in this suffering when he indicates that he is on the isle of "Patmos" because of the Word of God and his testimony of Jesus Christ. But then John gets to verse ten and we see that John was "in the Spirit on the Lord's day". This is an interesting and intriguing statement by John.

First let's evaluate the timing portion of this revelation, "On the Lord's day". I have often heard and read and I am sure many of you have also heard that this phrase "On the Lord's day", is a declaration that John was receiving this vision on a Sunday. That is what I have been taught through the years, and it is what I have been comfortable with as well. But is that how we ought to take this text? We know that the theme of the book is the revealing of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament when God was revealed in judgment it is often called "The Day of the Lord". Or you might paraphrase it as "The Lord's Day".

There are many today who want to make Sunday the New Covenant Sabbath. While I do believe that the seventh day Sabbath as a ritualistic recognition of a special day was done away with in the first century as the Old Covenant passed away, I see no scriptural warrant to replace the seventh with the first. The apostles never made such a declaration and the only reason that it has any foothold in the church at all is from church tradition. I do not see that John is giving any textual basis to declare that this vision he is about to record just happened to occur on a Sunday. That is really not a relevant point to the text. But very relevant and in keeping with the theme of the book as a whole is the fact that this is the beginning of the revealing of Jesus Christ coming in judgment, "the Day of the Lord" if you will. Does this not fit more closely with the unfolding theme? If not; then how does it become relevant to the theme of the book that this might have been on a Sunday? Again if we just allow the text to speak for itself, I believe we must lean toward the "day of the Lord" aspect of John's overall theme.

"To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." 1 Corinthians 5:5

"As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus." 1 Corinthians 1:14

These and many other New Testament references can be cited to show that the "Day of the Lord" was a theme that was common in the New Testament as well as in the Old Testament. If anything, John is about to record; "The day of the Lord Jesus".

One other piece of biblical support or non-support for this Sunday idea is that the phrase; "on the Lord's Day" is not used anywhere else in the scripture. So to build an interpretation based on this one use would be tenuous at best. But the term "Day of the Lord" is a commonly used phrase and John very familiar with its use in the Old Testament is using familiar language in a standard and familiar way.

"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." Romans 14:5

Paul taught very clearly that to observe one day over another is a by-gone remnant of the Old Covenant. This gives additional support for the fact that the apostles were not bent on replacing the seventh day with the first. Again, let me be clear, and I think I have Paul's support on this, not only is the first day not to be given special recognition, but neither is the seventh day. Neither day holds any covenantal place, and the special place of the seventh day has passed in its connection with the passing of the Old Covenant.

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Colossians 2:16-17

Here again, Paul declares that we are not to emphasize Sabbath days or holy days one way or another. That which was a shadow and has passed away, (the seventh day Sabbath) and should not be replaced by another shadow. Christ is the substance, or the "body", or the fulfillment of the Old Covenant Sabbath, not another day. For a more exhaustive examination of the texts dealing with the Sabbath, see my article entitled: "Sabbath", it can be accessed at this link.

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet," Revelation 1:10

John begins by telling his audience that he was "In the Spirit" on the Lords day. I have read many commentators who claim that John was taken up, off the earth, into heaven and received a celestial vision of Christ, and heard the words of Christ as He dictated from heaven, to John, the letters to the seven churches. Directly after the seven letters to the churches in Asia, (Rev 4:1) John sees an open door in heaven and is beckoned by a voice like a trumpet telling him to "come up here". At once he was again "in the Spirit". So we have this phrase used twice, and as bookends for the words of Christ revealed to John to the seven churches.

I find this "In the Spirit", to be a very interesting phrase and I would like to see how it is used elsewhere in the New Testament and perhaps how the prophets might have applied this concept in the Old Testament.

"And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Luke 1:17

This use of the phrase, "In the Spirit", links John the Baptist's ministry with that of Elijah, but I do not see any reason to insist on a removal from the earth in this passage.

"And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ." Acts 18:5

Here we have Paul "pressed" in the spirit which resulted in his testifying of Jesus Christ to the Jews. But again, there is no indication that he was removed from the earth.

"This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John." Acts 18:25

This text in speaking of Apollos and his ministry says likewise that he was "fervent" in the spirit but it fails to mention any removal from the earth.

"After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome." Acts 19:21

Here we find Paul purposing to perform ministry in three distinct earthly locations, Macedonia, Achaia and Jerusalem. But he never mentions any non-earthly locations.

"But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." Romans 2:29

Here we see the phrase, "In the spirit" used in contrast to being in the law (letter). This is by way of defining who is a Jew and who is not. Again it focuses on the spiritual not the physical, circumcision of the heart, not of the flesh.

"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Romans 8:9

Here the use of the phrase is to indicate a life lived by the indwelling of the Spirit of God in contrast to living a life by way of the flesh.

"Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Galatians 3:3

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulful the lust of the flesh." Galatians 5:16

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Galatians 5:25

Here in Galatians, three different times, Paul is again contrasting Spirit and flesh.

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" Ephesians 6:18

"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." Philippians 3:3

"For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ." Colossians 2:5

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." 1 Timothy 3:16

"For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." 1 Peter 4:6

"So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns." Revelation 17:3

"And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God," Revelation 21:10

With the exception of the last two uses of this phrase, in Revelation, none of these phrases have anything to do with location. But even if you include the two from Revelation, none of them indicate any sense of a removal from the earth to heaven.

"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:31-34

"For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Ezekiel 36:24-27

"And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD." Ezekiel 37:13-14

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit." Joel 2:28-29

This Old Testament idea of each and every member of the covenant having the Spirit of God was unheard of. When Jeremiah and Ezekiel and even Joel made these promises, the Spirit of God upon or in a person was a phenomena reserved for the prophets. It was not an everyday occurrence for every member of the covenant. But in the New Covenant that was to change.

Jesus in answering the Pharisees about David and David's prophetic role highlighted this for us.

"Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, "'The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet'?" Matthew 22:41-45 (ESV)

Here Jesus is quoting David from Psalm 110, and he declares that David when writing this Psalm was "In the Spirit". If you read all through Psalm 110, you will not find that David left the planet to go into heaven. The point of this phrase as used all throughout the scripture is to indicate the ministry and or the inspiration of the Spirit of God in the servant of God. I believe that is also what we have in Revelation 1:10 One last illustration of this concept, and this one is from Moses.

"And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease. But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them! And Moses gat him into the camp, he and the elders of Israel." Numbers 11:25-30

In this section of Numbers we find Moses bestowing God's Spirit, by God's direction. The result was that they began to prophesy and speak the words of the Lord. There was so much of God's Spirit that the "extra" fell upon two of the men who were in the camp, Eldad and Medad. These also prophesied. When those who received the direct commission from Moses saw these other two men, rather than rejoicing for the fact that God's Spirit was further poured out, they complained to Moses out of jealousy. Moses answer was that he wished that ALL of God's people were prophets and that God would pour out His Spirit upon ALL of His people. This is what is coming true in the New Testament with the inauguration of the New Covenant. In Acts 2 we see the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel where "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit," (acts 2:4), and they began to prophecy (in tongues). When Peter rose to give the explanation of what was occurring he quoted Joel saying that "God would pour out his Spirit upon ALL flesh". This All is limited; it is limited to the ALL of the New Covenant. Those who came to Christ by faith and entered into the New Covenant were the ALL. This is the fulfillment of Joel, and the fulfillment of the promise of a New Covenant from Jeremiah, Ezekiel and many of the other prophets.

Now as we progress toward the final end of the Old Covenant with the destruction of Jerusalem, the very prophet/apostle who would record the prophecy of this event was in fact proclaiming that he too was "in the Spirit". That same spirit that was promised, that same spirit that Moses hoped would be poured out upon all of God's people. That same spirit that gave prophetic utterances in the Old Covenant was not doing so in the New.

So John is saying that he was in the spirit, he was under divine inspiration from God himself as he records these words of Jesus to the Seven Churches.

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet".

As John was in the Spirit on the Lords day, john was telling us that by inspiration the Day of the Lord has come, that great and terrible day of God's judgment was about to be poured out and John was about to be given the prophecy of that day. As he declares both the inspiration and the timing of this prophecy he says that from behind him came a great voice that was like a trumpet. This is the same verbiage that John uses in Revelation 4:1 after he records the letters to the seven churches. We will examine the voice that was like a trumpet in greater detail when we come to that section.

I close this study with an introduction to the words of Jesus. John declares his source of inspiration about this prophecy then tells us that the great voice said: "Write what you seeā€¦" And we will see next time what it what he say and what is was he was told to write.


In The Spirit, Judgment, Lords Day, Sabbath, The Day Of The Lord

Meet the author

author avatar Jeff "Miztah" Rogers
Lived in many places in the U.S.. Served in the Air Force for 21 years. retired from active duty in 2002. Traveled extensively, lived 8 years in Europe. I write about the bible, faith, and new ideas

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
7th Dec 2011 (#)

Thank you again, Miztah. As long as you are writing, I am reading.

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author avatar NEERAJ BHATT
10th Jan 2012 (#)


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