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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Lord's Day

The Christian sabbath, called so in Revelation 1:10, the earliest mention of the term. But the consecration of the day to worship, to almsgiving (but not to earning), and to the Lord's supper, is implied in Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. The Lord singled it out as the day of His repeated appearances after His resurrection (John 20:19; John 20:26), and the evangelists' special mention of this day as the day of those reappearances implies their recognition of its sanctity. The designation corresponds to "the Lord's supper" (1 Corinthians 11:20): Ignatius (ad Magnes. ix) and Irenaeus (Quaest. ad Orthod. 115, in Justin Martyr); and Justin Martyr, A.D. 140 (Apol. ii. 98), writes: "on Sunday we hold our joint meeting, for the first day is that on which God, having removed darkness, made the world, and Jesus Christ our Saviour rose from the dead.

On the day before Saturday they crucified Him; on the day after Saturday, Sunday, having appeared to His apostles He taught." Pliny writes in his famous letter to Trajan (x. 97), "the Christians (in Bithynia) on a fixed day before dawn meet and sing a hymn to Christ as God." Tertullian (de Coron. iii), "on the Lord's day we deem it wrong to fast." Melito, bishop of Sardis (second century), wrote a book on the Lord's day (Eusebius iv. 26). The reference in Romans 14:5-6 is to days of Jewish observance. The words "he that regardeth not the day to the Lord he doth not regard it" are not in the Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, and Vaticanus manuscripts, and the Vulgate. "The day of the Lord" (namely, of His second advent: 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10) is distinct from "the Lord's (an adjective, eej kuriakee ) day," which in the ancient church designated Sunday.

The visions of the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials, naturally begin on the first day of the seven, the birthday of the church whose future they set forth (Wordsworth). In A.D. 321 Constantine expressed the feeling of all his Christian subjects by enjoining that "all judges, and the civic population, and workshops of artisans should rest on the venerable day of the Sun." The council of Nicea (A.D. 325) assume the universal acceptance of the obligation of the Lord's day, and only direct as to the posture of worshippers on it. Christ's rising from the dead on the first day, to bring in the new creation, is the ground of transference of the sabbath from the seventh day.

If the former creation out of chaos was rightly marked by the seventh day, much more the more momentous (Isaiah 65:17) new creation, out of moral chaos (Jeremiah 4:22-23), by the first day. The seventh day sabbath was the gloomy, silent one of Jesus' resting in the grave; the first day sabbath is the joyful one of the once "rejected stone becoming head of the corner." "This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will be glad and rejoice in it" (Psalms 118:22-24). If a seventh day sabbath marked Israel's emancipation from Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15), much more (compare Jeremiah 16:14-15) should the first day sabbath mark ushering in of the world's redemption from Satan by Jesus. (See SABBATH.)

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Lord's Day'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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