‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day’ (Revelation 1:10)

Revelation 1:10

This is how John introduces his series of fabulous visions – visions of heaven’s rule during the heyday of the Roman Empire.

[] Where was John and why was he there?

In the previous verse he tells us that he was banged up as a prisoner of Caesar ‘on the island of Patmos’ – Turkey’s equivalent of say Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel – because of ‘the testimony of Jesus,’ the gospel that proclaims Jesus as Lord, Lord even of the emperor. After a generation or so of relative peaceful coexistence, now ‘The Empire Strikes Back!’ Nero, for example, was especially vicious in his treatment of Christians.

[] When did John see his remarkable visions?

‘The Lord’s day’ was not  Sunday, as some Bible footnotes claim, because Sunday only became the statutory ‘Christian’ day off when Constantine became the first ‘Christian’ emperor more than two centuries later. John uses a unique adjective – his strange phrase could be translated ‘the lordly day’. The Interlinear Greek/English New Testament renders it ‘the imperial day’, probably the day in the year for public adulation of the emperor. It was on that significant day of all days – the time for ‘Heil, mein Fuehrer!’ celebration – that John, imprisoned because of the Empire’s opposition to the gospel,  saw ‘the Lamb of God’ as ‘King of kings’ and ‘Lord of lords’ (Revelation 19:11-16).

  • For us, any day is the Lord’s day because ‘now is the day of salvation’ (2 Corinthians 6:2; Isaiah 49:8) and of every day we can say like the composer of Psalm 118:24, ‘This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it’

[] What was his special enabling experience there on that day?

‘I came to be  in the Spirit on the imperial day’ (Interlinear Greek/English New Testament). Three more times John tells us ‘I became in the Spirit’ (Revelation 1:10; 4:2) or he was ‘carried away in the Spirit’ (Revelation 17:3; 21:10). And again and again he fell down and worshipped (Revelation 1:17; 19:10; 22:9) because he kept seeing heavenly beings doing just that (Revelation 5:8; 7:11; 11:15-16; 19:1-4). In fact, he got so carried away that he even started adoring his angelic tour guide and had to be told, ‘No, no; worship God’ (Revelation 19:10; 22:9).

At the end of his series of visions he hears the Spirit in action one last time: the Spirit prompts Jesus the bridegroom that it’s time for him to return to earth for his prepared bride. ‘The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”’ He replies enthusiastically, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ His Spirit-inspired bride responds, ‘Amen, come Lord Jesus’ (Revelation 22:17, 20).

  • Whatever is going on out there in a secular world today – in the Middle East or nearer home – let us welcome the Spirit of God to catch us up, individually and together, into the heavenly realms of reality to enjoy the triumphant Jesus, risen, reigning and preparing to return.

* Gracious Father, may we be borne along in the Spirit on this day that you have made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Amen.

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