Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

IS THE TEACHING OF ROMANS 14:5 INIMICAL TO AN UNDERSTANDING THAT THE LORD’S DAY IS THE PROPER DAY FOR CHRISTIAN CORPORATE WORSHIP? (Part 4)

Biblical Evidence

The use of biblical evidence. Though the phrase “the Lord’s Day” is a hapax legomenon, making the use of historical evidence necessary, the New Testament provides both linguistic and thematic evidence that assists the readers in identifying “the Lord’s Day.”

The Lord’s Day and the Lord’s Supper. The particular word for “Lord” used in Revelation 1:10 is not the general root of “Lord” that is the common way of referring to Jesus Christ in the New Testament;[1] the term for “Lord” here, while it's not the general word κύριος, is the derivative possessive κυριακ, and it is not a hapax legomenon in the New Testament: it's the whole phrase that's a hapax. Therefore, as a phrase, “the Lord’s Day” must be examined as a hapax legomenon, but the root for the word κυριακ (i.e., kuriakos) is used in one other place in the New Testament: in reference to the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 11:20). Now this parallel usage of terminology regarding “the Lord's Supper” and “the Lord's Day” suggests that, like the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Day is a Christian ordinance of some kind; as Christians partake in a particular Supper that belongs to the Lord in a special way, so Christians recognize a particular day that belongs to the Lord in a special way.[2] This line of reasoning leads John Murray to conclude:

The two pivotal events in this accomplishment [of redemption] are the death and resurrection of Christ and the two memorial ordinances of the New Testament institution are the Lord’s Supper and the Lord’s Day, the one memorializing Jesus’ death and the other his resurrection.[3]

The first day of the week. Sam Waldron notes: “The only day of the week mentioned by its number in the New Testament is the first day of the week. It’s mentioned seven or eight times.”[4]

It’s clear that Christ was raised from the dead on the first day of the week (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20: 1, 19). We know, on the basis of the New Testament, that the lordship of Jesus Christ is particularly associated both with the Day of Resurrection: the day upon which He was declared to be the Son of God with power (Rom 1:3-4), and made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).[5] We are told that “eight days later”— which in the Jewish, inclusive manner of reckoning time was the next first day of the week— he appeared to His gathered disciples again (John 20:26). And so there were two significant, unique, and distinct kinds of appearances to His disciples: on the first day— the resurrection day— and eight days later (the next first day of the week).

The Day of Pentecost, we know for certain due to Leviticus 23:15-16, took place on the first day of the week (the day after the seventh Sabbath). And so the first day of the week is also associated with Pentecost: when Jesus, with the exercise of His lordship, poured out the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4, 32-33).

And so Jesus’ resurrection on the first day of the week and His appearance eight days later on the next first day of the week (when Thomas declares Him as, “my Lord and my God!”) are associated with His lordship. And the Day of Pentecost— the outpouring of the Spirit on that first day of the week— was the open display of the power and glory of His resurrection. When we add to these historical facts the information of Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, which demonstrate that the first day of the week was the day upon which the early churches met, then we see that there is a great deal of 'naturalness' to the identification of the Lord’s Day as the first day of the week.[6]

Conclusion. The New Testament linguistic evidence concerning “the Lord’s Day” indicates that the Day is to be understood within the Church as a kind of ordinance: a day regularly commemorated as having a special relationship to the work of the Lord Jesus. The New Testament thematic evidence concerning “the Lord’s Day” indicates a relationship between “the Lord’s Day” and the first day of the week: the only day of the week mentioned by its number in the New Testament; the day of the week specifically related to the lordship of Christ through His resurrection, His post-resurrection appearance to the disciples eight days later, and His sending of the Spirit at Pentecost.



[1] It's clear in the context that “Lord” refers to Jesus Christ.

[2]Waldron, “’Saturday or Sunday (Part 4).”

[3] Murray, Romans, 258. Concerning the phrase κυριακ μέρ [in Rev 1:10] BDAG 576 s.v. κυριακός states: “pert. to belonging to the Lord, the Lord’sκ. μέρ the Lord’s Day (Kephal. I 192, 1; 193, 31…) i.e., certainly Sunday (so in Mod. Gk…) Rv 1:10 (WStott, NTS 12, ’65, 70-75).” Cited from The NET Bible [on-line]; accessed 14 July 2010; available from http://net.bible.org/bible.php?book=Rev&chapter=1; Internet.

[4]Waldron, “Saturday or Sunday (Part 4).” Waldron says, “seven or eight times” because Mark 16:9 is in dispute. Of the times that the term “first day of the week” is used, six speak of the very day Jesus was raised from the dead (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2; Mark 16:9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1; John 20:19).

[5] Jesus was certainly divine prior to His resurrection (John 1:1; 17:5), “but He assumed, in a new way, kingship and lordship at His resurrection.” Sam Waldron, “’Saturday or Sunday: Which Day is the Christian Sabbath?’ A Debate Between Baptists (Part 2)” [on-line]; accessed 14 July 2010; available from http://sharpens.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-06-03T05%3A44%3A00-04%3A00; MP3.

[6]Waldron, “Saturday or Sunday (Part 4).”

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