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, May 04, 2016

The Lord's Supper and the Lord's Day in Redemptive-Historical Context

In Revelation 1:10, the phrase “the Lord’s Day” is a hapax legomenon: a phrase only occurring only once in the Greek New Testament. 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 the word 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]

In addition to the grammatical connection, there are significant thematic similarities between both the background and the intentions for the Lord’s Day and the Lord’s Supper. Both are rooted in creation realities. Both find their fulfillment in the New Creation to be manifested at Christ’s return.

Man was originally created to enjoy everlasting life in fellowship with God. In the Creation Covenant, God offered Man life on the condition of perfect obedience, as signified in the tree of life (Gen 2:9; 3:22-23). Upon breaking the Creation Covenant, Man earned death (Gen 2:16-17; 3:19). The sentence of death was delayed, however, as Man—who had become ashamed of nakedness (Gen 2:25; 3:7)—was clothed by God in the skins of an animal (Gen 3:21). Instead of Adam and Eve immediately dying, an animal died to cover their shame. Following the example of God sacrificing the animal, righteous Abel sacrificed the first-born from his flocks (Gen 4:4). Thereafter followed a host of occasional sacrifices during the time of the patriarchs. These sacrifices indicated that the way for sinners to enjoy fellowship with God was through the death of a substitute. Under the Mosaic Covenant, the sacrificial system was codified. The sacrificial system in the Old Testament was fulfilled in the perfect work of Christ (Heb 10:1-14). Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of His perfect sacrifice (1 Cor 11:25). The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated by Christ’s followers until He comes again (1 Cor 11:26), at which time it will give way to the ultimate fellowship with Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Luke 22:15-18; Rev 19:7-9).

Man was originally created to enjoy the fellowship of everlasting rest in God. At Creation, God gave Man the ordinances of marriage, work, and rest. The ordinance of rest was attached to a specific day—originally the seventh day—which God sanctified (Gen 2:3). At Creation, God made the Sabbath for Man (Mark 2:27). Under the Mosaic Covenant, the Sabbath was codified, and it became the sign of the Old Covenant (Exo 31:13, 17). Having offered a complete and sufficient work through His death, burial, and resurrection, Christ was ultimately able to rest from His work (Heb 10:12). Through being 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), appearing to His disciples on the first day (John 20:26), and sending the Holy Spirit on the first day (Acts 2:1-4; 32-33), Jesus established the first day of the week as the day that His disciples would commemorate His rest from His completed work. The earliest disciples began meeting together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:1-2) and referring to it as the Lord’s Day (Rev 1:10). This, in part, helps to define the “Sabbath-keeping” found in Hebrews 4:9-10 (rightly translated), which will give way to an everlasting rest when Jesus returns and establishes the new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:4).

Brothers and sisters, let us glorify the Lord. Let us make the most of every opportunity to meet together on the Lord’s Day, taking the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner. In the Lord’s Supper, let us truly remember His sacrifice, enjoying fellowship with one another, looking forward to everlasting fellowship with Him. In the Lord’s Day, let us remember His completed work, resting in Him now, and looking forward to complete and everlasting rest in Him.
[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’s… κ. 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; Internet.

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