PROVE ALL THINGS Be Ready Always to Give an Answer
Val J Aspenns
High on a hill overlooking the cool, blue water of the Aegean Sea lived a kindly, white-haired patriarch in his small, but comfortable, Grecian villa. Having lived a most active life, he now enjoyed his semiretirement and often pondered about the past and his close association with "the Lord." Today was special, for, as was his custom, this day was. reserved for a religious observance. After all, this day - Sunday - was "the Lord's day" (Revelation 1:10). Fact or fiction? Although the story appears to be plausible, it is almost totally false, with the greatest fallacy being the conclusion, which almost all professing Christianity has swallowed hook, line and sinker. It's important that we are not deceived about the true meaning of "the Lord's day." The proof is available and irrefutable. The aged patriarch was the apostle John who even in his latter years suffered much persecution for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the last decade of the first century A.D., he was banished by the Roman emperor Domitian to the desolate island of Patmos, used by the Roman government as a place for criminals. It is in this setting that the final inspired words of the Bible were given to John, to record the revelation of Jesus Christ in order to "shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass" (Revelation 1:1). John was given the distinct privilege to view and document the panorama of prophecy, especially focusing in on the events that are to transpire in this last generation. With this in mind we can understand why John wrote, "I Was in the Spirit on the Lord's day" (Revelation 1:10). What follows is a graphic description of end-time events that will change not only the earth but, its inhabitants as well. The central theme is "the day of the Lord," a time when God will intervene in the affairs of man. And yet some try to explain away the "Lord's day" as a reference to Sunday observance. Note this interpretation of Revelation 1:10: "It was Sunday and I was worshiping, when suddenly I heard a loud voice behind me" (Living Prophecies, by Kenneth N. Taylor). Other Sunday-keeping scholars show more objectivity. In the Encyclopaedia Biblica, edited by T.K. Cheyne and J. S. Black, c. 1902, under the article "Lord's Day," they acknowledge that while many scholars accept the term to refer to Sunday observance, "... the presence of the article and the connection in which the phrase occurs both favor the other-interpretation [supported by a weighty minority of scholars], according to which 'the day of the Lord' here stands for 'the day of Yahwe,' the day of judgment." The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Dictionary, by Siegfried H. Horn, c. 1960, comments in the article, "Day of the Lord": "Consistently in both the Old and New Testament this and similar expressions denote the time when God intervenes in human affairs to execute judgment upon evildoers or to deliver His people from the hands of their oppressors, or both." The Companion Bible, appendix 197:2, shows that the key to unlocking the meaning of the book of Revelation is the understanding that "the Lord's day" is "the Day of the Lord" (see Isaiah 2:12). "'The Day of the Lord' being yet future, it follows that the whole book must concern the things belonging to 'that day' and consequently is wholly prophecy ... the book concerns the future and the day of the unveiling (the apocalypse) of the great 'King of kings and Lord of lords.' " Although Christendom has accepted Sunday keeping as one of its basic tenets, "we cannot say with certainty how far back the practice of marking the first day of the week by acts of worship is traceable... the time when the Christian Sunday began to be observed in Palestine ... remains utterly obscure" (The Encyclopaedia Biblica, article, "Lord's Day" ). Continuing with their comments regarding Acts 20:6-7 where Paul was meeting with the brethren "to break bread." "Even here, however, we must be careful not to infer too much. The passage furnishes no conclusive proof that the first day of the week was the regular day for celebrating the Lord's Supper, or that a universal Christian custom is here referred to." The late Catholic Cardinal James Gibbons in his book, The Faith of Our Fathers, asked some rather incisive and penetrating questions: "... is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties?" And now for the astounding answer, and we applaud his honesty and candor: "But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify." At least we know where he stands. As we can see from all the references quoted, "the Lord's day" in Revelation 1:10 plainly refers to the future "day of the Lord." There is another aspect to "the Lord's day." Is it really Sunday? Mark 2:28 is quite instructive. Read it for yourself.