Appendix 2 – Use of “the LORD’s Day” in Early Writings

The “Church” did not call Sunday the Lord’s Day until 325 A.D.

The first possible reference to Sunday as “the Lord’s Day” came from Clement of Alexandria, in 200 A.D., in his Stromata. He compared “the Lord’s Day” to the “eighth day” using an analogy of Roman Philosophy. However, it is unclear whether he meant “the eighth day” as Sunday, or our resurrected life in heaven. Clement wrote, “He . . . keeps the Lord’s day, when he abandons an evil disposition, and assumes that of the Gnostic, glorifying the Lord’s resurrection in himself.”

In recent years, a number of translators have led us to believe that early Christian writings referred to Sunday as “the Lord’s Day.” In the table below, we present the actual Greek text used to make these translations. You will see that all of these translations are fraudulent.

Before the third century, if there was any use of the Lord’s Day, it was applied to the Sabbath Day, and not the first day of the week. As we will see below:

The Epistle of Barnabas (130 A.D.)

The Epistle of Barnabas made a comparison of the LORD’s Day with the Sabbath Day.

Behold, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, everything shall come to an end. And He rested on the seventh day. This He meaneth; when His Son shall come, and shall abolish the time of the Lawless One, and shall judge the ungodly, and shall change the sun and the moon and the stars, then shall he truly rest on the seventh day.

Dionysius, in Eusebius’ Church History (176 A.D.). Book 4:23 (section 11)

English translations say “Lord’s Day.” But the Greek reads “Lord’s Holy Day.”

Historians tell us Corinth observed the Sabbath; this was the meaning of “Lord’s Holy Day;” as we discussed in Chapter 18 (b), Christ was the YHVH ELOHIM who rested on the Sabbath, as stated in the Commandment.

The Acts of John and the Gospel of Peter (150 to 200 A.D.)

As we read in Chapter 26, in the second half of the second century, Modalist or Docetic believers wrote two forgeries, which are the Gospel of Peter and the Acts of John. Of course, there is no way to prove that they were written by the same person, but the ideas are very similar.

The question is: Which day were they calling the Lord’s Day? Was is Saturday or Sunday?

The Acts of John reads, “And on the seventh day, it being the Lord’s day.”1

The Gospel of Peter has only one chapter, verse 35 reads, “But in the night in which the Lord’s day dawned . . . there was a loud voice . . . the stone was thrust against the door.” Verse 50 reads, “Now at the dawn of the Lord’s Day, Mary Magdelene . . . . came to the tomb . . . .”

The dawn of which day, the seventh day or the first day?

The writer was imitating Matthew 28:1: “Now late on the sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher. And there was a great earthquake . . .”

It was the Sabbath day that dawned when Mary Magdelene came to the tomb.

The reason people are confused is because the Gospel of Peter calls the Passover Sabbath, “the Sabbath,” and calls the regular Sabbath, “The Lord’s Day.” Jesus was buried before the Passover Sabbath, on Thursday. He was in the tomb for three days and three nights. As it says also in Luke, “this now being the third day since these things happened.”

The Comparison of the Gospel of Peter and Matthew is as follows:

Thursday Night Friday Night Saturday Night
Gospel of Peter V. 20–27 V. 30–34 V. 35–50
Gospel of Matthew Matt 27:57–61 Matt 27:62–66 Matt 28:1–2

 

False Translations of the phrase “the Lord’s Day”

in all known English Translations

The Didache (80–130 A.D.), Chapter 13 and 14

The Greek reads, “set aside your offering according to (kata) the (Paul’s) commandment. According to (kata) the Lord’s (commandment – implied) those of the Lord should break bread.”

κατα την εντολην κατα κυριακην δε κυριου

In 1912, Kirsopp Lake added the word “Day” after Lord’s.

Ignatius of Antioch letter to the Magnetians (110 A.D.)

The only surviving Greek manuscript, which comes from the eleventh century, reads “living according to (kata) the Lord’s life.” But Ussher in the sixteenth century added the word “Day” to the fifteenth-century Latin version, which said, “living according to the Lord’s” and he ignored the word “life” in the Greek.

In the third century, a fraudulent expanded version of Ignatius’ letter was produced that reads, “let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day as a festival.”

Ironically, the message of Ignatius was based on Paul’s text of Colossians 2:8:

“let no one cheat you according to (kata) the traditions of men, according to (kata)the basic principles of this world, and not according to (kata) Christ.”

Dionysius, in Eusebius’ Church History (176 A.D.). Book 4:23 (section 11)

The Greek reads “Lord’s holy Day” (not “Lord’s Day).

κυριακὴν ἁγίαν ἡμέραν 2

 

Bishop Melito of Sardis, in Eusebius’ Church History (170 A.D.). Book 4.26 (section 2)

The Greek reads, “A Discourse Concerning the Lord’s Word (Logos)” (not Day)

καὶ ὁ Περὶ ἐκκλησίας καὶ ὁ Περὶ κυριακῆς λόγος3

 

Fragment 7 of the Lost Works of Irenaeus

“Now this custom took its rise from apostolic times, as the blessed Irenæus, the martyr and bishop of Lyons, declares in his treatise On Easter, in which he makes mention of Pentecost also; upon which [feast] we do not bend the knee, because it is of equal significance with the Lord’s day.”

This passage is often quoted, as belonging to Irenaeus. The writer says he is not Irenaeus. We don’t know when this passage was written or who wrote it, but it was definitely written after Irenaeus. The Lord’s day in this sentence may actually refer to Easter, which is apparently the subject of his treatise.

 


  1. Translated by Alexander Walker. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 8. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886).
  2. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2008.01.0640%3Abook%3D4%3Achapter%3D23%3Asection%3D11
  3. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2008.01.0640%3Abook%3D4%3Achapter%3D26%3Asection%3D2