False Translations of the Lord’s Day

(Revelation 1:10)

In the book From Sabbath to the Lord’s Day, A. T. Lincoln wrote, “Of the New Testament texts it is only Revelation 1:10 with its designation of the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day that can indicate the theological significance that was attached to this day.”1From Sabbath to the Lord’s Day, D.A. Carson, 1999, pg 384

A. T. Lincoln has assumed, however, that “the Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10 is speaking of a weekday and not of the Day of Christ’s return.

The Greek text tells us that John was “in the Lord’s Day,” not “on the Lord’s Day.” Of course, A. T. Lincoln knows this, but many other false translations of early writings have led us to believe that “the Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10 refers to a weekday. In the 16th century, Ussher translated “Lord’s life” in Ignatius’s Letter to the Magnesians as “Lord’s Day.” Others replaced “Lord’s Word” with “Lord’s Day” and “Lord’s Holy Day” with “Lord’s Day” in Eusebius’s Church History. In 1912, Kirsopp Lake added “Lord’s Day” to the translation of The Didache, where the Greek inferred “Lord’s commandment.”

Besides these false translations, there are many manuscripts falsely attributed to bishops and apostles that describe the “Lord’s Day” as a weekday, but all these were written or rewritten in the 4th century or later.

Once we remove all the fraudulent writings, the truth of the “Lord’s Day” is easy to see. The expression “the Lord’s Day” did not refer to Sunday until the 4th century.

At the end of the 2nd century, the churches of Egypt and North Africa began to celebrate the end-time resurrection of the saints on “the Lord’s Day,” Easter Sunday. It was not until A.D. 325 that the church in Rome made every Sunday a celebration of the resurrection of the saints. In fact, some 2nd-century believers used the expression “the Lord’s Day” to refer to the Sabbath Day—“the Lord’s Holy Day.”