Saturday, 22 August 2020
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, Revelation 1:10
In the previous verse, John revealed that he was on Patmos “for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” It is there that he now reveals how the contents of the book of Revelation were received. He begins with, “I was in the Spirit.”
There is no article before “Spirit,” and so it is debated whether this means the Holy Spirit or not. Paul writes elsewhere, “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). No article is used there as well, and yet it is generally accepted that he is referring to the Holy Spirit. John was probably praying, praising the Lord, singing out to Him, or something similar. In this, he was “filled with the Spirit,” and thus “in the Spirit” as any believer would be when intimately contemplating his relationship before the Lord. The same term is used again in verse 4:2 where it clearly is speaking of John being presented with a vision.
John says this state was “on the Lord’s Day.” The Greek word, translated as “Lord’s,” is kuriakos. It is used only here and concerning the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:20. It signifies “pertaining to the Lord.” It would be an abuse of the text to assume that John is speaking of the “day of the Lord” as noted in 2 Thessalonians 2:2. Further, verse 4:2 will show this is not the case.
John will be given visions of the day of the Lord after receiving the seven letters to the seven churches. At this time, he is speaking of a specific day – a day set apart to the Lord – just as the Lord’s Supper is a meal set apart to the Lord. Thus, it is referring to Sunday – the day the Lord was resurrected. It was, and it continues to be, regarded as such.
If this was the Sabbath, John would have noted it as such (see John 5:9, etc.; see John 20:1, etc.). The first day of the week, as noted in the gospels, later became known as “the Lord’s Day” in honor of the most important event in human history – the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is while in the Spirit, and while on Sunday – the first day of the week – that John next says, “and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet.” The Greek highlights the magnitude of the voice by saying, “and I heard behind me a voice, great, like that of a trumpet.”
It is curious as to why the voice is “behind” John. Tradition holds that he received the apocalypse in a cave. If so, he may have been praying with his face to the wall, as people do. He may also have been lying face down, as people do. One commentator suggests that the symbolism used in Revelation, coming from the Old Testament types and shadows, is being called to memory – thus, the voice is “behind” John.
The great voice like a trumpet speaks of calling a matter to attention. In Isaiah, it says –
“Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1
Isaiah was being instructed to cry out loudly and clearly concerning the people’s errant ways. In some places, a voice is accompanied by the blast of a trumpet, such as at the giving of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 19. A trumpet will be sounded at the rapture of the church as is noted in 1 Thessalonians 4:6.
The idea is that of a clear, unambiguous, and purposeful calling forth of a message. The words to be conveyed will not be muttered or mixed, as if he might misunderstand.
Life application: The same God who spoke the universe into existence, who gave the Law at Sinai, and who sent tongues of fire at Pentecost, also spoke to John to reveal His coming words of instruction for His church, and of woe to those who fail to come to Him through Jesus Christ before the coming tribulation period.
Let us pay heed to what is presented in the book of Revelation, carefully evaluating it so that we will be properly trained in what it says. In this, we will be able to competently explain what we know to others in order to bring them to a sound knowledge as well.
Awesome and splendid are You, O God. When You speak, the mountains tremble and hearts become like stone. Your voice controlled the creation, your word sustains us even now, and what You speak determines the future. And so, let us never fail to accept Your word as the rule and guide of our faith, knowing that You are always with Your people through the events that occur in our lives. Our hearts sings praises to You today, our awesome and glorious God! Amen.