on Revelation 1 :10
I was in the Spirit - That is, I received the Spirit of prophecy, and was under its influence when the first vision was exhibited.
The Lord's day - The first day of the week, observed as the Christian Sabbath, because on it Jesus Christ rose from the dead; therefore it was called the Lord's day, and has taken place of the Jewish Sabbath throughout the Christian world.
And heard behind me a great voice - This voice came unexpectedly and suddenly. He felt himself under the Divine afflatus; but did not know what scenes were to be represented.
As of a trumpet - This was calculated to call in every wandering thought, to fix his attention, and solemnize his whole frame. Thus God prepared Moses to receive the law. See Exodus 19:16, Exodus 19:19, etc.
on Revelation 1 :10
I was in the Spirit - This cannot refer to his own spirit, for such an expression would be unintelligible. The language then must refer to some unusual state, or to some influence that had been brought to bear upon him from without, that was appropriate to such a day. The word "Spirit" may refer either to the Holy Spirit, or to some state of mind such as the Holy Spirit produces - a spirit of elevated devotion, a state of high and uncommon religious enjoyment. It is clear that John does not mean here to say that he was under the influence of the Holy Spirit in such a sense as that he was inspired, for the command to make a record, as well as the visions, came subsequently to the time referred to. The fair meaning of the passage is, that he was at that time favored, in a large measure, with the influences of the Holy Spirit - the spirit of true devotion; that he had a high state of religious enjoyment, and was in a condition not inappropriate to the remarkable communications which were made to him on that day.
The state of mind in which he was at the time here referred to, is not such as the prophets are often represented to have been in when under the prophetic inspiration (compare Ezekiel 1:1; Ezekiel 8:3; Ezekiel 40:2; Jeremiah 24:1), and which was often accompanied with an entire prostration of bodily strength (compare Numbers 24:4); 1 Samuel 19:24; Ezekiel 1:28; Daniel 10:8-10; Revelation 1:17), but such as any Christian may experience when in a high state of religious enjoyment. He was not yet under the prophetic ecstasy (compare Acts 10:10; Acts 11:5; Acts 22:17), but was, though in a lonely and barren island, and far away from the privileges of the sanctuary, permitted to enjoy, in a high degree, the consolations of religion - an illustration of the great truth that God can meet his people anywhere; that, when in solitude and in circumstances of outward affliction, when persecuted and cast out, when deprived of the public means of grace and the society of religious friends, He can meet them with the abundant consolations of His grace, and pour joy and peace into their souls. This state was not inappropriate to the revelations which were about to be made to John, but this itself was not that state. It was a state which seems to have resulted from the fact, that on that desert island he devoted the day to the worship of God, and, by honoring the day dedicated to the memory of the risen Saviour, found, what all will find, that it was attended with rick spiritual influences on his soul.
On the Lord's day - The word rendered here as "Lord's" (κυριακῇ kuriakē), occurs only in this place and in 1 Corinthians 11:20, where it is applied to the Lord's supper. It properly means "pertaining to the Lord"; and, so far as this word is concerned, it might mean a day "pertaining to the Lord," in any sense, or for any reason; either because he claimed it as his own, and had set it apart for his own service, or because it was designed to commemorate some important event pertaining to him, or because it was observed in honor of him. It is clear:
(1) That this refers to some day which was distinguished from all other days of the week, and which would be sufficiently designated by the use of this term.
(2) that it was a day which was for some reason regarded as especially a day of the Lord, or especially devoted to him.
(3) it would further appear that this was a day particularly devoted to the Lord Jesus; for:
(a) that is the natural meaning of the word "Lord" as used in the New Testament (compare the notes on Acts 1:24); and
(b) if the Jewish Sabbath were intended to be designated, the word "Sabbath" would have been used.
The term was used generally by the early Christians to denote the first day of the week. It occurs twice in the Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians (about 101 a.d.), who calls the Lord's day "the queen and prince of all days." Chrysostom (on Psalm 119) says, "It was called the Lord's day because the Lord rose from the dead on that day." Later fathers make a marked distinction between the "Sabbath" and the "Lord's day"; meaning by the former the Jewish "Sabbath," or the seventh day of the week, and by the latter the first day of the week, kept holy by Christians. So Theodoret (Fab. Haeret. ii. 1), speaking of the Ebionites, says, "They keep the Sabbath according to the Jewish law, and sanctify the Lord's day in like manner as we do" (Prof. Stuart). The strong probability is, that the name was given to this day in honor of the Lord Jesus, and because he rose on that day from the dead. No one can doubt that it was an appellation given to the first day of the week; and the passage, therefore, proves:
(1) that that day was thus early distinguished in some special manner, so that the mere mention of it would be sufficient to identify it in the minds of those to whom the apostle wrote;
(2) that it was in some sense regarded as devoted to the Lord Jesus, or was designed in some way to commemorate what he had done; and,
(3) that if this book were written by the apostle John, the observance of that day has the apostolic sanction. He had manifestly, in accordance with a prevailing custom, set apart this day in honor of the Lord Jesus. Though alone, he was engaged on that day in acts of devotion. Though far away from the sanctuary, he enjoyed what all Christians hope to enjoy on such a day of rest, and what not a few do in fact enjoy in its observance. We may remark, in view of this statement:
(a) that when away from the sanctuary, and deprived of its privileges, we should nevertheless not fail to observe the Christian Sabbath. If on a bed of sickness, if in a land of strangers, if on the deep, if in a foreign clime, if on a lonely island, as John was, where we have none of the advantages of public worship, we should yet honor the Sabbath. We should worship God alone, if we have none to unite with us; we should show to those around us, if we are with strangers, by our dress and our conversation, by a serious and devent manner, by abstinence from labor, and by a resting from travel, that we devoutly regard this day as set apart for God.
(b) We may expect, in such circumstances, and with such a devout observance of the day, that God will meet with us and bless us. It was on a lonely island, far away from the sanctuary and from the society of Christian friends, that the Saviour met "the beloved disciple," and we may trust it will be so with us. For on such a desert island, in a lonely forest, on the deep, or amid strangers in a foreign land, he can as easily meet us as in the sanctuary where we have been accustomed to worship, and when surrounded by all the privileges of a Christian land. No man, at home or abroad, among friends or strangers, enjoying the privileges of the sanctuary, or deprived of those privileges, ever kept the Christian Sabbath in a devout manner without profit to his own soul; and, when deprived of the privileges of public worship, the visitations of the Saviour to the soul may be more than a compensation for all our privations. Who would not be willing to be banished to a lonely island like Patmos, if he might enjoy such a glorious vision of the Redeemer as John was favored with there?
on Revelation 1 :10