Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 04: The Christian (2), by Watchman Nee

(VERSES 10-16)

Verse Ten

Verse 10: "I was in spirit on the Lord’s Day and heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet."

The "Lord’s Day" here is the first day of the week, which we commonly call Sunday. The ancient church called the first day of the week the Lord’s Day. This is different from "the day of the Lord" in both the Old Testament and the New. The words "the Lord’s Day" are different from "the day of the Lord" in the original language. The day of the Lord refers to the long period from the descending of Christ in glory to the renewing of the heavens and the earth by fire. The Lord’s Day refers only to the first day of the week, that is, Sunday. If the Lord’s Day were to refer to the day of the Lord, then what is recorded in Revelation could only be things happening at the day of the Lord. However, this is not so. The things concerning the seven churches in chapters two and three were all things before the day of the Lord. Therefore, it is very inappropriate to consider the Lord’s Day as the day of the Lord. (The Lord’s Day is fully a thing of the New Testament. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Sabbath of the Old Testament. The Lord’s Day is not the "Christian Sabbath." Christians should not keep the Lord’s Day in the way of the bondage of the Old Testament regulations regarding the Sabbath. We should never mix together the Lord’s Day with the Sabbath. If we mix the two together, we will bear our yoke in vain!)

The apostle heard the voice of God’s revelation in spirit on a certain Lord’s Day. The translation in some versions, "I was in the Spirit," is not a proper rendering, because in Greek there is not a definite article before the word "spirit." This shows that the spirit here does not refer to the Holy Spirit but to the human spirit.

Man is tripartite, composed of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thes. 5:23). The spirit is the organ for us to worship God; it has the God consciousness. The soul is our whole personality; it has the self consciousness. The body is our outer shell; it has the physical consciousness. When believers are regenerated, though they have a new life, they are nevertheless still of the flesh and are affected by the body. When they progress to serve the Lord and to grow in grace, they gradually enter the realm of the soul. When believers are in their soul, their actions are mostly determined by their own mind, emotion, stimulus, and feelings. Their life is not a stable one. They are unsteady and lacking in soberness. They cannot serve the Lord and work for Him unless they are burning in heart or feel inexplicable joy. Only if they have a presence of God that can be "felt" will they be able to pray, praise, or read the Bible. If they feel dry in heart, they will not be able to live normally. In the believers’ experience, the most important thing is to allow the Holy Spirit to divide the soul from the spirit through the Word of God. In this way they will not be affected by the soul anymore and can be fully spiritual, and their daily life will not be altered by their emotions, feelings, thoughts, and stimulations.

Here we see how free and unbound by anything was the spirit of John. He had the ascended life (Eph. 2:6). His spirit had left the blockade of the soul and was soaring in the air. Although he was alone on a deserted island under the mistreatment and suffering of the Romans, he was not inflamed by the soul because of this, and this did not result in a confused or bitter heart. The believers should ask for grace in the Lord to separate the soul from the spirit in their experience so that in all circumstances, whether it be the deserted island of Patmos or other harrowing environments, their spirits will not be bound from fellowshipping with the Lord and receiving revelation from Him. Oh, the world may bind us, chain us, and separate us from our friends and relatives. It may deprive us of the needs of the body so that our natural life cannot go on in a normal way, but it has no way to imprison our spirit from ascending to the heavens. On the contrary, in all the trials our spirit ascends day by day until we reach the throne of God. It may seem that the things that surround us have driven us to exhaustion. However, the world cannot cut off the heaven from above our heads. The island of Patmos is an excellent place to lead our spirit into ascension. It is a pity that God’s children have often misused and misunderstood God’s Patmos!

Here John was not like an ordinary person. He had some strange experiences. It seemed as if he had lost all sensation of the world and was drawn by the Holy Spirit to separate from his own feelings. The world was left behind, and he was brought into the realm of the spirit to listen to God’s word. Originally, he was looking forward to the future glory. Now God would have him to first pay attention to the present condition of the church. Hence, he was turned back (v. 12). He heard behind him "a loud voice like a trumpet." This voice was heard again in 4:1. The meaning of trumpeting is to gather people and to manifest God’s holiness (1 Thes. 4:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:52; Exo. 19:16, 19).

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 04: The Christian (2), Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)