Note: This is a continuing evaluation of the book The Days of Vengeance written by David Chilton. Chilton at the time of writing this was a partial preterist who later in life (after a massive heart attack) turned to full preterism. Sections will be taken from the book and commented on to the fullest extent possible. A PDF of the book can be found here.
In Part 1, a brief look was given to the Covenental aspects of the book of Revelation. While this isn't the only way to look at the book of Revelation, it is the principle way the Chilton will look at the book. If that alone weren't enough to keep a read busy for months, Chilton continues to provide other frameworks available for understanding the book of Revelation. Though these frameworks aren't used explicitly it is obvious that John as an author may have been drawing on these and the Holy Spirit as the inspiration of Scripture may have been pushing John to write. One of the biggest of these frameworks is the extensive parallels between the books of Revelation and Ezekiel,
1. The Throne-Vision (Rev. 4/Ezek. 1)
2. The Book (Rev. 5/Ezek. 2-3)
3. The Four Plagues (Rev. 6:1-8/Ezek. 5)
4. The Slain under the Altar (Rev. 6:9-11/Ezek. 6)
5. The Wrath of God (Rev. 6:12-17/Ezek. 7)
6. The Seal on the Saint’s Foreheads (Rev. 7/Ezek. 9)
7. The Coals from the Altar (Rev. 8/Ezek. 10)
8. No More Delay (Rev. 10:1-7 /Ezek. 12)
9. The Eating of the Book (Rev. 10:8 -11/Ezek. 2)
10. The Measuring of the Temple (Rev. 11:1-2/Ezek. 40-43)
11. Jerusalem and Sodom (Rev. 11:8/Ezek. 16)
12. The Cup of Wrath (Rev. 14/Ezek. 23)
13. The Vine of the Land (Rev. 14:18-20/Ezek. 15)
14. The Great Harlot (Rev. 17-18 /Ezek. 16, 23)
15. The Lament over the City (Rev. 18/Ezek. 27)
16. The Scavengers’ Feast (Rev. 19/Ezek. 39)
17. The First Resurrection (Rev. 20:4-6/Ezek. 37)
18. The Battle with Gog and Magog (Rev. 20:7-9/Ezek. 38-39)
19. The New Jerusalem (Rev. 21/Ezek. 40-48)
20. The River of Life (Rev. 22/Ezek. 47)
A complete look at the similarities will be given as Chilton gets into more of the verse by verse details. But let it suffice that a casual glance through the chapters does provide an interesting comparison of framework against the pure covenental view previously discussed. Those who are able to read through the book of Ezekiel may chose to do so and recognize some of the similar images used between the books. Most people are aware of the temple measuring that is seen in both visions but many other shared images link these two ideas together.
The reason I mention this framework specifically is for its more important and practical application. Based upon scholarly opinion, it is suggested that Revelation was written to be read alongside Ezekiel within a worship structure. This is less uncommon then presupposed since it seem other Jewish prophetic books were the favored reading during their worship time. Quoting M.D. Goulder, Chilton says,
"Indeed, the very fact that he repeatedly calls his book ‘the prophecy’ aligns it with the OT prophecies, which were familiar from their public reading in worship.” In other words, the Book
of Revelation was intended from the beginning as a series of readings in worship throughout the Church Year. (DOV, 22)
Chilton spends more words describing the extent to which this is possible but the application is obvious. If, a moderately big if, the church was meant to read this continually then the church today assuredly has lost the tools to understand this book. Instead of this book being a primary source of liturgical practice, it has been reduced to fictional books and seminars. While we should work to educate the church with respect to the big themes of the book, it would seem that the way John meant for the church to consume this book is equally important. Especially since it is the only book with a blessing on those who read and obey (Revelation 1:3).
Chilton does a commendable job of making a practical application of the 1st century contemporary book in his preface. It is obvious that his postmillennialism is already showing through but the words can and should be echoed independent of ones millennial position,
The Christians of that day were tempted to compromise with the statism and false religions of their day, and they needed this message of Christ’s absolute dominion over all, that they might be strengthened in the warfare to which they were called. And we need this message also. We too are subjected daily to the threats and seductions of Christ’s enemies. We too are asked – even by fellow Christians – to compromise with modern Beasts and Harlots in order to save ourselves (or our jobs or property or tax exemptions). And we too are faced with a choice: surrender to Jesus Christ or surrender to Satan. The Revelation speaks powerfully today, and its message to us is the same as it was to the early Church: that “there is not a square inch of ground in heaven or on earth or under the earth in which there is peace between Christ and Satan”; that our Lord demands universal submission to His rule; and that He has predestined His people to victorious conquest and dominion over all things in His name. We must make no compromise and give no quarter in the great battle of history. We are commanded to win. (DOV, 31)
This command to win is not foreign to Christian thinking. Nor is its assurance in doubt. Instead what is unique to Chilton and Postmillennialism is that we expect that victory here on earth under the Holy Spirit through the gospel.