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.
Last post we walked all the way up to the strange description of the lamb. Everyone should be comfortable with the lamb "slain" but some of the rest is genuinely confusing. Chilton provides some good insight that helps explain some of the symbolic nature of the book,
Christ the Lamb has seven horns. The horn in Scripture is an understandable symbol for strength and power (cf. Ps. 75:10); more than this, however, the thinking of the Biblically literate reader would have been jogged into recalling the seven rams’ horns that were used to herald the judgment of God on His enemies and the victory and salvation of the covenant people in the historic battle of Jericho (Josh. 6:2-5). In the same way, the great Sacrificial Lamb, to whom all other sacrifices pointed, now provides power and strength and victory for His people in their war for dominion over the earth...
The Lamb also has seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth (cf. Zech. 6:5). In order to understand this, we have to go back to Genesis 1, where we find the first mention of the Spirit: hovering over the earth, brooding over it, forming and filling it, calling forth life. As the creation progresses, the Spirit performs seven acts of seeing – the seven-fold Spirit’s eyes, if you will. Seven times we are told that “God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). As God was creating His world, He was also judging it, assessing and approving it, until the final, climactic judgment was made as the prelude to the beginning of the seventh day. Here in Revelation Christ is presented as the Center of history, the Overcomer who receives the New Covenant for men; and, as such, He is seen to be both Creator and Judge, with fullness of knowledge through His immeasurable possession of the seeing and discerning Spirit (Jn. 3:34). (DOV, 79)
For me a lot of this imagery was new. I was blown away at the way in which this does explain some of the confusion of this text. This is one of those texts that many approach with trepidation. There is first a "huh" and then eventually a "why?" but this focus on the Spirit of creation was incredibly powerful and fit within the context.
After this Chilton is quick to point out how this scene matches with Christ's reception of dominion in Daniel (Dan 7:13-14). I couldn't agree more. This is the fulfillment of this passage and works to alter many misconceptions held in the book of Daniel. Likewise, it refocuses the Christian on the truth that Christ Jesus is reigning now in full capacity even if His people do not always obey Him.
It is after this event that the elders and four living creatures again play a part in acknowledging deity. Interestingly, Chilton is able to take from the elders' worship and further prove the covenantal aspects of this passage,
The living creatures and the elders then sing a New Song, and again a choral section is used to explain the symbols. Indeed, our interpretation is confirmed by the expression St. John uses here. The New Song is mentioned seven times in the Old Testament (Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa. 42:10), always in reference to God’s redemptive/creative acts in history. The New Song celebrates the making of the Covenant and foretells the coming of Christ to bring salvation to the nations and universal victory to the godly (DOV, 79)
Chilton works with quotes from Kline to prove the "new song" element of the making of covenants throughout covenant history. A lot can be said for this focus on the ratification of the new covenant. Chilton summarizes neatly,
Along with the new written revelation, this new and final stage of redemptive history brought by the New Covenant called for a New Song, a new liturgical response by God’s worshiping assembly. Just as the previous epochs in covenantal history evoked a New Song, the definitive establishment of the new nation with its new kingdom-treaty necessitated a new worship, one that would be a true fulfillment of the old, a transcending of all that it foreshadowed. The new
wine of the New Covenant could not be contained in the wineskins of the Old; the new redemption required for its full and proper expression the New Song of the Christian liturgy. This is exactly what the New Song proclaims as its basis:
Kingdom-Treaty: Worthy art Thou to take the Book, and to break its seals.
Redemption: For Thou wast slain, and didst purchase us for God with Thy blood.
Nationhood: Thou hast made them to be a Kingdom and priests to our God.
Dominion: And they will reign on the earth. (DOV, 80)
The full impact of this scene wipes away the simplistic idea that this is merely "heavenly worship". This is not a normal worship session in heaven. This is the inauguration of the New Covenant and the testator of the covenant. This is the full introduction to Christ's reign and judgment over the earth. With the next post we'll look at how the heavenly angels respond to this worship.