Welcome to our fourth review of Revelation using David Chilton’s Days of Vengeance as our main source.
Another introductory issue we want to tackle is the matter of the nature of Revelation. Revelation is an eschatological discourse. It is John’s discourse. Matthew 24 provides a discourse, Mark 13 provides a discourse, Luke 21 provides a discourse, but there is no eschatological discourse in John’s gospel. Why? Because John offers the most comprehensive account in Revelation. Continue reading Revelation Study, Part IV, The Nature of Revelation→
Welcome once again to our study of David Chilton’s Days of Vengeance. I am Uri Brito and I blog at apologus.wordpress.com.
We are going to delve briefly into Chilton’s introduction. There are two important elements in understanding Revelation, and they are to know the author and the date of the book. Concerning the author there is virtually unanimous testimony that it was the same John who wrote the Fourth Gospel (1). John, according to Chilton, writes in an “authoritative, “apostolic” style, not to individuals merely, but to the Church” (1). There is little to no dispute John wrote this letter. In fact, Revelation uses Johannine language like the expression Lamb of God, which is distinctly used by John in his gospel.
The same question is a lot more complicated. When did John write Revelation? This is a highly disputed question, because once you come to a conclusion on the date, you will most likely be led to a particular hermeneutic; and that hermeneutic will drive your view of the entire book. Chilton’s premise is that Revelation was written before the destruction of the temple in AD 70. This position is typically called Preterism. Preterism means past. That is, the events of Revelation are not primarily futuristic–though there are many principles we can apply to our context– but primarily, Revelation has the first century audience in mind. If you have the energy to pursue this topic further, Kenneth Gentry has written a lengthy and scholarly work entitled Before Jerusalem Fell, which makes a strong case for a pre-AD 70 reading of this book.
David Chilton offers a few reasons as to why he believes John, the Apostle, wrote this letter to his first century audience:
First, as we referenced in our first video, Chilton argues that Revelation is a book about worship. Naturally, the book is full of liturgical allusions; and it actually contains minute details. Who could have known of these details unless he were intimately familiar with the actual service in theTempleitself. John fits the bill. John, as Chilton argues, was a priest. If this is the case, John was writing about aTemplestill in existence, which would lead to a pre AD 70 letter.
Second, Chilton argues that there is an a priori teaching from Scripture that all special revelation ended by AD 70. The argument is that Daniel’s prophecy in chapter 9:24-27 of the seventy weeks would end at the destruction ofJerusalem. And what would happen then, according to Daniel? That period would seal up the vision and prophecy. In other words, the sealing up of vision and prophecy referred to the Word of God, which would be completed before the destruction of the temple. Revelation was not a late first century book, but actually written closer to the other books in the New Testament canon.
Finally, there are time references in chapter one that lead us to conclude that the book is an early book. John says these things will happen “soon,” “quickly,” etc. These are time indicators proving that John was intentional about his language. Soon meant within that generation, not two thousand years later. For John, Revelation was the final judgment on apostateIsrael. It would mark the transition from an old world to a new world with a new Lord, Jesus Christ.
We will stop here, but feel free to leave a comment or any question both here on the youtube page or on my blog apologus.wordpress.com. We will continue our look at Chilton’s introduction next time. Peace be with you.
Welcome to Ressurectio et Vita. You can find my blog at apologus.wordpress.com.
I have been tweeting about doing a series of posts on David Chilton’s commentary on Revelation called Days of Vengeance. Chilton died in 1997, but Gary North put out another edition in 2007, which includes a lengthy preface by North himself on the history of the book, and an introduction to postmillennial thinking. North claims that Chilton’s commentary in many ways began this modern revival of biblical optimism. The preface is worth the read.
At the heart of Chilton’s exposition is his premise that the book of Revelation teaches that Christians will overcome all opposition through the work Jesus Christ. It is certainly filled with all sorts of mysteries; mysteries, which even the great expositor John Calvin did not dare to tackle, but central to it is the victory of Jesus’ kingdom on earth before the Second Coming.
Chilton has five main assumptions about this book, and they are:
First, that Revelation is the most Biblical book in the Bible. That is, it is bathed in Old Testament quotations. And because it is so rich with Old Testament theology, one can only begin to understand the book when he knows the Bible well.
Second, Revelation has a system of symbolism. In fact, it contains a particular language. The goal for the interpreter is to learn this language. Symbols in Revelation are not disconnected from the rest of Scriptures, but rather fully dependent on the Hebrew Scriptures.
Third, Revelation is about imminent events. If one accepts this premise, it will un-do virtually the entire evangelical eschatology industry. Revelation has primarily in mind those events in the first century; specifically, the destruction of the Temple in AD 70.
Fourth, Revelation is a worship service. The worship of God, says Chilton, “is central to everything in life.” So, Revelation is highly ecclesiastical and liturgical.
Finally, Revelation is a book about dominion. Revelation is not about the terror of anti-Christ, but about the glory of Jesus Christ; He is the beginning and the end; the victory and Lord of all creation. Revelation spells victory for those united to the Son of God.
For those new to David Chilton’s Revelation commentary, I welcome you to this journey. Chilton argues that the Bible is more than a mere textbook, but it is a life-changing story about a King whose kingdom will endure forever.
Feel free to comment on the blog, and we will delve into the Introduction in the coming days. Pick up and read!
Robert Capon once wrote that “Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world.” Babette’s Feast is Robert Capon on screen. It is a delicious blend of humor and smells; sights and music. It is virtually impossible to contemplate the movie without considering its vastly religious and sacramental implications.
The 1987 movie is based on a short story by Isak Dinesen. The characters–two elderly maiden sisters–Martine and Philippa, continue the work of their deceased father, who was a prophet/pastor figure of a small Christian sect. After the death of their father, the two sisters immerse themselves in a life of charity while carrying their father’s work to a decreasing and dying number of followers. The two beautiful young women never married. Their father’s vision kept them from pursuing “worldly concerns.”
First, Lorenz Lowenhielm, a dissolute young cadet, in summer exile at his aunt’s Jutland home as a result of parental punishment for unbecoming behavior, is captivated by Martine’s beauty, has an idealistic vision of a higher, purer life and wins an introduction to the pious circle where he hopes to make her acquaintance. But he soon finds himself at a loss in the rarified atmosphere and leaves, claiming that some things are impossible. The “world,” he announces, will be his heritage and he vows to achieve all worldly success, a feat which he duly accomplishes. Next, Achille Papin, a famous opera singer, finds himself on the remote coastland in search of rest. The solitude plunges him into a bleak mood which is relieved only upon hearing Philippa’s voice raised in angelic hymnody. Believing that her voice is destined to thrill the heart of Europe, Papin offers himself as vocal tutor and educates his pupil in the operatic repertoire. The frank sensuality of the musical lyrics soon convinces his pupil that she must terminate the lessons and Papin returns to the continent without her.
Years later, during the French Civil War, Papin sends them Babette. Babette has lost both husband and son and is now seeking refuge from war in the small island.
Babette’s work ethic and great culinary gifts bring a certain happiness and economic stability to the sisters. Babette’s role in the small community–especially among the few devout–is that of a peace-bringer. The remaining disciples cease to seek peace and the quarrels increase. Babette brings shalom to the community as she embraces a spirit-figure restoring and putting broken pieces together.
In order to reconcile and restore peace to the saints, the two sisters decide to offer a meal in celebration of her father’s one-hundredth birthday ( had he been alive). As the date draws near, Babette receives news that she has won 10,000 francs in the French lottery. The sisters are certain that Babette will now return to France and live off her new prize. Instead, Babette decides to use her lottery wins to prepare a feast of a lifetime for the hundredth birthday celebration.
Babette, the culinary artist, goes to France and returns with all the ingredients (living and dead). Unaware of the strange ingredients to the feast–turtles, live quail, and wine–the sisters and the disciples decide to make a vow that they will lose their sense of taste and smell during the feast.
As the guests pour in and as each course is served and each glass filled, the vow becomes harder and harder to fulfill. Each bite and each sip bring them new life and vitality, which begins to undo the bitterness and restore the small community. The quarrels are turned into joy and the memories are turned into frameable moments in their history.
The movie ends with a heavenly picture of the saints singing around a well. The well, the very biblical image of wars and wedding bells, become the symbol of joy and restoration, sins forgiven and relationships healed.
Babette’s Feast provides an image of the holy. The holy is not other-worldly, it is the entrance of the heavenly into the world. The feast becomes a celebration of life. Bread and wine are not merely earthly nourishment, but the relentless call of grace to those who are afar off. Come and taste the feast.
Bart Ehrman, the agnostic liberal, who denies the existence of God, and who has long been a skeptic of the biblical narrative recently played a Christian apologist in an interview with the infidel guy, an atheist radio host. The host doubted what is plainly acknowledged by renowned atheist scholars. Even the scholarly skeptics agree that Paul is unmistakably the author of Galatians. To the host’s surprise, Ehrman also affirmed without hesitation that Jesus was a real person; not one of many Jesuses, but the real one spoken of by St. Paul. The video is quite revealing of the infantile rationale of popular atheism.
Here in this fascinating and frustrating interview, Rob Bell is bombarded with questions that would appear simple to any ordinary Christian. Bell embarrasses himself with a series of contradictory statements. A kudos to Martin Bashir for his persistence and insight (even though as far as I am aware he is not a Christian).