The Days of Vengeance
Author: David Chilton
A Book Review by Kenneth J.
The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book
of Revelation. Ft. Worth: Dominion Press, 1987. 721 pp.
Hardback $24.95. Available: Institute for Christian Economics,
Box 8000, Tyler, TX 75711.
David Chilton is the pastor
of the Church of the Redeemer, an Orthodox Presbyterian
congregation in Placerville, California. He and his wife,
Darlene, have three children: Nathan, Jacob, and Abigail.
The Days of Vengeance
is Chilton’s latest, and possibly greatest, work to date.
As stated in the subtitle, this is a commentary on the book
of Revelation. It is a refreshing change from the usual “pessimillennialist”
exposition, due to its somewhat preterist viewpoint and covenant
outlook. According to Chilton, it was the discovery that Revelation
was written in the pattern of a covenant document that helped
him to unlock its mysteries.
In discussing the date of
Revelation, Chilton acknowledges it was written before A.D.
70 and its subject was the coming judgment of Israel by Christ.
In this respect, his book is written from a preterist position.
He agrees with many of the statements of Max King (cf. The
Spirit of Prophecy), yet says that King’s position of
“consistent preterism” (i.e. that the coming of Christ in
A.D. 70 was the Second & Final Coming) is heresy, simply
because it was not espoused by any of the historic church
creeds. Is inclusion in the ancient creeds necessary for a
doctrine to be true? Was Chilton's understanding of the book
of Revelation taught in the ancient creeds? Were Calvin's
formulations understood and stated clearly in the ancient
creeds? Is he saying that any further study and/or deeper
understanding of the Bible is impossible today, and necessarily
wrong? If so, then what is all this talk about the “New Reformation,”
and why is Chilton teaching Revelation differently than others
in the reformed school?
The coming of Christ at the
destruction of Jerusalem, says Chilton, was merely a coming,
not the Final Second Coming, which he says is still future
to us. This does not drastically limit the usefulness of his
commentary. However, because of his view, he sees everything
after the Millennium (i.e. the ending of history at the
“Last Day,” the Resurrection, the destruction of death, the
little season of Satan’s release, and the final battle against
God) as being yet future, since, in his opinion, we are
living in the Millennium now. It is hard to take his claims
to being a preterist seriously, when he places all the major
events of the eschaton still in the future. At best, he is
only “somewhat preterist” in his approach to the book of Revelation.
Chilton presents many good
arguments from both sacred and secular history showing that
Revelation is indeed speaking of the coming of Christ in the
“last days” to judge and do away with the Old Testament system
of “types and shadows.” Although there are times when the
“literal” interpretation for parts of Revelation seems to
fit well with the facts of history, Chilton shows that often
it is more appropriate to interpret Scripture “spiritually.”
This not only makes sense, but it avoids the pitfall of a
woodenly literal, (and often ridiculous) interpretation.
For those inclined to do research,
this book contains an extensive bibliography, with many of
the works being from a preterist position.
This book is not particularly
difficult to read, but is no Lindsey paperback either! It
is worth the time and effort! It was well researched and documented,
and definitely has substance to it. We just wish Chilton would
go all the way into a consistent preterist position, rather
than just superficially flirt with it.