The Great Tribulation
Author: David Chilton
Book Review by Ken Davies
Chilton, David. The Great
Tribulation. Ft. Worth: Dominion Press, 1987. 195 pp.
David Chilton is the pastor
of the Church of the Redeemer, an Orthodox Presbyterian congregation,
located in Placerville, California. His other works include:
Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators,
Paradise Restored: A Biblical Theology of Dominion,
and The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of
The Great Tribulation is
a “brief survey of those sections of Revelation that deal
with the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.” As such, this book
can add to our knowledge of things eschatological, and lends
a good deal of support to the preterist position. In the preface,
publisher Gary North commends Chilton for performing “a major
educational service to the church of Jesus Christ in reminding
us what a momentous event the fall of Jerusalem was.” By presenting
proof that the Great Tribulation is already past, Mr. Chilton
hopes to alert the church to its potential for victory, as
opposed to the pessimistic theology of premillennial dispensationalism.
David Chilton believes that
in order to gain a proper understanding of the Bible, and
prophecy in particular, we must allow Scripture to interpret
Scripture. This he does throughout his work, but also unhesitatingly
uses secular authorities of first century history such as
Josephus, Tacitus, and the Talmud.
Although Mr. Chilton considers
himself a preterist, he does not believe that the parousia
(Second Coming) of Jesus has yet taken place. This position,
however, is not made clear in The Great Tribulation, and does
not affect the accuracy of his interpretation.
I found this book to be
very readable and a good source of information. The author
includes quotations from F.W. Farrar’s The Early Days of
Christianity, as well as J. Stuart Russell’s The Parousia,
both of which are preterist authors. The Great Tribulation
would be useful as a first introduction to the preterist position,
as its arguments are quite convincing. I have found that the
most effective way to tell people about preterist eschatology
is to give them a book to read. It seems that the printed
word is always more convincing than the spoken!
For most people, the great
tribulation is one of the most feared portions of the “end
times.” This book really shows why this fear is totally unfounded
for life in the kingdom today. The great tribulation of which
the New Covenant scriptures speak is past. It occurred in
connection with the end of the old covenant age at 70 AD.
It involved the persecution of the saints as well as the troubles
related to the fall of Israel under the heavy hand of Rome
in 70 AD.
Becoming convinced that
the great tribulation has already happened will liberate one
from fear, and give one a whole new perspective about the
world around him. This is vitally important if one is going
to feel like getting involved in improving the world, rather
than acquiescing to its continued decline.
This is one of the major
problems with most interpretations of Biblical prophecy. They
end up with a pessimistic view of the future, and a retreatist/defeatist
attitude toward involvement in the world. As Gary North affirms
in the preface: “The worst is over!” The preterist view is
the only interpretation which consistently fosters an optimistic
view of the future, and provides a realistic reason to get
involved in the betterment of society. After all, we are going
to be on this earth for a while, so we had better start taking
care of it and learning how to get along with each other.
The end is NOT near, it has already happened!