C.R. Chapman. Apocalyptic Tremors: Study the Revelation Like Never Before. Bloomington: Westbow Press, 2011. See here to buy the book.
In Apocalyptic Tremors, C.R. Chapman offers her interpretation of the Book of Revelation.
Chapman maintains that the Book of Revelation is about the wrath of human beings against human beings (i.e., through war, famine), the wrath of Satan against the earth (i.e., through the Antichrist and demons afflicting people), and the wrath of God against sin, including oppression and idolatry. (Chapman particularly does not care for the New Age movement, predicting that people’s spirit guides will show their true evil colors and afflict those who looked to them for guidance.) Chapman is unclear about whether the first two wraths actually count as God’s wrath, but she does seem to acknowledge that heavenly beings help instigate the war and the famine, and that God can use Satan’s wrath for God’s righteous purposes.
Chapman does not accept the pre-tribulational rapture, the view that God will rapture the saints to heaven prior to the Great Tribulation. She holds that the saints will endure persecution and will be raptured later; she believes that there will be a rapture, for Jesus will return with his saints (see I Thessalonians 3:13), implying that they had gone to heaven at some point prior to Jesus’ return. One piece of support that she offers for her position on the timing of the rapture is Matthew 24:24’s reference to false christs who will deceive, if possible, the very elect. For Chapman, this means that people will be pretending to be Jesus Christ and may even deceive some Christians, indicating that there are still Christians on earth during this cataclysmic period, and that Christians have not yet been raptured.
While Chapman does acknowledge that religious deception will occur in the last days, she also maintains that people will be presented with a clear choice for or against God: they will not be receiving the Mark of the Beast by accident, but they will know what they are doing. She states that, in Revelation 14:9-10, an angel from heaven is warning people against taking the Mark of the Beast. Regarding the identity of the Beast/Antichrist, Chapman speculates that he may be a Danite ruler of Syria, with Islamic allies, and that the New Age movement may fit in there somewhere.
Chapman seems to believe that the Book of Revelation (along with parts of Daniel, Matthew 24 and parallels, and II Thessalonians 2:4) relate to the future end times rather than what has occurred in history (though she also believes that we are currently in the time of the seals). At the same time, she appears to regard historical figures as types of future eschatological figures. Joshua and Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4 were two witnesses who were instrumental in the rebuilding of the post-exilic Temple, and the two witnesses of Revelation 11 will (for some reason) rebuild the Temple of God in which the Antichrist will sit (II Thessalonians 2:4). Antiochus Epiphanes, whose base of operations was in Syria (which is why Chapman thinks the coming Antichrist will rule Syria), was a type of the coming Antichrist in that he arguably proclaimed himself to be divine and desolated the Temple. The KJV of Revelation 10:11 states that John, the author of Revelation, shall prophesy before many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings (other translations say he will prophesy about them rather than before them), and Chapman concludes that this could refer to a future figure like John.
There were at least two things that I liked about this book. First, I appreciated Chapman’s contrast of the love and humility of God and Christ with the evil of Satan and the Beast. I have sometimes wondered to myself what the exact difference is between these two sides, since both sides rule and punish those who do not worship them. God and Christ have love, however. Second, the book has the asset of being a repository of eschatological sayings by the church fathers, and it even refers to a rabbinic Jewish view. This book by itself is not adequate for learning about the varieties of patristic eschatological interpretations and forecasts, and Chapman did not (as far as I could tell) make clear why she was appealing to the church fathers as an authority. I get that she is open to some of their interpretations of the Bible, such as the one view that the Antichrist will come from the Israelite tribe of Dan, but there were times when I was wondering why she seemed to regard a patristic view as authoritative. Still, the book does have references to patristic writings, which may be a starting-point for those interested in this issue.
I had questions in reading Apocalyptic Tremors. Why will the future two witnesses rebuild the Temple, when Temple rituals supposedly have been fulfilled in Christ? Chapman believes that there will be a future millennial Temple during the reign of Christ, the Temple that she believes the Book of Ezekiel discusses, but that is not the Temple that the two witnesses will build. Why will they build it? Setting up a place for the Antichrist to sit to fulfill the prophecy in II Thessalonians 2:4 does not strike me as a good enough reason for God’s future prophetic messengers to build the Temple. Did the Book of Revelation relate in some manner to the historical context of John? What about those places in Revelation about Christ coming quickly, or soon?
Moreover, Chapman would have done well to have offered a brief, lucid summary of her eschatological scenario near the beginning of her book. While she may believe that she did so, on some level, I was still confused at times in reading the book.
Still, as one with an interest in eschatology, I found this book to be an interesting and enjoyable read.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book through BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.