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David Chilton

Death-Haters

The following quotes are from Athanasius and Eusebius respectively, and both are cited in David Chilton's, The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation. Athanasius writes:

All the disciples of Christ despise death; they take the offensive against it and, instead of fearing it, by the sign of the cross and by faith in Christ trample on it as on something dead. Before the divine sojourn of the Saviour even the holiest of men were afraid of death, and mourned the dead as those who perish. But now that the Saviour has raised His body, death is no longer terrible, but all those who believe in Christ tread it underfoot as nothing, and prefer to die rather than to deny their faith in Christ, knowing full well that when they die they do not perish, but live indeed, and become incorruptible through the resurrection. But that devil who of old wickedly exulted in death, now that the pains of death are loosed, he alone it is who remains truly dead. There is proof of this too; for men who, before they believe in Christ, think death horrible and are afraid of it, once they are converted despise it so completely that they go eagerly to meet it, and themselves become witnesses of the Saviour’s resurrection from it. Even children hasten thus to die, and not men only, but women train themselves by bodily discipline to meet it. So weak has death become that even women, who used to be taken in by it, mock it now as a dead thing robbed of all its strength. Death has become like a tyrant who has been completely conquered by the legitimate monarch; bound hand and foot as he now is, the passers-by jeer at him, hitting him and abusing him, no longer afraid of his cruelty and rage, because of the king who has conquered him. So has death been conquered and branded for what it is by the Saviour on the cross. It is bound hand and foot, all who are in Christ trample it as they pass and as witnesses to Him deride it, scoffing and saying, ‘O Death, where is thy victory? O Grave, where is thy sting?

Eusebius writes:

We were witnesses to the most admirable ardor of mind, and the truly divine energy and alacrity of those that believed in the Christ of God. For as soon as the sentence was pronounced against the first, others rushed forward from other parts to the tribunal before the judge, confessing they were Christians, most indifferent to the dreadful and multiform tortures that awaited them, but declaring themselves fully and in the most undaunted manner on the religion which acknowledges only the one Supreme God. They received, indeed, the final sentence of death with gladness and exultation, so far as even to sing and send up hymns of praise and thanksgiving, until they breathed their last.

Heavenly Worship

The following quote is from the book, For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy, by Alexander Schmemann, cited in the book, Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation, by David Chilton:

The early Christians realized that in order to become the temple of the Holy Spirit they must ascend to heaven where Christ has ascended.  They realized also that this ascension was the very condition of their mission in the world, of their ministry to the world.  For there - in heaven - they were immersed in the new life of the Kingdom; and when, after this 'liturgy of ascension,' they returned into the world, their faces reflected the light, the 'joy and peace' of that Kingdom and they were truly its witnesses.  They brought not programs and no theories; but wherever they went, the seeds of the Kingdom sprouted, faith was kindled, life was transfigured, things impossible were made possible.  They were witnesses, and when they were asked, 'Whence shines this light, where is the source of its power?' they knew what to answer and where to lead men.  In church today, we so often find we meet only the same old world, not Christ and His Kingdom.  We do not realize that we never get anywhere because we never leave any place behind us.