The Function of the Church in Warfare in the Book of Revelation

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The Function of the Church in Warfare in the Book of Revelation

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Title: The Function of the Church in Warfare in the Book of Revelation
Author: Stubblefield, Benjamin Steen
Advisor: Cook, William F.
Abstract: This dissertation demonstrates the function of the church in war in Revelation. Chapter 1 tracks the development of publications that address this subject and also illustrates the need for another academic contribution to it. Furthermore, it explains this dissertation's particular narratological approach.

Chapter 2 examines the plot of Revelation. Borrowing the tools from narrative plot criticism, this chapter shows the priority of the warfare motif to the structure and development of Revelation's plot.

Chapter 3 analyses Revelation's characters. Like Chapter 2, it proves the significance of the warfare motif to the author's process of characterization. Although minor characters are given a brief discussion, more attention is given to the way in which the main characters contribute to the concept of war.

Chapter 4 illustrates the relevance of war to the author's point of view (POV). This chapter presents an analysis of passages wherein the author's POV is manifest in order to test the import of the war motif for the author's perspective.

Chapter 5 identifies specific images in Revelation that contribute to Revelation's theology of the ecclesia. Provided is an exegetical defense for understanding the seven churches (1:4-3:22), the 144,000 and the multitude (7:1-17), the temple (11:1-2), the two witnesses (11:3-13), the 144,000 male virgins (14:1-5), and the judgment army (19;11-21) ecclesiologically. From those images, this chapter also renders a working definition of the essence of the church.

Chapter 6 considers how each of the passages and images discussed in chapter 5 describe the function of the church in warfare in Revelation. All the preceding chapters warrant and support the concluding findings.

Thus, this work hopes to fill a gap in ecclesiological and narratival studies in Revelation. The aim of this work is not simply to perform a specific kind of narrative critique upon Revelation, but to show how narrative criticism informs Revelation's theology of the church. Specifically, the Apocalypse mandates the ecclesia to do much more than obey; the narrative calls the church to engage her enemies in the cosmic war with specific acts of obedience until Christ's final, consummative victory.

Date: 2012-05-23

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