The faithful witness of a pneumatic church : the role of the spirit in the Apocalypse of John
In this thesis the role of the Spirit in the Apocalypse of John is explored. The role of the Spirit in the Apocalypse is best defined as the Spirit of Prophecy. Closely related to both God and Christ, the Spirit serves as the primary agent of revelation for John and the church. John is in the Spirit when he receives his visionary experience and the churches must hear what the Spirit is saying in order to conquer and receive their reward. Furthermore, the church is anointed by the Spirit to bear a prophetic faithful witness of Jesus to the world. The Apocalypse serves the church as a prophetic call to respond to the revelation of Jesus Christ which John has received. Chapter one offers a survey of literature which has been devoted to the pneumatology of the Apocalypse. No monographs have been devoted entirely to the role of the Spirit in the Apocalypse; therefore, the survey focuses on periodicals, book chapters, theological dictionaries and excerpts from commentaries. On the basis of the observation that the Apocalypse is replete with allusions to the Old Testament, chapter two investigates intertextuality both in theory and in practice as it relates to previous Revelation studies. As a method intertextuality has several benefits which commend it as a helpful tool for interpreting the Apocalypse. Unlike other New Testament books which use clear references to the Old Testament, John avoids the use of introductory formulae and direct citations. Thus, the use of the Old Testament in Revelation is more subtle. This chapter engages in an interdisciplinary dialogue with literary critics followed by a critical assessment of the previous intertextual work in Revelation studies. Given that intertextuality places an emphasis on the role of the reader's context, chapter three focuses on my religious context, i. e., Pentecostalism. With an awareness that not all Pentecostals read alike, I seek to describe a possible Pentecostal hermeneutic which is faithful to the ethos of the movement. This chapter also contains an assessment of the previous work by Pentecostals concerning the role of the Spirit in the Apocalypse. Chapter three ends with a turn toward the Apocalypse to see what additional insights the book might contain toward further development of the hermeneutic. In chapter four the thesis comes to a climax by integrating biblical studies and literary studies within the context of a Pentecostal community by focusing on the prophecy concerning the temple and the two witnesses in Rev. 11: 1-13. The chapter includes a discussion on the literary contextualization of this key passage which sits at the centre of the book literarily, and I believe theologically as well, forming the intertextual centre of the role of the Spirit in the Apocalypse. Given the multiple allusions to the Old Testament which can be found in this passage, coupled with the cross references to other sections of the Apocalypse, this passage provides avenues of investigation into every aspect of the Spirit in Revelation. The thesis concludes with a delineation of its contributions and their implications.