Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy


Jeffrey Dickson


Bible Exposition, Revelation, Apocalypse, Authorial Intent, Revelation 1, Canonical Theology, Biblical Theology, Christology, Alpha and Omega, First and Last, Living One, I Hold the Keys of Death and Hades, Faithful Witness, Ruler of the Kings of Earth, the One who is who was and who is to come, the firstborn of the dead


Christianity | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Throughout the history of evangelical scholarship, a significant lacuna has formed in Apocalyptic studies. Many theologians have expressed fear or uncertainty concerning the text of Revelation as numerous ambiguous aspects exist within the Apocalypse. A proposed path forward into the gap in scholarship is to return the focus to the intent of the author of Revelation, John the apostle, and examine the definitive truths of the text. John’s priority is revealed in the initial chapter as he depicts the subject of his Apocalypse, Jesus Christ. This intent is revealed in John’s use of allusions, metaphors, and other rhetorical devices through which John draws upon the other books of the Christian canon. This dissertation focuses on analyzing John’s description of Christ in the initial chapter of the Apocalypse. As John depicts Christ, the protagonist of Revelation, he describes Him through titles, descriptions, and attributes that appear elsewhere in Scripture. This study examines the appearance of these canonical similarities concerning their place in the biblical text. The analysis dedicates a chapter to exegeting the OT and NT resemblances, respectively, before moving to the use of the terminology within Revelation itself. John’s writing style in the Apocalypse makes this endeavor unique from such studies elsewhere in Scripture. While Revelation is saturated with allusions to other parts of the canon, John does not use formal citations in the Apocalypse that scholars of other parts of the NT may be accustomed to. Thorough exegesis reveals that the task is a worthwhile endeavor, as Christological truths are revealed through John’s use of the canon. John’s high Christology is evident throughout this study through his compositional method in the Apocalypse. This dissertation aims to highlight this Christology and demonstrate its purposeful inclusion in Revelation’s initial chapter.