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The Book of Revelation & The Verb "Signified"


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Pastor Markle, excellent  study on the word "signify" as well as the Greek "semaino" used in  Rev. 1:1 (as well as in all the other verses you brought forth)! Showing again that scripture compared with other scripture actually interprets itself!  The importance of literal interpretation  is so very important as well!!! If a person is willing to allegorize (symbolize or spiritualize) scripture, I believe it shows a lack of reverence for God's word. I believe He meant what He said and said what He meant.

There are cases of symbolism in the Bible, however, in most of those cases the interpretation is also given. For instance: I once had an argument with another (supposedly) Christian on the meaning of the "seven heads" given in Rev. 17:3... the actual interpretation is GIVEN to us in verse 9 "..The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth". Yet this other person demanded (to my exasperation) that that is NOT what they seven heads were! I should have ended the discussion then, but instead furthered to discuss it by stating that the meaning for "mountains" were actual, physical mounds of earth, and were certainly not symbolic.... the "heads" were symbolic, the interpretation (mountains) was NOT symbolic. But this person couldn't seem to see the difference at all! Which proved to me (for the hundreth time likely) that in matter of the Bible, those who do not use a literal interpretation cannot grasp even the simplest of differences in interpretation... to them it's ALL symbolic!!! I believe those who allegorize scripture will never be able to comprehend even the most basic parts of eschatology. I've heard some say that allegorizing is a "lazy" approach, I think it's worse than "lazy", I think it show the lack of respect for God's word.

I recently started a thread here entitled "Jeremiah 49"... the reason being, I have had many discussions elsewhere (not on OB) regarding this section I referenced (Jer. 49:35-39, and even more specifically verse 36).  There are so few (who claim to study eschatology) who use a literal interpretation. I have many fellow friends who I believe DO use literal interpretation, yet they have no interest (or little interest) in eschatology and/or Bible prophecy. And the other (professing) Christian friends who DO claim to have interest in eschatology and/or Bible prophecy, but do not use literal interpretation.  Some admit they allegorize... sadly (and possibly worse) others SAY they interpret literally, but actually DO interpret allegorically, mixing and matching (a horrible mistake) of both literal and allegorical interpretation (likely to "fit" a theory).  So I brought this forth on OB hoping there would be at least one person who uses literal interpretation rather than allegorization.  I wasn't really wanting to argue the verse (other than if I had to, if someone attempted to allegorize the meaning of "wind", etc), I was more interested in what others (if any  have) already studied on this, and the conclusion they arrived at... using literal interpretation. I did get one brief answer, but not enough description to give me a clue about where they were headed with a conclusion.... so anyways... I do hope someone will come forth with some thoughts/conclusions on Jeremiah 49:36 (using literal interpretation).

Sorry to "derail" your thread... I simply wanted to commend your study on "signify" as well as commend the literal interpretation as well (as usual my brain went off down the trail to the next thought and I didn't stop typing, lol)

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A similar word is Sign.  When we sign our cheques we are not writing our name, but putting our mark, which may be our name or may not. I used toi work for a firm that, for some cheques, used a cheque signing machine which stamped the cheques.  I had an aunt who was illiterate and had to sign document by making her mark or sign, In doing family research I found documents such as marriage certificates where someone made their mark or sign.  Usually an X but not necessarily, could be any sign they choose to make.  Closely related to this are seals where a signet it used.  In history Kings and others used signets, so Bro Scott I think you are only partially correct.

 

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Pastor Markle,

Thank you for the excellent exposition on the word, verb,  "signify" and "signified" as related to Revelation 1:1 and its related passages in the New Testament. It is also refreshing to hear the full meaning of the Greek word employed and used in the New Testament instead of just a partial and miss-leading meaning.

May God richly bless you as you stand for the truth not only in the English language but in the usage of the Greek and English definitions.

Alan

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2 hours ago, Invicta said:

A similar word is Sign.  When we sign our cheques we are not writing our name, but putting our mark, which may be our name or may not. I used toi work for a firm that, for some cheques, used a cheque signing machine which stamped the cheques.  I had an aunt who was illiterate and had to sign document by making her mark or sign, In doing family research I found documents such as marriage certificates where someone made their mark or sign.  Usually an X but not necessarily, could be any sign they choose to make.  Closely related to this are seals where a signet it used.  In history Kings and others used signets, so Bro Scott I think you are only partially correct.

Brother David,

It is correct that the English verb "signify" is in the same word family with other English words as "sign," "significance," "signification," "signature," "signet," "signal," etc.  However, in the word study above, I chose to remain within the boundaries of the verb itself, and that of the particular Greek verb itself that is found in Revelation 1:1, and to remain within the boundaries of the Scriptural usage specifically, rather than also including secular usage generally.  I did this because I was seeking to understand the Holy Spirit inspired usage of the verb in Revelation 1:1 through a consideration of the Holy Spirit inspired usage of the verb in other Scriptures (that is -- comparing specific Scriptural usage to specific Scriptural usage).

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Actually, the Scriptures themselves prove otherwise. In Rev 1 we are told that Jesus is walking amongst the lamp stands and stars are in His hands. Then we are told that they signify that the lamp stands are the churches and that stars are angels of the church's.

also we are told later that the incense is the prayers of the saints. If you go, literally, looking for seven headed dragons and harlots drinking blood, you will be looking for absurdity.

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On 1/21/2016 at 1:47 AM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother David,

It is correct that the English verb "signify" is in the same word family with other English words as "sign," "significance," "signification," "signature," "signet," "signal," etc.  However, in the word study above, I chose to remain within the boundaries of the verb itself, and that of the particular Greek verb itself that is found in Revelation 1:1, and to remain within the boundaries of the Scriptural usage specifically, rather than also including secular usage generally.  I did this because I was seeking to understand the Holy Spirit inspired usage of the verb in Revelation 1:1 through a consideration of the Holy Spirit inspired usage of the verb in other Scriptures (that is -- comparing specific Scriptural usage to specific Scriptural usage).

One example of a sign is Jonah.

Mt 12:39  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: Mt 12:40  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Also Luke 11:29-30  

Jonah was a sign, that is a symbol of the Lord Jesus.  His description of the deep goes far deeper (sorry) than just being in the fish, and says he was in the belly of hell. 

2  And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 3  For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
4  Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 5  The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. 6  I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. 7  When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. 8  They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 9  But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

 

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21 hours ago, Christ Follower said:

Actually, the Scriptures themselves prove otherwise. In Rev 1 we are told that Jesus is walking amongst the lamp stands and stars are in His hands. Then we are told that they signify that the lamp stands are the churches and that stars are angels of the church's.

also we are told later that the incense is the prayers of the saints. If you go, literally, looking for seven headed dragons and harlots drinking blood, you will be looking for absurdity.

Except that my opening study did NOT indicate that symbolism could not be found in the book of the Revelation.  Rather, my opening word study specifically indicated that the entire book of the Revelation was NOT to be viewed as "one giant symbolism" simply because the word "signified" is used in Revelation 1:1.  Indeed, my opening word study demonstrated that the word "signified" itself, as used throughout the New Testament, does NOT mean "a communication of information through symbolism."  Do we found symbolisms within the book of the Revelation?  Indeed, we do; just as we also find them within the Pentateuch, within the Old Testament historical books, within the Old Testament poetry and wisdom books, within the Old Testament prophets, within the New Testament gospels, and within the New Testament epistles.  So then, how do we "rightly divide" these things, including those in relation to the book of the Revelation?  We "rightly divide" from a perspective of literalism, wherein we recognize any symbolism that is contextually apparent as a symbolism.

Indeed, the lamp stands are figurative for the respective churches that they represent.  Are the churches themselves also to be taken as figures for something else, or are those churches to be viewed as literal churches in their respectively literal places at the literal time period wherein John was inspired to write?

Actually, according to a literal take of Revelation 8:3-4, "the prayers of all saints" are NOT themselves the incense, but are mixed with the incense that is poured upon "the golden altar" of incense in heaven.  So then, IS there a literal "golden altar" of incense in heaven?  IS there literal incense that is poured out upon this "golden altar" of incense in heaven?  ARE "the prayers of all saints" literally mixed (by the power of God) with this literal incense in heaven?  As for myself, my own answer is a resounding - YES!

If you do NOT approach the book of the Revelation from a more literalistic perspective (with a recognition of the symbolism where it is contextually apparent), you will be wandering astray from sound doctrine.

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8 minutes ago, Christ Follower said:

In Thayers Greek Lexicon it has "signified" as sēmainō as "to give a sign, to signify, to indicate". Context would be crucial then in interpretation. 

I am a partial preterits, historical pre-mil. Not dispensational, so I know my veiw will differ greatly from others in here

Could you give at least a brief explanation of what a " partial preterits, historical pre-mil" view is?

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3 hours ago, Christ Follower said:

In Thayers Greek Lexicon it has "signified" as sēmainō as "to give a sign, to signify, to indicate".

Indeed.  Which is EXACTLY what my original word study handled.

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3 hours ago, Invicta said:

The bride is the true church.  The harlot is the false church, the church of Rome.

 

3 hours ago, Invicta said:

The bride is the true church.  The harlot is the false church, the church of Rome.

Actually, the harlot is Isreal under the old covenant,Who does God constantly referred to as a Harley in the Old Testament? Braden dying on m Who does God constantly referred to as a harlot in the Old Testament? 

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3 hours ago, John81 said:

Could you give at least a brief explanation of what a " partial preterits, historical pre-mil" view is?

 In a nutshell. A partial preterits, is a beleive that Matt 24  and Rev 1 is and indication that the tribulation was for the first century church, hence no rapture, Jesus comes to set up his millennial kingdom

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28 minutes ago, Christ Follower said:

 In a nutshell. A partial preterits, is a beleive that Matt 24  and Rev 1 is and indication that the tribulation was for the first century church, hence no rapture, Jesus comes to set up his millennial kingdom

I have read someone who believed that all tribulation is on the church. Not so.

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34 minutes ago, Christ Follower said:

 In a nutshell. A partial preterits, is a beleive that Matt 24  and Rev 1 is and indication that the tribulation was for the first century church, hence no rapture, Jesus comes to set up his millennial kingdom

In this view, what is the timing of the return of Jesus to set up his millennial kingdom? Is that a literal thousand year kingdom on earth? What follows the millennial kingdom?

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37 minutes ago, Christ Follower said:

 

Actually, the harlot is Isreal under the old covenant,Who does God constantly referred to as a Harley in the Old Testament? Braden dying on m Who does God constantly referred to as a harlot in the Old Testament? 

The book of Revelation is a book written to the church and refers to the church.  The old covenant doesn't come into the book of Revelation.

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47 minutes ago, John81 said:

In this view, what is the timing of the return of Jesus to set up his millennial kingdom? Is that a literal thousand year kingdom on earth? What follows the millennial kingdom?

We don't know the timing of his return. And I don't think the millennial reign will be a long period of time,  after the millennial kingdom is final judgement.

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1 hour ago, Invicta said:

The book of Revelation is a book written to the church and refers to the church.  The old covenant doesn't come into the book of Revelation.

Right, it's written to the believers who are under persecution. And in Jeremiah 31 is when God brings about the final covenant, Which will extend through the church age. Many of God's moral laws are still active today.

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1 hour ago, Invicta said:

The book of Revelation is a book written to the church and refers to the church.  The old covenant doesn't come into the book of Revelation.

So, Brother David, is either the old covenant OR the new covenant directly referenced anywhere throughout the book of the Revelation?

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On Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at 9:01 PM, Ronda said:

Pastor Markle, excellent  study on the word "signify" as well as the Greek "semaino" used in  Rev. 1:1 (as well as in all the other verses you brought forth)! Showing again that scripture compared with other scripture actually interprets itself!  The importance of literal interpretation  is so very important as well!!! If a person is willing to allegorize (symbolize or spiritualize) scripture, I believe it shows a lack of reverence for God's word. I believe He meant what He said and said what He meant.

There are cases of symbolism in the Bible, however, in most of those cases the interpretation is also given. For instance: I once had an argument with another (supposedly) Christian on the meaning of the "seven heads" given in Rev. 17:3... the actual interpretation is GIVEN to us in verse 9 "..The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth". Yet this other person demanded (to my exasperation) that that is NOT what they seven heads were! I should have ended the discussion then, but instead furthered to discuss it by stating that the meaning for "mountains" were actual, physical mounds of earth, and were certainly not symbolic.... the "heads" were symbolic, the interpretation (mountains) was NOT symbolic. But this person couldn't seem to see the difference at all! Which proved to me (for the hundreth time likely) that in matter of the Bible, those who do not use a literal interpretation cannot grasp even the simplest of differences in interpretation... to them it's ALL symbolic!!! I believe those who allegorize scripture will never be able to comprehend even the most basic parts of eschatology. I've heard some say that allegorizing is a "lazy" approach, I think it's worse than "lazy", I think it show the lack of respect for God's word.

I recently started a thread here entitled "Jeremiah 49"... the reason being, I have had many discussions elsewhere (not on OB) regarding this section I referenced (Jer. 49:35-39, and even more specifically verse 36).  There are so few (who claim to study eschatology) who use a literal interpretation. I have many fellow friends who I believe DO use literal interpretation, yet they have no interest (or little interest) in eschatology and/or Bible prophecy. And the other (professing) Christian friends who DO claim to have interest in eschatology and/or Bible prophecy, but do not use literal interpretation.  Some admit they allegorize... sadly (and possibly worse) others SAY they interpret literally, but actually DO interpret allegorically, mixing and matching (a horrible mistake) of both literal and allegorical interpretation (likely to "fit" a theory).  So I brought this forth on OB hoping there would be at least one person who uses literal interpretation rather than allegorization.  I wasn't really wanting to argue the verse (other than if I had to, if someone attempted to allegorize the meaning of "wind", etc), I was more interested in what others (if any  have) already studied on this, and the conclusion they arrived at... using literal interpretation. I did get one brief answer, but not enough description to give me a clue about where they were headed with a conclusion.... so anyways... I do hope someone will come forth with some thoughts/conclusions on Jeremiah 49:36 (using literal interpretation).

Sorry to "derail" your thread... I simply wanted to commend your study on "signify" as well as commend the literal interpretation as well (as usual my brain went off down the trail to the next thought and I didn't stop typing, lol)

Hi Ronda, this is not my favorite topic, but on the symbolism, I think there is cases of double symbols, or symbols being explained in symbol, I can think of one case off hand from Revelation,

Revelation 21:2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband....Revelation 21:9  And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

So we have the City and the Bride, both symbols of the same thing which presumably must be the Church, or am I wrong? I think the gulf between the heavens and earth are so vast that symbols are needed to convey some glimpse of the heavens and the spiritual realm to us.

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Hi Ronda, this is not my favorite topic, but on the symbolism, I think there is cases of double symbols, or symbols being explained in symbol, I can think of one case off hand from Revelation,

Revelation 21:2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband....Revelation 21:9  And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

So we have the City and the Bride, both symbols of the same thing which presumably must be the Church, or am I wrong? I think the gulf between the heavens and earth are so vast that symbols are needed to convey some glimpse of the heavens and the spiritual realm to us.

There is also the harlot, mystery Babylon, which is explained as being Rome.  The direct opposite to the bride and the new Jerusalem.

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There is also the harlot, mystery Babylon, which is explained as being Rome.  The direct opposite to the bride and the new Jerusalem.

Well It does sound like Rome, and I know it has been taken as Rome by friend and foe in one shape or another, but politics aside, both 'heads' and a 'beast' sound like living things and one would wonder why a hill of soil or rock would be represented as a living creature, and I wonder if there might be a bit more to the beast than simply a literal mass of land, if Rome was the beast, then it was one of its heads which was wounded, but there was only one Pope over Rome, perhaps the heads are seven power structures of which Rome was one. We also have in Revelation the Mystery Babylon, and in History we Have the Mystery Religion, So the seven mountains of Rome might represent seven different occult entities all similar in nature and intent, but each with some degree on self governance. Such as Kabalism, Gnosticism, Illuminate in more modern times, But there might be seven spirits leading seven heads in an effort to supplant the seven spirits of God.Re 3:1

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Well It does sound like Rome, and I know it has been taken as Rome by friend and foe in one shape or another, but politics aside, both 'heads' and a 'beast' sound like living things and one would wonder why a hill of soil or rock would be represented as a living creature, and I wonder if there might be a bit more to the beast than simply a literal mass of land, if Rome was the beast, then it was one of its heads which was wounded, but there was only one Pope over Rome, perhaps the heads are seven power structures of which Rome was one. We also have in Revelation the Mystery Babylon, and in History we Have the Mystery Religion, So the seven mountains of Rome might represent seven different occult entities all similar in nature and intent, but each with some degree on self governance. Such as Kabalism, Gnosticism, Illuminate in more modern times, But there might be seven spirits leading seven heads in an effort to supplant the seven spirits of God.Re 3:1

It might, but it doesn't agree with how the angel explains it.

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I have never heard proof of the sybolism in Revelation as being supported by this one word Bro. Scott.

As for your other verses you mentioned way up the list of posts, I can see where the words do mean the same as "signified" in Rev. 1:1, yet not exactly.

I think the symbolism is quite noticeable in the whole book. And focusing on this one word is quite a weak stand indeed.

Thanks.

(My Bible says "shewed" by the way.)

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Another way to describe signify, apart from figure that the scripture uses, would be representative.  One image represents a real person or country, etc.  The Harlot represents a false church, whereas the bride represents the true church., etc.  

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The title and Pastor Markle's discussion focuses greatly on the "verb" signified.  So I looked it up and the word "signified" is actually a noun, while the words "signify" and 'signifying' are verbs.  The definition of "signified" is "the meaning expressed by a sign rather than the physical form it is expressed in" (Collins dictionary).  As a noun the word "signified" combined with "it" (signified it) can describe a state or quality, that is the state of revelations being in signs or sketches rather than literal.  

A major problem with accepting that there is a mix is that people get to cherry pick which parts they consider literal and soon enough another revelation is born, a literal thousand years on earth after the resurrection is a long running beauty for example.  No Apostle mentioned this and it's nowhere else in the Bible, and Jesus refutes it in John 18:36 (also Romans 14:17 is worth looking up).

 

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10 hours ago, Paul said:

The title and Pastor Markle's discussion focuses greatly on the "verb" signified.  So I looked it up and the word "signified" is actually a noun, while the words "signify" and 'signifying' are verbs.  The definition of "signified" is "the meaning expressed by a sign rather than the physical form it is expressed in" (Collins dictionary).  As a noun the word "signified" combined with "it" (signified it) can describe a state or quality, that is the state of revelations being in signs or sketches rather than literal.  

A major problem with accepting that there is a mix is that people get to cherry pick which parts they consider literal and soon enough another revelation is born, a literal thousand years on earth after the resurrection is a long running beauty for example.  No Apostle mentioned this and it's nowhere else in the Bible, and Jesus refutes it in John 18:36 (also Romans 14:17 is worth looking up).

 

Understand from "the get-go" that I haven't read this thread. This post, therefore, has nothing to do in defense nor opposition to any contents of said thread. With all that stated:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.”

Would you care to take this sentence and show how, in the phrase "he sent and signified it", the word "signified" is used as a noun and not as the past tense of the verb (to) signify?
 

Incidentally, Webster's 1st edition has the following concerning both etymology and definition of the verb "signify" (which you acknowledged as a verb). So the past tense of such a "making known (def #4)" would be ...?

SIG'NIFY, v. t. [L. significo; signum, a sign, and facio, to make.]

4. To make known; to declare. The government should signify to the protestants of Ireland that want of silver is not to be remedied.

 

 

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On ‎1‎/‎20‎/‎2016 at 2:36 PM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Revelations 1:1-2 states, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.”

Due to the use of the verb “signified” in Revelation 1:1, some indicate that the book of the Revelation is to be taken as a prophetic communication of symbolism, rather than literalism.  So then, is this a valid understanding and restriction due to the use of the verb “signified”?

The verb “signify” in Revelation 1:1 is translated from the Greek verb “semaino.” This Greek verb is also employed five other times throughout the New Testament, and every one of those times it is translated with some form of the English verb “signify.”  These five other times are as follows:

John 12:32-33 – “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.  This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

John 18:31-32 – “Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.”

John 21:18-19 – “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.  And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”

Acts 11:28 – “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.”

Acts 25:27 – “For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.”

Now, there is not a single one of these five other uses for the Greek verb “semaino,” as translated by some form of the English verb “signify,” wherein the verb means “a communication of information through symbolism.”  Rather, in every one of these five cases, the verb means “a communication of information through description.”  As such, although the communication that is indicated by this verb may, or may not include some symbolism within the communication, the meaning of the verb itself does not at all indicate a communication with a focus upon communicating through symbolism, but rather indicates a communication with a focus upon communication through description.  Even so, although the prophetic utterances of the book of the Revelation may indeed include some symbolisms, the use of this verb in Revelation 1:1 would move us to expect, not a prophetic utterance that is primarily symbolic language, but a prophetic utterance that is primarily literal description.

(Note: There are two other Greek verbs that are also translated with some form of the English verb “signify.”  The first is the Greek verb “emphanizo” in Acts 23:15, which Greek verb means “to manifest, to show, to exhibit, to reveal, to make know; and in the passive, to appear.”  The second is the Greek verb “deloo” in Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 12:27; 1 Peter 1:11, which Greek verb means “to declare, to make evident, to reveal.”)

3 hours ago, Paul said:

The title and Pastor Markle's discussion focuses greatly on the "verb" signified.  So I looked it up and the word "signified" is actually a noun, while the words "signify" and 'signifying' are verbs.  The definition of "signified" is "the meaning expressed by a sign rather than the physical form it is expressed in" (Collins dictionary).  As a noun the word "signified" combined with "it" (signified it) can describe a state or quality, that is the state of revelations being in signs or sketches rather than literal.  

A major problem with accepting that there is a mix is that people get to cherry pick which parts they consider literal and soon enough another revelation is born, a literal thousand years on earth after the resurrection is a long running beauty for example.  No Apostle mentioned this and it's nowhere else in the Bible, and Jesus refutes it in John 18:36 (also Romans 14:17 is worth looking up).

In the first place, the above posting is not accurate to my word study.  My word study did NOT focus primarily upon the English verb "signified."  Rather, my word study focused primarily upon the GREEK VERB "semaino," from which the English verb "signified" is translated in Revelation 1:1.  In the Greek, the word "semaino" is MOST DEFINITELY A VERB.

In the second place, the above posting is not even precisely accurate to the claims of Collin's dictionary.  While Collin's dictionary does indeed present the word "signified" itself as having a usage as a noun, Collin's dictionary also presents the following word forms for the VERB "to signify" -- "signifies, signifying, SIGNIFIED."  Thus even Collin's dictionary, which is the specific dictionary authority that is being used in the above posting, acknowledges that "SIGNIFIED" is a VERB form for the verb "to signify."  Now, since Collin's dictionary would thus be indicating that the word "signified" could either be grammatically used in a given sentence as a noun or as a verb, we must ask -- In which grammatical way is it being used in Revelation 1:1?  In answer I would contend that since the English word "signified" is translating the Greed VERB "semaino" in Revelation 1:1, we should recognize that the English word "signified" is also to be taken grammatically as a VERB.

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On 1/20/2016 at 2:36 PM, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Revelations 1:1-2 states, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.”

Due to the use of the verb “signified” in Revelation 1:1, some indicate that the book of the Revelation is to be taken as a prophetic communication of symbolism, rather than literalism.  So then, is this a valid understanding and restriction due to the use of the verb “signified”?

The verb “signify” in Revelation 1:1 is translated from the Greek verb “semaino.” This Greek verb is also employed five other times throughout the New Testament, and every one of those times it is translated with some form of the English verb “signify.”  These five other times are as follows:

John 12:32-33 – “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.  This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

John 18:31-32 – “Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.”

John 21:18-19 – “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God.  And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”

Acts 11:28 – “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.”

Acts 25:27 – “For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.”

Now, there is not a single one of these five other uses for the Greek verb “semaino,” as translated by some form of the English verb “signify,” wherein the verb means “a communication of information through symbolism.”  Rather, in every one of these five cases, the verb means “a communication of information through description.”  As such, although the communication that is indicated by this verb may, or may not include some symbolism within the communication, the meaning of the verb itself does not at all indicate a communication with a focus upon communicating through symbolism, but rather indicates a communication with a focus upon communication through description.  Even so, although the prophetic utterances of the book of the Revelation may indeed include some symbolisms, the use of this verb in Revelation 1:1 would move us to expect, not a prophetic utterance that is primarily symbolic language, but a prophetic utterance that is primarily literal description.

(Note: There are two other Greek verbs that are also translated with some form of the English verb “signify.”  The first is the Greek verb “emphanizo” in Acts 23:15, which Greek verb means “to manifest, to show, to exhibit, to reveal, to make know; and in the passive, to appear.”  The second is the Greek verb “deloo” in Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 12:27; 1 Peter 1:11, which Greek verb means “to declare, to make evident, to reveal.”)

 

I think that many misunderstand the symbolic aspect of the revelation, as while it is true that parts of it are given in symbolic terms and visions, they all line up with OT prophecies, and they all pretty much refer to a real historical events or persons just being described in symbolic ways.

 

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The Greek word "semaino" means: "to indicate (show/communicate) by the use of signs or symbols."  This meaning is verified by almost all Greek Lexicons and Dictionaries available to any true seeker of Biblical understanding and interpretation.  There may possibly be some literal interpretation/understanding within the Book of Revelation.  However, having said this, we must understand that any literal interpretation and understanding that there may possibly be within the Book of Revelation should always be considered as a secondary interpretation/understanding.  Everything within the Book is set forth in the language of "signs" and "symbols."  Remember that John "was in the Spirit" when he saw these things.

In the five verses that were previously quoted from the New Testament it is plain to see that the Holy Spirit was using literal things and realities and events as "signs" or "symbols" to point to other, and far more important Godly and spiritual events, which have deep spiritual meaning, such as the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Jonah was literally in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, but his literal experience was a "sign" or "symbol" pointing to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

If we were to interpret/understand the Book of Revelation in the literal sense we would be subjecting God's Word and Vision to our own carnal and natural thought processes.  We are admonished in the scriptures to "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)  Unfortunately, we, all too often, do just the opposite of this.  It is very unfortunate that most of those who insist on interpreting the Bible literally will abandon their literal interpretations/understandings in favor of symbolic or spiritual interpretations when a literal interpretation does not verify/justify their biased doctrinal positions.  Most literal interpreters of the Scriptures like to pick and choose which portions of the Bible they will interpret literally and which portions they will symbolize or spiritualize.  They (the literalists), of course, should be the ones to let the rest of us know which portions of the Bible should be literal and which portions should be symbolic or spiritually interpreted/understood.

I will give a quick example of what I am talking about.  In Matthew 5:29 & 30 the following words of Jesus are written:  29) "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee:  for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee:  for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."  Now here is a very interesting thing to me.  I know of no literal interpretationist who literally believes that we, or anyone, should be plucking out our literal right eye and cutting off our literal right hand.  They rightly interpret the first parts of these verses as being symbolic/spiritual.  However, they will take the second parts of these same verses and interpret them as being literal when it comes to being cast into hell.  Does this make any Biblical sense to anyone?  Of course not!

To symbolize/spiritualize the first part of a verse of Scripture and literalize the second part of the same verse of Scripture is ridiculously foolish and absurd.  It is Biblical madness to say the least.  To say that the plucking out of an eye and the cutting off of a hand is definitely symbolic/spiritual language and then say the hell that a person is cast into is definitely literal, within the same verse, is nothing more than Biblical gymnastics and Scriptural hoop-jumping.  This is done so that the literal interpretationists can justify their belief in a literal burning, blazing and blistering hellish lake of fire without making themselves look too foolish by saying that people should literally pluck out their eyes and cut off their hands.

Well, I have written much more than what most people really want to read or hear.  I am sorry if anyone is offended by my lengthy exposition.  

Edited by D. Bovee
correcting misspelled words
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I literally believe that it is indeed literally better to pluck out one's eye or cut off one's hand (and live the rest of one's life maimed) than to literally spend eternity in the literal lake of fire.

There is literally nothing symbolic about the comparison that Christ was referring to. 

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