Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ranko Stefanovic on Rev 1:1 and SHMAINW

From _Revelation of Jesus Christ: Commentary on the
Book of Revelation_. Berrien Springs, Michigan:
Andrews University Press, 2002.

"The Greek word SHMAINW ('to signify,' 'to show by a
sign or symbol," 'to explain,' 'to convey in a sign or
symbol,' 'to make known') means specifically to convey
or make known by some sort of sign. In other places in
the New Testament, the word is used consistently for a
figurative presentation that pointed to a future
event. Jesus signified 'the kind of death by which he
was to die' (John 12:33; 18:32; cf. 21:19). The
prophet Agabus signified under the inspiration of the
Spirit a great famine during the reign of Claudius
(Acts 11:28). The word SHMAINW ('sign-i-fy') in
Revelation 1:1 indicates that the visions of
Revelation were communicated to John in figurative or
symbolic presentation" (page 54).

"John explains further that the revelation given to
him is signified by Jesus Christ. The contents of
Revelation are not photographic descriptions of the
heavenly realities or coming events to be understood
in a literal way; they are rather expressed in
figurative or symbolic language. The text seems to
indicate that it is not John but God who chose the
symbols of Revelation" (page 58).


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