I started a thread showing that the word "signified" in Revelation 1:2 is proof that the Book of Revelation is NOT literal. The prologue explicitly says that the book was "signified." The word "signified'' means "to indicate by a sign
" and nothing more. But much to my surprise I was taken to task by a fellow Preterist on my treatment of the Greek word "semaino" (signified).
I have answered that person as much as I am willing to. I don't want to spend my time here engaging with my fellow Preterists. I want to engage with the Futurists. I want now to expound more on Luke's statement which says that Agabus "signified" that there would be a great famine, what that means and why it was necessary for Agabus to "signify" about the famine rather than just prophesy in plain speech.
Here is the scripture:
And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and signified by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.
Before I get into it I want to give the definition of the word "signify" by TWO eminent scholars of the past. One was a Full Preterist and the other was a non-Preterist.Full Preterist Milton S. Terry of the, 19th century:
The word signified (semaino) suggests that this heavenly revelation was communicated through signs and symbols and how God sent and symblolized is indicated in chapters v-x, where the sealed book of divine mysteries, seen on the hand of God, is taken by the Lamb, and, the seals having all been opened by him, it is given as a little book to John, and eaten by him so as to become a word of prophecy to many peoples.Non-Preterist Herschel H. Hobbs of the 20th, century:
Biblical Apocalyptics, page 275.
The method employed in the Revelation is seen in the word "signified." This translates the Greek vverb semaino, meaning to show in signs or symbols....
It employs symbols to those who read with understanding. But it also CONCEALS the message from those outside the Christian fellowship....
The aorist form of "signified" sums up the whole method of revelation in the book. We cannot say that some things are symbols and some are literal. If one part is literal, all parts are literal. THE VERB FORM SAYS THAT ALL PARTS ARE SYMBOLIC.
The Cosmic Drama pages 24-25
Hobbs was both the leader and leading theologian of the Southern Baptist Convention http://www.nytimes.com/1995/12/02/us/herschel-h-hobbs-88-southern-baptist-leader.html
I want to talk specifically about Hobb's statement on how a word that is "signified" is intended to "CONCEAL
the message" from those who were outside the Christian community.
The reason Agabus's prophecy about famine was "signified" rather than given in plain speech was to CONCEAL
the coming calamity from those who were the objects of God's judgment. The judgment was about to come upon that generation of Israel who had rejected the Messiah. Famine was indeed one of the judgments which was to come upon that generation. If Agabus would have prophesied in plain speech, then those who were the objects of judgment could have prepared for it. It would have been counter productive for Agabus to employ plain speech.
Thus he "signified" it so only the elect remant could prepare for it.
But how could God's people understand the prophecy and prepare for it if it was "signified?" The answer is that God provided men who had the gift of interpretation
so they could explain the prophecy to the people and they could prepare for it. Note that Luke says that "prophets" came to Antioch with Agabus. Paul told the Corinthians that the "spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets
." Therefore, ONLY prophets could interpret the "spirit" of a prophecy. The prophets that came with Agabus must have interpreted the prophecy for the benefit of the specified audiences.
My fellow Preterist here says that Luke plainly said that Agabus's prophecy was about a famine. Yeah! Luke tells us that it was about
a famine. That's how WE know it was about
a famine. We know because Luke said that Agabus "signified" about