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SIGNAL. The standard method for communicating in times of war and peace in antiquity was by signal fires. Such are mentioned in the OT (Jer 6:1 et al.), and the records from Amarna and Lachish. However, banners or flags, Heb. נֵס, H5812, appear in Numbers 21:8 and are used for the person and character of Messiah as the sign of the fullness of time in numerous passages. It is used of the sails of warships. The verbal usage occurs in Zechariah 10:8, et al. The Heb. verb שָׁרַק, H9239, “to hiss,” is used to denote the summoning of both animals and persons. Usually signals are raised or set up rather than actually “signaled.” The notion of signals for war and peace are a significant part of Israelite prophecy and prophetism. This prophetic usage is carried over in the gospel narratives where allusions to the OT prophets often contain the term σημαι̂ον. The term is extended to mean a miraculous portent, but in effect they were still signals of divine origin and with cataclysmic and eternal outcomes.

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