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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words


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A — 1: σφραγίς

(Strong's #4973 — Noun Feminine — sphragis — sfrag-ece' )

denotes (a) "a seal" or "signet," Revelation 7:2 , "the seal of the living God," an emblem of ownership and security, here combined with that of destination (as in Ezekiel 9:4 ), the persons to be "sealed" being secured from destruction and marked for reward; (b) "the impression" of a "seal" or signet, (1) literal, a "seal" on a book or roll, combining with the ideas of security and destination those of secrecy and postponement of disclosures, Revelation 5:1,2,5,9; 6:1,3,5,7,9,12; 8:1; (2) metaphorical, Romans 4:11 , said of "circumcision," as an authentication of the righteousness of Abraham's faith, and an external attestation of the covenant made with him by God; the rabbis called circumcision "the seal of Abraham;" in 1 Corinthians 9:2 , of converts as a "seal" or authentication of Paul's Apostleship; in 2 Timothy 2:19 , "the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His," RV, indicating ownership, authentication, security and destination, "and, Let every one that nameth the Name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness," indicating a ratification on the part of the believer of the determining counsel of God concerning him; Revelation 9:4 distinguishes those who will be found without the "seal" of God on their foreheads [see (a) above and B, No. 1].

B — 1: σφραγίζω

(Strong's #4972 — Verb — sphragizo — sfrag-id'-zo )

"to seal" (akin to A), is used to indicate (a) security and permanency (attempted but impossible), Matthew 27:66; on the contrary, of the doom of Satan, fixed and certain, Revelation 20:3 , RV, "sealed it over;" (b) in Romans 15:28 , "when ... I have ... sealed to them this fruit," the formal ratification of the ministry of the churches of the Gentiles in Greece and Galatia to needy saints in Judea, by Paul's faithful delivery of the gifts to them; this material help was the fruit of his spiritual ministry to the Gentiles, who on their part were bringing forth the fruit of their having shared with them in spiritual things; the metaphor stresses the sacred formalities of the transaction (Deissmann illustrates this from the papyri of Fayyum, in which the "sealing" of sacks guarantees the full complement of the contents); (c) secrecy and security and the postponement of disclosure, Revelation 10:4; in a negative command, Revelation 22:10; (d) ownership and security, together with destination, Revelation 7:3-5 (as with the noun in ver. 2; see A); the same three indications are conveyed in Ephesians 1:13 , in the metaphor of the "sealing" of believers by the gift of the Holy Spirit, upon believing (i.e., at the time of their regeneration, not after a lapse of time in their spiritual life, "having also believed," not as AV, "after that ye believed;" the aorist participle marks the definiteness and completeness of the act of faith); the idea of destination is stressed by the phrase "the Holy Spirit of promise" (see also Ephesians 1:14 ); so Ephesians 4:30 , "ye were sealed unto the day of redemption;" so in 2 Corinthians 1:22 , where the Middle Voice intimates the special interest of the Sealer in His act; (e) authentication by the believer (by receiving the witness of the Son) of the fact that "God is true," John 3:33; authentication by God in sealing the Son as the Giver of eternal life (with perhaps a figurative allusion to the impress of a mark upon loaves), John 6:27 .

Note: In Revelation 7 , after the 5th verse (first part) the original does not repeat the mention of the "sealing" except in ver. 8 (last part) (hence the omission in the RV).

B — 2: κατασφραγίζω

(Strong's #2696 — Verb — katasphragizo — kat-as-frag-id'-zo )

No. 1, strengthened by kata, intensive, is used of the "book" seen in the vision in Revelation 5:1 , RV, "close sealed (with seven seals)," the successive opening of which discloses the events destined to take place throughout the period covered by chapters 6 to 19. In the Sept., Job 9:7; 37:7 .

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Seal'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. 1940.

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