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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

This word occurs three times in the Pauline Epistles, and nowhere else in the English Versionsof the apostolic writings. The passages are  2 Thessalonians 1:5,  Philippians 1:28,  2 Thessalonians 3:17, Authorized Versionand Revised Versiongiving identical renderings in each. In  2 Thessalonians 1:5 the Greek ἔνδειγμα is translated by ‘manifest token’; in  Philippians 1:28 ἔνδειξις is translated by ‘evident token’; in  2 Thessalonians 3:17 ‘token’ renders σημεῖον. The two first passages may conveniently be taken together, both because of their general resemblance and because the two Greek words which ‘token’ represents are closely related. In  2 Thessalonians 3:17 it represents a different word, occurring in a totally different context.

1 . In  2 Thessalonians 1:5, St. Paul, speaking for himself and his associates, says to the Thessalonians: ‘We ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which ye endure; which is a manifest token of the righteous judgement of God.’ The word ἔνδειγμα (‘manifest token’) occurs only here in the Greek Bible; its general significance is ‘proof’ or ‘evidence’ (not exemplum as the Vulgate, but rather indicium as Beza). The interpretation of the passage involves a two-fold question: ( a ) What is meant by ‘the righteous judgement of God’? ( b ) What is the ‘manifest token’ (ἔνδειγμα) of it? of it? The ‘righteous judgement’ is the future and final judgment referred to in  2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, based on the principle of compensation laid down by our Lord in  Luke 16:25, that the sufferers of this world shall rest hereafter, and the persecutors shall suffer. It is not, however, suffering per se that can look forward to this future rest and joy but suffering that comes of faith, and is endured for the Kingdom of God ( Luke 16:5). This suffering, inspired by faith in God and endured with the conviction that He reigns and will ultimately exhibit His ‘righteous judgement,’ is itself the ‘evidence,’ the ‘manifest token’ of the coming of that judgment.

The word ἔνδειγμα as related to ἔνδειξις indicates strictly the concrete result in contrast with the process . In meaning, however, the two words are practically indistinguishable. This becomes apparent from a consideration of the passage in which the latter word occurs.

2 . In  Philippians 1:28, St. Paul bids his converts be ‘nothing affrighted by the adversaries: which is for them an evident token (ἔνδειξις) of perdition, but of your salvation, and that from God’; i.e. if the Philippians do not waver before the attacks of the adversaries, but maintain their ground, this steadfast attitude in itself will be an ‘evident token,’ a ‘proof that the adversaries will suffer defeat, while the Philippians will enjoy the Divine salvation. Ἔνδειξις, like ἔνδειγμα, is a Pauline word, and does not occur in the Greek Bible apart from his Epistles. It is an Attic law term and appears to mean, more distinctively, ‘proof’ that rests on an appeal to facts, as contrasted with mere logical demonstration. ‘Token’ coupled with the adjectives ‘manifest’ or ‘evident’ is an adequate rendering of either ἔνδειγμα or ἔνδειξις.

3 . In  2 Thessalonians 3:17, St. Paul, referring to the concluding salutation written by his own hand, says that it ‘is the “token” (σημεῖον) in every epistle.’ An exhaustive account of these interesting words would require a general examination of the epistolary methods of the contemporary Graeco-Roman world. It must suffice here to say that St. Paul, in accordance with the common practice of his age, probably dictated his Epistles to an amanuensis (cf.  Romans 16:22), adding a few words at the end, in his own writing, to vouch for the authenticity of the document. These authenticating words might consist of the bare salutation, as in the present passage, or might contain other words in addition (cf.  1 Corinthians 16:22,  Colossians 4:18,  Galatians 6:11-17; Deissmann goes so far as to hold that in 2 Cor. the apostolic autograph begins at  2 Corinthians 10:1). The probability is that the Apostle would authenticate every Epistle by his autograph greeting at the end. In the cases where he calls special attention to the fact ( 1 Corinthians 16:21,  Colossians 4:18, and the present passage; cf. too  Galatians 6:11) he may have been anxious to certify the letter, as against any forgeries that might be circulating in his name. The use of the word σημεῖον here, followed by the elucidating οὕτως γράφω (almost like our English ‘signed’) is closely parallel to the σεσημείωμαι (generally contracted into σεση.) with which many papyri and ostraca close. An alternative method of certifying a letter was to give to the bearer a ‘token’ (σύμβολον) as proof of his commission (cf. S. Witkowski, Epistulae Privatae , Leipzig, 1906, no. 25).

Literature.-J. B. Lightfoot, Notes on Epistles of St. Paul , London, 1895, p. 135 f.; A. Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East , Eng. translation2, do., 1911, p. 153; G. Milligan, St. Paul’s Epistles to the Thessalonians , do., 1908, Note A, ‘St. Paul as a Letter-Writer,’ pp. 121-130.

Dawson Walker.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [2]

1: Σημεῖον (Strong'S #4592 — Noun Neuter — semeion — say-mi'-on )

"a sign, token or indication," is translated "token" in  2—Thessalonians 3:17 , of writing of the closing salutations, the Apostle using the pen himself instead of his amanuensis, his autograph attesting the authenticity of his Epistles. See Miracle , Sign.

2: Σύσσημον (Strong'S #4953 — Noun Neuter — sussemon — soos'-say-mon )

"a fixed sign or signal, agreed upon with others" (sun, "with"), is used in  Mark 14:44 , "a token." In the Sept.,  Judges 20:38,40;  Isaiah 5:26;  49:22;  62:10 .

3: Ἔνδειγμα (Strong'S #1730 — Noun Neuter — endeigma — en'-dighe-mah )

"a plain token, a proof" (akin to endeiknumi, "to point out, prove") is used in  2—Thessalonians 1:5 "a manifest token," said of the patient endurance and faith of the persecuted saints at Thessalonica, affording proof to themselves of their new life, and a guarantee of the vindication by God of both Himself and them (see No. 4, Note).

4: Ἔνδειξις (Strong'S #1732 — Noun Feminine — endeixis — en'-dike-sis )

"a pointing out, showing forth," is rendered "evident token" in  Philippians 1:28 . See Declare , B, Proof. Cp. apodeixis,   1—Corinthians 2:4 .

 Philippians 1:28  2—Thessalonians 1:5

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [3]

This word represents a pledge or advance payment as proof that the promise will be fulfilled.

 Genesis 9:12 (b) The rainbow is GOD's testimony that He will never again send a universal flood to destroy life upon the earth.

 Genesis 17:11 (b) Circumcision is a permanent mark on the men of Israel to remind them of GOD's unconditional promises to Abraham, and their identification with that covenant.

 Exodus 3:12 (b) Moses received this token on Mt. Sinai. The people had been delivered from Egypt, had safely crossed the sea, had been preserved as they traveled through the wilderness. They were now gathered around Moses on the mount. This was the proof that he was GOD's chosen leader.

 Exodus 12:13 (b) The Blood of the lamb was the evidence and proof to GOD that the people within the house believed His Word. It represents the precious Blood of Christ applied by faith to our hearts, wherein we testify that we believe GOD and His Word.

 Numbers 17:10 (c) Aaron's rod in the presence of GOD was the evidence to be used against the rebellious people of Israel, if there should ever be a question of GOD's righteousness in punishing Korah and his company. It is also a type of the evidence against wicked sinners, manifested in the wounds of Jesus Christ and His subsequent glory. The wounded CHRIST on the throne of Heaven, exalted by GOD, is sufficient proof that CHRIST is GOD's son, GOD's servant, even though men reject Him.

 Mark 14:44 (c) This may be taken as a type of the false provision and the vain conversation of hypocrites who enter the fold of the church for the sake of making money.

 2 Thessalonians 3:17 (b) Paul's signature on his letters, even though they were dictated by him, was proof that they were genuine and orthodox.

Webster's Dictionary [4]

(1): ( n.) In a Jacquard loom, a colored signal to show the weaver which shuttle to use.

(2): ( n.) A livid spot upon the body, indicating, or supposed to indicate, the approach of death.

(3): ( n.) Something given or shown as a symbol or guarantee of authority or right; a sign of authenticity, of power, good faith, etc.

(4): ( n.) Something intended or supposed to represent or indicate another thing or an event; a sign; a symbol; as, the rainbow is a token of God's covenant established with Noah.

(5): ( n.) A memorial of friendship; something by which the friendship of another person is to be kept in mind; a memento; a souvenir.

(6): ( n.) To betoken.

(7): ( n.) Ten and a half quires, or, commonly, 250 sheets, of paper printed on both sides; also, in some cases, the same number of sheets printed on one side, or half the number printed on both sides.

(8): ( n.) A piece of metal intended for currency, and issued by a private party, usually bearing the name of the issuer, and redeemable in lawful money. Also, a coin issued by government, esp. when its use as lawful money is limited and its intrinsic value is much below its nominal value.

(9): ( n.) A bit of leather having a peculiar mark designating a particular miner. Each hewer sends one of these with each corf or tub he has hewn.

(10): ( n.) A piece of metal given beforehand to each person in the congregation who is permitted to partake of the Lord's Supper.

King James Dictionary [5]

Token n. to'kn. L. signum, dialetically varied, or from the same radix.

1. A sign something intended to represent or indicate another thing or an event. Thus the rainbow is a token of God's covenant established with Noah. The blood of the paschal lamb, sprinkled on the doors of the Hebrews, was a token to the destroying angel of God's will that he should pass by those houses.  Genesis 9;  Exodus 12

Show me a token for good.  Psalms 86

2. A mark. In pestilential diseases, tokens are livid spots upon the body, which indicate the approach of death. 3. A memorial of friendship something by which the friendship of another person is to be kept in mind. 4. In coinage, tokens were coins struck in the reign of Elizabeth in the cities of Bristol, Oxford and Worcester, and also by private persons, which were put into circulation, and upon being returned,the issuer gave the value of them in current money. 5. In printing, ten quires of paper an extra quire is usually added to every other token, when counted out for the press.

Holman Bible Dictionary [6]

 Genesis 9:12-17 Psalm 65:8 Psalm 135:9Sign

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [7]

tō´k ' n ( אות , 'ōth , usually rendered "sign" (on   Deuteronomy 22:14 ff see the comms.)): "Sign" and "token" are virtually synonymous words and in the King James Version are used with little or no distinction (in Ex 13, compare   Exodus 13:9 and   Exodus 13:16 ). If there is any difference, "token" is perhaps more concrete and palpable than "sign," but this difference cannot be stressed. The modern use of "token," however, as a "memorial of something past" found in  Numbers 17:10;  Joshua 2:12 . the Revised Version (British and American) has substituted sign in  Exodus 13:16;  Psalm 135:9;  Isaiah 44:25 , and the American Standard Revised Version has "evidence" in  Job 21:29 (a needlessly prosaic change). The four New Testament examples,   Mark 14:44;  Philippians 1:28;  2 Thessalonians 1:5;  2 Thessalonians 3:17 (each for a different Greek word) are self-explanatory. See Sign .