The post-modern sensational teaching of the inherited churches, has taken these words to there sensational limits. They ignore the obvious hyperbole and go for the hyper literal. It makes for far more exciting sermons which leads to more money in the plate, but less understanding in the pews.
The ancient prophets did not only delivered verbal soliloquies of the Word of God, but by their seeing, hearing and acting they presented a type for what was to come. Isaiah walked naked for three years. [Is. 20] Jeremiah wearing an ox’s yoke. [Jer. 27] Ezekiel diagramed Jerusalem with a brick or tile. [Ezek. 4] Ezekiel, Zechariah, and John measured the temple.[Ezek. 41-42, Zech. 2:1-13, Rev. 11:1-2]
The two Hebrew words involved in this are signs i.e. ‘ot and wonders i.e. mofetim.
‘ot is Translated as Signs
Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him. Gen. 4:15
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: Gen. 9:12
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanu-el. Is. 7:14
mofetim is Translated as Signs, Portents or Wonders
17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 8 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 And when they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the wizards who chirp and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? Is. 8:17-19
And he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign that the LORD has spoken: ‘Behold, the altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.’” 1Kings 13:3
The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. 1Kings 13:5
In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death, and he prayed to the LORD; and he answered him and gave him a sign. 2Chr. 32:24
And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to try him and to know all that was in his heart. 2Chr. 32:31
. . . the LORD said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Ethiopia, Is. 20:3
In their sight you shall lift the baggage upon your shoulder, and carry it out in the dark; you shall cover your face, that you may not see the land; for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel.” Ez 12:6
Say, ‘I am a sign for you: as I have done, so shall it be done to them; they shall go into exile, into captivity.’ Ezek. 12:11
Thus shall Ezekiel be to you a sign; according to all that he has done you shall do. When this comes, then you will know that I am the Lord GOD.’ Ezek. 24:24
On that day your mouth will be opened to the fugitive, and you shall speak and be no longer dumb. So you will be a sign to them; and they will know that I am the LORD.” Ezek. 24:27
Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men of good omen: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. Zech. 3:8
“When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’” Ex. 7:9
. . . who hast shown signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, and hast made thee a name, as at this day. Jer. 32:20
And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Ex. 4:21
Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land. Ex. 11:10
Prophets as Representatives for the People
The prophets stood as the representative person for the people for whom the prophecy was intended. Whatever he saw, heard, preformed or spoke was as an impersonator of the intended people.
Isaiah saw the Redeemer coming from Bozrah for the nation of Judah. Ezekiel saw the dry bones as the Jews in captivity, etc.
The last of all of these was John who stood for the True Believing Congregations. All he saw and he did was from the Congregation of True Believers point of view. When John saw a symbolic man, animal, or thing, he was seeing from the congregation of the Lord’s point of view. He saw for us the certain, invisible, spiritual, action of Messiah for His people.