Before the invention and popularizing of video, there was “Show and Tell.” Not great perhaps, but better for teaching than flannel-graphs, chalk boards and pin-up boards. You put the company’s disk into their player device, and still pictures would “show” on the mini-screen and a voice would speak about the picture. Not exciting to “now” generations, but it was a giant step forward. Sunday School classes bought them across the country. We had one here for our Sunday school. Of course, after AV became available, it was a dust collector with no interest and no market.
But the idea of Show and Tell is still a means of teaching.
What is God’s “show and tell”? You guessed it: Revelations. Apocalypse. Even better than interactive video, God had a way of making the sky the screen and angel voices doing the “tell,” revealing His messages in full sized prophetic symbols. Someone has commented that the Apocalypse uses “evocative, persuasive power of its symbolic language” to compel the reader to participate.
Revelations is God’s vivid, persuasive “Show and Tell.” Reference Jesus’ own introduction in Rev. 1:1.
Revelation 1:1 1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,
God gave the Revelation, the Apocalypse, to Jesus Christ to “show His servants things which must shortly be done.”
Show the picture. Tell the message. This goes all through the book.
Maybe we have read it all before, but there is always more to glean, and deeper impressions to be made.
In chapter 1, almost immediately Jesus tells about His return.
Revelation 1:7 7Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
The figure is the same as in the prophecy of Daniel.
Daniel 7:13 13“I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.
Jesus Himself said it:
Matthew 24:30 30Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
In another place he told who would be accompanying him: angels.
Matthew 16:27 27For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
Coming with clouds—clouds of angels. Just as He went away.
Don’t we feel for those disciples when Jesus was taken to heaven? Feel the lump in their throats as they stood, transfixed, watching as a group of angels carried Him upward. He was gone. They were alone. Two angels stayed behind briefly to give a little comfort:
Acts 1:10–11 10And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
How else do we know the clouds that carried him away were angels? Hyperlink to the Psalms:
Psalm 68:17 17The chariots of God are twenty thousand, Even thousands of thousands; The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.
The original Hebrew calls them “rejoicing ones.” Other translations say “angels.” Just think about it: God’s “chariots” are “twenty thousand even thousands of angels! Surely enough to make a cloud.
We wonder: Did the angels making up Jesus’ chariot have special interest in taking Jesus to their homeland, so joined the company who were coming by the earth to take Him? What kind of celebration might they have had for this young king-to-be when the company touched down on their home ground?
Show and Tell: The Great Apostasy
Now back to another Show and Tell narrative in Revelation: the event soonest to happen after Jesus’ angel delivered this message is the apostasy. It is told first in Revelation chapter 11. The “Show” part we see is the graphic of 2 witnesses, representing the Word of God, old and new covenants, and those sponsoring it.
Let’s visualize the “Show” as we read the “Tell.”
Revelation 11:1–2 1Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. 2But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it…
An area to measure, and an area to leave out.
Notice the angel gives the measuring instrument to John. He was to measure “the temple of God.” What is the temple?
1 Corinthians 3:16 16Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
Why should John be measuring the temple? Because we are the temple, and we are individually responsible. We need to be ever measuring ourselves, checking our progress, seeing how we “measure up” to God’s standard.
A little more “tell” as instructions to John. Continuing in Rev. 11:
Revelation 11:2 2But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.
The court would be given over to the Gentiles, those who do not know God.
Here is prophecy of the apostasy, when all would be turned from the truth to fables, as Paul also predicted. Even the duration is stated: 42 months, which translates to 1260 years. Hyperlink to a related passage in 2 Timothy chapter 4.
2 Timothy 4:3–4 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
They would hear the truth but turn away from it. The angel says further:
Revelation 11:3 3And I will give (power to) my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
The words “power to” are not in the original text—the translators likely thought they were needed. But they are not. These two witnesses were without “power” at this point, in fact they had the message but no audience to hear it. None wanted to hear. Read the passage as it is in the original Greek:
Revelation 11:3 (Gramcord Interlinear Greek) 3And I will give to the two testifiers of me and they will speak for 1260 days having thrown around themselves sackcloths.
Isn’t this “Show and Tell” to instruct us? We need both, the picture of the sackcloth and the words that narrate. These witnesses testifying to the truth would be speaking, clothed in sackcloth, in garments of sorrow. Verse 7:
Revelation 11:7 7When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.
They would finally be silenced by the beast (the power of evil, at this time the power of the apostate Church) making war against them. The “beast” would overcome them and kill them.
The “show” imagery in next verse is very telling, showing us how symbolic the language is.
8And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
The power of evil was victorious for the time. And the “dead bodies” of God’s witnesses, His living Word, would lie in the street of what city? It is a city “spiritually called Sodom and Egypt.” Have you seen that city on any map? That is where “our Lord was crucified.” It is the city of the beast, the headquarters of darkness, “spiritually called Sodom and Egypt.”
Isn’t that where we live now?
But notice the triumph of evil was not as complete as it might have been.
Revelation 11:9 9Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves.
Dead but not buried! Isn’t the prophecy showing us a great fact? Their death would be too brief, too temporary, too “incomplete” to bury them… because soon they would LIVE again! But for the moment, it was a time for joy and merriment for their enemies. For the moment the triumph of evil was complete, the disrupters of their peace were put down.
Revelation 11:10 10And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
The “prophets that tormented them” were the words of truth they did not want to hear. They wanted freedom from law! Freedom from God and His restrictions. Free thinking, like so many want today!
Now, three and one half days later – another statement of the period of 1260 years—
Revelation 11:11 11Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
Enter breath from God, and they stand on their feet! ALIVE! Those who saw them fear.
Revelation 11:12 12And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven [authority, rulership] in a cloud [of angels], and their enemies saw them.
No mistaking this new authority. Invited to “ascend,” they become the new “heaven,” the new administrators of earth, Christ and His associates.
And here we see the climax, both show and tell:
Revelation 11:15 15Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Reigning for ever! Written for the victors! Complete victory! Worldwide, sea to sea. Here is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, ALL families,all nations, all people of the earth blessed!
Don’t we want to be there, and see it happen?