First Perspective on Christ's return: Chapter 1 - 3
Second Perspective: Chapters 4 - 7
Third Perspective: Chapters 8 - 11
Chapter 8 marks a new beginning. John is taking us back to the beginning of the story again, this time looking Christ's return from a different perspective. We call this interpretive approach progressive because each new perspective paints a progressively more detailed picture, and parallelism because each perspective runs parallel to the others. In other words, the seven seals in chapters 4-7 come first in the book, and then the seven trumpet blasts come in chapters 8-11, but in reality they come all at the same time. Each new section is just a different perspective of the whole.
Whereas the earlier perspectives showcased God's faithfulness to the Church, chapters 8 - 11 now focus on God's wrath and judgment upon the wicked.
As you read these chapters, remember that John is often using symbolic language. v10 tells of a star that has fallen onto the waters of the earth. Clearly a massive star can not fall on a specific part of the relatively tiny earth. Don't try and figure out the logistics. Just open your mind to the big picture that John is painting.
Some people will claim that we are shortchanging the Bible if we don't hold every aspect of it as being literally true. It does not cheapen our view of scripture to not read everything as being literal, rather it strengthens our claim that the Bible is infallible truth when we seek to interpret its meaning according to the way the author intended it to be read & understood.
Prayer For The Day - Dear Father, we read in v4 that the smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of your people, went up before you. What a blessing to know that right now, my prayer is rising up before you and you are listening and that you will vindicate your people and judge those who stand against me. In your Son's name I pray, Amen.