PERSPECTIVE #3: 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.
SILENT NIGHT, HOLY NIGHT: As the seventh seal is opened, we're told there was absolute silence for half an hour. The wrath that God is about to unleash is so fearful and awful that all creatures - the inhabitants of heaven and the wicked of the earth - stand awestruck for an extended period of time (v1).
GOD SMELLS YOUR PRAYERS: We read that the prayers of God's people go up before Him like the smoke of incense (v3-4). What a blessing to know that right now, your prayers are rising up before God and He is sensing your prayers in more ways than just hearing them.
IS THE OCEAN BIG ENOUGH? We're about as far from the salt water as one can get here in Southwest Minnesota, so it is hard to keep the size of the oceans in perspective here. Chapter eight tells of a fiery mountain (mountains are massive pointy things that stick up from the plains a long, long ways from here) being thrown into the ocean. While it's hard to imagine such a thing, the ocean is plenty big enough for that. But what of an entire star being thrown in (v10)? Clearly a massive star can not fall on a specific part of the relatively tiny earth. Remember that John is having a vision and is describing it using symbolic language. Don't try and figure out the logistics. Just open your mind to the big picture that John is painting.
SO IS CHAPTER 8 LITERALLY TRUE? 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.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God who powerfully rules all things from His throne even as your prayers come before Him (v1-5)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will grant you the blessing of silence throughout the day so that you can better appreciate and come closer to Him.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: