ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE: Literally. As we go through these seven perspectives on Christ's return, each one will have more and more details, and with more details it will result in more theories as to what each detail symbolizes and ultimately more questions as to what this all means.
THE DEVIL'S IN THE DETAILS: As you read through this book, don't get too hung up on the details until you first understand the big overarching picture. As you read chapter 9 in particular, don't try and figure out if the locusts represent American Apache helicopters in the various Gulf Wars (yes, that's somebody's theory). Don't worry about figuring out whether the 200 million troops in v16 are under the command of Vladimir Putin (somebody else's theory). Remember that the point of John's vision isn't to explain every detail of God's plan, but rather it's to announce Christ's final victory over sin and death.
THE BIG TAKEAWAY from chapter 9 is in v20-21. Remember, this perspective is centered around seven trumpets blasting a warning to all mankind. God sent these terrible plagues out from Hell for one big reason: to drive people toward repentance, but even with the end result of their insolence bearing down upon them in terrible ways, people still did not turn toward God. The human heart is so hardened with sin that it would rather face monster locusts and fire breathing lion headed horses than repent!
THIS IS EVANGELISTIC ADVICE? Believe it or not, this passage has bearing on the way you evangelize. There is nothing so sweet that you can attract an unregenerate heart with, and nothing so painful with which you can warn a person of their doom if they have set themself against God. All you and I can do is consistently present and live out God's truth, and pray that He through His Holy Spirit would soften hearts for the gospel.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our God who commands and controls power beyond our wildest imaginations
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will see the need for repentance in your life long before these trumpets are blasted (v20-21)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: