Interpreting apocalyptic literature is different than historical. The book of Revelation is apocalyptic and largely symbolic. For this reason, there have been many commentaries published with vastly different views.
The historical view claims that everything in it has already taken place and we are now living in the Millennium Kingdom.
The preterist view holds that the prophecies were fulfilled in Roman history and we are still awaiting chapters 19-22.
The idealist view says that Revelation is cyclical, meaning that it has already happened many times and will happen again.
The propheticist view holds that prophecies have both a short-term and a long-term fulfillment, believing that the prophecies are both historical and futuristic.
Others take the book out of sequence and claim that parts are historical and other parts are futuristic, and that all of these parts are intermingled together.
The problem with this type of interpretation as that it’s possible to make the prophecies in Revelation mean almost anything; and if it can mean anything then it doesn’t mean anything. Also, this type of interpretation doesn’t follow with the teachings of the Apostles.
I believe that everything in the book of Revelation after the 3rd chapter is still future. This is known as the futurist interpretation. This view holds that the rapture of the Church is the next event to take place, which will end the Church age and begin the events in chapter 4 of the book of Revelation. I believe this view is in harmony with Revelation 1:19, the key of interpreting the book of Revelation.
Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; (Rev 1:19 KJV)
This is the view that I will follow in this study of the book of revelation.
Other key points about interpreting prophecy:
I don’t believe it’s possible to know:
— the date of the end before hand
— the seven thunders
— who the antichrist is before he is revealed in the end
— every detail of every prophecy
I will not make claims that the Scriptures do not clearly back up. I will attempt to show multiple views where the Scriptures are not clear. I will not be dogmatic where it is not clear in Scripture.