I believe that to best understand the Revelation we must first understand what Jesus had to say about the end of the age in Matthew 24&25, as well as what Daniel prophesied (Jesus refers to Daniel in Matthew 24:15).
There are 4 parts in the structure of Revelation. The 4th part has 5 chronological sections in which the events occur in sequential order. There are 7 main symbols in the Book.
The main theme of Revelation is Jesus’ return to earth to rule all the nations. Evil governments will resist this. His End-Time battle plan is to physically destroy all the evil governments on earth by releasing His judgments on them during the Great Tribulation as described in Rev. 6-19.
As the Book of Acts describes the power of the Holy Spirit that was released through the early Church so the Book of Revelation describes the power of the Holy Spirit that will be released through the
Revelation is Jesus’ battle plan to allow the sin in man’s heart to fully come to the surface and then to drive evil off the planet through the praying Church. These judgment events do not happen to us as helpless victims of Satan but are released through us as participants with Jesus. Jesus’ judgments are released to remove all that hinders love. He is at war to have His wedding.
The 7 main symbols: all events and numbers in Revelation are to be taken in their plain meaning (literal) unless specifically indicated not to (Rev. 1:20; 5:6; 11:8; 12:1, 3, 9; 17:7, 9, 15-18, etc.)
1) Dragon: is symbolic of Satan (Rev. 12:3, 4, 7, 9, 13, 16, 17; 13:2, 4; 16:13; 20:2)
2) First Beast: is symbolic of the Antichrist (Rev. 13; 14:9-11; 17:3-17; 19:19-21; 20:4, 10)
3) Another Beast: is symbolic of the False Prophet called “another Beast” just once (Rev. 13:11)
4) Seven Heads: are 7 empires from history that persecuted Israel (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon,
Persia, Greece, Rome, revived Roman Empire of Dan. 2:41-42; 7:7; Rev. 12:3; 13:1; 17:3-16)
5) Ten Horns: represents a 10-nation confederation that serves the Antichrist (Rev. 17:12-13)
6) Harlot Babylon: will be a worldwide demonically inspired religious and economic system
based in the re-built city of Babylon, near Baghdad in Iraq (Rev. 17-18; Jer. 50-51)
7) Woman with a Male-child (Jesus): is the faithful remnant of Israel through history (Rev. 12)
Structure Of Revelation: 4 Parts and 5 sections (in the 4Th part)
Rev. 1 Pt. 1 John’s CALLING to prophesy about the End-Times: John gave 18 truths about Jesus’
majesty that formed the way he prophesied about the End-Times, which are meant to equip us.
Rev. 2-3 Pt. 2 Jesus gave 7 LETTERS to 7 churches: the instructions Jesus gave to these 7 churches
about overcoming sin give us practical insight into what we must also overcome today.
Rev. 4-5 Pt. 3 Jesus takes the SCROLL: contains the earth’s title deed and His battle plan to cleanse it.
Rev. 6-22 Pt. 4 Jesus’ BATTLE PLAN: includes Great Tribulation judgments against the Antichrist.
Jesus reveals His main storyline of love to cleanse the earth of evil. His battle plan
is seen in 5 Chronological sections that describe events that unfold in sequential order.
Each section is followed by an Angelic explanation to help us understand that section.
The 5 Chronological Sections: tell us what happens to the Antichrist’s followers in 21 judgment events (7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 bowls). These intensify in severity as they unfold.
The 5 Angelic Explanations: function as a parenthesis, putting the storyline on “pause”. They answer questions arising from the chronological sections: Why is God’s wrath so severe? What will happen to us? Angels explain to John what happens to God’s people including what Jesus will do to help us and what the Antichrist will do to persecute us.
Rev. 6 Chronological section #1: the SEAL JUDGMENTS against the kingdom of darkness.
Rev. 7 Angelic Explanation #1: we receive PROTECTION from judgments and falling away.
Rev. 8-9 Chronological section #2: the TRUMPET JUDGMENTS against the Antichrist’s empire.
Rev. 10-11 Angelic Explanation #2: we receive DIRECTION by great increase of prophetic ministry.
Rev. 11:15-19 Chronological section #3: the SECOND COMING PROCESSION and the Rapture.
The 7th and Last Trumpet (1 Cor. 15:52; Rev. 10:7; 1 Thes. 4:16): Jesus replaces all
governmental leaders on earth in a hostile takeover. In His Procession, Jesus first travels
across the sky to rapture the saints (every eye sees Him; Rev. 1:7), then through the
Rev. 12-14 Angelic Explanation #3: the CONFRONTATION against the saints by the Antichrist’s
system and persecutions requires that all his governments be taken over. Satan is on earth.
Rev. 15-16 Chronological section #4: the BOWL JUDGMENTS destroy evil infrastructures in society
Rev. 17-18 Angelic Explanation #4: the SEDUCTION of
infiltrate all the structures of society, requiring that
Rev. 19-20 Chronological section #5: Jesus’ TRIUMPHAL ENTRY to
Rev. 21-22 Angelic Explanation #5: the RESTORATION of all things Acts 3:21 (Rev. 21:9-22:5)