The Book of the Apocalypse (Revelation) is no doubt the most difficult to interpret in the entire Bible. As we read this together, we will be be interpreting it from a perspective known as "Progressive Parallelism," developed by Calvin Seminary Professor W. Hendrickson in 1939 (His book makes an excellent study guide for Revelation). It is certainly not the only interpretive strategy for the book, but I've found it to be the most helpful and it harmonizes Revelation with what we know from other parts of the Bible.
The book of Revelation is not written in chronological order, rather it examines Christ's return from seven different perspectives. Each new perspective includes more details and information than the previous perspectives.
One of the things that makes Revelation so fascinating is its symbolism. It features creatures like a massive dragon and a great beast. At one point it speaks of such carnage that the earth was covered in blood as high as a horse. These things may be real, literal things, but in most cases they will be symbolism. Sometimes those symbols will be easy to interpret using the Old Testament, other times we'll struggle to understand.
"The most awesome figure in the book is not the dragon, the beast or the harlot: it is Christ. We must not lose sight of HIM as we read this wonderful book." (Rev M.McGeown, missionary-pastor of Limerick Reformed Fellowship)
Prayer For The Day: Dear Father in heaven, thank you for giving me this glimpse of your coming Kingdom in the book of Revelation. Be with me and give me patience through the parts I do not understand, and thank you for the promise that this book is meant to bring me grace & peace. Amen.