It is very interesting to note that the author of Revelation is drawing on some Old Testament symbols, prophecies, and background material primarily from Daniel, the first part of Zechariah and Ezekiel, but he’s changing the meaning of some of the symbols and using them in appropriate ways in his day, and that’s what causes the confusion. Obviously, there are so many Old Testament allusions made by the author but not one Old Testament quote.
There are 4 major views on the book of Revelation. The first is called the Preterist, and basically it means this group sees the book as primarily or exclusively dealing with the 1st century Church in the Roman province of Asia, so it limits everything in its interpretation to the past. Number two is the Historicist, this group sees the book as an overview of history primarily Western civilization. Often the letters of the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3 are used as a period of different segments of church history. there are two different groups within the Historicists; one sees these as basically being cyclical, and one sees them as being chronologically sequential but basically it focuses the book of Revelation as laying out the history of the church primarily the Western European church, that kind of thing. Number three is the Futurist, and this group sees the book as referring to the events in the time or history immediately preceding the “Parousia” which will be literally and historically fulfilled. Number four is the Idealist, this group sees the book as totally symbolic of the cosmic eternal battle between good and evil that will one day be ended by God Himself, and so they see no historical fulfillments. I think there’s some truth in each one of those areas, and that little truth is what’s so difficult – to deny or advocate one of those. I think all of men’s systems are inappropriate in interpreting this book, because the dilemma can be likened to a family picture album, but somebody has taken out some of the pictures and changed the order of the other ones that are left, and so what we have are true glimpses of the end-time but when we try to put them in chronological order or sequence it, it gets more fallen human presuppositions than scriptural revelation. I think the Bible does not present a systematic eschatology. It does present that God is going to break into history again, visibly and bodily in the person of the Messiah for the second time and set up a new age of righteousness. That’s what really matters!