So much has been written about the book of Revelation.

The wildest speculations abound, even in the Church of God.

Many of these ideas are far fetched and yet they keep on being repeated and taught, which I suppose is not surprising seeing the final Church era is said to be blind (Rev 3:17). 

The true explanations of the prophecies of the book of Revelation most often are basic and simple, usually staring us right in the eye, but instead of seeing the obvious, we run off and seek after the weird and fanciful.

The events surrounding the Reformation have had a lasting influence on our understanding of the book of Revelation. If we look at the introduction of the King James Bible, we see that the translators unashamedly identify "that man of sinne" as mentioned in II Thes 2. They correctly believed it referred to the Papacy. The "day for a year" principle was applied by Protestants to the prophecies of Rev 12 and 13 and explained as the Papacy treading down Christians for 1260 years, from the 4th century until the 16th century. In response to this the Catholics instigated the Counter Reformation: an active effort on behalf of the Catholic Church to dispel the new teachings. This involved alternative explanations of prophecies.

The main thrust of the Catholic counter argument was that the time related prophecies were not talking about years, rather they were talking about literal days; that is, days way off in the future. This school of thought is today referred to as "futurism". Church of God teachings of a hundred to two hundred years ago did not reflect this Catholic teaching on prophecy. The 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8 for instance, was reckoned to mean 2300 years, and so it does. However, through the leadership of Herbert Armstrong, much of the Catholic idea of prophecy has made its way into the Church of God. It is true that the prophecies about the statue of Dan 2 and the Beasts of Dan 7 were recognised by him as history, as were the Church eras. Other prophecies however, like "the two witnesses", "the man of sin", "the great tribulation", "the seven trumpets", "the seven last plagues", "signs in the sun, moon and stars", "Babylon is fallen" and many others, were all assigned a place in the future. Unfortunately, we still carry much of this baggage with us today.  

Bible chronology is essential for understanding the framework of prophecy, for God is the Master Mathematician and does things "properly and in order" (I Cor 14:40). He is the ruler of the pages of history and has foretold this history in very figurative language in the pages of Scripture, in particular the book of Revelation.

If Revelation is not history written in advance, we would have no Biblical account of the last 2000 years.

As it is, God has in His word given us an overview of all of man's 6000 years.

Hopefully the following pages on the book of Revelation will be enlightening.