When reading the Book of Revelation, there are some things Bible students need to remember:
1) The title declares that the book was written to reveal or disclose information to born again believers. God wants us to understand (13:18); God promises to bless those who read it, and hold on to what they have read (1:3; 22:7).
2) Revelation, when it is describing events taking place on earth, is written in chronological order; those events taking place in heaven, appear as "parenthetical events" and are not written with time in mind.
3) The key verse to understanding the book is 1:19 which reads - "Write the things which thou hast seen (Ch. 1), and the things which are (Ch. 2-3), and the things which shall be hereafter (Ch. 4:1 through 22:21). Chapter 4:1 says, "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter."
4) Chapters 2-3 describe seven literal churches located in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). It has been suggested that these seven also describe seven divisions of the Church Age. Ephesus (the apostolic age - 33-100); Smyrna (the age of persecution - 100-312); Pergamum (Christianity became the religion of Rome - 312-606); Thyatira (Roman Catholicism - 606-the Tribulation); Sardis (the Reformation - 1520-the Tribulation); Philadelphia (born again believers - 1750-Rapture); Laodicea (Christ-less church - 1900-Tribulation).
5) Chapters 4-5 describe what John sees in heaven. Chapter 4:1 is viewed as representing the Rapture of the Church (while Ch. 2-3 are all about the Church, it is not mentioned as being on earth after that). Jesus, the Son of God, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, receives glory, and opens "the book with seven seal judgments" (6:1 - 8:1) and the "seven trumpet judgments (8:2 - 11:19). Chapter 11:1-12 describe the 3 1/2 year ministry of the "two witnesses."
6) Chapter 12 appears to describe a panorama of Satan's attempt to circumvent God's plan. The "woman" is clearly Israel, as "she" goes into hiding for the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. This period is also known as "Daniel's Seventieth Week" (Dan. 9:24-27), and "the Time of Jacob's Trouble" (Jer. 30:7). The male child, pictures both the life of Jesus including His Ascension, and the Rapture of the Church. After all, the Church was born out of Judaism (it was originally known as a sect of the Jews). The Rapture is the removal of "Christ's Body" (because the Rapture takes the Church to heaven, Satan turns all his wrath upon Israel (12:12-17).
7) Chapters 13-19 describe the last 3 1/2 years of what is known as the "Great Tribulation" (Mt. 24:15-28).
8) Chapter 20 describes the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, and the final judgment known as the "Great White Throne Judgment."
9) Chapter 21-22 describe the "New Heaven and New Earth."
10) Chapter "23" describes Eternity!!!!!!!