I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard people say, "The Book of Revelation is too hard to understand!" And while I agree that no one truly comprehends it all, I still believe there are "clues" throughout that help believers "walk with John as his vision unfolds." First, there is the Key Verse which reveals the order of events John sees. Revelation 1:19 reads: "Write the things which thou hast seen (past tense), and the things which are (present tense), and the things which shall be hereafter (future tense)." Chapter One reveals what John had already witnessed. Chapters Two and Three describe the Church Age. The rest of Revelation speaks of things which shall occur after the Rapture of the Church, as pictured in Chapter Four verse one: "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 shew thee things which must be hereafter." [For more on the Rapture, see: Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; etc.]
That there is an unfolding of God's timeline of future prophecy, can be seen by these statements:
* Revelation 7:1 - "And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree."
* Revelation 7:9 - "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands."
* Revelation 15:5 - "And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened."
* Revelation 18:1 - "And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory."
* Revelation 19:1 - "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God."
* Revelation 20:3 - "And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season."
Following the Rapture of the Church (Rev. 4:1), Chapters Five through Eighteen describe the seven-year Tribulation, a.k.a. "Daniel's Seventieth Week" (Dan. 9:27), and "the Time of Jacob's Trouble" (Jer. 30:7), which reveal that the Tribulation focuses upon the nation of Israel. Chapter Nineteen describes Christ's Second Coming; Chapter Twenty reveals Christ's Millennial Kingdom and the Great White Throne Judgment. And last but certainly the greatest revelation, Chapters Twenty-One and Twenty-Two speak of our eternal fellowship with Almighty God!
Note: It is always wise to compare Scripture with Scripture, when interpreting God's Word. For other passages which shed light on Revelation, one should look at Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 13:1-37; and Luke 21:5-36. Remember, the Book of Revelation is the only book in Scripture that promises a blessing to those who read it, and to those who hear it read!