I am a historian who finds the study of Scripture is made clearer by the study of history. This is especially true of the book of Revelation. William Barkley points out that our book of Revelation is difficult for the modern mind to understand. It, he says (William Barclay, The Revelation of John, Vol. 1 in The Daily Study Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), 1.
Read more at http://postmillennialism.com/revelation-a-difficult-book/#xB9AmDlX8JtB7TED.99) “has sometimes become [a] playground…use[d] to map out celestial time tables of what is to come.”
John wrote the book, at the direction of Yeshua/Jesus, about A.D. 90. He wrote about “things that are, things that are about to be” – The Message. Therefore, the study of history is essential to the understanding of the book of Revelation by the “modern mind.”
Jewish mindset referred to the condition of the world after the fall as “the things that are” (this present age) and the perfect rule of the Mashiach/Messiah as “things that are about to be” (the age which is to come).
Therefore, the church of A.D. 90 would have had no trouble understanding the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:17-19).
The Jews also believed the Day of the Lord, or the Time of Terror, Destruction, and Judgement that would usher in the new age would be the “birth pangs” of the “age to come.”
In Matthew 24 we read that Yeshua?Jesus said these birth pangs (contractions) were the beginning of sorrows.
He also said when he returned he would blaze out of heaven. (The Message, Matthew 24:30, 31; page 8-14 of Barkley; Malachi 3:1-4; Revelation 19:11-16.
God told his children he was sending his messenger of the covenant to clear the way for him to visit in judgment. The messenger was to wash the sin away from his chosen (Revelation 1:7). god says those who honor him are his and will get special treatment (Revelation 7:23) when he goes into action. “I’m sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of God – and the decisive Judgment Day!” (Malachi 3:5).