The Book of Revelation uses symbolic imagery that was common to other apocalyptic Jewish documents of the time, just as an editorial cartoon in the newspaper uses symbols like donkeys, elephants, and Uncle Sam.
In other words, in order to understand the Book of Revelation, you have to understand ancient Jewish culture and literature. You also have to understand the Jewish festival cycle (the Biblical "feasts") and Jewish perspectives on eschatology, judgment day, and the Messianic future.
A Messianic End-Times StudyThis fall, a new weekly Bible study is beginning that will tackle the profound Jewish imagery of the Book of Revelation. The free class will be held at Beth Immanuel, a Messianic Synagogue in Hudson, WI (only minutes away from St. Paul, Minnesota).
The class starts on October 7 and will be held at 7:00 pm Wednesday nights.