If you are going to attempt interpreting Scripture properly, you need to consider the type of genre you are considering. Most interpretive mistakes take place because people simply are unaware of certain guidelines involved with interpreting the Bible.
So how do we interpret the Book of Revelation? Well, we need to first consider what type of literature we are describing. C. Marvin Pate helpfully describes the genre of Revelation when he writes,
While significant parallels do indeed exist between Revelation and early Jewish and Christian apocalyptic materials, there are critical differences between them as well, none the least of which is that Revelation is a prophetic book (1:3; 22:7, 10, 18–19), while the others make no such claim. As such Revelation is not pseudonymous (1:1; 22:8); neither is it pessimistic about God’s intervention in history. Furthermore, while many apocalyptic writers recast past events as though they were futuristic prophecies (vaticinia ex eventu), thus lending credibility to their predictive prowess, John (the author of Revelation) does not follow this procedure. On the contrary, he places himself in the contemporary world of the first century a.d. and speaks of the coming eschatological consummation in the same manner as did the Old Testament prophets—a consummation that, for John, has already begun to break into history in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1:4–8; 4–5). (Four Views on the Book of Revelation, 11)