Revelations is the hardest of all to understand but if you believe that the 7 letters to the 7 churches is the progressive history of the Christian Church (or the church age) is what makes the first 3 chapters and Rev. 4:1 the easiest to grasp.
I will give you the outline and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. The Book of Revelations can be broken down into 4 parts but it is only the outline in the first 3 chapters that to us are clear at the present time. In 1:19 God tells John to write the things thou has seen, that is in v.10-18, then the things which are, thats the 7 churches and the things which shall be hereafter, thats means after the church is no longer here. Here is the proof: The first letter is to the first church, the first church started outside of Jerusalem was the Church of Ephesus, is that coincidence? Of all the 7 churches all got negative reviews but one the Church of Philadelphia. Ephesus 2:4-6, Smyrna 2:9, Pergamos 2:13-16 the thing that shows that the word of God is real, Verse 13 says, .."were Satan's seat is.." it was known that Pergamos was major Christian worship center but back less than a decade ago they did a dig in Pergamos and found a huge temple dedicated to Satan with statues and all, until then that verse was taken for granted but today we know that because of this verse the Bible has relevance. Thyatira 2:20-23, Sardis 2:2-3. We are in the Philadelphia/Laodica age. There are no reprimands for Philadelphia and the Rapture is represented in 3:10-13. V. 10, "I shall keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall try them which are upon the earth.." What temptation? Whether nor not to take the number. V. 11, "Behold I come quickly.." He has to leave somewhere and this is the last book of the Bible and the "crown" is not the crown of a king or ruler but the Greek word used is the word for the type of crown given to the winner of a race, and there are many times Paul relates the Christian journey to that of a race to the finish which is heaven. V.12 in the temple what do the pillars of a temple rest on, a foundation, who is the foundation of the Church, Jesus Christ and the pillars are the raptured. When God speaks of the Church of Philadelphia it is the last time the word Church is used without His reprimand and is not used again until the last chapter 22:16. The Church of Laodica is the last Church age ( today's time) and gets more heat than the others read vs.15,16,17,18 and 20 and those behind the door in v. 20 are left behind Christians for who knocks on a door from the inside, JC is outside the church cause His Church has departed. Read 4:1, "..behold a door opened in heaven.." Now I seem to be the only one so far I've met that can see this. For those who do not believe that 3:10-13 represent the rapture of the faithful, why is the word Church omitted and not visible again until the last chapter. I rest my case. If you can't see it or believe it all I've got say is better you than me.
Just as we got to see what Rev. 2:13 has spoken to this present time, those of the Great Tribulation will have the rest of that symbolism unfold before their eyes.
The Holy Spirit