Eschatology, like most -ologies in Christianity, is a debate filled subject. The Book of Revelation is key to the debate. Three main ways of reading it have taken over:
1) Interpret it as literally as possible
2) Spiritualize the text
3) Read it as fulfilled history, written by guys who feared the Roman government so cloak their meaning in allegory
I go with number one here. When we look through Bible prophecy concerning Christ’s first coming they are fulfilled literally. He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. He rode in on a donkey. He was wounded, hands and feet pierced, buried with transgressors, etc.
This is a sufficient enough key for me to read other prophecies as literally as possible as well.
Scholarly types like to bash this form of interpretation. It’s too simplistic, you have to be a dolt to believe that. Fine with me (see 1 Corinthians 1-3).
Recently I heard one of these scholarly types bashing the literal interpretation of Revelation 1:7, which says in part, “7Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him.” The “scholar” proceeded to say something along these lines with the accompanying guffaws:
“Some morons actually think Jesus is going to drop out of the sky! He’s going to hover down on a cloud elevator.” Oh, hahahaha, that’s so funny! Stop it man, you’re killing me!
My words will not change his mind, nor your mind if you agree with his take, but allow me to quote some Scripture to aid the understanding. If you have a problem with Scripture, you can take that up with God. I didn’t write the Book, I just read it.
Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.