Revelation is a book of symbols.
Events which would happen from the first century to the end of the millennial reign of Christ are given in symbols.
Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Signify means to show by signs or symbols.
We might reasonably suppose that those who were familiar with how the Old Testament prophetic symbols were explained and worked out in history would be able to comprehend the meaning of the signs. Those who were ignorant of God’s word would not be able to understand.
The foundation for understanding Revelation is the prophecies given in symbols through Daniel.
Daniel 2 gives an overview of the time from his day through to the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth.
Probably the simplest link is the ten toes of the image. The meaning of the symbols is explained in Daniel; giving us an idea of how the symbols are to be understood.
Daniel 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
The ten kingdoms at the time of the establishment of the kingdom of God which are represented by the ten toes of the image in Daniel 2 are represented by ten horns in Daniel 7. This symbol gives us more detail of the events.
Daniel 7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns... 9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. 13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are connected by the ten horns of the beast.
Revelation 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
The ten horns are said to represent ten kingdoms at the time of the establishment of the kingdom of God.
Revelation 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. 14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
From this we can see that Revelation is a continuation of the prophecies in Daniel giving more detail of the things which must happen before Christ returns to rule this world in righteousness.
The fourth beast of Daniel and the beast from the sea in Revelation are generally understood to represent the Roman Empire. The ten horns represent the independent kingdoms of Europe that arose out of that Empire. The European Union is probably an interim arrangement until the kingdoms voluntarily come together under the leadership of one nation (to fulfil Revelation 17:13). This will happen close to the return of Christ.
I hope you have found this helpful.
God bless you,