What you think the book of Revelation teaches determines how you live your life as a Christian (are we to conquer the world for Christ or tread water until He throws us a lifering on the last day?) and what you think today's headlines mean or don't mean. Do events in the Middle East prove we are on the brink of the end times? Is Antichrist about to be revealed? Is Armageddon right around the corner?
The theory of most Christians today is Futurism -- that most of Revelation describes events that take place near and at the end of time. The 'Left Behind' books and movie(s) are only the latest example.
Futurism is a late 16th century Roman Catholic invention that was crafted to defend it and the Papacy against the claims of the Protestant Reformation. Sadly, most fundamentalists and evangelicals are unknowingly repeating Roman Catholic propaganda.
The historic Protestant view is that the book of Revelation is a panorama of world history from the first century to the end of time. It reveals the rise and fall of religions and nations, of Roman Catholicism, of Mohammad and Islam, of a future New World Order of one government and one religion imposed upon all the world. But it also reveals the final triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ before the end and the Christianization of all nations.