Craig Keener writes in his NIVAC commentary on the book of Revelation concerning its interpretation:
Another matter of interpretation is that some want to take everything in Revelation literally. Whether one should attempt this approach depends in a sense on what one means by the term literally. When Reformers like Luther talked about interpreting the Bible “literally,” they were using a technical designation (sensus literalis) that meant taking each part part of Scripture according to its “literary sense,” hence including attention to genre or literary type. But they did not mean that we should down play figures of speech or symbols. We should take literally historical narrative in the Bible, but Revelation belongs to a different genre, a mixture of prophetic and “apocalyptic” genres, both of which are full of symbols. The Reformers did not demand that we interpret symbols as if they were not symbols, and this kind of literalism is actually at odds with what they meant (22).
Thanks to guys like John Anderson I am in the beginnings of beginning to understand more what is meant by viewing the Text of Scripture in a literary sense (genres and such) though I have more learning to do with regard to symbols and how to understand them and their role in understanding and interpreting certain parts of the Bible, like the book of Revelation. I understand not everything is to be taken or understood literally but instead, (where appropriate) literarially (sp?) and how that applies to understanding such as text as the book of Revelation. I also assume as I get more into Keener’s commentary that he’ll explain these things and it’ll start to make better sense.