The Preterist view: They see this passage as the beginnings of Judgment, the Jewish war of 70A.D, and the finality of Jerusalem. Thus, it is all about God’s wrath toward apostate Jewish leadership while He delivers His faithful. God abolishes the Old Covenant and sets up the Covenant of Grace under Christ. The celebration is seen as the rejoicing of the faithful for their vindication and/or escape from Jerusalem, and/or how Jesus delivers His people. Others see this as the joy of martyrdom. The corrupt, wicked city of Jerusalem has had its chance, but now it is beyond recovery.
The Futurist view: They see this passage as anticipation of a new Temple being built to execute God’s new mission to humanity. His mission is climatic judgment. Most in this camp see this not as God’s Temple, but the one in Jerusalem that will be rebuilt. (There is a common misconception in “end times” theory that the temple must be rebuilt before Jesus can come back. This is just not true. The verses used to make this point are taken out of their historical context. The passages refer to the end of the Babylonian captivity and how the Temple was gong to be rebuilt, which had already been fulfilled in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah! Thus, there is confusion between already fulfilled prophecy and not understanding the Old Testament and its connection to unfilled and fulfilled prophecy from historical chronology. The teaching that the sacrificial system must also be reinstated is an assault to the Person and work of Christ. There are no conditions for Christ to come again; He comes when He is ready to come! ) Sea of glass is a picture of heaven and the fire is God’s judgment. There is a big problem for this view as the great victory, when most believe the church was raptured; so, who is victorious? There are many theories; either this refers to the people who come to Christ after the rapture or else it does not refer to the Church but rather to the disembodied spirits of the people killed, which is a contradiction of how God deals with death. Others see this as the song from the Red Sea still being heard or the song of redemption echoing from God’s faithful. This could also be interpreted as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and His ability to redeem, or a last warning before final judgment.
Passages saying the temple has to be rebuilt that are often taken out of context: Numbers 19:2; Isaiah 14:1-2; Jeremiah 7:2-8; Ezekiel 34; Daniel 3:1-7; 8; 9:24-27; 12:11; Haggai 1:1-11; 2:14, 1 Cor. 6:19; Gal. 4:25 -26; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; 2 Thess. 2:4; 3:7; 1 Peter 2:5; Rev. 11:2-6. The original Temple in Solomon’s time was built in (dates approximate) 950 B.C. and destroyed in 587 B.C. (1 Kings 8:22-61; 2 Kings 24:11-15; 2 Kings 25:7-12). Said passages point to its rebuilding and thus were fulfilled with Ezra’s Temple 515 B.C. (Ezra 5:2). Also, Herod’s Temple, built in 20 B.C. and destroyed in 70 A.D fulfilled Daniel’s “abomination that causes desolation,” and Christ, the Messiah fulfilled “the anointed One” (Matthew, chapters 21-24; Acts 6:12 – 7:60). There is no scriptural evidence for a “tribulation temple” (see Revelation 11 study), although if one is built, (I am surprised it has not been already), it has no bearing on Christ’s timing or His return.
The Idealist view: They see this passage as the last judgment on humanity and the end of time as we know it. God’s goals and purposes are fulfilled and complete, and humanity’s purpose is at its fruition. Others in this camp see this as individual judgments to one’s own personal life experiences and choices as compared to opportunities, call, and abilities. Fire is seen as God’s righteousness and glass as heaven. The song is that all nations shall worship Christ as Lord.
The Historicist view: They see this passage as symbolic, meant to give the Church hope and reassurance that God is in control and His purpose will be fulfilled. They also see this passage as God’s assault on the corrupt papacy (Medieval Catholic Popes who persecuted faithful Christian reformers). They see this happening in God’s throne room represented by the Sea of glass, and the fire as His judgment. The great victory indicates the “faithful,” those who remained steadfast during papal persecutions. The seven plagues are seen as the end of secular history and the start of the return of Christ as the events of earthly life come to an end. Others in this camp see this as the French revolution and/or the destruction of Rome.