The idealist school is also called the “timeless symbolic” and the “poetic-symbolic.”  This misguided school of prophetic interpretation sees the point of Revelation as not so much painting an objective, historical portrait at all.  Rather, John was providing a non-historical, allegorical summation of various significant redemptive truths or historical principles.  Historicism attempts to provide the scene behind the scene; that is, it offers a look at the philosophical/spiritual issues involved in history, rather than at objective historical events themselves.