"The Golden Rule of Interpretation:"
"'Take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the context indicate otherwise.' This rule is recognized by all logicians, grammarians, and rhetoricians as the true criterion by which one must be governed. When one is guided by this princple he cannot go far afield. On the other hand, if he ignores it, he is free to roam at liberty and can never know whether he has interpreted the Word of God correctly." This rule is often quoted by prophecy scholars, but rarely is Dr. David L. Cooper given any credit for it, though as far as I can see, he is the first to put it to use for prophetic interpretation as far back as 1935.
Another rule is stated week after week by Dr. Jack Van Impe on his television show: "The Bible interprets the Bible."
For proof look at the Book of Revelation, in which most of the Bible's prophetic symbols wind up, so all you have to do is go back through the Bible and see how the symbol was used before. However, Yeshua used some prophetic symbols not found in any Scripture before like the seven stars and the seven lampstands, Revelation 1:12. Yet here still the Bible interprets the Bible" as seen in Revelation 1:20.
Some good tools for prophetic interpretation is a King James Bible
and a Strong's Concordance
. Every word in the King James Bible is listed in the Strong's Concordance along with every verse the word is used in. You also can look up the word's true meaning in the Strong's Concordance's ancient Hebrew and Greek dictionaries in the back of the book.
These rules and tools will keep you focused on the Biblical way of interpreting the prophetic Word not the human way of interpreting the prophetic Word. They will keep you close to the Biblical truth and away from human error.