Before moving on to 3D transformations, you should make sure you have a good handle on the same transformations in 2D. Earlier this year I had made an applet that lets you play around with the basic transformation matrices - it might be useful to you when reviewing how it all works.
In this applet, an arrow is transformed according to the matrices along the bottom. You can imagine the points in the arrow being in a matrix to the far right, as would be the case when working these things out on paper. The right-most matrix is applied first, then the next one to its left, and so on.
You can rearrange the matrices to understand exactly how order matters. You can also play around with the raw transformation values and see how the matrices are updated.
Press play to see the animation, and stop to reset it and allow you to make further changes.
Go to the applet now...