“When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.” Revelation 11:7-14
The two witnesses will testify for a time, then the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will make war with them and kill them. The abyss, the bottomless pit, is mentioned before in Scripture. Its first appearance is in Luke, when Jesus casts the evil spirits out of the demonaic, and they go into the herd of pigs. The demons first implore Jesus not to send them into the abyss, or the bottomless pit. Then in Romans 10:6-7, Paul says:
“But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or `Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”
The very next occurrence of the abyss is in Revelation 9, when an angel opens the bottomless pit (the abyss), and smoke and an army of locusts ascended from it. The army of locusts we already saw is a reference to the rise of Islam on the earth. The next appearance of the bottomless pit is right here in chapter 11, when the beast which ascends from it makes war on the two witnesses and kills them.
Now this is the first appearance of the beast in Revelation. It does not tell us what the beast symbolizes, so that means it has already been explained before in Scripture. And it will be described in greater detail in the next chapters.
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 11: the beast of Revelation