“When they [the two witnesses] 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, who are Ephraim and Judah, or Christians (Gentiles) and Jews, or even the two actual witnesses, Enoch and Elijah, who have never tasted death even though they were born with the sin nature of Adam, are killed by the great beast which ascends from the bottomless pit (from whence ascends Islam). This happens when they have finished their testimony. So this event is still future to us. Their dead bodies will lie in the street of a great city. Since this great city has not been encountered before in Scripture, Revelation tells us its meaning: it is the spiritual Sodom and Egypt, where the Lord Jesus was crucified.
This city is not an actual, physical city. The Lord calls it by three names: Sodom, which has not even existed as a city for four thousand years; Egypt, which is not a city but a country; and the earthly Jerusalem where the Lord Jesus was crucified. The Lord is speaking here of the city of man. That place whose citizens are those who dwell on the earth (vs. 10), or who are of the world, as opposed to the two witnesses, who have their citizenship in heaven.
There could be two men, Enoch and Elijah, who are killed in Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ was also crucified. Or, an equally acceptable fulfillment of the prophecy could be, that since the beast will control an empire which may encompass the globe, “he” or it or its representatives will kill all those who witness to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — Christians and Jews — everywhere they are found, throughout the globe. Their dead bodies will not be buried for three and one half days, or three and one half years, since one day in prophetic reckoning is as one year in real time. At the end of that time, all those who were killed, God will dramatically raise from the dead. They will ascend to heaven in the sight of the citizens of those who dwell on the earth.
A great earthquake will accompany this miracle; a great political, societal, cultural, and economic upheaval, in which one tenth of the city of man will be destroyed. That is, one tenth of the territory, real estate, influence, economy, or power of the city of man, of the kingdoms of this world, will be destroyed. Seven thousand citizens of the city of man will be killed in the upheaval. Whether this is the actual number or a symbolic number, I don’t know. Is it one- tenth of the population of the city of man? I don’t know. But the rest who are alive will be terrified by a healthy fear of the Lord which they have previously lacked, and they will know by Whose hand all these things have taken place. And they will glorify God.
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 11: the seventh trumpet