When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly. Rev 11:7-14
When they finish their testimony, the things described will happen. Whether the two witnesses are Judah and Ephraim — Jews and Christians, or whether they are Enoch and Elijah, they have not finished their testimony yet — there is still a witness to the LORD God in the world. So all of these things may still be future to us. We won’t know for sure until we have the benefit of hindsight!
The bottomless pit has been introduced in Revelation, as the source of the cloud of smoke and army of locusts, but a beast (an empire, a kingdom of this world) ascending from it has not been introduced yet. Next chapter, Revelation is going to start backtracking to more thoroughly explain these events. But a cursory look at history confirms that war with the intent to kill has certainly been waged on the two witnesses of Jews and Christians.
The spiritual city where our Lord was crucified: this is interesting language, as we already saw that the people of God are citizens of the New Jerusalem, also a spiritual city, not of this earth. This other spiritual city is called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified. Sodom was famous for its complete depravity and pursuit of abominations against God and His ways of righteousness. Egypt was a type of the kingdom of darkness, within which God’s people were enslaved. Our Lord was crucified in Jerusalem, the earthly Jerusalem, who kills all the prophets sent to her (Mat 23:37). The picture being painted of this spiritual city is the exact opposite of the New Jerusalem: this is a city where God’s Laws are flaunted, where God’s people are enslaved, and where God’s word is despised. It is the city of man and of the kingdoms of the world.
The citizens of this city are those who dwell on the earth. They are not the citizens of the kingdom of heaven, but they are the citizens of the kingdoms of this world. They are unbelievers, who rejoice over the death of the LORD’s prophets whose prophecy and testimony, the word of the Living God, filled them with torment.
After 3-1/2 days the two witnesses are raised from the dead and ascend to heaven. It has been the pattern, that 3-1/2 days of prophetic time equals 3-1/2 years of historic time. This Scripture cannot be used, however, to support a rapture of the Church either pre, mid, or post tribulation. Daniel’s 70th week cannot explain it either, because that prophecy, we have clearly shown, relates to the first coming of Messiah Yeshua and not His second coming. That is my opinion.
Yes, the beast makes war with them, but we are not told for how long. We are only told, that they prophesy for 1260 days (1260 years of historic time) and at the end of that time, when they are done, they are killed by the war. Furthermore, when they ascend to heaven, they have to be resurrected from the dead first. The witnesses are not alive during the 3-1/2 years mentioned in this prophecy.
When they are resurrected and ascend to heaven, there is a great earthquake: a great and violent shaking of all earthly order in government, society, religion, culture, and worldview. There hasn’t been an earthquake since the fall of Rome in 476 ad, but we are no longer living under feudalism or the yoke of the Roman church. And, since the fall of Constantinople and the opening of the little book of the second interval period, there has been a violent shaking of all earthly order in government, society, religion, culture, and worldview. So let’s look at the history of the last great earthquake, and explore one final possibility for the two witnesses …
Christine’s book The Revelation of Jesus Christ Revealed, based on these studies but greatly expanded, is now available at Revelation Revealed Online. You may also be interested in reading the Book Extras and joining in on the Discussion.