Summary of passage: The 2 witnesses will be killed by the beast from the Abyss when they have finished their testimony. Their bodies will lie in the street of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days. They will be gloated over by the unbelievers because they had tormented them. Then God raised them to life and rose to heaven in a cloud. An earthquake struck, killing 7000 people, terrifying the survivors who thanked heaven. This is the second woe.
9a) They were killed, refused burial for 3 1/2 days, and their bodies were left in the street of Jerusalem to gloat over. After the 3 1/2 days, God breathed life into them, they stood up, and struck terror into the inhabitants. They they went up to heaven in a cloud while all looked on (like Jesus being hidden in a cloud Acts 1:9).
b) God sent an earthquake that destroyed 1/10 of the city and killed 7000 people, which terrified the survivors so much they gave glory to God.
10a) John 11:25-26: Jesus says whoever believes in him will live and never die.
John 14:1-4: Jesus says he is preparing a place for us and he will come back and take us there to be with him. If you trust in God and in him.
1 Corinthians 15:20-28: Paul says all in Christ will be made alive and will be risen from death but only after he (Jesus) has put all his enemies under his feet.
Philippians 3:20-21: Paul says we will all be transformed once Jesus comes again and our citizenship is in heaven.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: Paul explains that all people in Christ (those who die before Christ comes again and those still alive at the time of the Second Coming) will be risen forever.
1 John 3:2: John says believers are children of God and when Jesus appears again we shall be like him.
Conclusions: Very literal questions. No discussion of identity of beast even though this is the first mention of the beast as the major opponent of God’s people in the final days of the Great Tribulation. Emphasis instead on God’s almighty power over the beast and eternal life.
End Notes: Who is the beast? Most scholars say it is Satan. We first saw the Abyss in Revelation 9 during the first woe where most probably Jesus was given the key to the Abyss and unleashed locusts and the king of the locusts onto the world.
Some say the beast is the Roman Empire. The Romans destroyed hundreds of towns when they invaded Judea in the first century AD. This interpretation then has this passage meaning Christians are being killed by the Romans and being gloated over. When Jerusalem fell in 70 AD, part of the city fell as the Romans surrounded them, leading to an outcry to God.
Note how the 2 witnesses accomplish their task before being killed. This speaks to us. Each of us is given a task by God and we won’t die until it is completed. We are witnesses who give testimony.
The city is Jerusalem. Sodom references immorality and was destroyed by God. Egypt was the land of oppression and slavery and was overcome. The great city is probably Babylon which is the headquarters of Antichrist (Revelation 16:19, 17:18, 18:10, 18:16, 18:18, 18:19, 18:21). Israel is identified spiritually with Sodom in Isaiah 1:9-10, Jeremiah 23:14, and Ezekiel 16:46-49.
“Figuratively” is better translated from the Greek as “spiritually”. The spiritual state of Jerusalem is being judged.
People were gloating because they could not stand to hear the truth. Every people, tribe, nation, and language will see. This could reference our modern media age.
For a dead body to lie in view was considered the worst humiliation a person could suffer from his enemies (Psalm 79:3-4).
Jesus ascended in a cloud when he went back to the Father in heaven. An earthquake struck as well after Jesus’s ascension. Earthquakes are messages of judgment. Here, God is not finished yet at the third woe is “coming soon.” Crying out to God was too late. At some point, judgment is rendered. Don’t be left out in the cold. Turn now!
The population of Jerusalem in the first century is estimated to be about 70,000 to 100,000, which 7000 would be 1/10 of the population.
The third woe is coming in Revelation 12:12: the inhabitants of the earth will experience Satan’s fury as he is banished.