The Third Woe Commences
The two witnesses complete their testimony to the extreme exasperation of the beast, who declares all-out war against them. The beast rises out of his bottomless pit and kills them, and then their bodies are defiled as they lie in the streets. Everyone sees this madness, but no one is allowed to either take care of their bodies properly or celebrate their life. Then, after all seems lost, the Lord returns them to life—resurrects them—and they stand up and strike terror in their tormenters. As this is happening, they also are rising to Heaven; a terrible earthquake occurs and those remaining are either terrified and/or are giving glory to God. Then comes the warning that, although this terror is over, more is to come.
This passage describes many themes and metaphors from the Old Testament, such as the visions of Zachariah and the “kingdoms” in Daniel. We have to realize that one of the main, interpretive aspects of Revelation is that it borrows heavily from the entire Old Testament, not just from Daniel. If you do not know the Old Testament, you will not know much about the New Testament, especially Revelation and thus read into it what we think and not gain what is actually there. This leaves the interpretation up to the reader who may not know the Bible as well as he or she might think, and thus may read into it only what he or she thinks. This would be utterly ridiculous to the original readers and Author. In conjunction, many Jewish texts (“War Scroll” from the Dead Sea Scrolls) predicted a final, climatic, all-out battle at the end of days, giving those who are faithful to God victory, but only after suffering beforehand and Johns readers knew this and this type of apocalyptic literature (2 Kings 2:1-12; Ezek. 37; Zech. 4:1-14; 14:1-3; Daniel 8; Matt. 17:3-4; Luke 10:1).