6 These men have the power to close up the sky so that it does not rain during the days of their prophecy. They also have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every plague whenever they want.
Their powers resemble Elijah and Moses.
Elijah: 1 Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from the Gilead settlers, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, I stand before Him, and there will be no dew or rain during these years except by my command!”
Moses: Exodus 7:20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded; in the sight of Pharaoh and his officials, he raised the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile was turned to blood.
Some say that Moses and Elijah will be the two witnesses but the Scripture is silent on their identity.
7 When they finish their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, conquer them, and kill them.
After their ministry is completed, God will allow them to be defeated and killed by a high ranking demon who most likely is Apollyon who comes from the abyss, see notes on Revelation 9:11.
We might ask the question why would God allow this? It is to show that even if the servants of the Lord are confronted with death, our faith will hold strong. Even if we die for Christ we shall live because He lives. I will elaborate further on their death in verse 11.
8 Their dead bodies will lie in the public square of the great city, which prophetically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
The phrase “Their dead bodies will lie in the public square” refers to their bodies being in the middle of the street where all can see them.
They will die in the great city which is Jerusalem.
The phrase “Sodom and Egypt” typifies the peoples’ wickedness and hatred for God and His servants in the end times.
“where also their Lord was crucified” could mean that the two witnesses will die outside the city like Jesus did (Hebrews 13:12).
9 And representatives from the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will view their bodies for three and a half days and not permit their bodies to be put into a tomb.
100 years ago it was impossible for everyone everywhere to view a dead body from where they were at. Now through the media and internet, it is possible for this to be seen by all nations at once.
The 3 1/2 days is close to the 3 days of Jesus’ death which indicates their resurrection. It also shows that the great tribulation being 3 1/2 years is not forever but will come to an end through Jesus’ return and with Him those who died in Christ. Whatever happens to us is only for a short time.
10 Those who live on the earth will gloat over them and celebrate and send gifts to one another because these two prophets brought judgment to those who live on the earth.
The wicked will celebrate the death of God’s two witnesses because they brought God’s judgment upon them when they were alive. When people are given totally to sin, anything from God which is good, they will abhor because they love pure darkness rather than the light, why? Because, they have accepted Satan’s offer for this life (money, women/men, houses, cars, fame and etc.) instead of the gift of eternal life which the Holy Spirit offered them. One thing Satan intentionally leaves out when one accepts his offer is the Lake of Fire.