In your article ‘What Ezekiel 38-39 Reveals’ are you placing the death of the Two Witnesses on the same day Jesus returns?
You ask a very good question which cannot be answered in a quick comment or two. My thinking on this subject has long regarded the resurrection of the Two Witnesses as the time when all the dead saints will also be resurrected and when they would “meet the Lord in the clouds” (to which Revelation 11:12 summons them), and that they would then all quickly accompany Jesus Christ as he lands on the Mt. of Olives (Zechariah 14:4) and intervenes in world affairs. Given the fact that a nuclear war with other exotic forms of WMD could quickly threaten all life on earth within a span of mere hours during the three and 1/2 day period that the Two Witnesses’ bodies will lie dead, that scenario is still possible.
However, there is a second possibility to which I have been giving serious consideration. Matthew 25:1-13 records that even though all believers in the latter days are surprised that the bridegroom (Jesus Christ) returns much sooner than any of them expected, the ones with enough “oil” (the Holy Spirit) in their lamps (minds and lives) are invited into the “marriage” with the Bridegroom while the remainder (those with not enough “oil” in their lives to be ready to meet the Lord) are shut out. This fits the prophecy about Christ’s return in Matthew 24:39-41 that some are “taken” and others are “left” behind. Both the parable in Matthew 25:1-13 and the prophecy in Matthew 24:37-44 conclude with a warning that believers must “Watch” world events and prophetic fulfillments to be sure they realize the Lord’s return is imminent.
The likening of the bridegroom (Christ) coming for his bride (the “ready” believers) in Matthew 25:1-13 gives us a second alternative to your question which is biblically supportable. What is the usual practice following a wedding? Does the bridegroom take his bride and immediately go to war? Not at all! There is a “honeymoon” period before the bridegroom is expected to participate in any warfare. In the Torah law of ancient Israel, Deuteronomy 24:5 required that a newly-married bridegroom have a period of time when he was exempt from national military service or warfare. If we apply this Torah law to the time when Jesus Christ, the bridegroom, returns for his bride, will not Christ also have a period of time to rejoice with his bride before having to go to war upon the earth to set up his kingdom? The language of Rev. 11:12 does not specifically state that the saints will immediately accompany Jesus Christ to the earth at the time of the resurrection of the dead. It says Jesus calls them up hither to him. Revelation lists more events after Revelation 11 which must occur on earth before Christ finally sets up his millennial/Messianic Kingdom. The Bible also refers to an event called the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9) which occurs prior to the return of Christ and his heavenly army to wage war upon the earth in Rev. 19:11-21. This same “wedding supper” period is discussed in Matthew 22:1-14.
If Jesus Christ comes to the earth for his bride (the saints) and brings them to heaven for a “wedding supper of the Lamb” in the heavenly realm, then the precedent of Deuteronomy 24:5 argues that Jesus will also have a period of time to rejoice with his “bride” before he goes to war. Is there any biblical support for additional periods of time on the earth after the three and 1/2 years of the Beast’s rule and the three and one-half days during which the Two Witnesses’ bodies lie dead? Yes there is. Daniel 12:7-13 prophesy that at the end of a period of time called “a time, times and half a time,” there will be an additional period of time extending to 1290 days and another to 1335 days. The initial period of “time, times and half a time” could mean a 1260 day period (i.e. 3 and 1/2 years) or it could mean the three and 1/2 days when the Two Witnesses are dead (there is no question that the final beast power will be able to “scatter the power of the holy people” during the time when the Two Witnesses are dead and unable to protect the people of God on the earth). Daniel 12:11-13 reveal that there will be a period of 30 days and another period of 45 days after a prophesied period of 1260 days at the end of this age. Verse 12 indicates a blessing will occur at the end of the 1335 days and that could be the time when Jesus Christ returns. If these additional periods of 30 and 45 days are allotted for more events on the earth before Jesus Christ returns, then the “wedding supper of the Lamb” may be occurring in heaven while events deteriorate on the earth during that same time. These passages are subject to varying interpretations (I’ll freely admit that) but my current viewpoint is that the initial 30 day period may include a “false millennium” period on the earth when the beast power reigns in full power (after slaying the Two Witnesses), and the last 45 day period could be the time of global world war that comes suddenly upon an unsuspecting earth (I Thessalonians 5:1-3) and climaxes in a point of unprecedented danger where Christ must intervene to stop the extermination of all life on earth (Matthew 24:21-22).
While my original expectation may still be right that Christ may set up his kingdom at the time he returns for the Two Witnesses and the rest of his saints, I now lean toward the second option described above (which allows time for the “bridegroom” to rejoice with his “bride” for a time before having to go to war on the earth with his heavenly armies).