Revelation 12:12

rejoice, O heavens and those who dwell in them
The inhabitants of the heavens rejoice because the accuser has been cast down and the faithful overcomers have prevailed even through death. Heaven and her peoples also rejoice over the fall of Babylon when God avenges them (Rev. Rev. 18:20+; Rev. 19:1-3+). Even the fields and woods are said to rejoice over the eventual redemption of Israel (Isa. Isa. 44:23) and the arrival of Messiah to judge the earth in righteousness (Ps. Ps. 96:11-13). Dwell is σκηνοῦντες [skēnountes] , The same root word is used to describe how Jesus dwelt (tabernacled) among men in the flesh (John John 1:14). The ones in heaven are no longer within reach of the Beast who blasphemes God’s tabernacle and those which dwell (tabernacle) in heaven (Rev. Rev. 13:6+). Those that dwell in the heavens include:
  1. The elect angels.
  2. The church which was “kept from the hour of testing” (Rev. Rev. 3:10+), having been taken in the Rapture.
  3. Those coming out of the Great Tribulation through death, over whom God spread his tabernacle (Rev. Rev. 6:9-10+; Rev. 7:14-15+).
Ultimately, God will dwell (tabernacle) among men (Rev. Rev. 21:3+). See The Abiding Presence of God.

Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea
These are the earth dwellers. They live in the same domain over which the mighty angel stood to declare the impending restoration of God’s dominion (Rev. Rev. 10:2+). Currently, it is the domain of Satan (Mtt. Mat. 4:8-10; John John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11; 2Cor. 2Cor. 4:4).

having great wrath
Wrath is Θυμὸς [Thymos] , ‘Anger’ . . . a more turbulent word than ὀργή [orgē] , ‘wrath.’ ”1 These will live through a time of double woe . They will experience the woe of the final trumpet judgments of God (Rev. Rev. 8:13+; Rev. 9:12+; Rev. 11:14+) combined with this woe due to the great wrath of the devil. This is part of the testing which is to come upon those who dwell upon the earth. See commentary on Revelation 3:20.

he knows that he has a short time
He knows is εἰδὼς [eidōs] , a perfect tense participle, having known. The emphasis is on the devil’s wrath at the time of being cast down which is based on his previous knowledge of limited time. A short time is ὀλίγον καιρὸν [oligon kairon] , denoting a limited opportunity . The intensity of his wrath reflects his desire to make the most of the short period which remains before he is bound and cast into the abyss (Rev. Rev. 20:1-3+). This corresponds to the pronouncement by the mighty angel that “there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel . . . the mystery of God would be finished” (Rev. Rev. 10:6-7+).


1 M. R. Vincent, Vincent’s Word Studies (Escondido, CA: Ephesians Four Group, 2002), Rev. 12:12.