No Place for Them

A Very Curious Comment Regarding those to be Resurrected After the Millennial Age is Found in Revelation 20:11.  The Implications of this Comment Provide More Insight than is Usually Noted or Expounded Upon. 

© Rich Traver, P. O. Box 1411,  81520-1411,  12-30-06    [ 107 ]

Other articles deal with the various considerations regarding the resurrections from the dead.  A subject having far more importance than traditional main stream religions allows it to have, it being specifically identified in Hebrews Chapter 6 as one of the fundamental ‘doctrines of Christ’.  The first two verses read: “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,  2: Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” These have been identified as the seven fundamental doctrines.

But in the two distinct places where Jesus clearly explained all three varying resurrections together in one place, John 5:25-29 and Revelation 20:5-6 & 11-15; and in his descriptions of a concurrent physical resurrection involving vast segments of long dead societies, in Matthew 12:41-42, Luke 11:31-32, Matthew 11:20-24 and Ezekiel 37; and yet another distinct situation in which the righteous dead and wicked are raised up together for separation and ultimate sentencing such as in Matthew 25:31-46, 13:36-42 and Revelation 14:14-19, we can see that the subject involves more than one resurrection period.  For that matter, Revelation 20:5 clearly makes the unmistakable point, that there is to be more than just one resurrection!

Also, No Place for this Teaching?

It’s especially curious how that main stream religion has no real place for this ‘doctrine of Christ’, despite their profuse profession of love for Jesus and His teachings, though the above references were all His words!  But that is not the focus of this particular treatise.  That’s dealt with in other papers, such as those listed at the end of this article.

The passage in question is found in Revelation 20, which reads as follows:  7: “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,  8: And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.  9: And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.  10: And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” So we’re brought up to the point in time when the event described is to take place.  This is not a long duration nor a non-specific era.  It is precisely after the final demise of Satan for all time. (In the millennial age, he is restrained, but after it, he is allowed just a little time to do his usual thing (deceive as many as possible) Rev. 20:7-8). 

Right after Satan is taken away from society for the final time and cast into the Lake of Fire, which has the capability of consuming from existence even the institutions of death and the grave! (Revelation 20:14) But the interesting passage is where this continues: 11-12: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them, and I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  Here we have a rather lengthy sentence strung with a series of connective ‘ands.  The relevant statement is the line: “and there was found no place for them,”!  

Being placed where it is, the reader could perceive that what there was found no place for is ‘Earth and Heaven’. ‘Them’ could be seen as these components of the material universe.  But, alternately, the ‘them’ could also be referring to those people who are to be brought before the Throne.  The important question then is, what or who is the ‘them’?

And Who is the ‘Him’?

A little more background might be helpful at this point.  Regarding this scene, a Matthew Henry Commentary has the ‘Him that sat on the Throne’ as being Christ, the Judge.  Jamison, Faucet & Brown has it being the Son, but as directly representing the Father.  Adam Clarke’s Commentary has the Judge being ‘the indescribable Jehovah’, suggesting by reference that this is the very event we read of in 1st Corinthians 15:28 and 2nd Peter 3:12, which it could NOT be, in that the descent of the Father to assume the Kingdom from His Son, and earthly elements melting with fervent heat due to the power of His Presence, does not occur until AFTER the general resurrection a generation later, after the last enemy is destroyed, which we read of in Revelation 20:14. Discontinuing death as a functional institution must be an accomplished fact prior to that event in 2nd Peter 3:12. [1]  We’re then left with the consensus and most logical conclusion that this Judge is the very person of the Son of God.

In the presence of this all-powerful Judge, earth and heavens are described as having ‘fled away’.  What we need to keep in mind is that this Being is one and the same as has been ON the Earth continually for the previous 1000 years.  Earth and heaven didn’t recede from His presence during that time frame!  It isn’t so much His presence as it is the EVENT which is to occur, beginning at this point in the prophesied time progression.  This is the opening of a new phase of God’s Judgment process.  After the millennium, after Satan’s last stand; then we see the earth and heavens being spread back, thus creating a vast dimensionally indeterminate arena.  That picture in mind, is it logical then to assume the “no place for them,” could refer to this space thus created, or to the innumerables who are about to be brought up into it?  It’s far more logical to apply the ‘them’ to the number of resurrected individuals mentioned next, rather than to the space just created, ostensibly for these resurrected peoples.

Who is the ‘Them’ ?

But it’s the identity of ‘them’ that poses this all important question.  Does ‘them’ make reference to the items mentioned just before, or to the regenerated peoples mentioned immediately after?  It is logical to some extent either way.

But if we assume the latter, we’re left to answer other resultant questions.  Most obviously, why there would be no place for these for whom this extraordinary space was created.  There would logically be space for at least some of them, wouldn’t there?  But the way it’s worded, we are given the picture that there’s no room for any of them, not just an ‘overflow’!  Also, in the general resurrection mentioned next in this narrative (also in John 5:29), an even greater number will be raised up for sentencing, and nothing like a ‘there is no place for them’ is mentioned.  Being that the greatest number of all will arise at the very end, and no ‘space problem’ is evident in that situation, we are drawn to ponder the intent of this comment.

Then, our attention is called to the purpose for this Great Event.  It doesn’t sound like a sentencing, but one where ‘books’ (biblion) are opened and an examination of their works in response to those now opened books is made. There is something at this point that needs to be determined regarding these peoples’ spiritual state.  These raised-up are the ‘small and great’, not the righteous and wicked! Another relevant detail we should allow to register.  “…and I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”  These ‘books’ contain the moral standards by which the Judge is to evaluate these peoples’ conduct.  Their worthiness for life or death is not already pre-decided.  The ‘Book of Life’ is also opened during this ‘judgment’. NOT for the purpose of seeing whose names are in there, (like we see done at the end: v.15) but to open it to the addition of yet more names. Realizing this, we’re drawn even more to see ‘them’ as referring to these people, rather than these inanimate environmental components: Earth and Heaven.

Why it is that there is ‘no place for them’ is the simple fact that those in this resurrection just after the millennial age are not yet ‘judged’ in the sense of having had opportunity to understand and comply with the moral standards of these ‘books’.  Therefore, they aren’t yet worthy of death, nor are they recipients of Life.  (Those who were, all were raised in the first resurrection described back in verse 5 of this same chapter.)  Why there is no place for them is the simple fact that a Just God would not rightfully consign these to everlasting condemnation IF they’d never had opportunity to become converted.

God Blinded their Eyes!

Keep in mind that it was God who blinded the minds of many religious people of His day, lest they come to a true understanding, and in their present carnal states risk losing out on their opportunity.  (“…Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” (Romans 11:7-8 quoting Isaiah 29:10)) God did so, NOT with intent to deny them opportunity, but with intent to create a situation in which a vastly greater number could attain to salvation, as Paul said later in Romans 11:25-26, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” (quoting Isaiah 59:20)  These peoples’ opportunity occurs after Satan is removed from society, providing them the same spiritual environment as existed during the millennial age.

These are the peoples like are described in Ezekiel 37, who are to be raised again in physical form.  These are they who come up together with the unconverted of the first century that Jesus spoke of so pointedly in Matthew 12:41-42, Luke 11:31-32, and Matthew 11: 20-24.  People who, if exposed to the Scripture, were blinded to its truth, or if not, those who never had an opportunity to come to know the only way of salvation:  Those who died too early in their young lives to ever be accountable for their ignorance or rejection.  These are they who live again after the 1000 years as Revelation 20:5 identifies: The REST of the dead. (those not having had opportunity).

One Technical Exception

The resurrection just after the millennial age is not for the purpose of providing anyone a ‘second chance’.  That contradictory consideration causes many to reject what this place in scripture reveals.  Those who were called and who had opportunity will await a just sentencing.  They are not these for whom ‘no place’ can be found for them (yet)!  Once having rejected God’s calling and spurning the receipt of His Spirit, there is no hope of ever re-attaining that condition.  Only condemnation awaits.  “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”  (Heb. 10:26-29)  There obviously IS a place for these people!

So those who had opportunity and died having spurned it have a place.  Their destiny is already established even now.  Their resurrection is later, after this last physical generation, raised up just after the millennium is concluded, and its people are judged and readied for just assignment to either life or death depending on their life’s record. 

At the end of this opportunity period (a first for them ) there is to be a final ‘general resurrection’ in which ‘all that are in their graves’ will hear a call to life. John 5:28-29 also describes this same resurrection period:  This time, for the purpose of sentencing, not for evaluation. [2]  Sentencing takes place at the next resurrection (the final one) that the next passage in Revelation 20 concludes with.  In verse 13, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14: And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”  This time, ‘judged’ indicates sentencing.  The previously mentioned ‘no place for them’ resurrection didn’t involve imposing a second death!

This is the astounding revelation in the middle section of these resurrection chapters, here in Revelation 20 and also the corresponding outline found in John 5.  If we are to insist that there is but one resurrection after the millennial age, we are left with no explanation of how those whom God did not call in their lifetimes are afforded the same chance as those whom He did call.

Protestants struggle with this question.  Many of them ascribe to an ‘age of accountability’ idea, to accommodate at least the very young, who died not being ‘converted’ as it’s defined. Catholics entertain a similar persuasion, providing ‘compartments’ of various ‘limbos’ to provide opportunity to resituate the dead who obviously had no opportunity.  The Mormons have ‘baptisms for the dead’ to address this anxiety laden question.  So the question is recognized and is on the table!  It is the pointed rejection of the fundamental teachings of the New Testament Church with respect to the resurrections from the dead, this ‘doctrine of Christ’,  that accounts for the gross ignorance on this important issue. 

IF there be no resurrection from the dead, our faith is meaningless!  Paul addressed this fact rather bluntly!  “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (1st Cor. 15:13-20

Now some would say that this refers only to the fact of Christ’s resurrection.  But, as we can see, it involves we, the firstfruits, also being resurrected at the Last Trump.  This physical life does not provide us the ultimate Promise.  That is received only at the moment of Christ’s Second Coming. [3]

It might be good to consider a point raised above, that IF Christ is not raised, then you are yet in your sins.  Didn’t Christ’s death alone absolve our sins?  Why then is His resurrection to Life a necessary factor in the remission of our sins?  It is the rare theologian that has made this potent issue a structural component in his belief system.  The resurrections doctrine is essential to the full implementation of God’s Plan for mankind!  And we can NEVER fully or correctly understand that Plan of Redemption so long as we disregard key elements of the resurrections, most specifically, the physical resurrection of all those who died without having had the opportunity God intends all to have.

At Home in Heaven

The old ‘spiritual’ has this line: “If Heaven’s not my home, then Lord what shall I do…”  When people accept the common idea of going to heaven (or hell) immediately at death, they are to varying degrees obligated to disregard key elements of the True Christian Faith!  (One of these doctrines of Christ! Those references given in the second paragraph above are the words of Christ!) Once in Heaven, or in Hell, what would the possible point of a subsequent resurrection be?  Re-assignment right back to the same places?  (And, what if an assignment mistake had been made?  Boy, would that be a scene!  If we’re to take all funeral eulogies at face value, we’d be inclined to think there’s a lot of that!)

So we have, in this apparently innocuous phrase in Revelation 20:11, a key, alerting us to the great purpose for the physical resurrection scheduled to happen just after Satan’s final expulsion from human society.  We need not be troubled with the anxieties of main stream religion as it regards those who never were called in this age.  There IS a place for them, though it’s not determined just yet!       



[1]  See the article “And the Elements Shall Melt” for further discussion of this extraordinary event.

[2]  “Judgment” as it is used in the New Testament involves an evaluative period as well as in application to a sentencing.  We can see an example of the evaluative sense in 1st Peter 4:17

[3]  Phil. 3:21,  1st Cor. 15:47-54,  1st Thes. 4:16-17


Related Topics:  (available from this author)

 “The Resurrections from the Dead”

 “The Rejected Resurrection”

 “The THREE Resurrections”

 “The Hope of the Last Great Day”

 “A Shadow of Things to Come”