Bible Question:

What happens to those who accept Christ as their Savior during the millennial reign of Christ and die? When will they be resurrected?’ My understanding is that once the Old Testament, Church age and Tribulation saints have been resurrected, they enter the Millennial kingdom. The non-Christians are resurrected after the kingdom. I am not able to find any scripture to shed light on this question.

Bible Answer:

All Christians and non-Christians will be resurrected after the Second Coming of Christ. Every Old Testament saint and every Christian since the resurrection of Christ will be resurrected after the Second Coming of Christ and enter the one thousand year kingdom in immortal bodies. This kingdom is also called the millennial kingdom. It is important to realize that the Christians who did not die in the tribulation will also enter the kingdom but with mortal bodies, as will be explained in the next section. That is, at the beginning of the tribulation there will be believers who have immortal bodies and others will have mortal bodies, but there will not be any non-Christians. This occurs because Christ will sit as judge after His victory at the battle of Armageddon and at the Goat and Sheep Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46). At this judgment Christ allows only Christians, mortal and immortal, to enter the kingdom. All non-Christians are sent to hell. During the kingdom the mortal Christians will have children (Isaiah 65:23) who must either believe in Christ or eventually go to hell. Our question is what happens to those mortals who become Christians and then die in the kingdom? Are they instantly resurrected?

Believers Who Die In the Kingdom Immediately Become Immortal

Life In The Kingdom

First, we must discover what life will be like in the kingdom. Part of the answer is given in Isaiah 65:20, 22 which predicts that the citizens of the kingdom will live radically long lives. For example, a man will be considered a young man at the age of one hundred years. Those who do not live long lives will be considered accursed. This reveals that people will long lives like the patriarchs before the flood (Genesis 6-8). Here is the ESV version of the passage. It is a more accurate translation.

No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. Isaiah 65:20 (ESV)

They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. Isaiah 65:22 (ESV)

Isaiah 65:22 states that people will live long lives like trees. It is important to notice that verse 20 also reveals sinners will live in the kingdom when it says that a sinner who lives only one hundred years old will be considered “accursed.” This teaches us two facts about the kingdom. First, people will die in the kingdom. That is, there are mortals in the kingdom along with the immortal believers of Christ. Second, since there are sinners in the kingdom, even these sinners must repent of their sins and believe in Christ or go to hell.

Christians Who Die In the Kingdom

Next, what happens to those sinners who believe in Christ and die in the kingdom? While Scripture does not specifically mention this group of believers in the answer, the answer is given to us by the apostle Paul when he teaches us,

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6 (NASB)

In this verse Paul says that when a mortal Christian dies, they are instantly with the Lord. Therefore, when mortal Christians die in the kingdom, they will instantly become immortal and stay in the kingdom since Christ will be reigning as king over the kingdom (Zechariah 14:9-21; Revelation 20:4). It is also important to realize that not only will Christ be reigning as king over the kingdom, but also all the saints of all the ages will be in the kingdom. Therefore, where else would a dead Christian go? The answer is that mortal Christians who die will remain in the kingdom and instantly have an immortal body.

Conclusion:

We rejoice that when a believer in Christ dies he or she is instantly with Christ. That is also true for believers in the kingdom. Since they are believers in the kingdom and are already with Christ, they continue in the kingdom with Christ. They will  live in the kingdom and throughout the kingdom with all the other Christians. But that is not true for the unbelievers.  If an unbeliever dies in the kingdom, they will immediately go to hell and wait judgment at the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). When the world and the universe is destroyed, every saint will go immediately into the new heavens and new earth.

Suggested Links:

When and where does the Goat and Sheep judgment occur?
When are the Old Testament saints resurrected?
Are the Old Testament saints resurrected at the rapture?
Are the Old Testament saints resurrected at the rapture?
At the point of death, does our spirit go to heaven or hell?
What happens to a person when he dies?
What happens to those with mortal bodies who are in the millennium?