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:

The bodies of every Old Testament believer and every New Testament believer (called Christians) will be resurrected after the Second Coming of Christ. They enter the one-thousand-year kingdom in immortal bodies. This kingdom is also called the millennial kingdom.

Even though the rapture will remove every living Christian from the world, there will be men and women who become Christians during the tribulation. Many of these tribulation Christians will die during the tribulation. Those who do not die in the tribulation will also enter the kingdom but with mortal bodies.  This will be explained in the next section. This means that 1) at the beginning of the kingdom, the Old Testament and New Testament believers will have immortal bodies and 2) those Christians who survived the tribulation with mortal bodies will enter the kingdom together.

Now you may wonder what will happen to the unbelievers who survive the tribulation? The answer is that every unbeliever who survives the tribulation will be sent to hell. This occurs when Christ sits as judge at the Goat and Sheep Judgment. This follows after His victory at the battle of Armageddon (Matthew 25:31-46). At this judgment Christ allows only mortal and immortal believers to enter the kingdom. All unbelievers will be 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 tells us 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 live 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.

The Sheep and Goat Judgment

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 the bodies of mortal Christians die in the kingdom, those believers 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 with Him. 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.


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 await 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?