11.8. Who Populates the Millennial Kingdom

An aspect of the Millennial Kingdom which some initially find surprising is the continuance of birth and death:

No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. (Isa. Isa. 65:20)

This fact poses a substantial problem for those who believe in a posttribulational rapture. The problem is as follows. If the Rapture takes place at the Second Coming of Christ, then all the righteous are taken at His return. Since the Rapture involves the translation of the living saints, all who participate in the Rapture receive their glorified bodies. If this is so, at the Second Coming of Christ there are only two types of people: believers who have glorified bodies and unbelievers who remain in their natural bodies. Since all the ungodly are purged at the Second Coming, the only ones remaining to enter the Millennial Kingdom would be saints in their glorified bodies. Resurrected saints do not reproduce: “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mark Mark 12:25). The question then becomes, who is it that enters the Millennial Kingdom to produce the children which Scripture records will be born?

[The posttribulation position holds that] at the end of the Tribulation all living believers will be raptured, given resurrection bodies, and return immediately to earth in the single event of the rapture and second coming. This would seem to eliminate all redeemed, unresurrected people from the earth at that point in time so that there would be no one left to populate the millennial kingdom. If the wicked survivors are either killed or consigned to Hades at the end of the Tribulation, then there will be no one left in an unresurrected body to enter the Millennium.1

It is obviously impossible to incorporate a translation of all saints at the end of the tribulation and the beginning of the millennium as it would result in all saints receiving a spiritual body, leaving none to populate the earth in the millennium.2

There is the additional problem of how to explain the Sheep and Goat Judgment (Mtt. Mat. 25:31-46) which makes no mention of a resurrection. It is a judgment of the living nations at the time of Christ’s return (Mtt. Mat. 25:31). If all the people of faith rise in the Rapture at the end of the Tribulation and then return with Christ to earth, who are “my brethren” and the “sheep,” both of which find entry into God’s kingdom?

Furthermore, an adjustment has to be made in the time of the judgment of the sheep and goats in Mtt. Mat. 25:31-46 if the posttrib picture is correct. The reason is simple: If the rapture occurs after the Tribulation, then all the sheep (redeemed) will have been removed from the earth; thus, there would be no sheep to be part of that judgment if it occurs at the second coming, which is a single event with the rapture [in the posttribulational view].3

These are weighty arguments against the notion that the Rapture occurs at the Second Coming of Christ—that they are one and the same even. See Rapture.


1 Charles C. Ryrie, Come Quickly, Lord Jesus (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), 87-88.

2 John F. Walvoord, The Millennial Kingdom (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959), 243.

3 Ryrie, Come Quickly, Lord Jesus, 89.