I received the following question from a friend of mine. I wanted to try and give the best biblical answer that I could. I will show you the verses first and then at the end I will try to draw some conclusions. Let me say that I am not sure that I am right but I think from the following verses that infants, babies, small children, mentally handicapped people will go to heaven when they die! I believe that these verses give me more than enough assurance to say that!
I do not know that infants or others will be raptured. I do not see verses that I can use for that to happen. I am by no means a Bible scholar or expert but here you have the results of my study about their going to heaven at death. I will not venture to say anything about the rapture.
Do you personally believe that infants who die go to heaven? Will infants be raptured out with everyone else or left behind? How does that work? I know what everyone says but not so sure on the scriptural backing of those beliefs.
Why do people go to Hell? I think the first thing to consider is why people go to Hell when they die. Obviously all men are sinners. We sin because sin and death were passed to all men. But when God speaks of Hell or judgment these are the things that I see mentioned.
- People go to hell because they do not believe in Jesus Christ
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
- They are without excuse because they can see there is a God in the creation
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
- They have a conscience that excuses or accuses them
Romans 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another
- Obviously children are not able to see the creation nor to understand their conscience. I think this is referring to those all over the world that have never heard but still reject God from what they know in both their conscience and the creation. They prefer to go their own way which small enough children have not yet done!
- They don’t know God and disobey the gospel
II Thessalonians 1:8-9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power
- Children have not yet reached an age to know for themselves nor to obey so this verse isn’t talking about them
- Obviously every normal child sooner or later reaches this age and ability.
- The Bible gives no indication about that age
God wants everyone everywhere to be saved
- He does not want any one to die without salvation
II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
- He wants everyone to be saved
I Timothy 2:3-4 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
- God doesn’t want anyone to die and go to Hell. He wants them all to come to the knowledge of the truth
- Small children obviously that do not have the use of their reason have not arrived there yet
God doesn’t want to see anyone perish
- Jesus didn’t want any of the little ones to perish
Matthew 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
- In the passage He is talking about children
- He has one sitting on His lap as He is speaking here
- He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked
Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
- God does not even enjoy seeing the wicked die
- Children have not yet decided to openly rebel against God
- He wanted the children to come to Him
Mark 10:13-15 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 18:15-17 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
- When the disciples tried to keep children from Him He wanted them to come
- There is something in heaven that even adults must do to really be saved
- We all come with a child like faith
- Could He in any way be indicating that He has special mercy on these small children
- Doubtful that God will stand a pre-born baby, a mentally challenged person, or small child up and judge them for what they have or have not done
Revelation 20:11-15 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. 12 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. 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. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
- In the passage they are being judged for their works
- Again children have not yet knowingly rebelled or done any works, either good or bad
We see God not holding the children responsible for the sins of their parents
- They were exempt from the judgment because they had no knowledge
Deuteronomy 1:39 Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
- Those under 20 here were considered children
Numbers 14:29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, 31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. 35 I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
- 20 year olds were not held responsible for the rebellion of their parents nor called part of this evil congregation
- I can’t say that this has anything to do with salvation except to say that it would indicate that the Lord recognized some level of responsiblity
- God recognized that children had a time when they did not know to choose evil or good
Isaiah 7:16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, The land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.
- God showed mercy on children who did not yet understand
Jonah 4:11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
- These verses indicate that the children didn’t understand
- God showed mercy at least on those in Ninevah
- Does that mean that He recognizes that they have not yet knowingly rebelled
Babies do not go to heaven because they are innocent
- There is no word that they are getting saved
- There is nothing that would indicate that they weren’t sinners
- All that I can assume and hope for is that He is having mercy on them due to their lack of ability to discern and understand
- As a child this was explained to me that somehow God kept the babies safe until they were able to know right from wrong. I believe these verses would indicate that
- Babies die just like everyone else as a result of sin and death entering into the world
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
David thought that he would go to be with his son upon his death. David certainly wasn’t speaking of being buried with him
II Samuel 12:23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
- The most familiar verse that is used to show that children go to Heaven if they die while they are too young to choose is this one
- I believe that David was saved and knew it
- I believe that David had a great understanding of God and the after life
- David believed and expressed his faith that he would go to be with his son
- I think that indicates that his child was somehow through grace taken to the presence of the Lord and salvation
- I do not believe that a person can be saved without believing
- I believe that the child would be safe somehow by the grace of God and I believe that the verses indicate that God did just that with those that were unable to understand
- I have no idea about the rapture and whether babies go in the rapture. I do not see any verses that I can apply there
- Everyone dies because sin entered the world through Adam and his sin
- God wants all to be saved
- He will always do right and I can trust that
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