Will Children be Raptured?

“Do children get taken up in the rapture” is a question often asked.

A group on Facebook posited this question, and from that and some other places (like expreacherman.com), we came up with a list of potential passages to ponder. None are definitive as it doesn’t really tell us in His Word what the age of accountability is.

But Jesus said, Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matt 19:14

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  John 14:6

I believe these two verses by themselves are a huge hint. Jesus says let them come, don’t stop them, and He makes it clear we come through Him. Jesus is the Judge and King of the Kingdom.

But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?”

And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”  Matt 21:15-16


From the group, I gathered verses from multiple sites and in study of His Word to find the answers. In no way am I suggesting that these are a dogmatic YES on age of accountability, (although I certainly believe children are raptured and also that all children who die will be with the Lord). At what age, we’re not sure, just some thoughts and Bible verses to consider.

Please feel free to add in comments or other passages to support your comments, or ones that could be considered addressing this, and I will edit in.   

As always with anything I write,

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  1 Thess 5:21 (also consider Acts 17:11 and 1 John 4:1)

Some of these Bible passages might also help those who don’t know about whether children will be saved if they die (before being able to understand). Most in the reformed (Calvinist) camp do not believe so, stating an aborted or miscarried child wouldn’t give God any glory, therefore not the elect. People like Pastor John MacArthur teach that “salvation is an adult thing” (in direct contrast to his own ‘testimony’ that he always believed and couldn’t remember a time that he didn’t).


Salvation is by faith, based on the knowledge revealed, as the OT saints didn’t know about all the details, they had faith looking forward to the Messiah.   The mystery was revealed.  Many claim to believe this, yet go on to add conditions to faith or state faith is the gift.  Obviously, the OT saints did not know the name of Jesus, but they knew the promise of salvation and understood they had eternal life by faith in what God said was true (Job 19:25-27).  They knew the prophecy of the Messiah, promised from the first sin of man (Gen 3:15) — their faith was on Him as their Savior. 

The Bible assures us that Abraham was preached the Gospel (Gal 3:8; Gen 12:2-3; 15:5-6). He may not have had every detail yet, but he believed God and was counted righteous (Rom 4:2-8). They looked forward to the cross. They were not saved by keeping the law or by sacrifices, no one was ever justified by the law (Acts 13:38-39, Gal 2:16, 3:11,24 etc.), it was only a tutor to point them to their need for the Messiah, the anointed one, Christ. 

Will You Be Left Behind?” is a free PDF booklet, or a nice printed booklet you can order from Northlandchurch.com. 


We know of His goodness, mercy, longsuffering, forbearance with us. We also know Jesus is likened to “A friend that loveth at all times”, and a “brother who is born for adversity”. He is not willing that any should perish and has shown us that not only is He longsuffering but He is just, giving every man a chance to believe. Children and incapacitated people would not have that chance.

But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.  Psalm 86:15


 Gen 18:25, regarding the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, “shall not the judge of the earth do right?”
“‘And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?’” Jonah 4:11


King David’s baby is an oft used example of babies who die being in heaven.  There is no doubt most lean on this as babies going to heaven whether before birth.  Many other references to ‘formed in the womb’ or ‘set apart from the time of the womb’ for certain >>service, i.e., the apostle Paul, John the Baptist, Jeremiah etc.

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.  2 Sam 12:23

Since these are inspired words of both a prophet and a King, I can only assume this is a clear fact not an assumption.


The Children of Ramah who are slaughtered are said to be brought back to their borders (Jeremiah 31:15-17). So here is a clear example of babies being resurrected.

Job said he would have died at birth and been at rest (ch 3).  He said where he would be, the wicked ceased from troubling, so it cannot be hell.

Babies, children and those mentally handicapped, do not have the capacity to reject Him

He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.  John 12:48


The condemnation is for unbelief not a lack of the ability to understand (John 3:18).

Those who are able to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom 1:18-21).


2 Thessalonians 2 is brought up as one of the reasons people go through the Tribulation (having not a love for the truth) – children don’t understand the truth or the consequences of sin.  

Here is another verse to consider.

“I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.” Romans 7:9


Yes all of us have a sin nature, no longer perfect. If so, we wouldn’t be born to die.  So I believe this has to do with God’s grace towards those who are unable to have a chance to fully understand. My brother-in-law is emotionally handicapped.  I led him to the Lord at 50 recently, it took a very long time for him to ‘understand’ and ‘comprehend’ albeit it is very simple. He needed to have things explained to him and God was gracious and I believe God would have also been so with his capacity and all the seizure medication he is on.

There are many examples — here is one to think on: the children of Israel who were offered as sacrificed to the heathen gods in Psalm 106:35-39. The Word for innocent is naqiy which means they are clean, free from, exempt, clear, innocent from guilt, punishment, obligations. Since God declares them this, it sounds as if a judicial declaration.

Consider just verses 37-38:

They even sacrificed their sons
And their daughters to demons,
And shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with blood.

Detractors will bring up being born in inquity, (which is true because it comes from the Word). But it seems that their position is considered innocent.

There is also a time of lack of ability to choose good or evil — here is one that comes to mind.

For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.  Isaiah 7:16


He also gives commands not to slay the innocent children, and calls those guilty who have done it. Manasseh was condemned for slaying innocent blood ‘very much’. We know God is guilty of no sin, and we know that God keeps His own Word as He is not a man that He should lie. Since God calls those children innocent, we know He also says in Prov. 6 that one of the seven things He hates is hands that shed innocent blood.  I realize all the passages that speak to innocent blood are not speaking to infants, but innocent of wrongdoing. But consider the little children — Again, sharing all the thoughts from His Word, you will have to do your own research and prayerfully consider your own conclusion.


Letting the children come to Him.  Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for such is the Kingdom of God.  Mark 10:14
There are some babies in the tribulation seen in Matt 24/Luke 21/Mark 13. Some people think Matt 24 is about the rapture, and bring up “woe to them that give suck” but this discourse is discussing the midpoint of the tribulation and the physical trials they will suffer.  Those infants were born after the rapture. Why does it not say, woe to those with children? Children of any age would make it difficult to flee.
Do they?  See the passage in Romans 1 and Psalm 19, and things being “clearly understood”. See Romans 7:9. This is not the case for children, babies, those of limited mental capacity.
John 1:9 — Jesus Himself lights everyone who comes into the world, so that is in His hands. He has said, He did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved, and again showed contempt for those who should know better, even chastising Nicodemus for the light he had already been given, yet his lack of understanding as a teacher of Israel seen in John 3.
Rom 10:17, Ps 119:130, 2 Tim 3:15 seem to all point to His Word. Would they have to have the ability to be able to understand His Word to be held accountable?

And what age were those who entered the promised land?

I will skip the discussions about the census, or women or priests, regarding the promised land — these are a couple of passages discussing those who were under 20.
I am in no way saying this is ‘the’ age of accountability since there is not such an age listed in the Word, only in tradition which is not where we should build any doctrine.
In the Old Testament, it was the ones 20 and over who could not enter the promised land. It was also those who were 20 and over that could give a ransom for their soul. In that, it might be a possibility that is an age that is still considered as children.    The ransom for the soul is found in Ex 30:11-16, specifically, verses 12 and 14. So why didn’t those under 20 have to give a ransom for their soul?
12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.  
14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord.
And why is it that those who were under 20 considered to have no knowledge between good and evil?
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. Numbers 14:29
See also Deut 1 for the reason why they didn’t enter His rest — it was because of murmuring in rebellion and unbelief. Again, those under 20 were exempt so it seems they were not yet concluded in unbelief. See John 3:18 regarding unbelief being the reason for condemnation.


The passage in I Thessalonians 4:13-18, and of course Titus 2:13, but the first passage, don’t be sorrowful, talks about as of those who have no hope, and comfort one another with these words, so the rapture, message of comfort, how could it be so thinking of the horror of our children left alone in this awful world?
Cor 7:14 was brought up by some in the discussion, the children being sanctified… not dogmatically though. Because of course it also includes husbands. Doesn’t mean they will be saved. Please remember I’m only bringing up the different thoughts for consideration. Some believe it to mean it’s easier for them to understand truth as they are in an environment where they are taught and hear the Word.
On one page, a person likened the 2 Sam. 12:23 comment on David’s baby to not punishing those who cannot understand, not just speaking to an infant.  I do believe so also.
I looked up the word “lad” in trying to figure out Isaac’s age at the time of the intended sacrifice, and found that the examples were anywhere from newborn infants to 20 years of age. Since Isaac foreshadowed the sacrifice of Christ, is he an example of an innocent sacrifice?
Age of accountability and understanding sin seems to be addressed in Romans 7:9. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. Some say the age of 13 as in Jewish practice, others say 12, as in the age Jesus went into the temple. Or as previously mentioned, as old as 20, as in the passages above. (Others refer back to the census mentioned earlier, and say it was only able-bodied men included in that. I’d say that probably doesn’t add to the discussion, because if that is the case, then where did the women come in? Children? Who do they marry?  
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Mat 18:10
(To look at it in context, it speaks to little ones who believe in Him, which could also mean young in Christ)
One person brought up Children being our inheritance, which would remain with us (Psalm 127:3). Not sure I see it quite that way. Even though the fruit of the womb is our reward, a full-grown non-believing child is still accountable for unbelief.
Noah’s sons; it doesn’t say they found grace (or didn’t) it only says Noah found grace in God’s sight. But his children were saved by being in the ark, which is often used as a picture of the rapture.
“The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” Proverbs 20:7  (Likely just means they receiving blessing because of his honesty).
Exodus 12, one likened to a Rapture picture, (being passed over in judgment) the doorposts with the blood speaking to sanctification, and all who were within the household were spared (they say the same principle could also apply to believer’s children).
God making a distinction between the cattle of Israel and of Egypt, caring enough to spare even the cattle of Israel His chosen.
FROM COBBLESTONE MINISTRIES: (not recommending or not recommending)
Interesting thought here; so will just copy paste: Prov 13:22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. [By looking at this verse, we find that it is not the sinner who inherits the godly man’s possessions…therefore the ungodly will not be raising the offspring of the Saints. All believers and their children, under the age of accountability, will be raptured.
Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.
My thought on Isaiah 49:15-16, God does not forget to show compassion on His own child, comparing His love to a mother’s love.  
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,  And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.
We have no one particular Scripture on the age of accountability, because Scriptures do not clearly tell us how old or how much one must understand. So these passages are for you to glean, find your own, pray about, and ask the God of all Comfort to enlighten you and give you understanding from His Word….I find NO Scriptures however suggesting children do NOT go to heaven when they die, just the opposite, again, David knew where his child would be. I think we can rest in the same, but teach your children from the moment they can talk or listen.
In Him,
Holly Garcia Held
copyright (except quotes from others) 2012.
Feel free to share though, in it’s entirety for His Glory alone.

23 Responses to “Will Children be Raptured?

  • Connie Harnden
    11 years ago

    Thank you,
    Many Blessings….great topic!

    Sent from my iPad

  • Pam Palizzolo
    11 years ago

    My cousin and I had this conversation not to long ago, neither one of us knew the answer..I will show her this site so she can get a better understanding.
    Thank you Holy for doing all the work you’ve done. God Bless you dear sister.

    • Pam, glad it helps, I cannot imagine otherwise, but God is good, but always good to try to find Scripture to show us.

  • all these gems really put the whole counsel of what the Lord has pressed upon my heart for years…the “children” will be going to Heaven!! I believe it is why there is verses on accountability in the Word!! Otherwise what would the point of them bring in there? 🙂 Bless you Holly for all these YUMMY verses…Love you!!

    • Well, I mostly just gathered, some came to my mind, and since I have gotten some contributions, I may go and glean if I feel led… Thanks for coming to read 🙂

  • Hi Holly,

    Great looking website!

    Re. this article on the accountability of young children, you did a fine job of hitting on all of the bases. In my teaching of the Bible this issue has come up on occasion. I have used some of the verses and arguments that you cite, especially about David’s statement of faith regarding his deceased infant child and the issue of children being sanctified (covered, protected) through the believing parents; I generally just rest in the fairness and loving nature of God to take care of infants, very young children and mentally challenged.

    Sometimes people can really take the issue of the age of accountability into weird or mean-spirited territory. I recall after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, a spokesman on one of the “Christian” television programs made a statement to the effect that it was a good thing that young children in Asia died in the tsunami because, if they had grown up, they would probably have become Buddhists and rejected Christ as their Savior. I thought that this was a mean unfair blanket statement made by a “Christian” spokesman.

    Thanks, Holly, for your steadfast stand for the Gospel of Grace!



    • Thank you Bruce, I like doing the artwork, but the site itself, it’s wordpress template 🙂 I can’t really take credit for hitting all the bases either, because it was in a group I believe, I brought up some questions and people started bringing some verses, and it grew (I think I’ve added a couple of times).

      I know what you mean about mean spirited, after a recent Calvinist comment about how he would feel if his child was one of those chosen for hell, I was shocked at his statement that he would be happy, because it was God’s will, something to that effect.

      I appreciate your consistent stand for the truth, you all encourage us, godly men who hold up God’s Word, who study it, and defend it, and contend for the faith once delivered. God bless you too! Holly

  • Nancy Preston
    10 years ago

    This brings me comfort. I had a sister who died at the age of 53. When she was very young she started having seizures. They put her on a very strong medication, and really gave her way to strong amount. Back then they were called fits and she. spent most of her life in a drugged state., She was able to function but you always wondered if she really understood all that was going on. At the age of 47 they decided she was over medicated and started cutting her back, but a lot of damage had been done.. I had spoken to her several times about her salvation and she always told me “I know” that was her response to most any thing you tried to share. I sent Mom home lots of tracts when I was first saved and she told me her and Judy read them together. I have my Moms bible and I know she was saved just by the notes and writings in her bible. I felt in my heart God would not hold my sister, accountable for something done to her by adults. All of this was not her doing she was a victim of over medication. I have to believe I will see my sister when I go home to be with the Lord.

    • So thankful that it helps, it’s hard for us, maybe that is what makes us dig in His Word. I have to believe you will see her too….

    • taking medication is never a sin, even if it had been her wilful choice, Nancy,. i take many pills just to function ande my brain functioning is not good ewnough for me to hold down a job but i think Jesus only holds us accountable to what we know….Also, think of the Thief on the Cross……i asked someone in my church how i could be sure i was saved….sshe told me God had told her i was like the thief on the cross…..i was saved because i had beleived Jesus and my lack of good works will not be any barrier to me. Nancy i am sure your sister is with Jesus

  • Lori Baldwin Morton
    9 years ago

    Great stuff, Holly! Thanks for all the hard work you put into this. [Note: In the phrase: “but this is discussing the midpoint of the rapture” — I’m sure you meant it to say “the midpoint of the tribulation.”]

    How about this verse? “‘And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?'” Jonah 4:11

    • Thank you so much for catching that Lori! I’ll go check that out, and thanks for the addition, it’s an old article so I’ll edit it in.

    • Thank you again Lori! Keep them coming! I edited it to correctly read tribulation and also added your verse, thank you <3 God bless your week!

  • Benchap
    8 years ago

    Jack Kelley is also a backdoor Lordship salvationist. I know the article didn’t use him as a picture of sound doctrine on the Gospel, but thought I’d let you know.

    He believes a Christian will not “wilfully and habitually sin” (this is his interpretation of Galatians 5:19-21) and that God always brings back the true believer from sin before they die…

    He also believes that pre-Christ people were saved by faith plus works and that this is the method of salvation post rapture.

    The man caused me a lot of bondage and doubt.

    • Benchap, I just found this on a new article on the late (he died in October 2015) Jack Kelly’s website:

      No church sent Paul. He felt the call of God on his life and responded. The church reacted to this later by supporting him. And how about Billy Graham? What congregation appointed him to a career in evangelism? The most effective evangelists are always called by God and gifted for the purpose, not appointed during membership drives, and often work outside denominational and congregational boundaries.

      My comment: apparently, the writers at the late Jack Kelly’s website do not understand the difference between salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and the Lordship “salvation” preached by Billy Graham.

      • Benchap
        8 years ago

        Yeh, neither was Jack unfortunately. He may have been saved and bewitched, though. Let’s hope. Sad to hear of his passing.

  • Thank you Ben, I didn’t realize this was on here. (I have removed it). I didn’t have a lot of knowledge of him, but when I read some things on his site, I did go to him about the teachings. Unfortunately he did not receive it well.

    I appreciate you catching this and any errors always. We need to always be warned, all can make mistakes, but I think we should correct them publicly so others can learn.

    God bless you!

    • Preston
      8 years ago


      you said – I did go to him about the teachings. Unfortunately he did not receive it well.

      ME – I wouldnt be to sure of that??!! 🙂

      I remember when you said you spoke with Him on ex-preacherman. Did you know…immediately after that comment by you…..the gospel showed up more in his answers to questions!!! I know, I have a automatic link to that site.

      I don’t agree with everything on that site, I always wondered why he didn’t proclaim the gospel more—-after your conversation—I noticed it MUCH more….. coincidence??!!

      Ben and Holly,

      I would love a discussion on salvation AFTER the rapture; either here or “off line”. I debate this in my head, using scripture, if I MUST make a decision on it today, I would say the majority lean to “faith and works” – so completely convince me otherwise. 🙂


      • Preston, that is good to know, when he died recently, I wondered about that, but I did not follow him after that.

        I think the just have always lived by faith, and since He is the same yesterday, today and forever, I don’t think salvation for those on earth will differ. I do realize the majority do not believe so because of the sacrifices being re-established, but that never justified anyone anyhow. God bless you too brother.

  • Cindy Sole
    6 years ago

    I’m posting this on my daughter’s group meditating on the word, if yoy don’t mind.
    Thanks for this Holly.

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