Do children too young to understand get taken up in the rapture?
WHAT AGE ARE CHILDREN SAVED?
I gathered verses from multiple sites and in study of His Word. In one of the Facebook groups I am on, this question came up. In no way am I suggesting that these are a dogmatic YES to the question, (although I certainly believe children are raptured and also children who die will be with the Lord). At what age, we’re not sure, just some thoughts 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. These are just passages/verses to consider as possibilities to pray upon.
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 might also help those who don’t know about whether children will be saved. Most in the reformed camp do not believe so, because 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 has always been by grace alone. Obviously, the OT saints did not know the name of Jesus, but they knew the promise of salvation and they knew the Messiah was promised from the beginning (Gen 3:15), their faith was on Him as their Savior. They looked forward to the cross. No, they were not saved by keeping the law or by sacrifices, no one was ever justified by the law (Acts 13:39, 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. Even his crucifixion was foretold. See my article here
GOD’S NATURE AND CHARACTER
We know of His goodness, mercy, longsuffering, forbearance with us. We 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 choice.
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Psalm 86:15
HE IS RIGHTEOUS AND WILL DO RIGHT:
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 example of one in heaven, there is no doubt most lean on this as babies going to heaven whether before birth. Yes those are included, many 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
WHO ARE THE CONDEMNED?
The condemnation is for unbelief not a lack of understanding. (John 3:18)
CHILDREN CANNOT YET COMPREHEND THESE THINGS:
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
CHILDREN REFERRED TO AS INNOCENT
Yes all of us have a sin nature, all fallen, all sinned; 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, but I’ll use one, the children of Israel who were offered as sacrificed to the heathen gods in Psalm 106:35-39. The Word 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.
SLAYING THE INNOCENT
He also gives commands not to slay the innocent, 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. (Again, sharing all the thoughts from His Word, you will have to do your own research)
JESUS SHOWED HIS LOVE FOR THE CHILDREN:
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
CHILDREN IN MATT 24
Some people think Matt 24 is about the rapture, and bring up “woe to them that give suck” but this is discussing the midpoint of the tribulation.
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 that I can see.
WHO GIVES US LIGHT?
John 1:9 interesting point that 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 seen in John 3.
WHERE ELSE DO WE GET UNDERSTANDING?
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?
AGE OF RANSOM FOR THE SOUL; 20.
In the Old Testament, it is anyone over 20, and found in Ex 30:11-16, specifically, verses 12 and 14, along with Numbers 14:28-30. 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. Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord. See also (Deut 1-murmuring in rebellion and unbelief, see John 3:18 regarding unbelief being the reason for condemnation)
BLESSED HOPE & WORDS OF COMFORT:
The passage in I Thess 4:13-18, and of course Tit 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?
BELIEVER’S CHILDREN BEING SANCTIFIED:
Cor 7:14 was brought up by some, the children being sanctified… not dogmatically though. Because of course it also includes husbands. Doesn’t mean they will be saved, remember I’m just bringing up the different thoughts, some believe it to mean it’s easier for them to understand as the are in an environment where they are taught and hear the Word.
PUNISHING THOSE WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING:
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 agree.
WHAT IS A LAD? 20?
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. If we look at Numbers 14:28-30, all those who were above 20 AND had grumbled about the Lord were kept from entering the promised land. This was also referenced as ‘the rest’ and since Jesus is our Sabbath I believe that is another consideration.
WHAT IS THE AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY?
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, some say 12, as in the age Jesus went into the temple. Or as previously mentioned, as old as 20, as in the passage in Numbers 14:28-30, referencing who He allowed to enter into the promised land. (Some refer back to the census mentioned earlier, and say it was only able-bodied men included in that, if that is the case, then where did the women come in? Children? Who do they marry? See the “Promised land reference below)
THE PROMISED LAND… ALL THOSE WHO DIDN’T GET TO GO IN WHO DIDN’T BELIEVE, (who were not faithful) WERE 20 AND UPWARD…
The promised land was likened to His rest… 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
IS THIS SPEAKING TO CHILDREN?
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
OUR INHERITANCE AS BELIEVERS:
One brought up Children being our inheritance, which would remain with us (Psalm 127:3).
NOAH FOUND GRACE, WERE HIS SONS JUST INCLUDED?
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.
ARE THE JUSTIFIED’S CHILDREN BLESSED?
“The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” Proverbs 20:7
Exodus 12, one likened to a Rapture picture, (being passed over in judgement) the doorposts with the blood speaking to sanctification, and all who were within the household were spared (they say this could speak 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:
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.
GOD’S MERCY TO EVEN OUR CHILDREN:
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.
GOD HAS COMPASSION ON HIS CHILDREN:
My thought on Israel 49:15-16, God not forgetting and showing 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 this, 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.
copyright (except quotes from others) 2012.
Feel free to share though, in it’s entirety for His Glory alone.