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What happens to babies who pass away?

What happens to babies that have passed away?  Will God send infants to heaven, hell or someplace in-between?  How does God judge a child and how will He judge us?

Opinions abound, but the words of Jesus are truth.  And so today we desire to hear not the theories of men, but the words of God.  So let us study the Bible for in it contains the answers to these important questions.  But before we do so, let us ask the Lord to teach us, let us pray.

Dear Loving Heavenly Father,

We humbly ask for your Holy Spirit to teach us today.  Please Lord grant us a true understanding of how you judge children and how we will be judged.  Open our eyes so that we see wonderful things from your word.  May your love and compassion be revealed to us today, and may your love dwell in our hearts.  Help us now and we thank you for doing so.  We pray all these things in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, amen.

Imagine if one day a group of police officers showed up at your door.  They quickly handcuffed you, you were taken to a courtroom and declared guilty of war crimes.  “War crimes, I’ve never fought in a war!” you plead.  The judge responds and says “your great grandfather committed war crimes in World War 1 and we are punishing you for the crime, I hereby sentence you to death”.

Certainly a human judge would never make such an unfair sentence.  How could you be judged for a crime that occurred when you never even were alive? Yet would God throw someone in hell because of the sins of their parents, or grandparents?  Or because of the sins of Adam in the garden of Eden?  Does the guilt of one generation pass on from generation to generation through a bloodline?  The Bible gives us the answer in Ezekiel 18:20 when it says

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”  Here the Bible says the son shall not bear the guilt of the father.  Again the Bible says “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)  You are not punished for the sins of any past generation.  “God is a just judge” (Psalm 7:11) and God is much fairer than any human court.  It is true, sin does have consequences. If your parents were abusive you may have suffered the consequences, when Adam sinned the earth received the curse of death, but the guilt of one generation does not pass from generation to generation.  This would be unfair.  Only those who have sinned will be condemned.

But what is sin?

If we can determine what sin is, we can determine if God would be able to punish a child for it.  Fortunately Jesus will never leave us in the dark.  He gives us a definition of what sin is in the book of 1 John 3:4 which states “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.1  Sin is the transgression or the breaking of God’s law, His Ten Commandments.  Because of this we must ask which of the Ten Commandments has a child violated?  Has an infant murder, lying, theft, adultery, Sabbath-breaking or blasphemy?  Certainly not.  Is crying a sin?  “Jesus wept”.  (John 11:35) Jesus gives us great insight into how God judges sin when He said…

If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.” (John 9:41)

Listen closely, children are born with a sinful nature that is we have this inward pull or desire to sin but we are not born sinners.  Sin is the breaking of God’s law.  And we have concluded that babies have not broken the Ten Commandments.  Even if they did, Jesus told us in John 9:41 that were there is no understanding, there is no sin. Again Jesus said “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.” (John 15:22)  Where there can be no knowledge, there can be no sin.  Jesus said such is excused in those who cannot possibly know the truth.

Since this is true, have you ever wondered why then spread the gospel?  Why not leave the world in darkness, perhaps their sin would be excused?  The answer to this question is found in Hosea 4:6 which states

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children. ~ Hosea 4:6

Based on Hosea 4:6, John 9:41 and John 15:22 we must learn an important principle.  “If light comes, and that light is set aside or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes, there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.” 2

Let me illustrate this by a very simple example.  One day I was driving on a freeway in southern California and I was in the carpool lane.  I needed to exit the carpool lane because my exit was only a few miles away.  There was a solid white line to my right, but I had seen many drivers cross over that line to exit in the past.  So I decided to cross that solid white line so I wouldn’t miss my exit.  Suddenly I saw red and blue lights in my rear view mirror.  A motorcycle police officer pulled me over and gave me a ticket for crossing over that white line for it was a violation of the law.  I was not aware of this law, it cost me hundreds of dollars to pay the ticket.  But I was held responsible for breaking the law because I should have known better.  I had the department of motor vehicles handbook, I should have known and kept the law.

Beloved, we have the Bible, we have should have knowledge of the law of God.  We cannot blindly  follow the example of others for they may be in violation of God’s law.  You cannot plead ignorance in the day of judgment, the time to study and obey the commandments of the Lord is now.  “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30 NIV)

If we neglect to study the truth for ourselves, if we delay obedience to God and neglect our duty to our fellow man, it becomes sin.  For it is written “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)  It is not safe to remain in darkness, for Jesus said “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.” (John 12:35)   Beloved, “beware of procrastination. Do not put off the work of forsaking your sins and seeking purity of heart through Jesus. Here is where thousands upon thousands have erred to their eternal loss. I will not here dwell upon the shortness and uncertainty of life; but there is a terrible danger—a danger not sufficiently understood—in delaying to yield to the pleading voice of God’s Holy Spirit, in choosing to live in sin; for such this delay really is. Sin, however small it may be esteemed, can be indulged in only at the peril of infinite loss. What we do not overcome, will overcome us and work out our destruction.” 3

So will babies be in heaven?

The book of Isaiah chapter 65 tells us that yes, infants will be in heaven for it is written “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;  And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.  No more shall an infant from there live but a few days”. Isaiah 65:17,19-20

That’s good news beloved.  If you have lost an infant, know that when Jesus returns at the last day they will arise to meet Jesus in the clouds.  The only question is, will you be saved?  Will you be there to greet your child in heaven when Jesus returns?  Time is almost finished, do you reflect the lovely image of Jesus as you should?

Jesus says to you “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.4  Have you chosen to follow Jesus friend?  Have you allowed Him to daily purify your life?  Christ is ready to set us free from sin, but He does not force the will. You must choose to confess and forsake sin in order to receive mercy (Proverbs 28:13).  “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.5 The Lord is calling us today to genuine repentance.  To be saved from sin.  His nail pieced hand is stretched forth across the gulf of sin; His hand open, awaiting your reach.  Jesus asks the question “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.” (Isaiah 49:15-16)  Those nail pierced hands are for our salvation.

Let us never forget that Jesus died the death that we deserve, so that we may live the life that He deserves.  His grace is sufficient for you.  God is a just judge, and He would never condemn the innocent.  He would never condemn infants to hell.  And the good news is you can be declared innocent by the blood of Jesus today.    Is there some sin in your life that you need to surrender to Jesus today?  One of the problems of this world is that many claim to love Jesus but few desire to obey Him.  Have you chosen to surrender your whole will to Him, or just certain areas of your life?  Examine yourself as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourself. Then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. 6 Is it your will to choose Jesus and to surrender your entire will to His loving care?  It is God’s desire that you choose Him today, the Savior is waiting.  If you desire and are willing to surrender your whole heart to Jesus, I encourage you to bow your heads as we close in prayer.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today our prayer our song is not I surrender some, but Lord our prayer… our song is I surrender all.  You know the sins we struggle with, the sins that so easily beset us but by your might, by your power, by your Holy Spirit we can overcome fully.  Please Lord as we confess our sins individually to you today, forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness by the blood of your Son Jesus.  We thank you Lord that we may have a new life in you, and we have it today.  We praise you for this great gift of salvation, empower us to live this new life each day, and help us to be ready for your soon coming we pray in Jesus name, amen.

Words from the Bible are in red.

  1. 1 John 3:4 KJV
  2. Testimonies For The Church Volume 1 p. 116
  3. Steps To Christ p. 32, Ellen White
  4. John 14:6
  5. 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 3:7, 8
  6. 2 Corinthians 13:5, Joshua 24:15

5 thoughts on “What happens to babies who pass away?”

  1. The book of Isaiah chapter 65 tells us that yes, infants will be in heaven for it is written “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;  And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.  No more shall an infant from there live but a few days”. Isaiah 65:17,19-20. And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. So, how can you say, “will you be there to greet your Child in Heaven when Jesus returns?”. And, in a related post, What happens when we die?, you reveal scripture that states we all sleep when we die, till the last trumpet sounds. So, no one can possibly be waiting.

    1. Hi R. Farmer,
      Thank you for your comment. I’m not sure if I understand your question correctly. It is true that if we die in Christ today we sleep until the resurrection. In my statement regarding greeting your child in heaven, I don’t recall a mentioning of time. But let me attempt to clarify, if you and I are walking on the same sidewalk, and we greet each other, we would do so when we meet. So likewise a saved parent who has lost a child will greet their child when Christ returns for it is written “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) Indeed those are comforting words, that if we have lost children, we will be reunited with them at the return of our Savior in one glorious event on the resurrection day. Hope that helps a little. May the Lord continue to bless you as you study His word.

  2. My question is, since the Bible says that there will be no marriage in Heaven, how can it be that we will know one another and be reunited?

  3. “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days” – isn’t this speaking of how quickly the new heaven and earth will come to pass that an infant born in that time would live for only a few days?

    The idea of an age of accountability is biblical though wouldn’t you say?

    My fear of the Lord and and understanding of His non-arbitrary justice according to scripture would make believe that He would judge people according to what they know and choose to accept or reject.

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