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Will young children be raptured?

by Stephen Davey

Marti asks, "Will children before the age of accountability be raptured?"

This is an issue many people, especially Christian parents, wonder about. The Bible does not give any clear instruction on what happens to babies and young children at the rapture. That leads people to wonder if it is possible that Christian parents would be raptured and their babies would be left behind?

What is the Rapture? The rapture refers to the prophesied event in which believers in Jesus Christ will be suddenly taken up from the earth to meet Him in the air. This concept is derived from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and other New Testament passages. Although the term "rapture" is not explicitly used in the Bible, it has become a widely accepted term to describe this future event.

A critical question often asked is whether young children will be raptured, or will they be left behind?

I’m convinced that young children will be included in the rapture. Children before the age of accountability will participate in the rapture. The Age of Accountability is the idea that there is an age at which a person becomes morally responsible for their actions, and those who die before reaching this age are automatically saved. However, the Bible does not provide a specific age. But those who are unable to understand the concept of sin and the gospel are recipients of God's mercy until such time as they can understand. 

I have a resource called Do Babies Really Go To Heaven When They Die. In that booklet, I deal with a different but related topic. That resource is about the death of babies, and I conclude that they will be in heaven. I believe that the same principles would apply to the rapture. 

The age of accountability is not a fixed age. It varies from child to child. It refers to a level of maturity in which a child is able to understand the gospel and make a decision for or against Jesus. I further believe that some people remain permanently in that state if they are born with a mental disability that prevents them from having an informed response to the gospel. Anyone who dies prior to the age of accountability would be granted entrance into heaven. Everyone in that category will be raptured as well. 

I encourage you to read the booklet that I linked above. I base my understanding on the teaching of Scripture. But I also understand that this is simply the result of God’s mercy. Children are not born innocent. We are all born as sinners. But God, in his mercy and love, covered those who are too young, or who are mentally unable to understand and respond to the gospel. 

So yes, I believe that all people under the age of accountability will be taken in the rapture.

Add a Comment


Greg hartline says:
I agree fully it’s not the same for everyone all have different times of accountability
Leonard Austin says:
You & MacArthur on same page 😊 I wrote you recently with a question. You have answered it in your last three morning messages. Thanks a bunch! Len
Frank Erbeznik says:
I believe in my Holy Loving Father God, my Holy Loving Savior Jesus Christ, my Holy Loving Guide and Counselor Holy Spirit and whatever HE does will always be loving, righteous, and just.
jean m thompson says:
I agree with you.
Teri kane says:
Yes absolutely agree w Stephen about babies, children. God is God and that means Holy and Pure. Therefore His actions will always be in line with that.
Trisha says:
How would you answer about in utero babies of non-believing moms around the world? If Jesus comes for His Bride at the Rapture, would these pre born be His Bride (think all religions of the world) so that He will remove/rapture all pregnancies at that time?
Alice Hull says:
Well stated. Exactly what I have believed from teaching of th Plymouth Brethren during my childhood eighty years ago.
linda butcher says:
I to believe the babies will be raptured to heaven. I volunteer at a pregnancy center and hear many reasons given why an abortion is wanted. This may be a dumb question- will the rapture of babies to heaven be used as an excuse to abort the baby?
Dwight Osborne says:
I agree with you, Pastor Davey. But while the Bible teaches an age of accountability it doesn't identify what that age is. In ancient Roman society a boy became a man at 16, in Greek society it was 18. But in Jewish society 12 or 13 was the age and I believe that to be an acceptable standard. But that doesn't relieve us of the responsibility of teaching young children about Jesus, even if they're too young to understand theology and doctrine. When I was 6, I began reading the Bible but by no means did I even remotely understand those 2 elements. But what I could understand and it is still with me today and has serve3d me well is that the Bible is the true Word of God. And what it says is what He meant and what He meant is what was spoken and written and can be wholeheartedly trusted. When it says the angel closed the mouths of the lions while Daniel was in the den I believe it still these 55 years later. Even today I can picture Daniel laying down to sleep and one of the lions acting as a pillow for his head while the other lions curled up around Daniel to keep him warm. But the next day their mouths were opened and they enjoyed a great feast to the detriment of Daniel's conspiratorial enemies. Many blessings Dr. Davey. Your brother in Christ, Dwight
Brenda Hook says:
How comforting this insight is! Thank you for sharing these good words.
Dave Waters says:
I also agree wholeheartedly with this interpretation of scripture and God's mercy and grace and love.
Jeff Reynolds says:
Yes I absolutely believe that children that have not reached the age of accountability and babies and the mentally challenged will be ruptured. This is all part of God’s prevenient grace.
Gail Long says:
I believe you are right about children being raptured before the age of accountability or if they die before that. but I disagree that the next prophetic event on God's calendar is the rapture. According to II Thessalonians 2:1-3 the next prophetic event is the great falling away or the great apostasy which is followed by the revealing of the man of sin and then the gathering or the rapture will take place sometime after those two things.
Tony Combs says:
My wife and I heard a preacher that we both really like say “Its possible young children of Christians may go in the rapture.” We disagree with him and are disappointed by his comments. We agree 100 percent with Pastor Davey. My wife was relieved to read Pastor Davey’s opinion. I said “told ya he’d say that.” Pastor Davey is as solid a Bible scholar as you’ll find. God bless you Pastor Davey!
Rhonda H says:
Since the Bible does not state if babies go to Heaven directly and the Bible is also not open to interpretation, I would be comfortable stating “I don’t know”; “but here are Scriptural references that support that they do”. This is a topic that undoubtedly pulls at our heart strings so we earnestly pray and continue to hope that it is true.
Ken Bobbitt says:
I believe that Jesus had foreknowledge of me before the foundation of the earth was laid . He knows the beginning from the end . His ways are above my ways and His thoughts are above mine . His death was not in vain . Not all children will be raptured .
Junior Boone says:
Since God is the creator of the world and humanity, who are we to question what He will do with those that are left. I’m sure He can take care of everything. This should not even be questioned. Besides if you are one of the elect that is taken you will have no thoughts of those left behind. There are no tears in heaven.
Charlotte Michie says:
Absolutely agree with you. What an awesome God we serve!
Alice Gutierrez says:
I love your response on this issue. Your ministry is such a blessing and your messages are so thorough and inspiring.. This avenue to ask questions is a plus. Thank you!!
Jermaine A.Deese says:
I shared your beliefs according to scripture.!
Cynthia Hicks says:
Oh, Stephen, this is so close to my heart! We have been married for 52 years. We have had all six of our children go to heaven... Our first two were miscarriages. Then we lost a set of twins in my 5th month. A year later we gave birth to a second set of red headed twins. :) I prayed for red hair! :) Our first born lived for two days. They were premies and their lungs were not developed. Our second born. Timothy lived to be 17. He drown trying to save a friend from drowning. We buried the two boys on our 20th Wedding Anniversary. The Lord has given a very strong testimony because of all that happened and has used it to further the kingdom!! I will not let my children die in vain!!! So, in answer to your question I believe Biblically that babies and children go to heaven! Also, I agree with the age of accountability just as you said. What I tell people that have one or multiple losses is that when my Great Lord and Savior comes back in the rapture is that the sky will be filled with babies that never saw the light of day as Job says, aborted babies and all children that have died!! We as Christians will see them as they are reunited with their bodies before those of us who are alive!!! Halleluiah!!! I encourage those people who have suffered great grief! They are all safe with Him and that comforts this mother's heart!! After I see Jesus, hug Him and thank Him I will get to meet my children for the first time! Heaven will be so sweet!! :) :) Cynthia
Timothy Amoroso says:
Yes, children will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the 7 year tribulation begins. In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus uses children to help describe what the kingdom of God is like. Children, though they lack experience, are innocent. Before Adam and Eve fell, they were innocent. So innocence had something to do with us living beyond the grave. For those of us who have trusted in the blood of Jesus for forgiveness and daily cleansing of our consciences, I believe the One who conquered the grave has given us the innocence of life beyond the grave as a free gift. And He did this not because we did anything to earn it. But He gave it to us because His character is grace, love and kindness. We did nothing to earn this gift. We simply trusted in the One who Has the authority to give it, amd to what He promises to do it for us, because it is His will and His desire. If it were not His will to give us eternal life with Jesus for ever, then He would not have allowed His Son to shed His blood for us. But He did shed His blood, not for Himself. He was sinless. He did not need to die for Himself. He shed His blood for you and for me. And He gives it to anyone who will turn from trusting in their own ability to save themselves to Him. And when they do this and trusts in Him instead of themselves to give to them His blood as a free gift, I believe the Lord does what He promises. Only the blood of Jesus can make a sinner clean an worthy to live beyond the grave.
William L Smith says:
My wife, who was taken by our Lord on February 17, 2001, is already in the presence of our Lord WITH our 4 or 5 pre-born babies. I will join them when my Lord takes me home.
David Bacon says:
I know that children of saved patents will be raptured with their parents but that children of unsaved parents will be left behind with their parents. Lot is a type of the rapture, he and his family vwete taken away before God's wrath fell on Sodom but children in Sodom were left behind. Noah is a tpye of the church. He and his family were caught up before God's wrath fell but the children of those who didn't believe were left behind and judged with their parents. When evangelists came to our church when I was a boy, they preached that if we weren't saved we would be left behind at the rapture. I was taught that dancinging was sin. At camp evangelists earned us that if the rapturecame while we were at a dance we would be left behind. We didn't want to sin because we didn't want to be left behind. We did Child evangelism every summer and told the children they would be left behind at the rapture if they didn't receive Jesus into their hearts.
Gerald says:
This thought just popped into my head while listening to a John MacArthur sermon so it’s interesting a poster just mentioned him below.

I’ve pondered about the Rapture for years and wondered how it would impact the world.

I assume most non believers would be excited about getting rid of us annoying Christians and that the numbers raptured may not be as large as we think. But then I thought about the kids and babies of even non believers disappearing, would send the world into a frenzy.
Brionna says:
I’m mentally disabled so I think I will be in the rapture I believe Jesus is my best friend I will see my brother in heaven my mom had miscarriage this gives me something to look forward to I can’t wait
Virginia Bethune Gauthier says:
ALL Children and Teens before the age of psychological maturity (approx early 20's) will be raptured with all the pure in Christ! Now is the time for personal psychological responsibility! Please look into yourself for the truth! Ask God to show you and you will then KNOW!
Hal Stepchuk says:
Well, I’m not saying I’m correct but when looking at scripture, in the time of Noah when God judged the world because of their evil in their hearts continually He only saved Noah and his family in the Ark, and I’m sure there were infants in the world at that time but the flood took everyone away. Lot in sodom and Gomorrah was taken out with his family and then judgement came , I’m sure there must have been children in that city, Pharaoh had a judgement on Egypt of the death of the firstborn of every family while the children of Israel were protected, a few examples I have shared, now I believe that Christian families along with their infants will be raptured as the Word says , believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved and thy house, meaning the family unit of that household. So I don’t see why all the children of the unbelievers of the world would be saved, everyone is born into sin , so no one is innocent, but if the Lord does take all the infants of the world I totally understand that! But according to scripture I have my doubts since only believers are mentioned. But that’s me!
Ken Corley says:
So all pregnant belly’s will go flat and Muslim, Hindi and Other faiths children will join the rapture? Thanks for your answer
Don says:
Actually, the assumption that all children mature morally at the same chronological age is just assumption. Let's look at some things before leaping onto the emotionally drawn bandwagon of theological beliefs.

When Jesus addressed the allowance for children to come unto Him, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven, that is not the same thing as the Kingdom of God. Additionally, Jesus was not addressing some false idea that children were not born in sin, because we were ALL born in sin.

Given that the majority of humankind will end up in the lake of Hell fire, it stands to reason that the majority of all the young children who have died to this day would have rejected Christ had they reached the POINT of accountability in their lives, and so the idea that they will be afforded Heaven regardless of their rejection of Christ had they reached that point, it simply strains at the outer edges of credulity that we can make such a leap without having attempted to kick Christ off His Throne. Therefore the reason for my interjecting some thoughts to get some people thinking before leaping!

If we take what is said about children allegedly being taken in the rapture, what about the children born AFTER the rapture in the midst of the Tribulation? Are they also taken up out of the womb, or right after birth? We're not told one way or the other. Oh, and some have tried to side-step this difficulty by suggesting the Lord will not allow women to get pregnant during the Tribulation. When I ask for a reference, the silence is, as usual, deafening.

So, we must be VERY careful to not make God out to be fickle and schismatic in what we claim is what will happen that is nowhere stated. Jesus, when speaking of the little children, was referring to their character qualities compared to the adults. He said nothing about their salvation simply on the basis of what many call their alleged "innocence" who were born in just as much sin as the rest of us who, apart from Christ, are also worthy of the fires of Hell.