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Suffer the Children: Part I - Pete Garcia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=7991
Just recently, a friend of mine on Facebook posted an article he put together, disputing the notion that children are taken up in the Rapture. For some reason, that really struck a nerve with me. Normally, he and I agree on about 99.9% of biblical doctrine and issues, so I was a little taken back by this.
Generally, people who hold to either a non-existent age of accountability, or children being left behind at the Rapture, are people who either don’t have kids, or their kids are already grown. Now, he attempted to distinguish between the age of accountability and eternal salvation, and whether children and invalids are left behind at the event known as the ‘catching up’ of the Church. He also used past atrocities to argue that children are not exempt from trials and tribulations in this life.
Agreed. Human history bears that out quite clearly. But, in discussing the events in and around the Tribulation (aka…Daniel’s 70th week), we can be sure that this will not be normal life as we’ve known it on planet earth. In fact, Jesus stated that it will be THE worst period mankind has EVER known. (Matt. 24:21) Also, I thought it a little disingenuous on his part to use past atrocities, since we spend a fair amount of time debunking false eschatologies who also use past atrocities as evidence for the Church enduring the Tribulation, but I digress. I’ve checked around there isn’t a lot of discussion over this, so I thought I would put together my own thoughts pertaining to the subject.
Caveat: These are my opinions. My opinions are formed on taking the totality of scripture, and making a logical assumption based off what we know from Scripture, the character of God, and even human anatomy.
So the way I break this subject down, is in two parts:
Historical Examples of God’s Wrath
There are two judgments that are the most famous examples of God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth. The first is the Noahic Flood, and the second is Sodom and Gomorrah. During the Flood, God destroyed the earth by water, save Noah and his family, eight persons in all. The Flood, which surely wiped out billions of peoples, also would have killed the young and old alike. So why didn’t God preserve them? I think the answer lies in Genesis 6:9-12…
This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
Something happened between Adam and Eve’s fall at the Garden of Eden, and Noah’s Flood. After Adam and Eve sinned, God could have wiped them out, along with the angelic hosts and all of creation, and started anew. But He didn’t. Instead, He clothed them and promised them deliverance somewhere down the line. Satan knew that out of the race of man, One would come who would eventually destroy him, he just didn’t know when. So in an attempt at self-preservation, he (Satan) attempted to corrupt (genetically) mankind, so that One could not come and destroy him.
The Bible is a little vague on the specifics for this 1,600 year time period, but all we know is that since mankind are descendants from Adam, something got into the gene pool that God would not allow to continue. But Noah and family, were not tainted by this. This is why God allowed the children, along with everyone else outside of Noah’s immediate family, to perish. He had to, to ensure the survival of the human race.
Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25 NKJV
The second case, going back to the question Abraham asked the Lord, was “Shall not the Judge of all the earth, do right?” Once Abraham discovered that God was intent on destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, he immediately began pleading on behalf of his nephew Lot, who he knew lived there. And while the result ended up with Sodom and Gomorrah as smoldering heaps, Lot and his family were rescued. Was Lot a righteous man? Peter stated he was, but nothing in the OT would have led you to that conclusion. What we know is, that God rescued him out of that place because it was the right thing to do. (Gen. 19:21-22, 29)
In both cases, the innocent (those children under said age), were innocent bystanders to what had happened around them. And so throughout the rest of the Bible, we see that in certain places, children are killed either through war, human sacrifice (to Baal, Molech, etc.), die of starvation, and generally have it no better than anyone else who has ever lived. Even in our modern culture, where over 50,000,000 of the unborn have been brutally dissected in abortion mills, the most innocent from among us cannot escape the horrors of this world. That is not what is at stake here. Children, like the rest of us, are ALL subject to the reality of this life…as heartbreaking as that can be at times to digest. So before we get to the thought of children being left behind at the Rapture of the Church, let me deep dive first into the ‘age of accountability’ issue.
What We Know
At what age is a person, morally responsible for choosing their own eternal destiny? Here is what we know: