9

In reference to following passages

  • Matthew 19:14

But Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and do not forbid them to come to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

  • Mark 10:14

But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Allow the children to come to Me; do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

  • Luke 18:16

But Jesus called for the little ones, saying, “Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

from a certain perspective it's possible to see Jesus saying that little children go to heaven but it could be that Jesus is just pointing to a specific type of person.

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  • 1
    1 Cor 7:14 is a Bible verse that might offer some light on this issue. Nov 25 '20 at 12:16
  • Shouldn’t the title say “if they die”? “when they die” sounds like a normal occurrence, doesn’t it? Like a special curse was put on children. Nov 27 '20 at 23:22
  • @Constantthin curious you're making that observation. Personally I don't feel that way but if it makes you more comfortable you're welcome to edit (if my vote counts in it you'd have it). Nov 27 '20 at 23:56
5

In Matt 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16, Jesus is not discussing, nor does He even have in mind anything about what happens to the dead, especially dead children.

Rather, Jesus is discussing at least three imperatives:

  • The kingdom of heaven belongs to children by inheritance, and -
  • Adults who wish to become citizens of the kingdom of heaven must have the trusting, loving character of a child.
  • Adults must not hinder children who are drawn to Jesus.

Ellicott says (on Matt 19:14):

Of such is the kingdom of heaven.—That is, the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these, is theirs as by inheritance.

Barnes is more detailed:

Of such is the kingdom of heaven - The kingdom of heaven evidently means here the church. See the notes at Matthew 3:2. In Mark and Luke it is said he immediately added, "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter therein." Whosoever shall not be humble, unambitious, and docile, shall not be a true follower of Christ or a member of his kingdom. Of such as these - that is, of persons with such tempers as these - is the church to be composed. He does not say of those infants, but of such persons as resemble them, or are like them in temper, is the kingdom of heaven made up. As emblematic, therefore, of what his own followers were to be, and as having traits of character so strongly resembling what he required in his followers, it was proper that they should be brought to him. At the same time, it was proper on their own account that they should be brought to him, and that his blessing should be sought on them.

The Cambridge commentary is more succinct:

  1. of such is the kingdom of heaven] Love, simplicity of faith, innocence, and above all, humility, are the ideal characteristics of little children, and of the subjects of the kingdom.
2
  • I personally like how you've answered, focusing only in these particular passages and their context (it showed again your experience contributing valuably to the hermeneutics community). I think the answer though fails to address the question of "Do babies go to heaven when they die?". Nov 25 '20 at 13:04
  • @TiagoMartinsPeres李大仁 - the reason I did not address that question is because it is not addressed in the texts of the OP and so cannot be answered from them. 1 Cor 15:35-55 and 1 Thess 4:16, 17 suggest something else and so should be the subject of another question.
    – Dottard
    Nov 25 '20 at 19:57
3

Do babies go to heaven when they die?

In short, the answer is "NO"

Luke 12:31-33 NASB

31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be [b]provided to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father has chosen to give you the kingdom. 33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor does a moth destroy.

You made them kingdom priest and will reign upon the earth. "Children could not be made priests."

1/ In the scriptures we read that God has selected some humans to become spirit creatures as part of his heavenly Kingdom, but they would not be little children at the time of their death.

​Revelation 5:9-10 (NASB)

9 And they *sang a new song, saying,“Worthy are You to take the scroll and to break its seals; for You were slaughtered, and You purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation.10 You have made them into a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth.”

"Little flock" (Luke 12:32) --Tried and tested followers of Christ will go to heaven

2/ Those who go to heaven will be tried and tested followers of Christ. This means that babies or young children, who have not been fully tested during years of Christian service, will not be taken to heaven.

Matthew 16:24 (NASB) Discipleship Is Costly

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.

However, such young ones who have not been fully tested during years of Christian service, will not be taken to heaven, however, they have the hope of being raised to life on earth. (John 5:28, 29) So the total number who go to heaven will be small when compared with the many who will receive life on earth under Kingdom rule. Jesus told his disciples:

Luke 12:32 (NASB)

32 Do not be afraid, little flock, because your Father has chosen to give you the kingdom.

The Bible shows that the “little flock” is made up of 144.000 humans purchase from the earth.

Revelation 14:3 (NASB)

3 And they *sang [a]a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one was able to learn the song except the 144,000 who had been purchased from the earth.

Jesus said to his faithful disciples "You have stood with me in my trials" , children could not.

3/ During the night of the last Passover with his faithful apostles and after Jesus had set up the Lord’s Supper, he said to them:

Luke 22:28-30 (NASB)

28 “You are the ones who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Individuals privileged to receive a resurrection from the dead are spoken of as “children of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36); also those who are joint heirs with Christ are “the children by the promise” (Romans 9:8) or children “of the free woman” (Galatians 4:31). All those desiring to attain life in the Kingdom of heaven must display the childlike qualities of humility, receptiveness, and trust. (Mt 18:2-4) Men and women who strive to obey God by manifesting the light of truth in their lives are described as “obedient children” and as “children of light.”​1Peter 1:14; Ephesians 5:8.

2

In some Portuguese translations, like Almeida Revista e Corrigida 2009 (ARC), it's very evident that the little ones go to the kingdom of heaven from the mentioned passages. For instance, Matthew 19:14 states

Jesus, porém, disse: Deixai os pequeninos e não os estorveis de vir a mim, porque dos tais é o Reino dos céus.

Yet, in a more literal version (even in Portuguese, like Bíblia Para Todos Edição Comum (BPT)), the evidence isn't as clear - just like in NASB.


We know that although sin entered into the world from Adam (doctrine of federal headship), Paul at the end of Romans 5 is clear in showing that we die for our sin and not for Adam's sin (doctrine of individual culpability), as referenced here. Also, we know that the law doesn't save and also doesn't remove salvation, it only condemns an act (by Law, if a son would curse his parents, he'd be put to death (Leviticus 20:9), yet that doesn't mean he was / wasn't saved (in fact many people that died and breached the law are saved, through faith in the God of the law which is Christ)). So if one wants to go from here, an answer to "Do babies have faith in God?" or "Does God want them to go to heaven?" would have to be given and these are not hermeneutics questions.

From Romans 1:20,

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse

there's space for a baby to be part of a group that did not "clearly perceive" the works of the Father due to their innocence (which could be the trait spoken of in OPs passages). This could remove the "Do babies have faith in God?" question from the table.

Then there's 2 Samuel 12:23

But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I am going to him, but he will not return to me.

where it looks like David was certain he'd meet his son; and the idea that only David’s son would have that privilege... there is no backing for that.

Personally I'm also not visualizing a God, given His character shown throughout Scriptures to be capable of sending babies to hell.

So, I'd say that based on these points, babies go to heaven because God wants them to go to heaven.

1

The key to understand what Jesus said is embedded in the phrase “to such as these.” and this phrase indicates the use of “analogy”. In Matthew 18:3-4 Jesus taught saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” It is written in Proverbs 20:11 saying, “ Even a child is known by his deeds, wether what he does is pure and right.” One can learn a deep spiritual lesson by carefully observing the behavior of little children/babies. God bless everyone searching the truth.

1

God commanded Saul to kill children and infants.

1 Samuel 15:3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'"

Why?

1 Samuel 15:18 and sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go and devote to destruction the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you have wiped them out.'

Because they were sinful. Not all these children will go to heaven.

Jesus in the gospels was showing the gracious side of God but you have to take the whole Bible in the balance of views.

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  • Hi Simon Bar-Jonah, welcome. If you clarify "how does that answer the question?" that'd be great Nov 25 '20 at 8:16
  • Do you have any references to support your arguement?
    – Dottard
    Nov 28 '20 at 23:16
0

Children here mean believers or the followers of Jesus. That is, those that have repented and accepted the faith of Christ. Matt 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

-1

Jesus says that children go to heaven in Matthew 18:1-14.

It is important to note that the kingdom of heaven, is heaven.

The kingdom of God, is anywhere that God's will is done (Matthew 12:22-28 & Matthew 6:10)

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  • «Jesus says that children go to heaven in Matthew 18:1-14.», where exactly? Nov 23 '20 at 9:13
  • Greetings John. Your answer here would benefit with more specific reference to the verses you cite in support. In particular, your key assertion that the Kingdom of Heaven is Heaven needs support. The parable of the wheat and tares has Satan sowing ‘seed’ in the Kingdom of Heaven. And in explaining that parable, Matthew 13:38, Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven is (in) the world.
    – Dave
    Nov 23 '20 at 18:45
  • I downvoted this because it is a comment and not an answer.
    – Bagpipes
    Jan 22 at 12:52

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