What happens to babies when they die?
There's no doubt that the death of a baby or young, innocent child is a devastating occurrence, but it's amazing how many believers see it as a "punishment from God", or some other "carnal" viewpoint. The bottom line is, we must remember that life on this earth is only temporary; we are not guaranteed years, months, or even days. If, as adults, we're "saved", then we have nothing to worry about because we know that we will end up with Yahweh throughout eternity! But, what happens to babies and little children who have not yet had the chance to accept Yeshua as Messiah?
Let's start at the beginning:
In Genesis 3 we learn that sin entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, and Romans 5 reiterates this:
Romans 5: 12. As by means of one man, sin entered into the world; and, by means of sin, death; and so death passed upon all the sons of men inasmuch as they all have sinned....(AENT)
Notice we aren't told that we are automatically sinners from the womb. We are, however, prone to sin as we grow, and that's where our problems begin.
The theology of "total depravity" uses the above verse to whip up the condemnation. John Calvin, of Catholic background, used the above verse to laden souls with condemnation and guilt in order to blackmail them into becoming his followers. A strategy of the religious is to create copious amounts of guilt, then sell religious solutions and pardons. Mashiyach brought the knowledge of Yahweh's love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness to mankind; He didn't minister condemnation, but taught the nature of the carnal man versus the spiritual man. False religion keeps people in perpetual guilt, in order to sell their theological solutions. Yahweh's Torah provides instruction in righteousness; when a person realizes that sin brings death they want to become free of sin. If and when His people "miss the mark" it's because they have not been properly trained up....
The thing is, nobody sins in the womb, and babies are incapable of sinning against Yahweh until they're old enough to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Therefore, if a baby or young child dies, he/she will not be condemned to hell. According to Torah, YHWH never even considered accountable anyone under the age of 20 because, until then, they are basically still under their parents' care, learning how to become proper, God-fearing Torah observant adults:
Exodus 30: 14 Everyone over twenty years of age who is subject to the census is to give this offering to ADONAI... (CJB)
Exodus 38: 26 This was a beka per person, that is, half a shekel [one-fifth of an ounce], using the sanctuary shekel, for everyone twenty years old or older counted in the census, 603,550 men. (CJB)
Leviticus 27: 3 ...the value you are to assign to a man between the ages of twenty and sixty years is to be fifty shekels of silver [one-and-a-quarter pounds], with the sanctuary shekel being the standard...(CJB)
Leviticus 27: 5 If it is a child five to twenty years old, assign a value of twenty shekels for a boy and ten for a girl; (CJB)
Numbers 1: 3 ...twenty years old and over who are subject to military service in Isra'el. You and Aharon are to enumerate them company by company. (CJB)
Numbers 1: 18 ...and, on the first day of the second month, they gathered the whole assembly to state their genealogies by families and clans and recorded the names of all those twenty years old and over, as well as their total numbers. (CJB)
As you can see by the scriptures above, Torah reveals whenever census was taken, children didn't count until a certain age. Today, we have "bat and bar mitzvahs" (translated as daughters and sons of the Law) for boys and girls who turn 13, because they are now old enough to understand Torah. In other words, they become accountable for their actions and will be treated more like adults. Tiny babies and toddlers and little children don't have the capability to understand YHWH or Torah, and are not held accountable until they are old enough to understand. So, the little ones, are considered innocent. If they die before reaching the age of accountability, they will get to be in eternity with YHWH!
So, it's a safe bet that babies and small children who die, will ultimately end up in "heaven"/eternity with YHWH. I say "ultimately" because nobody that we know of, except for Yeshua, has ever gone to heaven (see the Gospels). According to the Scriptures, ONLY YESHUA is sitting at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). Some would argue that Enoch and Elijah went to heaven (Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11), but we know of no other "rapture" since the day Yeshua died when there was a great earthquake and some dead believers "resurrected" (Matthew 27:50-53).
By the way, "heaven" is a complex term that we really don't know much about. Shemayim (heaven) is a plural form, as is "Elohim" - which means there is more than just one aspect to "heaven." The "third heaven" for instance, is a reference to the future judgment hall or throne of the "Ancient of Days" as mentioned in Daniel 7.
But, according to the Scriptures, only Yeshua is sitting at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3), which indicates that NO other believers have yet gone to "that part" of heaven. This will happen after the thousand year reign of Yeshua, on Judgment Day during a time when YHWH will give us a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:13, Isaiah 65:17, Isaiah 66:22, Luke 18:30; Revelation 21:1-5). At that time, all the righteous who have ever died will join Yahweh in eternity, and all the unrighteous/unbelievers who have ever died will end up eternally separated from God.
Yeshua will rule and reign for a thousand years, at which time there will be the resurrection of ALL (those who became believers during the Millennium, and all the DEAD unbelievers since the beginning of time who had heretofore remained in their graves). (See Isaiah 13:6,9; Jeremiah 46:10; Joel 1:15; 2:11; Amos 5:18; Obadiah 1:15, Revelation 20:1-15 and Acts 24:15). This will happen at what is described as Jacob's Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7; 2 Peter 3:10-12).
Those who reject Him will be cast off into nothingness forever. It will be as though they never existed, while believers will live forever with YHWH throughout eternity. Although the wicked will end up in hell for a period, they will suffer consciously for their individual sins so that they may know and ponder what they have brought upon themselves: The eternal death of soul and body; the eternal loss of immortality.
Revelation 20: 12. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is (the book) of life. And the dead were judged from the things written in the books, according to their deeds. 13. And the sea gave up the dead in it; and death and Sheol gave up the dead in them. And they were judged, each one according to his deeds. 14. And death and Sheol were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, (namely,) this lake of fire. 15. And if any one was not found enrolled in the book of life, he was cast into this lake of fire.
Revelation 21: 5. And He who sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. And he said: Write; because these are the faithful and true Words of Elohim. 6. And he said to me: I am Alap and the Taw, the Beginning and the Completion: to him who thirsts, will I give of the fountain of living water, freely. 7. He that overcomes will inherit these things; and I will be his Elohim, and he will be my son. 8. But to the timid and the unbelieving, and to the sinful and polluted, and to manslayers and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and to all false persons, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
Back to the subject of babies:
Revelation 20:11-15 indicates that all of the unsaved are resurrected to appear before the Great White Throne, and twice it is stresses that each will be judged according to their works. Therefore, it is doubtful that young infants and small children are included in this evaluation. What evil works have a six- month old baby or a two-year-old committed?
We know that Yeshua Mashiyach had a tender and compassionate heart for the little children and was much displeased when His disciples were hindering them from coming to Him (Mark 10:13-14).
And Job believed Yahweh could redeem him and the still-born or miscarried child:
Job 3: 16 Or I could have been like a hidden, miscarried child that never saw light. 17 "There the wicked cease their raging, there the weary are at rest, (Stern's)
Job 19: 25 "But I know that my Redeemer lives, that in the end he will rise on the dust; (Stern's)
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived believed that babies who die experience the blessedness of Yahweh's paradise:
Ecclesiastes 6: 3 Suppose a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that he has a long life, but he fails to enjoy himself; then, even if he were to [live indefinitely and therefore] never be buried, I say that it would be better to be born dead. 4 For the arrival of a stillborn baby is a futile thing, and its departure is in darkness; its name is [forgotten,] covered in darkness; 5 and although it has never seen or known the sun, it is more content than he is, 6 without enjoying himself, even if he were to live a thousand years twice over. Doesn't everyone go to the same place? (Stern's)
The baby that dies has a better existence after death than a full grown man who rejects God while living and then dies!
Yeshua HaMashiyach who loved and blessed the little children said:
Matthew 19: 14. and said to them, Allow the children to come to me, and do not hinder them, for of those who are like these is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Aramaic English New Testament)
Mark 10: 14. And Y'shua saw it and was offended and he said to them, Allow the children to come to me and do not hinder them. For because of those who are as these, the Kingdom of Elohim exists. 15. Truly I say to you, that anyone who does not receive the Kingdom of Elohim like a child, will not enter it. (AENT)
Luke 18: 16. But Y'shua called them and said to them, Allow the little children to come to me and do not hinder them, for because those that are as there, theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 17. Truly I say to you, that he who does not receive the Kingdom of Elohim as a child will not enter it. (AENT)
Matthew 18: 14. Likewise, your Father who is in heaven does not wish that any of these little ones should perish. (AENT)
It is clear that Yahweh does not desire to damn an innocent baby or child to hell. There is no record of Yeshua blessing unbelievers in the New Testament. There is no place in the Gospel where the He blesses the cursed or the damned. Many of the blessed that enter the Kingdom of God are redeemed infants and children, redeemed by the grace of God. No place in Scripture teaches infant damnation; little ones are incapable of judging between the right or wrong, or perceiving the consequences for their actions.
Babies go to heaven because Yahweh our God is gracious and merciful. Once the babies/children are resurrected during the White Throne Judgment, they will no longer be babies/children; they will, like everyone else, have their "eternal bodies" - what those look like; no one knows. There is no procreation in heaven; consequently no children:
Mark 12: 25. For when they rise from the dead, they do not marry women, nor are women given in marriage to men. Rather, they are like the Messengers who are in heaven.
(Angels/Messengers do not procreate. They are created beings, and never do we hear of them being children or childlike. Therefore, we must assume that everyone in heaven is in adult form.)