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The Children… left behind?

05-06-2018 - Posted by Andre Piet


In Thessalonians 4:17, Paul speaks about the believers who are “snatched away to meet the Lord in the air”. What about the children of these believers? Will they be left behind to go through the “coming indignation” (1 Thess. 1:10)?


As far as I know there is no part of Scripture that directly answers this question. However, the scriptures do offer us a number of considerations, which shed light on this issue.

All mankind

First, it is good to determine what this question is not about. GOD our Saviour, wants all people to be saved (1 Tim.2:4) and He is also the Saviour of all people (1 Tim. 4:10). Which means: He saves all people, no matter when. But this ultimate universal salvation is not the issue here. The question above, deals only about those who are already allowed to believe and who share in the special salvation of believers. When the trumpet will sound, they will be snatched away and meet the Lord together in the air. That is a specific salvation in which only believers participate in.


The question here is: what happens to the little children of the believers? It is about those who are too small to believe. I am not referring to young unbelievers, but to children who do not yet have a distinction between right and left (Jonah 4:11). Note: these children are therefore not unbelievers, because that term is reserved in Scripture for people who reject the Word (1Cor.14:23). That is not the issue here. We are speaking about ignorant children.

The believer and his house

The principle that we always encounter, throughout all Scripture, is that God saves not only a believing individual, but also his or her home. When the great flood came, Noah and his house escaped (Heb. 11:7). When all the firstborns were killed in Egypt, every Israelite home was brought to safety separately (Ex. 12:3). When the walls of Jericho fell, God saved Rahab with all who had found shelter in her house (Jos. 2:18). Also think of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Before the fire and sulphur rained from heaven, Lot was safely escorted, together with his house.

Indeed, Lot’s wife eventually died, but that was because of disbelief. That too, is an important consideration. Unbelief always blocks the way to salvation. An unbelieving husband or wife is hallowed (= set aside) in his or her believing partner and also enjoys the benefits of the influence of God’s Word (1 Cor.7:14). But the same Paul who teaches the sanctification of the unbelieving partner also makes clear that the unbeliever has not yet been saved (1 Cor.7:16).

Also with Paul

The principle of salvation of a believer along with his house is also seen in Paul’s preaching. To the warden who wanted to take his own life, he said: “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31). So through the faith of the warden, not only he himself was saved, but also his whole household.

What else can we expect for our young children when the Son of God will come from heaven to evacuate us from the coming indignation? Although they still have no consciousness of the Word, would the Lord not bring them to safety? As He always did in the past?