Hard questions concerning God and the Bible should not be avoided, but we should be careful how we answer them and about taking an inflexible position.
Often when I am preaching in a conference, we will have an open Q&A session with the audience. And, I've noticed that some questions seem to come up over and over again. One of those questions is:
Will all infants (or those who have not reached an age of accountability) be taken up in the Rapture?
In answer to that question, let me first explain that not ALL things are answered DIRECTLY in the Scriptures. God does not tell us everything about everything and some things we simply will not understand until we meet Him face to face.
Secondly, some doctrines (beliefs about God and the Bible) are absolute and concrete. For instance, the Bible is clear that our salvation is obtained "by grace through faith" and nothing else (Eph. 2:8). That is, through God's unmerited favor towards us and our faith in the complete work of Jesus Christ on the cross to pay our sin debt, we are saved. And NOTHING else can be added to that to "improve" our chances. This is an irrefutable, concrete, absolutely clear doctrine of God's Word.
But the opposite is also true... There are some things that we simply CANNOT know. For instance, "What prompted God to create man in the first place, if in His omniscience He knew that man would sin against Him and that it would require the death of His only begotten Son to redeem man?" For answers to these kinds of questions, we will just have to wait until we see our Lord face to face, and then He can answer them for us.
So, there are some things we CAN know absolutely for sure from what we have in the Bible. But for other things, we do not have an answer, even with what the Bible tells us.
But then, there are some things that fall in between these two extremes. Although we may not have an absolute and direct answer in the Bible, there IS related information given to us that INDIRECTLY leads us to an answer. But on such questions, we must be very careful to NOT be dogmatic because it is certainly possible that we have misunderstood something and it has led us to a wrong conclusion.
The question about infants being taken in the Rapture falls in this last category. There is some INDIRECTLY related information in the Bible that leads us to an answer, but we will not be dogmatic about that answer. Some points that should be noted are as follows:
1. Above everything else, we must remember that our God is a God of love, compassion, and perfect justice.
So, whatever He does with regard to the small children at the time of the Rapture WILL BE PERFECT.
2. Jesus LOVES the little children.
As the children's song goes, "They are precious in His sight." Once when He was thronged by people who were bringing their children to Him so that He might bless them, His disciples tried to push them away. "But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:16) In other words, the "childlike faith" that children have in their parents is what God requires from all of His children... simple faith in Christ Jesus.
ALL little children who die before reaching an age of understanding their accountability to God, are most certainly taken to Heaven.
Even though we are all born in sin because of Adam's sin, this only means that every person needs the regeneration that our Lord offers. It does not mean that we will answer for Adam's sin. Every person answers for their own sin if it is not covered by the blood of Christ through God's saving grace. Parents don't answer for their children's sin and children do not answer for their parents' sin. This is not to say that the children do not suffer consequences from the sin of their parents. But in God's day of judgement, each person will answer only for himself and none other. Just because your parents are Christians, that does not mean you are saved!
With that said, children who have not reached an age of accountability and therefore, have not sinned, are taken quickly into the loving arms of Jesus if they die at that tender age. Do they deserve salvation just because they died young? No. That's why it's called GRACE. King David knew this when his infant son died and he said, "I shall go to him [in Heaven], but he shall not return to me." (2 Sam. 12:23)
BUT... death and missing the Rapture are two entirely different things! Death is the final time that determines one's eternal destiny. Small children who miss the Rapture will still have the opportunity for salvation during the Tribulation. And, if they should die in the Tribulation before reaching the age of accountability, then they will surely be whisked away to Heaven, even as infants who die now during the Church Age.
God designed the human family unit.
By His design, it is made up of one man and one woman who are committed to one another for life. And, obviously, children born into that union come under the care and responsibility of the parents. THIS is a family. The parents are charged with the responsibility to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). How could they do this if the parents are separated from the children in the Rapture? The answer is that they could not.
Concerning the husband and wife, Jesus said,
"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder [take apart]." The marriage union is to be "undividable". So, one must ask... "If God is so adamant about the inseparable union of the husband and the wife, why would He not be just as adamant about not separating the children from their parents until they reach that age when they join their own mate in marriage or go out to start their own life?" The answer is that He is. The union in the family unit of parents and children is not to be broken until the children reach an adult age where they are ready to start their own life without the oversight of their parents or when they join in marriage to another to begin their own family.
The reason I'm bringing this up is because it does not make sense that God would rapture the Christian parents and leave the innocent child behind to face the terrors of the Tribulation, ripping the Christian family apart... the family that He designed and put together. Likewise, neither would He take an infant from its parents, even if they are not saved. Even as unsaved people, they still are responsible for their children and should
"train up a child in the way he should go" (Prov. 22:6).
In prophetic typology, God gives us some more indirect information about this question
When God saved Noah from the flood, He also saved his sons and their wives. But He did NOT save all the infant children of Noah's day.
When God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, He not only saved Lot, but his family (even though his wife later disobeyed God's commandments and was turned into a pillar of salt). But again, when God decided to judge those two wicked cities, He saved Lot and his family, but did not save all the little children there. They suffered right along with their wicked parents.
Certainly, it can be argued that Noah and Lot's children were adults who had already committed t
heir lives to God and that's why they were saved from the judgement. But the point is that God's desire is to not break the family apart, even in a time of judgement.
6. When we are seeking the truth of God's Word, we must not allow "sentimentalism" or any other factor to determine that truth. We must stand upon the truths of the Bible ONLY without interference from other feelings. This may sound harsh and "unChristian", but it is not. God knows what is best in ALL circumstances and will do it.
History has shown that when a nation suffers judgement, the little children suffer right along with the parents. When God judged Judah by using the Babylonians to destroy them and carry them into captivity, there were, no doubt, many small children who suffered indescribable agony. When God judged the Egyptians for not allowing the Israelites to leave, He did it by killing their first born son. If that son happen to be only one month old, he still died. When God led the people of Israel to conquer the Caananites and other people groups, He instructed them to kill every man, woman, and child. (Josh. 10:30-40)
What may offend our sensibilities is not what should determine where we stand on doctrinal issues. The truth is that even though God DOES love the little children, He has allowed them to suffer horribly throughout history, usually because of the sins of their parents.
So, at the Rapture, it appears from all that we've said, that the small children of Christians who have not reached the age of accountability will be raptured along with their believing parent(s). 1 Cor. 7:14 indicates that the children in a family where at least one parent is saved are "set apart" and "holy" because of their believing parent.
However, not ALL the infants of the world will be raptured. The small children of unbelievers will be left behind and hopefully, will come to salvation
when they later understand their need for it. Or, if they should die before they reach that age of understanding, they will go immediately to Heaven.