Do Babies Go to Heaven?
By Peter Salemi
“But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:23)
The scripture above proves according to most fundamentalist Christians that there is an immortal soul and that babies go to heaven!
There are certain views that children who die before the age of accountability, that is, before they are old enough to be morally responsible for their own actions go to heaven when they die. They base this on the following Scriptures. First, Isaiah 7:16 speaks of an age before a child is morally accountable, namely, “before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good.” So when David spoke of going to be with his son who died after birth (2 Sam. 12:23), he implied that those who die in infancy go to heaven. But is that really what the scriptures are telling us?
No Where does the Bible Promise Heaven!
It’s amazing that this belief is universal of dying and going to heaven, yet you cannot find that belief in the Bible! The Bible speaks of a resurrection which King David did believe in (Psalm 16:10). The Psalms also say that when a man dies he is unconscious, “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (146:4).
The Hebrews, including King David believed that people went to their graves, and that the grave was a place of silence, and that no one can praise the Lord (see Psalm 6:5; Psalm 30:9; Psalm 88:11; Psalm 115:17). The Bible makes it clear that people who die are not in heaven but in the grave unconscious and silent. Solomon wrote, “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten…Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun…for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Eccl 5:5, 6, 10).
Even in the New Testament, the Apostles make it clear where exactly King David was at that time, and this is after the resurrection of Christ, “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day….For David is not ascended into the heavens:” (Acts 2:29, 34). King David was Not in Heaven, but dead and buried in Jerusalem! This is the belief of the early apostles and the ancient Hebrews, that a person, when he or she dies regardless of age is asleep unconscious in the grave awaiting the resurrection which takes place at the second coming of Jesus Christ (1 Thess 4:16-17; 1 Corinth 15:23, 51-52; Rev 20:4-6).
What Did King David Mean?
After the death of his son, King David said, “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” (2 Sam 12:23). What did he mean by “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”? Or as, “paraphrased very correctly by Clericus: 'I shall go to the dead, the dead will not come to me.'” (K&D Commentary)
The fundamentalist preachers just say that “he meant that he will see him in heaven when he dies!” But this belief is just implied, not proven in the Bible! The Bible does not promise heaven, but the Kingdom of God on earth is the inheritance, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5).
Notice that the same verse says the child was “dead”! Earlier it says, “But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.” (v.19). What happens at death? “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psalm146:4). God says, “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen 3:19). The grave in the earth is man’s RETURN! And Bullinger plainly puts it, this phrase, “On the use of this Figure of speech Euphemy (App-6) as denoting death and burial” (emphasis added).
The Place of our “Fathers”
The place people go is to the grave, also called the place of our father’s, notice, “And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.” (Gen 15:15).
“Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.” (2 Kings 22:20). The Keil and Deiltzsch commentary states the meaning plainly as, “To gather to his fathers means merely to let him die, and is generally applied to a peaceful death upon a sick-bed, like the synonymous phrase, to lie with one's fathers;” (emphasis added). The fathers were dead in their graves, and the living that were about to die were going to the same place as their ancestors- the grave, as Solomon said plainly, “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” (Eccl 3:20). The place of their fathers and the grave are one and the same place!
This is the place that King David’s son was when he died. He was dead and buried in his gave-the same place as his “fathers”. Now David said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” David’s son was in his grave, the same place as his “Father’s” and David was going to the same place at death!
Years before David died he knew exactly where he was going at death because God told him; God said, “And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired [death] that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.” (1 Chron 17:11; 2 Sam 7:12). This is the place he was to go to at death, and it’s the same place his son was, and David went to the same place as his son-the grave!
Notice what the Bible says about the death of David: “So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.” (1 Kings 2:10). This phrase is used over and over again in the Bible! The Hebrew word is “Shâkab' A primitive root; to lie down (for rest, sexual connection, decease or any other purpose): - X at all, cast down, ([over-]) lay (self) (down), (make to) lie (down, down to sleep, still, with), lodge, ravish, take rest, sleep, stay.” (Strong’s #7901).
David “slept” with his fathers. David was a sleep! Dead is in his grave awaiting the resurrection (Acts 2:29; 34). David went to the place where is dead son was, the place of all their dead ancestors-the grave, and one day when Jesus comes they will be united once again, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinth 15:51-53). Thank God!
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