Herod and the Killing of the Babies in Bethlehem
Many believe that babies that die will go to heaven on the basis of the story that was recorded in Matthew 2:16-18 which says, “Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” This story tells that king Herod ordered the slaying of all the male babies in Bethlehem that were two years old or younger to get rid of the coming Messiah.
The Prophecy of Jeremiah
Jeremiah the prophet foretold of this tragic event saying, “Thus says the Lord: “Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future, says the Lord, that your children shall come back to their own border” (Jeremiah 31:16, 17).
Primarily, the above prophecy refers to the return of the exiles from captivity. Secondarily it refers to that time when restoration will be permanent, the time of the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21) at the second coming of Christ. Thus, the promises found in Jeremiah 31:16- 17, may well give assurance to any modern Rachel in Israel, that if she is faithful to the Lord, her babies who have been claimed by death will be restored to her by the great Life-giver on the Resurrection Day.
God’s Love for the Infants
Jesus certainly made clear His love for the children when He said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14; also Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16). And the verse in Jeremiah 1:5 also provides insight about God’s plans for babies: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
The Lord loves all babies and He clearly has a purpose in the creation of each one. And we can fully trust our babies to His infinite love because He gave His life to save them. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is no greater love than this (John 15:13).
In His service,