Will the innocent babies that Herod killed be saved?


The massacre of the innocent babies ordered by Herod, as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, is a haunting and tragic event that has left many pondering the fate of these innocent victims. The Scripture offers insights into the character of God and His redemptive plan for humanity. In this exploration, we will delve into the biblical narrative surrounding Herod’s massacre, consider theological perspectives on the fate of the innocent, and reflect on the justice and mercy of God in the face of such senseless violence.

The Slaughter of the Innocents by Herod

The Gospel of Matthew recounts the horrific events surrounding Herod’s attempt to eliminate the infant Jesus, whom he perceived as a threat to his reign. In Matthew 2:16-18 (NKJV), we read of Herod’s ruthless decree: “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.'”

1. The Significance of Herod’s Action

Herod’s massacre of the innocent babies holds profound theological significance within the narrative of Jesus’ birth and infancy. It underscores the radical opposition of the powers of darkness to the redemptive purposes of God and serves as a foreshadowing of the ultimate conflict between good and evil, culminating in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

2. Fulfillment of Prophecy

The massacre of the innocent babies also fulfills Old Testament prophecy, as referenced in Matthew 2:17-18. The quotation from Jeremiah 31:15 speaks of Rachel, the mother of Israel, weeping inconsolably for her children who have been taken away. This imagery of lamentation and mourning reflects the profound grief and anguish experienced by the families of the victims in Bethlehem and its surrounding districts.

Perspectives on Salvation

The question of the eternal destiny of the innocent babies slaughtered by Herod has been a subject of theological debate and reflection throughout history. While Scripture offers insights into the character of God and His redemptive plan for humanity.

1. God’s Justice and Mercy

Central to the Christian understanding of God is the belief in His justice and mercy. While Scripture affirms the reality of divine judgment for sin, it also portrays God as compassionate and gracious, desiring the salvation of all people. In Ezekiel 18:23 (NKJV), we read of God’s declaration: “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”

2. The Age of Accountability

One theological perspective posits that God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, takes into account the innocence and vulnerability of young children who are unable to understand the implications of sin. This concept, often referred to as the “age of accountability,” suggests that God extends His grace and mercy to those who die in infancy or early childhood, welcoming them into His eternal kingdom based on His foreknowledge of their innocence and incapacity for moral responsibility.

The Fate of the Innocent Babies

In the face of the senseless violence perpetrated by Herod, believers find hope and comfort in God’s redemptive plan for humanity. The Scripture assures us of God’s sovereignty and compassion, inviting us to trust in His wisdom and goodness even in the midst of suffering and injustice.

1. Jeremiah 31:15-17: The Hope of Reuniting

“Thus says the Lord: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” 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 31:15-17).

The Lord, in the above verses, gives hope to the mothers of the babies that were killed by Herod. While this passage refers to the return of the exiles from captivity, it also refers to that time of the Resurrection from the dead, the time of the “restitution of all things” at the second coming of Christ (Acts 3:21). This promise can also inspire hope and comfort to any modern Rachel in Israel, that if she is faithful to the Lord, that her little children, who have been attacked by death, will come to life on resurrection morning.

The Bible teaches that children before the age of accountability are sanctified by their believing parents. “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy” (1 Corinthians 7:14). Parents need to dedicate their children to the Lord and raise them in His path. The seeds they saw will have eternal consequence in the lives of their children. But when children grow and are able to make their own decisions, they will be judged according to their own choices.

2. Romans 8:28: God Works All Things for Good

Romans 8:28 (NKJV) offers a profound assurance to believers: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” While we may struggle to understand the reasons behind tragic events such as the massacre of the innocent babies, we can trust that God is working all things together for His redemptive purposes, ultimately bringing about good from even the darkest circumstances.

3. Revelation 21:4: God Will Wipe Away Every Tear

In the book of Revelation, we are given a glimpse of the future hope that awaits believers: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4, NKJV). This promise of a future restoration and renewal underscores the ultimate victory of God over sin, death, and evil, bringing comfort and consolation to those who have suffered loss and grief.

Conclusion: Trusting in God’s Justice and Mercy

In conclusion, the massacre of the innocent babies by Herod stands as a stark reminder of the reality of human sin and the depths of evil that exist in the world. Believers find hope and assurance in the justice and mercy of God, trusting that He will ultimately bring about redemption and restoration for all who have suffered. As we reflect on this tragic event, may we cling to the promise of God’s faithfulness and look forward with eager anticipation to the day when He will wipe away every tear and make all things new.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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