Within the context of a personal life story the author seeks to provide to the reader a strong foundation of the verification of the Bible doctrine of the age of accountability. Showing by the Scripture evidence that children who are taken from this life by death, and who have not yet come to a point of understanding, which would allow them to be able to choose either good or evil, will go directly into God’s presence.
Does the Bible Support the Doctrine of an Age of Accountability?
This teaching begins with a short story.
I do not rightly recall the year with exactness, it was somewhere around 1997. My daughter Hanna was at the time about 13, maybe 14 years of age. I do not at this time remember the source, but I had obtained a copy of The Peace Child. A book telling the story of how a missionary named Don Richardson with his wife Carol had been used of God to bring the gospel to a stone-age people group in the tropical rain forests of what is now called Papua New Guinea, an island nation found directly north of the nation and continent of Australia. I had been very moved by the story, and as fortune would have it this same Don Richardson was to be the key speaker at a mission’s conference in Fairbanks, Alaska. Since this was only a 300 mile drive away from our home, my daughter Hanna and I determined to invest a weekend to hear what this man had to say. We knew no one at the Church that was hosting the event, but they received us warmly and provided from among their members a place for us to stay for the weekend.
Mr. Richardson began speaking by offering a claim that he believed he could, to the satisfaction of any thinking person prove that the Almighty would at the end of all things be proven to have won not only a moral victory over the evil one, but a quantitative victory as well. Meaning, that not only will the Lord be shown to be pure and true, and the devil absolutely corrupt, but that it will also be shown that far more souls of men have found refuse in the salvation of our Lord then the souls of men who have gone the way of the evil one. He further noted that his claim appeared to be exactly opposite to the words of Yeshua found as a part of Yeshua’ famous “sermon on the mount” recorded in Matthew 7:13-14, which reads as follows. “Enter ye in at the straight gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in there at, because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth to life, and few there be that go in there at.” I must say that Mr. Richardson had my attention. For I was very acquainted with the words of Yeshua found in Matthew 7:13-14, and I was interested to hear the explanation of his claim.
Mr. Richardson then stated a claim that was to be the foundation for the larger assertion that Yehovah would be shown at the end of time to have won the quantitative victory over Satan. This claim being that through the course of human history 60 to 70% of all people who had been conceived in the womb had not lived to the reach an age where their faculties of understanding were developed so that they could be accounted responsible for the very sin that they were born into. Therefore, being held innocent before God at the point of their death, all such would have been, and still are to this day ushered directly into the heavenly glory of the Almighty God our creator. All these souls, by the mercies of God will be shown to have been privileged to have circumvented the rigors that are custom to this natural life. And of course us who have lived any amount of years in this life know very directly the magnitude of evil and pain that can be, and very often is a part of this natural life.
Mr. Richardson was forthright to say that he could provide no clinical proof that as much as 60 to 70% of all human life from the beginning has never lived to what is termed by many as “the age of accountability”, but that the acceptance of these figured would be based on reasoning within the minds of thinking people who have appreciable understanding of the mortality rates that have been common in nations of the world both in regard to miscarriage and infant mortality, before the advent of modern medical and health practice. In fact, even to this day the mortality rate of the preborn and young children throughout the earth is very tremendous. Especially considering how that among “advanced”, and “civilized” nations, abortion steals the lives of multiple millions around the world each year.
Mr. Richardson had my attention. My ears, as it might be said, were all his. I wanted to hear what he had to say, for since my youth I had heard the term “age of accountability” used in Church circles, but I had never been able to provide sufficient Scriptural proof of this teaching. It was not that I did not believe that the very young, because of their innocence went directly into Yehovah’s presence at the point of their death, but yet I could not show it by Scripture, and I wanted to be able to have the confidence of Scripture in this most important issue.
Before we examine the Scripture let us again rehearse the claim that Mr. Richardson offered that day, the same claim that I now am suggesting and promoting to you, the reader. That the Almighty Sovereign will be shown at the end of time, when all the affairs of man are laid out plainly to be judged, to have not only won a moral victory, (Which is to say that He will have been shown to every soul of man to be absolutely good, and the devil, and his influences to be absolutely corrupt) but will be shown to have won the quantitative victory as well, having provided a way for the larger percentage of all human life to, in spite of the sin of mankind to have both an entrance and a continuance in His presence for eternity. This being possible because 60-70% of all human life have not continued in this life to the age of accountability. Therefore, not having to undergo both the rigors and the deceptive temptations of the evil one in this present life. For this Yehovah ought to be praised!
Mr. Richardson then went on to show us a particular Bible verse that was the text of his message. And like what is very common in Scripture the truth that we were searching out was to be found in the text of a story that really has no direct bearing on the particular truth we were seeking to uncover. Isaiah chapter 7 begins with the unfolding of the story of how that the nations of ancient Syria and Northern Israel had joined to form an army that had marched on Jerusalem to overtake it. The prophet Isaiah and his son were sent out by Yehovah to meet the king of Judah who was a descendant of the King David, whose name was Ahaz. Ahaz was given the comfort of the promise that the actions of the two kings of the north would fail. Further the prophet instructed Ahaz to mention anything whatsoever that he may have wished to be accomplished as a sign that Yehovah would protect Jerusalem, exactly has He had promised. Ahaz, felt that it would be tempting the Lord to ask for a sign, so he declined the prophet’s offer. Therefore the prophet, speaking by the Holy Spirit offered his own sign, and that sign was that a virgin would conceive and bring forth a son, and that His name would be called Immanuel. (Which means God with us) This obviously was spoken in regards to the Messiah, Yeshua, the Christ of God. Who some generations later was to be conceived by the seed of the Holy Spirit within the womb of a young woman named Mary who at the time was espoused to a man for marriage, but had yet to join him in physical relations.
As extremely tremendous as the reality of this prophetic prediction and its fulfillment was, and still is, we will leave it and focus on the following statements concerning the child which was the fulfillment of the prophecy. From it we will forge the exhilarating and comforting conclusions pertaining to the doctrine of the age of accountability. Speaking of this child that was to be born of a virgin woman the prophet went on to say, “He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong, and choose the right, But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.” (Isaiah 7: 15-16 NIV) Thus we see in terms that were related to the childhood of Yeshua, the truth that there is an age of innocence in a child’s youth before the child (any child) can come to a place where he has sufficient faculties to discern good from evil and choose the way of good or evil. In regards to the Lord Yeshua this truth is verified by the Scripture in Hebrews 2:10 where it is said that Yeshua (Yeshua is the Hebrew form of Jesus) had to suffer in order to be brought to a place of perfectness. (completion) So if the One who was born of the actual seed of God had to by the love of the truth learn to choose good over evil, how much more the rest of the human family who have each been born into sin. Therefore, concluding that children who die during the innocence of this period of their lives are according to the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:8, ushered into the presence of the Eternal God. For 2 Corinthians 5:8 speaking of the death of one who abides under the mercy of our Lord Yeshua, at the point of death says, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
Praise and exaltation to the Lord who in His mercy has allowed countless millions of the human family to escape the harsh rigors of this present natural life to find an entrance into His presence in that they were at the time of their departure from this life found innocent before Him, not having come to the place of understanding sufficient to choose either good or evil. May He ever be praised for this! May His goodness be recognized among all peoples of the world! May the comfort of this truth be known by all who have lost children, and grieve for the loss of them! Knowing that through the mercy and grace of our Lord Yeshua, the Messiah, they are not lost, but only temporarily separated from those of us who are yet to gain an entrance into the heavenly courts. Who by the atoning properties of His blood which He allowed to be shed upon the Cross, considers all who will receive Him by faith to be acceptable to God. To this God be praise and adoration throughout all eternity. Amen!
An American Watchman,
Gregory A DeHart
Consider: Isaiah 7:1-17, 2 Cor. 1:3, Heb. 6:19, 2 Cor. 5:8, Acts 20:28, Romans 3:25, Romans 5:19, Eph. 1:17, Eph. 2:13, Heb. 13:12,