The author asks the question, “What happens to babies born during the millennial reign after the Return of Christ?”
He lays out four options and then attempts to explain from Scripture how each one is extremely problematic for premillennialists who teach that when Jesus returns, He will reign over a global, theocratic kingdom for a thousand years.
- Babies are born and some believe in Christ and are saved, others do not and are damned.
- Babies are born but none of them believe in Christ and they are not saved.
- Babies are born and all of them believe in Christ and are saved.
- No babies are born during the millennial reign.
I will address each one of his arguments, but if the Scriptural claims of the first objection can be answered, the remainder are irrelevant to any case being made against premillennialism.
Let me look at the first one in full,
1. Babies are born and some believe in Christ and are saved, others do not and are damned. The problem with this view is that scripture makes it clear that Christ will not return until all of his people have been brought in.
In 2nd Peter 3, Peter makes the argument that Christ has not returned yet, and that God has not yet judged the Earth because not all of God’s people have been saved, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” God waits until the full number of his people have been gathered.
In Matthew 24:29-31 Jesus says of his own return that he will gather his elect from the entire Earth, “the four winds” North, East, South, West and from one end of Heaven to the other, both those on Earth and those in Heaven will be gathered together upon Christ’s return. All of God’s people will be gathered upon Christ’s return.
Finally, in Romans 11:25 scripture says that “a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” This hardening will end when Christ is reigning from Jerusalem and the temple has been rebuilt. If the hardening of Israel has ended this must mean that the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and if that’s the case, it would appear that no Gentiles will be saved during the millennial reign.
The objection is that ALL the people for whom Christ died will be brought to saving faith and after that last person receives Christ only then will He return. The idea being that once all the elect are brought to salvation the door is shut, as it were, and no person can be added to the number. That would mean no more human beings can be born after Christ’s return, or if they are born, they cannot be saved.
That deals a blow against premillennialism that understands that people are born during the millennium and their offspring will be the rebellious armies that are destroyed after Satan is released at the end of the millennium.
Three passages are presented that allegedly expose the flaws in the premillennial idea that babies are born and can be saved during the millennial reign of Christ. I’ll consider each one.
2 Peter 3. Second Peter is a letter specifically written to warn Christians about the infiltration of false teachers into the local church. Chapter 2 outlines their characteristics and warns believers to be on guard against such individuals.
In chapter 3, Peter reminds his readers that false teachers had always been around causing problems for God’s people. He further explains that false teachers will always continue to plague the church, but Christians are not to worry; their judgment is rapidly approaching. The reason why God is not slow is because He wants His people to be saved, and delays His judgment until all of those he wishes to save will be saved.
Two significant words should be examined. First, is the “coming” mentioned in 3:4 Christ’s actually second coming? In a sense, yes, but given the context of what it is Peter is addressing regarding the influence of false teacher, it is better to take this “coming” as a reference to His certain judgment that finally deals decisively with rebellious unbelievers. That happens at the end of the millennium.
Secondly is the phrase the “Day of the Lord” spoken about in 3:10. It is mistaken to automatically equate it to Christ’s second coming. Again, given the context of Peter describing how false teachers will be dealt with swiftly by God, I take this as being the final judgment of this age at the end of the millennium as described in Revelation 20:7 onward.
Hence, Peter’s words are not prohibiting the idea of babies being born and some saved during the millennium.
Matthew 24:29-31. Contextually in Matthew 24, the word “elect” is a technical description of the Jewish people who will be saved at the coming of Christ, not the “elect” as in all for whom the Father chose in eternity past and for whom Christ died. Taking that the elect spoken about here are exclusively the Jewish people who will be saved after the tribulation rather than ALL of the elect both Jews and Gentiles combined (a position Covenantalists often embrace by default), there is no problem with people being saved during the millennium.
Romans 11:25. It is assumed that the phrase “until the fulness of the gentiles comes in,” means the complete number of all gentiles who will come to salvation. So in other words, Israel’s partial hardening continues until all those gentiles God has chosen to save believe in faith. Once that happens, Christ returns, the Jewish hardening is lifted, and salvation is completed for all of God’s salvific purposes have been fulfilled.
However, the idea of “fulfilled” does not mean quantity, as in the total number of people, but more like quality, as in through Israel’s partial hardening, the gentiles are blessed. That is, gentiles are the recipients of Gospel blessing including salvation. That is what Romans 11:12 suggests when Paul writes, “Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!”
The word “fulfillment” is the same one used in 11:25 regarding the “fulness of the gentiles.” In 11:12, Paul explains that Israel’s rejection of Christ is riches for the world of the gentiles, in that the Gospel goes forth to all men everywhere in the world. If God is currently blessing the gentiles with the Gospel, how much more will He bless the Jews. Romans 11:25 says that happens once God has finished His purposes with the Gentiles.
The fulness of the gentiles being complete doesn’t mean there are no more people who could be born who will be saved. It means that God’s purpose with hardening the Jewish people during this time before the millennial will be completed.
2. Babies are born but none of them believe in Christ and they are not saved.
Citing from Isaiah 65:23-24, the objection states that this could not be an option for premillennialists. If we are to read Isaiah’s words in 65 literally, as well as Zechariah 14 and Micah 4, there has to be babies born during the millennium.
However, I don’t agree with the objection. I believe babies will be born during the millennium. Isaiah, Zechariah, and Micah are only a problem if the passages previously examined under objection 1 were genuinely a problem for the premillennial model, but they are not.
3. Babies are born and all of them believe in Christ and are saved.
As a premillennialist, I am at a lost as to why it is believed that objection is a dilemma for premillennialism. I know of no premillennialist who believes that. Again, it is only an objection if the points under the first argument cannot be answered.
4. No babies are born during the millennial reign.
Here is another point I disagree with as well and I’m left wondering why it is believed it is an objection. The author does appeal to Revelation 19:17-21 and states, “Revelation 19:17-21 describes the total destruction of all unbelievers upon Christ’s return. There will be none of God’s enemies left after Christ returns.” No, Revelation 19:17-21 does not describe the total destruction of ALL unbelievers upon Christ’s return, but the total destruction of ALL of Antichrist’s armies and those aligned with him against the people of the Lord, i.e., Israel.