It is heartbreaking to consider the heinous lives that children will live in the Tribulation. I can scarcely think on it.
Life has always been difficult for society's most vulnerable. From even the beginning, the vast distance of time, children were sacrificed to Molech or to Aztec gods...made slaves...sold, given away. In the US in the 1800s Jacob Riis exposed the terrible child labor of kids working in dark factories and the awful societal conditions they lived in. Even today children are exposed to those same conditions, sold in Thailand, slaves in Indonesia, aborted in China...
|Jacob Riis photo: Children sleeping in Mulberry Street (1890)|
It is supposed by many (me included) that unborn and children who are too young to to make a conscious decision for Jesus that the Lord will take them in the rapture. However, the Tribulation is 7 years long and others will be born afterward.
In warning the disciples about the Great Tribulation which begins as the antichrist tears up the peace treaty and begins his persecution of the Jews by standing in the Temple declaring himself to be God, Jesus says there will be babies and toddlers on earth at that time:
Matthew 24:19: "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!"
He also said that as it was in the time just before Noah entered the ark it will be similar on earth before He comes a second time to Judge it:
Matthew 24:38: For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
And if they are marrying then it is presumed that progeny will result. So there will be kids.
The second question becomes, then, why? Why will God allow babies to be born into such dangerous times? Well, as mentioned earlier, times have always been dangerous for children: When Herod sought to maintain his kingship, hearing the Wise Men tell of a new king, Herod killed every male child in the nation under the age of two. (Mt 2:16-18)
Egypt's Pharaoh sought to kill all the firstborn boys of Israel, which was a nation within his nation by that time. (Exodus 1:17)
In Lamentations 4:10, women in the besieged city cooked and ate their own children.
Though the Tribulation will be a time of unequalled distress on the earth, for all of man's history, children have been at times a disposable commodity. It will be no different in the future. That is the nature of sin on a cursed and dying world- the vulnerable are at most risk.
We can answer the question of why will God allow the children to be born into the Tribulation period three additional ways. First the practical way:
There will be people left alive at the end of the Tribulation to enter the Millennium. The saved enter it, but are unglorified, real flesh and blood people. Those who make it through will live during the 1000 years. Isaiah 65:10 says that anyone who dies at age 100 in that time will be thought of as a child and if they are still a sinner they will be forever cursed. People will live a long time and they will repopulate the earth. Additionally, all those entering the Millennium as a child and those who are born during the Millennium will be given opportunity to become saved. The resurrected saints of Israel who live in the Kingdom will not be able to procreate because they will be glorified. So that is the practical reason. Repopulation.
Secondly, at the end of that time, there will be a short rebellion. The bible doesn't say much about how people are saved in the Millennium, but God in His grace and mercy will give everyone a choice, to accept Him or reject Him. At the end of the 1000 years, satan (who had been locked up in the abyss since the end of the Tribulation) is let out to do his worst among the Millennium people who are living at that time. (Rev 20:1-3)
When satan is let out, though the people have been living on a perfect earth with a perfect Jesus ruling and reigning, they still have a flesh nature and some will succumb to satan's schemes. Rev 20:7-10 shows us:
"Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
In His longsuffering, the people, babies, and children who enter the Millennium, and their progeny who come after them, but are not glorified, are given opportunity to accept Christ as savior. Perhaps though we are not told in the bible exactly how they are saved we can surely see that the children are given an opportunity to grow up and to magnify His glory by coming to Him as a sinner seeking forgiveness- as any person throughout time has had the chance to do. In the Millennium their salvation would be even more glorious because Jesus will be visible as the High Priest! (Hebrews 7:11-13; Psalm 110:4). He is the better priest! Though there will be sin in the Millennium there will NOT be any false religion, because satan is locked up, and Jesus is present on earth. All the children who grow up in the Millennium will know only truth as their religion.
Imagine what it would be like for a 6 year old, born during the Tribulation and never knowing goodness or peace or Light, and then growing up in the Millennium with Jesus as their God and Savior in person on earth! THAT would surely glorify Him! And perhaps the darker side is the ones who reject Him in the Millennium demonstrate to others how powerful a sin nature is and why it must be dealt with so harshly. But even this shows His glory because it shows His holiness.
Third, God is good. He is the very definition of Good. Everything He does is good. He is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all. So for whatever reason He is choosing to allow children to be born into a time of the worst suffering on earth there shall ever be or will be again, (Mt 24:21) it is Good, because everything He does is good. We just have to wait and see.