Problem

Striking all the children dead

Revelation 2:23 - And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Deuteronomy 24:16 - The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
Joshua 7:24 - And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.

According to God, children should not be punished for the sins of their fathers. According to Christian teaching, God is the ultimate standard of righteousness and morality (He is holy) by which we must live. God's righteousness exceeds ours.

How is it then, that David's child was killed for his father's disobedience, Jezebel's children were killed apparently for her disobedience, the Moabites were punished for their ancestors disobedience, Achan's family was killed for his disobedience, and God regularly destroyed innocent children because their parents were wicked (Psalms 137:9)?


Solution

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In Joshua 7:24 there was culpability of the whole family because they knew Achan hid all his stuff in their tent. In Revelation 2:23 is not about actual "children" but rather spin-off churches.

Because of Adam's sin all human beings are subject to a fleshly death, even babies, despite having innocent souls. So the answer is, no, Deuteronomy 24:16 applies to men, it doesn't apply to God's dealings with men. Many children die as a consequence of their father's sins.

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This has been a question I have had for a long time as well..... I didn't understand how Deut 24:16 fit with God's judgment on the children of men. I think the answer is in rightly dividing the word. According to the word we are all under the judgment of death because of our father’s (Adam) sin.

Romans 5:12-14 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

But at the last judgment, the Great White Throne, we are told that we will be judged by our own works and not another’s.

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

It looks as though the first death is because of the sins of the Father, but the second death (Rev 20:14) will be only because of our own sins. When cross referenced with Rev 20:12, Deut 24:16 not only makes since, it is a sobering reminder of the real death that awaits those who died in their sin. Jesus has been given authority to execute judgment. He will give life to all that are in the graves, they will all be brought up and stand before judgment (John 5:25-28). John Lennon sang, Imagine there’s no heaven, but John the apostle said he didn’t need to imagine it, he has seen it (“… from whose face the heaven and earth fled away…” Rev20:11). And when he saw it, the dead small and great were standing before God, and were judged according to their own works and couldn’t hide behind their father’s sin, or the tendencies of their nature, but their own deeds.

The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

I disagree that this “does not apply to God’s dealing with men” ….. I think it helps us to remember exactly how He is going to deal with men.

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