What is the meaning of limbo?


Limbo is the supposed abode of the souls of unbaptized infants and of the righteous who died before Christ’s first coming. This doctrine is not found or taught in the Bible. It is merely a religious tradition that has been adopted by the Catholic Church. Medieval theologians described the underworld as divided into four distinct parts: Hell of the Damned, Purgatory, Limbo of the Fathers or Patriarchs, and Limbo of the Infants.

The truth is that people do not go to heaven, hell, or limbo at death. The Bible teaches that the dead simply wait in their graves for the Resurrection when they will receive their rewards or punishments: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12; Matthew 16:27). Jesus will have judged everyone by the time He comes again and will bless His followers with life and liberty and put away sin and unrepentant sinners.

The state of our wait in the grave upon death is what the Bible calls “sleep” (John 11:11, 14; Daniel 12:2; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 15:18; Psalms 13:3). The dead will sleep in their graves (Daniel 12:2) until the great day of the Lord at the end of the world. “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep” (Job 14:12).

In death, humans are totally unconscious with no activity or knowledge of any kind. “The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun”; “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10). Also, David the prophet stated that the dead will not even praise the Lord because they are simply unconscious (Psalms 115:17).

At the resurrection day, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, … and the dead in Christ shall rise … and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). And “We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, … and the dead shall be raised incorruptible. … For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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