Limbo is a place or state of rest where souls go who have not been baptized, and who have died without the stain of mortal sin.
In the understanding of the ‘location’ of this place, it is best to consider it as one of the five places on earth. These places in order of descent are:
1. Heaven, where God, Holy Trinity dwells, along with the Archangels, angels, and saints who have died in the state of Grace – that is without mortal sins.
2. Earth, the surface on which we now live.
3. Limbo, and area under the surface where the un-baptized souls now dwell.
4. Purgatory, the place where souls who have died, and whose sins have been forgiven, dwell for a period of time while they make restitution for their offences against God.
5. Hell, where the souls of the dammed will remain for all eternity.
All non-Christians do not believe in Limbo or Purgatory. The majority of Protestants also do not believe, while some of the Episcopal and Anglicans sects do believe. The Orthodox and Coptic Christians believe in Limbo and Purgatory.
The word ‘Limbo’ comes from the Latin ‘limbus,’ meaning the edge or boundary. While this ‘edge’ is often considered as referring to the ‘edge’ of Hell by the early fathers of the Church, I would prefer to consider it as to the ‘edge’ of the earth. The light in Limbo is not full daylight nor night, but as sort of dawn or dusk type of twilight.
Is Limbo an eternal state? I answer with a definite: ‘No.’ Why do I say this? Jesus said: “In My Father’s house there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you, because I go to prepare a place for you. And if I shall go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am, you also may be” (Jn 14:2,3). This house of ‘many mansions’ includes Heaven, earth where His Kingdom shall come, Limbo where He will come and take them to Himself, and Purgatory where He will take them to Himself after they have fulfilled ‘all justice,’ as Jesus said to John the Baptist: “For so it becomes us to fulfil all justice” (Mt 3:15).
It is true that the majority of souls who go to Limbo are the un-baptized children. Are they there forever and denied the beatific vision of God? Of course not. Jesus said: “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to Me, for the Kingdom of Heaven is for such” (Mt 19:14). What is the meaning of ‘forbid them not’? I will deal with this shortly as part of the next category of souls.
In Limbo are hundreds of millions of un-baptized souls who never heard of Jesus and His Gospel, as well as so many good people who never committed mortal sin, who looked after his fellow man, and was of no religion whatsoever, or one of the non-Christian religions. He did good in his life, was charitable in word and in deed, and cared for his family. Does he go to Hell for all eternity? Of course not! All the souls there are given a full mature ‘body’ so that the helpless infant and the aged person have a likeness in thought and activity. They are neither senile or infantile.
Before the advent of the soon to happen ‘Battle of the Ages,’ Christ will descend into Limbo as He did after His death and before His visible resurrection (1P 3:19), and will preach to the those souls, instructing them on the full history of creation, His coming as man through the immaculate womb of the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary, His life, Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. He will give His offer of Salvation to them, and tell them of the events to happen on the earth until the end of time when the Devil, Antichrist and False Prophet will be sent into the eternal flames of Hell.
Since God has given to His creature ‘man’ the choice of free-will, so too these souls in Limbo will be given the choice of joining in the ‘Battle’ with the side of their choice, thus fulfilling what Jesus said. ‘forbid them not to come to Me.’ They will be baptized and Limbo will be emptied and then closed forever. It is then that the Battle of all Ages will be fought and concluded.
As a side-note, when the souls in Purgatory are released from the time of suffering their restitution, they too will be released to join in the battle on earth, and will see the defeat of all evil, and the final victory of Good. By the end of the Great Tribulation, Purgatory like Limbo, will have been emptied of all the souls, and will be closed forever, leaving only the two eternal places, Heaven and Hell. No one living creature will have been rewarded or condemned without having been given and made a free-will choice and all justice will have been fulfilled.