Luke 16: 22 -26
“Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This is the fourth session of the “Hell” sermon series. In the last session, I talked to you about salvation by the Judgment of Conscience.
In the case of those who died without hearing the gospel, it’s not true that they will all fall into Hell just because they did not accept the Lord.
Those among them who had good consciences will be saved according to their conscience. God knows very well the inner heart of each person.
If they had heard the gospel, they would have accepted the Lord and led a good believing life. That is why God saves them.
Another case in which the judgment of conscience is applied is the case of little children who die at very early stages of life and cannot accept the Lord with their will.
In the last session, I spoke to you about the fetuses that are 5 months old or less.
Up to the 5 months, a spirit is not yet given to the fetus, so we cannot talk about their salvation. They are just like animals that have only a body and a soul but without spirit yet, so they will just disappear once their lives are cut off.
But from the 6th month, a spirit is given to the fetus, and the situation now is a little different.
Even though they die as a fetus, its spirit has to go to either Heaven or Hell.
In this session we will continue to learn about the standard of salvation according to age.
By seeing that there are different standards of salvation according to age, we can feel the justice and love of God the Father.
Listening to this message, I hope you will deeply feel the love of God who has opened wide the gate of salvation.
Especially, through this message I hope those parents who have little children will gain more strength for the raising your children.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, going into the 6th month, a spirit is given to a fetus.
The spirit is given, but the fetus cannot understand anything yet. It cannot do anything by its own will.
Therefore, God saves most of these fetuses that die or are aborted at this stage.
Here, I say most of them and not all of them. It is because there are a few that will not be saved.
Such is the case in which they have been conceived with such an exceptionally evil nature that they cannot receive salvation in any way.
If their parents stand against God or accumulated so much evil, that evil nature is passed down to the fetus. But this is a very rare case, and most fetuses that die in the womb will be saved.
But even though they are saved, they cannot go into the heavenly dwelling places that are in the kingdom of heaven.
Because they died even before they were born, they didn’t go through human cultivation on earth.
They will just go to the Upper Grave, and for them, it’s not temporary place to stay.
Even after the Great White Throne Judgment, they will not go into the heavenly kingdom but stay in the Upper Grave forever.
When they go to the Upper Grave right after their physical death, their spirit is like a blank piece of paper with nothing written on it.
So, until the Lord comes back in the air, they will be preserved like fetuses in the Upper Grave, as if they were in their mothers’ wombs. Then, when the believers put on the resurrected body at the time of the second coming of the Lord in the air, these fetuses will also have new bodies that are suitable for their spirits.
Here, the new bodies are spiritual bodies that are different from the physical bodies of this earth.
But their bodies are not the same as the spiritual heavenly bodies like the body of the Lord or the believers who have lived on this earth.
They will have the bodies that will change and grow up.
This body is the body of a little child at first, but it will grow up in a moment to become the body of a grown adult.
But the body does not get old or become like an old man; it will stop growing at the most appropriate time.
Even though their bodies grow up and become like adults, their spirit is still like blank paper.
Thus, they gain the knowledge of the truth while they are staying in the Upper Grave forever, and they will continually fill their blank spirits. If you think of Adam when he was first created and stayed in the Garden of Eden, it will be easier for you to understand.
When Adam was created, he had spirit, soul, and body, but his body was different from the resurrected spiritual body. Also, his spirit was just like a blank sheet of paper.
Because he didn’t have any knowledge, God walked with him and taught him many spiritual things.
Of course, in both of these cases, they didn’t undergo human cultivation on earth, but the souls that died as fetuses are lower than Adam.
It means Adam was created having no evil at all, but the fetuses have the sinful natures inherited from their ancestors.
When I explained about the reason why the Upper Grave has to exist, first I said it was because the Upper Grave is the waiting place for those people who are saved, during the time before they go to the heavenly kingdom.
Also, I said that the Upper Grave is the eternal dwelling place for those souls that cannot go into the heavenly kingdom. The souls of these fetuses will stay in the Upper Grave forever.
The life in the Upper Grave is not unhappy or lacking in anything, but these souls cannot enjoy true happiness that God’s children enjoy who had gone through the process of human cultivation.
I hope you will be thankful once again that you can go through this process of human cultivation and go into the heavenly kingdom.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, next, what is the standard of salvation for babies that are new- born up to 5 years?
The salvation of these babies is usually decided by the faith of their parents, especially by the faith of their mothers.
If the parents have the faith to receive salvation and raise their children in faith properly, the children will receive salvation. But of course, just because the parents do not believe in God, it does not mean that their children will not be saved.
Once again, God’s love is shown to them.
If those babies did not die but had been able to grow up and hear the gospel, God knows whether or not they would have accepted the Lord.
So, the Judgment of Conscience is also applied to them.
But if the parents do not have the faith to receive salvation and the children do not pass the judgment of their conscience, then they will not be saved and they will fall into the Lower Grave.
Though they are little children, they will suffer the horrible punishments of the Lower Grave forever.
I will tell you again later, but those children who died before reaching puberty will not fall into the lake of fire or lake of sulfur even after the Final Judgment.
For them, when they choose their faith, they are influenced by their circumstances more than their own will, and thus God shows compassion for them.
Those parents who have children should keep in mind that they are physically your children, but they are also precious souls.
I hope you will understand what true love for them is and give them the true love, which is spiritual love.
Namely, I hope you will teach them to love God and plant true faith in them.
God will hold you accountable for the salvation of your children. I hope you will understand why through the following case.
It happened a long time ago. A married couple could not have a baby, and they made a vow before God and received prayer. Later they had a baby. But when their child was attending Manmin kindergarten, she died in a traffic accident.
According to what God has let me know, the following was the reason why God took her.
After they had the baby, the couple was leading a faithful Christian life, but as the time went by, their minds changed. They started to distance themselves from God and they even came to doubt that the baby was given by God’s grace.
Because of the parents, the child could not attend Manmin Kindergarten any more. Before, he used to sing only praise songs but he began to sing popular songs of the world. He also began to distance himself from God as well.
Up until that time the child had the faith to receive salvation. But if left that way she was going, she would lose her faith and not receive salvation following the parents.
In this situation, God took his spirit so he could be saved and his parents would also have a chance to repent. I hope you will keep in mind that the current condition of your faith will affect the salvation of your children like this.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, now, what is the standard of salvation for those children from 6 years of age until 12, before the puberty?
From the age of 6 until just before puberty, When they hear the gospel, they have the ability to reason and to understand what they’ve heard. Not all of them, but in most cases at this age, they can choose their own faith with their own will.
Of course, the ages of six and twelve are not a clear-cut ages.
They are just the most general number of years for the ages of most the children.
In fact the physical and mental growth of each child is different from one to another. Here, the important thing is whether or not they can choose their own faith with their own free will.
Usually children from the age of six can accept the gospel within their own sense of reason, and therefore their salvation is decided according to their own faith.
If the faith of the parents is good but they are unable to plant that faith in their child and the child won’t believe, the child will have to fall into Hell.
If the parents are not believers and if the child has not accepted the Lord, then it is very difficult for the child to be saved.
So, the children from the age of six can choose their faith by their freewill.
Nevertheless, what is the reason that there is a distinction between children of this age group and that of maturing young adults?
It’s because the Judgment of Conscience is applied to some of the children before puberty. Although they have reason and willpower to be able to choose their own faith, they are still under the control and influence of their parents.
They cannot really choose something nor do something wholly based on their freewill.
And God considers this kind of situation and He gives another chance of salvation through the Judgment of Conscience.
In 1 Kings Chapter 14, we see an incident demonstrates how precious each soul is to God, even though it is just that of a little child.
Jeroboam, the first king of the northern Israel had a son called Abijah. He became sick.
To find out what would happen to the child, Jeroboam sent his wife to the prophet Ahijah.
God gave His word to Jeroboam. God said that Jeroboam had provoked God to anger by doing more evil than all who were before him and by worshipping idols. Because of this, God would cut off every male person from the house of Jeroboam.
God said Jeroboam’s son, who became ill, would die, but he was going to be saved.
1 Kings 14:13 says, “All Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he alone of Jeroboam’s family will come to the grave, because in him something good was found toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.”
Even though his parents stood against God and his house was cursed, God still saved this child regardless of what his parents had done because the son was good.
Despite the persecutions from her family members, one of the female members of our church led a faithful Christian life from a very young age.
She had infantile paralysis and she had to limp. Nevertheless, she diligently attended church, even though it used to take an hour and a half for her to come.
Not only on Sundays, but she also faithfully attended students’ worship services. After entering a college, she attended a revival meeting with faith. God accepted her faith and the devotions that she had accumulated up until that day when He made her shorter leg become normal.
Likewise, even little children in elementary school are capable of accepting the Lord and receiving the Holy Spirit when they hear the gospel preached.
But in some cases, after they accept the gospel and begin to attend church, their unbelieving parents may stop them from attending church.
God knows the inner heart of these children. When they grow up and are not under the influence of their parents, God knows that they will lead a faithful Christian life.
If these children die while they are under the control of their parents, God lets them receive salvation through the Judgment of Conscience. But those children who have not accepted the Lord and have not passed the judgment of the conscience cannot be saved.
If they grow up a little more and become middle school students, they can choose what they believe to be true regardless of their parents’ influence.
At this age, even though their parents oppose and persecute them, they must be able to keep their faith if they truly believe. It’s because from the age of puberty, salvation is decided solely based upon each one’s faith.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the salvation of very little children, those children who do not really know much, is decided by what kind of persons their parents are and what kind of sinful natures they inherit from their ancestors.
When the ancestors do great evil and worship idols excessively, sometimes their babies are born with mental disorders or mental weaknesses. Some of them become demon-possessed at a very young age.
This is because the descendants are spiritually influenced by their ancestors and parents according to justice.
Deuteronomy 5:9b-10 says, “…for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
Also, 1 Corinthians 7:14 says, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.”
This tells us that if the parents do not lead proper Christian lives, it is difficult for their children to receive salvation.
But what we have to remember is that God never forsakes those who call on the name of the Lord. Even though they are born with such great evil natures, being born to a family that is very evil, God still opens the way of salvation if they earnestly seek the Lord.
Therefore, if we have walls of sins that our ancestors created, we have to repent instead of them to break down those walls and try to live in the truth as best as we can.
It may not be easy in the beginning. But we have to rely on God and hold on to Him.
The God of love certainly responds to those souls who act this way.
But in some cases, babies are born with mental disorders or demon possession because of their ancestors, and they cannot have faith by their own will.
In these cases, their parents and family members have to repent before God and show the kind of deeds of faith to move the heart of God.
If that love is true, the God of love will accept their faith and devotion and open the way of salvation for those children. Therefore, I hope you will remember it is so important for you to live by the word of God not only for yourself but also for your children.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
The power of God the Creator can accomplish the things that cannot be done by men.
If we please this God with faith, even though we were born with much evil in the heart, God can change our heart into a good inner heart. God will then provide us with good dwelling places in heaven and many rewards according to our deeds.
God leads us to salvation with His wide and deep love that cannot be measured by men. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will rely on that love and take hold of better heavenly dwelling places every day.