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Purgatory

Q. What is purgatory?
Q. Why do you believe in Purgatory?
Q. What proof do you have of the existence of Purgatory?

By "proof" it is assumed that the questioner is asking "where in the Bible does it say." No one can "prove" the existence of anything, including even the existence of God or of heaven, if the person requesting the "proof" has already hardened their heart to the answer. In order to believe, the gift of faith must be present in the individual.

The word "purgatory" doesn't appear anywhere in Holy Scripture, neither do the words "trinity," "catholic," "protestant," nor "incarnation" but this fact doesn't preclude their existence. Catholic doctrine, based on our Jewish origins, is that at the moment of our death our soul, if perfect, goes straight to heaven; if not quite perfect, it goes to purgatory; if totally imperfect, it goes straight to hell. The concept of purgatory is certainly shown in Holy Scripture, so let's take a look at a few of the words of Jesus:

"And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." (Matthew 12:32, KJV)

"Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou has paid the uttermost farthing." (Matthew 5:26, KJV)

Both of these passages imply that some sins, not forgiven in this world, will be forgiven in the world to come. Is this "world to come" only heaven (the place of eternal joy) or is it possible that there is a place of purification (purgation) as well; a place where the uttermost farthing is paid? Again, let's look at a place in Holy Scripture where heaven is described:

"Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27, NIV)

Even if we have the smallest unrepented sin upon our soul, we are impure, defiled and cannot go straight to heaven. That is because this unrepented sin is a refection of our pride, a lack of total dedication to God. It may be the smallest of all sins, but it still constitutes a stain upon our soul. So how do we get rid of it once we have passed into the "world to come?"

"No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will

be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." (1 Corinthians 3:11-15, NIV)

"For our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:29; Deuteronomy 4:24, KJV)

These verses tell us that upon our judgement, a purification takes place and that God does the purification. That which is unsuitable for heaven is consumed so that only that which is pure remains. Since at the moment of our death we pass from "this world" into the "world to come," this purification must take place in a place other than heaven. We call this place "purgatory," the place of purification. How long does this purification take? No one knows since when we leave "this world" we enter into the world where time has no domain, the Eternal Now.

Recommended reading:

  • ●  Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1030-1032

  • ●  Rumble, Rev. Dr. Leslie & Carty, Rev. Charles Mortimer, Radio Replies, First Volume, TAN Books & Publishers,

    Rockford, IL 61105, 1979, paragraphs 951-969

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