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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Purgatory In The Bible

Christians believed in purgatory before they believed in the Bible. As we don’t see the word ‘Bible’ in an authentic Bible translation, we don’t see the word ‘purgatory’ in the Bible. But the Bible supports its existence.

Purgatory is not a place, but a state of being that we started in baptism and perfected after our death. It is our full transformation in Christ (Rom. 13:14) and perfection in our holiness (1 Pet. 1:16).

As we all know, we are not holy enough to be with God. Unholy things will never enter into heaven, as it is a place of Holy of Holies. But God demands this holiness from us to be with him: “Be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev. 19:2). But we are not totally sinners to go directly to hell – the eternal punishment. Even so-called sinners may have done many good things in their lives, which are to be rewarded. Jesus said, “If you give a cup of water in my name you will be rewarded.” Our good deeds will not be punished in hell and our evil doings will never enter into heaven. So God’s justice and his mercy demand a state of purification that we become worthy to be with our heavenly father.

Biblical Evidences  Of Purgatory

The Old Testament:   
Isa. 6:5-7 – Then Isaiah said, “ Woe to me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips, yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an amber which he had taken with tongs, from the altar. He touched my mouth with it. “See” he said, “Now this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin is purged.” This purging process of human soul is called ‘purgatory’.

When the Lord of Hosts appear in the Day of Judgment, the Bible says, he will open a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness (Zec. 13:1). The nature of that fountain is explained as: In all the land, says the Lord, two third of them shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left. I will bring the one third through fire, and I will refine them as silver is refined, and I will test them as gold is tested.  They shall call upon my name and I will hear them” (Zec. 13:8-9).
Purgatory in the New Testament: 
Mat. 5:26 – Jesus  says, “Amen I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.” Here, Jesus himself shows to us, after death there is a releasing as we pay the last penny.

St. Paul makes a clear statement about purgatory when he calls it ‘the test of fire.’ We are saved ‘as if through fire’ 1 Cor. 3:11-15. “For no one can lay foundation other than the one that is there namely Jesus Christ. If any one builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, the work of each will come to light, for the Day of the Lord will disclose it. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive the wage. But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer the loss; but he will be saved, but only as through fire.”

Jesus taught that our sins could be forgiven in the next world: (Mt. 12:32) “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven;  but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Council of Trent (1545-1563) explained this as “from this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.”

All ancient writers who have seen and heard what the apostles preached believed in Purgatory. From their writings we have the clear evidence of this early Christian faith. Those who defended this doctrine were Tertullian (160 AD), Origen (185 AD), Cyprian (200 AD), Ambrose (340 AD), and many others.

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