Fact Or Fiction?
"You, therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father
It stands to reason that since GOD is
perfect, then Heaven has to be a perfect place, and nothing imperfect can enter
(Revelation 21:27). GOD will not join Himself to anything defiled. If a person
dies with sins not sufficient for hell (the sin unto death, 1John 5:16-17), and
has lesser sins to prevent entry into Heaven, then there has to be a third place
in which to atone for them. This would be a temporary place, as stated in
Matthew 5:25-26, "You shall not come out until you have paid the last
Come out of where?
After Adam's sin, the gates of Heaven were closed, and no
one was allowed to enter (John 3:13) until Jesus Christ redeemed the human race
and opened the gates once again. Where were the spirits of Moses and Elias, who
appeared and spoke with Jesus at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:3)? They could
not have been in Heaven since it was closed, and they would have been lost had
they been in hell. They had to have been in a third place. If there was a third
place then, why not a third place now?
What about Lazarus?
He was already dead four days (John 11:17) when Jesus arrived at his tomb. Where
was his soul during those four days? It could not be heaven or hell for the same
reasons as for Moses and Elias.
His soul had to have been in a third
Philippians 2:10 says:
"That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend of those in
Heaven, on earth, and 'under the earth'."
'Under the earth', could it mean hell, or is it a third
Non Catholic theologians struggle trying to reconcile
their denial of the existence of Purgatory with what Paul said in 1Corinthians
"Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold,
silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each man’s work will become manifest;
for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the
fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man
has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s
work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but
only as through fire*."
To whom do these verses refer? Obviously the person is
not in hell, as verse 15 says "himself will be saved". He cannot be in heaven
either as the same verse implies suffering, "as through fire", and there is no
suffering in heaven. These verses say that man will be purified by fire and then
will be saved to enter Heaven. Where will this, "yet as though through
fire", take place if not in a third place called
*The Greek word used for fire is
"pursw" (puroo) of which "pur" is the root
word for Purgatory.
"And who shall be able to think of the day of His coming? And who shall stand to
see Him? For HE IS LIKE A REFINING FIRE, and like the fuller's herb; AND HE
SHALL SIT REFINING AND CLEANSING THE SILVER. AND HE SHALL PURIFY THE SONS OF
LEVI, AND SHALL REFINE THEM AS GOLD, AND AS SILVER, and they shall offer
sacrifices to the Lord in justice."
"...Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be
scattered; and I will turn My hand to the little ones. And they shall be in all
the earth, said the Lord, TWO PARTS IN IT SHALL BE SCATTERED, AND SHALL PERISH,
BUT THE THIRD PART SHALL BE LEFT THEREIN. AND I WILL BRING THE THIRD PART
THROUGH THE FIRE, AND WILL REFINE THEM AS SILVER IS REFINED, AND I WILL TRY THEM
AS GOLD IS TRIED. THEY SHALL CALL ON MY NAME, AND I WILL HEAR THEM. I WILL SAY:
YOU ARE MY PEOPLE. AND THEY SHALL SAY; THE LORD IS MY GOD."
"As silver is tried by fire, and gold in the furnace,
so the Lord tries the hearts."
The metal refiner watches the silver, for if the
process is longer than necessary, the silver will be harmed.
"He shall sit refining and cleansing the silver. And
he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as
HE KNOWS THE PROCESS IS COMPLETE WHEN HE CAN SEE HIS
OWN IMAGE REFLECTED IN THE SILVER.
SAID, "LET US MAKE MANKIND IN OUR IMAGE AND LIKENESS."
"...Woe is me, because I have held my peace; because I am a man of unclean
lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people that has unclean lips, and I have
seen with my eyes the King of the Lord of Hosts. And one of the Seraphims flew
to me, and in his hand was a live coal, which he had taken with the tongs off
the altar. And he touched my mouth and said, 'BEHOLD THIS HAS TOUCHED YOUR LIPS,
AND YOUR INIQUITIES SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY, AND YOUR SIN SHALL BE CLEANSED'."
What can this possibly mean other than a purgation of
sins through fire?
In 1Peter 3:19, Christ preached to the spirits in prison.
What spirits? What prison? We will become pure spirits only after we die, so the
spirits have to be the spirits of the dead. Prison cannot mean Heaven, and souls
in hell are lost forever. Prison must mean a third place.
1Peter 4:6, the Gospel was preached "even to the
dead". Again, where were these dead?
Matthew 12:32, "...but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it
will not be forgiven him either in this world or in the world to come." This
passage alludes to another world in which some sins will be forgiven. What other
world? Again it could not be either Heaven or hell.
Hebrews 12:23, "...and to the Church of the Firstborn who are
enrolled in the heavens, and to GOD, THE JUDGE OF ALL AND TO THE SPIRITS OF THE
JUST MADE PERFECT."
We have already seen
from Revelation 21:27 that nothing imperfect will enter heaven, and in Hebrews
12:23, the spirits of the just are made perfect. Revelation 22:14 shows that
there will be a cleansing before admission to the tree of life and entrance
through the gates of the city. Where will all of this happen if not in a third
"For everyone shall be salted with fire, and every victim
shall be salted."
What fire, but the purification fire of
"But that servant who knew his
masters will, and did not make ready for him and did not act according to his
will, will be beaten with many stripes."
beaten in Heaven? Those in hell are lost, so where will this punishment be
Very strong evidence that a third place exists, is in
"...it is therefore a
holy and wholesome thought to Pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from
If there are only Heaven and hell,
why then does Scripture ask us to pray for the dead? If the dead are in hell,
prayer is useless. If the dead are in Heaven, prayer is not needed. Therefore
there has to be a third place where prayers are needed.
St. Paul prayed for his dead friend Onesiphorus in
"May the Lord grant him to
find mercy from the Lord on that day."
would Paul pray for the dead if he thought his friend to be in heaven or hell
where prayers would help neither?
The greatest torment in Purgatory is to be separated from
GOD for a period of time. Remember, in this life we have five senses, and they
are always a distraction for us when we try to concentrate on things of GOD such
as prayer. After we leave this life, we are spirit and have lost our five
senses. There are no more distractions.
Purgatory should be regarded as a great blessing from
GOD. Even though souls there are in torment, it is only a temporary torment. All
who go there are assured of eventually gaining the Kingdom of Heaven.
It sure beats the third alternative...
The doctrine of Purgatory was defined by the Council of
Florence in 1431,
and was reaffirmed by
the Council of Trent in 1563.
Some Scripture verses for Purgatory:
Sir 7:33, Isa 6:5-7, Isa 61:1, *2Macc 12:38-46, Mal
3:2-3, Mt 5:25-26,48, Mt 17:1-8, Mt 25:31-46, Lk 6:19-31,
Lk 12:58-59, *1Cor
3:12-15, 2Cor 5:10, Eph 6:18, Phil 2:10, 2Tim 1:16-18, Jam 1:12,5:19-20, Heb
9:27, Heb 12:23, 1Pet *1:3-7, 1Pet *3:13-20, *1Pet 4:6, Rev 6:9-10, Rev
What did the Church Fathers and early Church writers have
to say regarding Purgatory?
Here are some
The 'J' numbers refer to
"The Faith of the Early Fathers" by William A. Jurgens.
Tertullian, The Soul 58:1. J352 208AD
Tertullian, The Crown 3:2. J367 211AD
Tertullian, Monogamy 10:1. J382 213AD
Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechet Lecture 23:5:9-10.
Basil, Homilies on the Psalms
Gregory of Nyssa, Sermon on
the Dead, J1061 382AD
Salamis, Against All Heresies 75:8. J1109
Chrysostom, On Phillipians 3:4. J1206
Serapion, The Sacramentary 13L1. J1239a
Augustine, Psalms 37:3. J1467, Sermons 159:1.
Augustine, Genesis Defended
Augustine, Faith and Works
Augustine, City of GOD
21:24:2+. J1776,1780, J1920, J1934
of Arles, Sermons 179:104:2. J2233
I, Dialogues 4:40. J2321
Written by Bob
Stanley, November 17, 1997
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