Wednesday, August 31, 2005purgatory??? in the Bible???
1031 - "The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire." (Roman Catholic Catechism)
"As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come." (St-Gregory the Great on Matthew 12:31)
The "Biblical" foundation for Purgatory. That's what a Romanist would tell you after reading these two quotes. Problem is, of course, the Scriptures in question are only alluded to, and I assure you, there is a reason for that. You see, for 80-90% of Romanists, the fact that the Romanist Catechism and a Romanist "saint" (with the word "Great" in his title no less) both confess that the Scriptures teach a Purgatory is good enough for them. It's when the 10-20% actually look into these "Biblical proofs" that Romanism gets into trouble.
Now we've seen, in my last post, that from the get-go, Purgatory just simply doesn't fit the general teachings of Scripture when it comes to the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, the Bible either contradicts itself, or the "doctrine" of the Purgatory is amiss. The Scriptures cited as "proof" of the existence of the Purgatory are these:
"Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 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 12:31)
"If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1 Corinthians 3:15)
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 1:7)
Okay, let's start with the last Bible passage: 1 Peter 1:7. Go for it my friends, turn to your Bibles and read 1 Peter 1:7. Alright, now read 1 Peter 1:6-7. Now, put your thinking hats on: what is this "fire trial" that is being spoken of in verse 7? Purgatory? Or what verse 6 says, "manifold temptations (or trials)? I don't think I need to add any more.
1 Corinthians 3:15. Read it. Now read 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. What is this "day" in verse 13 in which "every man's work shall be made manifest"? The day the soul dies and enters into Purgatory? Uh... no-oh-oh! The "day in which every man's work becomes manifest" is clearly the day of Judgement, when the Lord will return:
"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God." (1 Corinthians 4:5)
So what is this fire that is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:15? Judgement, my friends, judgement; and more specifically, judgement by the Word of God, which is called a "fire" in the Bible:
"Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD..." (Jeremiah 23:29a)
If you check the context, 1 Corinthians 3:15 is quite easy to understand, and it most certainly isn't teaching anything about a Purgatory. The idea is that all born-again Christians have the Lord Jesus Christ as their foundation. Where Christians differ is in what they build on the foundation. Believers who don't do well in their Christian experience are compared to people who build with wood, stubble and hay, that is cheap, perishable and valueless material. Successful Christians are described as building with gold, silver and precious stones, that is, priceless, durable material of high value.
Finally, Matthew 12:31. There is a WHOLE LOT of confusion with this teaching on the "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit". So take a closer look at what this sin is by reading Matthew 12:22-33. You will see that the Lord ascribes the sin of "blaspheming the Holy Ghost" to the Pharisees after they suggest that the Lord healed a possessed man by the power of Satan. Now understand what the sin actually is here: Jesus heals a demon possessed man... people are amazed... this irks the Pharisees, so rather than giving honour to God for this CLEAR good and holy act (one that cannot possibly come from the powers of darkness), they charge the Lord with using the power of Satan to bring about the healing. They blasphemed the Holy Ghost by attributing His working to the devil.
Let me be clear: NO ONE CAN BLASPHEME THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THIS MANNER IN THE CHURCH AGE. Why? Because the Lord is not physically among us, working wonderful and spectacular miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit. Some of you will now say: "wait a minute Rand, what about this age to come? Doesn't that prove that it is still going on?" The answer: nope, it isn't going on, but IT WILL go on.
"The age that is to come" isn't the church age, nor is it Purgatory. The age that is to come is the Millenial kingdom in which the Lord will, once again, be physically with us, ruling the world in righteousness, working great and wonderful works by, you guessed it, the power of the Holy Ghost (Zachariah 14; Revelation 19:15; Revelation 20:6).
Conclusion: The supposed "Bible proofs" of Purgatory are non-existent; my apologies to Mr. "Gregory Greatness" along with the councils of Florence and Trent. Now, if a Romanist says that Purgatory is the result of Romanist Tradition and only Romanist Tradition... well... they would still be wrong, but they would at least be honest. The problem is, Romanists go with their wicked traditions, and then attempt to read those traditions into the Word of God. This is a grievous sin, and all Romanist who supports such an approach to Scripture is guilty of "adding to Scripture" (Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18).
There is more to come on the topic of Purgatory, so... to be continued in Purgatory - Part 3.
PS: some Romanists (but not many) will use the account of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:20-31) and say that the rich man is in Purgatory, while Lazarus died perfect and escaped the suffering of Purgatory. This, of course is nonsense. Both men were in different sections of Sheol/Hades, not Purgatory. For an explanation of what Sheol/Hades is, check out my post on Hell.