Praying ("Paying") For The Dead
Tragically, in recent times purgatory has become more well known and accepted among catholics than Hell. The latter is very much a horrifying Biblical reality for those who die without receiving Christ as their own personal Saviour, and the former is just sheer pagan nonsense. One can only wonder with grave concern how many people have perished by being misled and deceived into believing in this temporary and conditional torture chamber for 'unworthy' catholics, when they really should have been mindful and focused on avoiding eternal Hell at all costs.
Before I commence this article on what is, quite possibly, Rome's cruellest and most sadistic doctrine, I will allow the catholic church to define for itself what they believe purgatory to be, taken directly from their church's official catechism of 1994:
"All who die in God's grace [meaning the faithful catholic] and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation [only if they receive 'the last rites,' another false concept]; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven" (p. 235).
The word of God tells us in the verses below, as plainly as possible, how Jesus has already purged us of our sins. So, the above statement is not only blasphemous, but also devoid of even being considered worthy of acceptance or examination by the faithful Bible believer. For the sake of this article, however, and for the many who remain painfully led astray, we must examine it:
"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they" (Hebrews 1:3-4).
Now, in case you missed it, Jesus has by Himself already purged our sins by dying on the cross. That means He has covered all of our filthy and vile sins by His own precious and divine blood. What more therefore is needed for one's salvation? Absolutely nothing whatsoever! Just believe on Him (meaning receive His payment for your sins), and then trust in Him to be your substitutionary sin bearer.
Tragically, however, the Jesus of the church of Constantine is unable to save catholics to the uttermost, which means they need to 'atone' for themselves upon death, whereas the Jesus of the Holy Bible has totally destroyed death and sin and has victoriously and graciously granted everlasting life to His true Church!
(Because the catholic church believes in venial sins, i.e., small and sometimes forgotten sins, and because they believe in what is called infused righteousness, meaning that when a child or adult gets baptized their salvation process commences, the burden of responsibility to be saved rests entirely on the individual, not on the finished work of Christ on the cross. To achieve this impossible task, catholics must faithfully persevere in doing good deeds and trying to live holy through mass attendance, regular confession, etc., all the days of their life, in order to work towards ('earn') their own salvation. Of course, this means they (like Muslims) never have any assurance of salvation, and the already worn-down and crippled catholic is thus hindered from ever receiving the free gift of everlasting life. To put such an enormous burden on the 'faithful' catholic naturally causes emotional and mental problems for the already paralysed catholic, as they seek to 'try and assist' the Jesus of the church of Rome to save them.)
Along with their self-flagellating attempts to 'make it to heaven' by their own 'good works' and 'self-denial,' we are also offered the following banal statement concerning what one must do in order to avoid Hell from their 1994 catechism:
"Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren" (p. 236).
This, of course, is their humanistic justice and peace gospel, and as such, results in man doing 'his best' to appease God with the hope of ending up 'earning' his place in Heaven.
I would also like to quote A Catholic Dictionary from St. John's Seminary, Wonersh, 1960, for further insight into their beliefs on purgatory:
"Theologians, then, tell us that souls after death are cleansed from the stain of their venial sins by turning with fervent love to God and by detestation of those offences which marred, though they did not entirely destroy, their union with Him" (p. 688).
Two sections of this startling quote which I have bolded are of grave concern to me. First, their acceptance that they glean their information from "theologians," and not the word of God. This is a major flaw in their church system, for they do exactly what the Pharisees did in Jesus' day, by mixing manmade tradition with truth, which results in heresy and damnable doctrines leading ignorant sinners to Hell.
Second, they give the clear impression that the person suffering in purgatory (a doctrine with no credible Biblical support whatsoever) is somehow able and complicit 'by turning with fervent love to God.' Nonetheless, no explanation is ever given of how a dead person being 'purged' in purgatory is able to do such a thing.
The catholic system continues to offer more alarming pain and grief to the already tortured catholic:
"The souls in purgatory suffer the pain of loss-i.e. are in anguish, because their past sins exclude them for a season from the sight of God, and they understand in a degree previously impossible the infinite bliss from which they are excluded and the foulness of the least offence against the God who has created and redeemed them" (p. 688.)
When one methodically dissects the bad fruit of Roman Catholicism, one is left with the awful reality that catholics have absolutely no hope whatsoever of making it to Heaven, even if they die in a 'state of grace.' For they will still need to undergo severe and prolonged purging by the god of their church, before they can eventually be considered 'worthy' to enter eternal bliss.
In fact, a quick reading of Luke 23:43 shows that the dying thief on the cross simply believed on Jesus to save him from his sins and was immediately promised by the Saviour of the world, "To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
There is no mention of him needing to be purged from his many sins, and you can be sure he had many! And there is no mention of him needing to be baptized or confirmed by the local priest. He simply reached out in faith to Jesus and received His total and unconditional forgiveness of sins. No works or church membership required!
In fact, please allow me to cite the following miserable quote by Johann Tetzel, a catholic Dominican, on another heresy, namely indulgences, from around the time of the Council of Trent:
"I have saved more souls by my indulgences than the apostle [Peter] by his sermons…at the very instant that the money rattles at the bottom of the chest the soul escapes from purgatory and flies liberated to heaven" (D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation, Vol. 1, p. 241-242).
Clearly, humility is one commodity this good gentleman lacked!
But let us continue on with the subject in hand.
Pope Gregory I is officially credited with conjuring up this heretical doctrine of people having to suffer in a type of temporary hell before they would be 'worthy' and 'ready' to enter Heaven, which he called purgatory. The Council of Florence later ratified this by making it official doctrine in 1439 AD.
Some of the early church leaders, which Martin Luther justifiably called 'church babies,' also held to this 'halfway' house between Heaven and Hell for those guilty of 'unconfessed sins'. So, here we have another good reason why the early church leaders and their writings and opinions must always be read and checked clearly and carefully with Holy Scripture, never the other way around!
More on them and their 'views' later!
"Saint" Gertrude was also tainted by this perverted theology:
“Even if He [Christ] were to grant me in this state a free entrance into Heaven, I would not accept it; for all resplendent as I look to your eyes, I know that I am not yet a fit spouse for my Lord."
While this muddled and confused thinking may be considered 'awe-inspiring' by those ignorant of Scripture, it unfortunately demonstrates just how far catholics have misunderstood atonement, justification and sanctification. And it must be stated that nobody in their natural state will ever be fit to meet the Lord Jesus. One will only be saved and made fit to look into the eyes of the Lord Jesus by their faith in Him alone. And only by an imputed righteousness is God's wrath and holiness satisfied. All who choose to be “pious” and reject Christ's one-off imputed righteousness to repentant sinners by seeking to trust in their own good works or some Mormon-style concept of a 'second chance' after death are disregarding and dishonouring Christ's effectual and everlasting atonement, in essence rejecting Him and His finished work on the cross, which naturally will result in their eternal damnation in Hell:
"For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14).
In fact, before I move on, please see part of the transcript from my Hebrews Bible commentary on this piece of Holy Writ:
"Go to John 19. Again, you need to have all these Scriptures in mind when you look at the atonement of Christ, and if you go to John 19, verse 30, it says, "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." That is a completed action on the part of the substitutionary Saviour. It is finished. No need to go to mass, no need to go through your catechism or your church rituals or your common prayer book or your 39 Articles of Faith or any of these extra-biblical rituals. The Bible says, "It is finished." You come to Him, you trust Him to save you, and He will save you."
Simon Fish, a contemporary of William Tyndale, offered his thoughts on the heresy of purgatory:
"There is not one word spoken of it in all Holy Scripture, and also if the Pope with his pardons may for money deliver one soul hence, he may deliver him as well without money: if he may deliver one, he may deliver a thousand: if he may deliver a thousand, he may deliver them all; and so destroy purgatory: and then he is a cruel tyrant, without all charity, if he keep them there in prison and in pain, till men will give him money."
No wiser words on the subject of purgatory have perhaps been uttered than those from Simon Fish. Yet this form of lucrative income was very much welcomed by the financiers in Rome, such as Jan Breu the Elder, who once said:
"As the penny in the casket rings, the soul from Purgatory springs."
During the dark ages the catholic clergy would even 'sing' about such filthy lucre!
God of course would say the following:
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Timothy 6:10).
Such wicked Scripture twisting within Rome causes millions of ignorant catholics immense grief (my own late grandmother would often say how she hoped her husband was now out of purgatory.) One's only hope for their loved ones’ release from such a bogus place is to pay their priest to say masses for them, providing they have enough funds to give to the priest!
Patrick recalls witnessing people queuing up after mass to stuff £10 and £20 notes into the priest's pocket to say masses for their loved ones. The priest's pocket quickly filled up so much that notes started to fall to the ground!
And yet, if one takes the time to seriously consider exactly what the catholic priest is promising the deceived and ignorant catholic, the only conclusion one ends up coming to is how the priest is either a magician or a god, for without him, the catholic, whether dead or alive, cannot enter Heaven upon death!
Of course, for catholics who still believe in this nonsensical fairy tale of purgatory, one of the main fears for them is how long will they/their deceased relatives have to burn there for?
A former catholic priest recalled an occasion when a female parishioner asked him how long her late husband would be in purgatory. The priest added he didn't know. The lady asked him if the pope would know, for he had power and authority over Heaven, Earth, and Hell when he wore his 'triple tiara.' The priest thought about it, and realised for the first time in his life, the absolute folly of this man-made doctrine. For if the pope could release tormented souls from purgatory, which his church believed he could do, why didn't he? He left the priesthood soon after this and went on to become a Bible-believing Christian.
And yet, amazingly, according to catholic 'tradition,' the vicar general of the Dominican order has now been in purgatory for over 500 years!
One wonders, therefore, what hope does the average catholic have? If somebody so senior and special as the vicar general is still burning in the heat of purgatory, or the late pope John Paul II also pleaded with his fellow Poles in 2002 to pray for him before his death in 2005, then is it any surprise why so many catholics turn to alcohol for release from this needless, horrendous and most cruel of doctrines?
(The late pope was made a 'saint' by the current pope earlier this year, which as far as catholics are concerned, means he has now 'escaped' the flames of purgatory. No doubt, all the masses and all the money that passed hands did the 'trick' for him. In fact, one wonders what type of sins such a 'holy' man as him must have committed in the first place to warrant a stay in purgatory for nine long steaming years? But this is a most serious subject, for only God can made repentant sinners saints, and that happens automatically when a sinner receives the new birth the moment they believe in Jesus Christ to save them.)
Sadly, I have been informed by Bible-believing nurses how dying catholics are amongst the most tortured type of patient, for they not only have never been allowed to have any assurance of salvation from their church, but many of them tragically die screaming, confused, and petrified as to where they will go after death!
How different and unnecessary this suffering could have been if only they had been told by their priests that the Lord Jesus Christ has already paid for their past, present and future sins. And that by being born again through belief on Him and in Him they could have known they were saved and would have died happy, rejoicing, and care-free.
Of course, the two main reasons why the false catholic hierarchy retains this fictitious compartment is a) money, for it provides a most vibrant income stream for their church system and b) it allows the clergy to control the laity from cradle to grave!
Catholics are also taught that if they read their Bibles 15 minutes a day, they will be given three hundred days, 'per read,' off in purgatory.
Such a terrible abuse of power within their priest-craft system is almost on par with the prevalent and endemic child sex abuse culture and subsequent cover-ups that remain so rampant! And yet, Rome acknowledges that the verses they try to use to 'prove' this moneymaking scheme are vague!
In fact, in addition to mutilating at least two New Testament Scriptures, which I will get to shortly, they rely almost exclusively on spurious non-inspired Jewish books, to keep their congregations in bondage to their Baal priesthood.
The first Scripture which they cite is Matthew 5:23-24:
"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."
Please permit me to once again share my commentary, but this time from the Gospel of Matthew in reference to the above Scripture:
"Temple. This has no application whatsoever to a saved man or woman today, and you cannot use this to argue for purgatory as catholics have done because here you, singular, were told to bring your gift, singular, to the altar, the Jewish Temple. If you are in purgatory, how can you do your "penance"? How can you, singular, do anything? You can't. This is speaking to the Jews from the Jewish Messiah about being reconciled to their brother, their fellow Jew or fellow sister before they come to the Temple to offer the Lord Himself your gift. Again, it has no real application to the saved party apart from a spiritual application. In other words, don't come to the Lord, don't do what you do, if you have sin in your life, if you haven't forgiven a brother or sister in the Lord, because He won't hear you. You are temporarily out of fellowship with the Lord. But if you confess your sins, according to 1 John, He is faithful and just to forgive you of all of your sins and to cleanse you of all your unrighteousness - Scripture with Scripture."
The next part of Matthew 5:26 is further cited by catholics as 'justification' for purgatory:
"Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."
Any may I share more of my transcript from this gospel:
"This, once again, is quoted by the catholics, but you can't cite this because you are told in 25 to quickly agree with your adversary; otherwise, you'll be cast into prison. How can you do so when you are dead in purgatory being purged? You can't."
And another Scripture they like to cite is 1 Corinthians 3:12-15:
"Now if any man build upon this foundation [Christ] gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it [at the Judgment Seat of Christ], because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon [faithfully], he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned [unfaithfully], he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
The words in bold are highlighted to explain that a person who builds upon Christ (i.e., after one has been placed in Christ), will produce works. Some people will produce more works than others, and some people’s works will be based on the flesh, i.e., church buildings and ministries, which were never inspired of God, compared to others who faithfully followed Christ, and as such, receive a reward(s).
On top of this, sins of omission and sins of commission will no doubt be judged by the Judge of all judges to determine what rewards and privileges, if any, will be granted to the saved sinner, at the commencement of the Millennium.
Ultimately, what Paul is speaking about is one's works being tested/examined at the Judgment Seat of Christ, not the Great White Throne Judgment. And if found wanting, such works will be burned in the fire, not the person.
The above Scripture, therefore, is most certainly not speaking about purgatory. Plain and simple!
In conclusion to this pernicious doctrine of devils, when the famous Jewish teacher, Gamaliel (who had taught the apostle Paul Judaism) was dying, he was so distraught about where God would send him, that he succumbed to believing in this mystical place called purgatory or limbo. Of course, it was not called 'purgatory' or 'limbo' at that time.
Maybe he consulted 2 Maccabees, a spurious and non-inspired Jewish book. There certainly was an abundance of fictitious writings around during his time that he and his contemporaries would have had access to. And yet Judas Maccabee was very much a guerrilla-style fighter, not only fighting injustices of his day, but also falling into the same trap as those apostate Jews did in the book of Judges.
So, whatever he wrote and stated, unless it lines up completely with the Bible, remains unorthodox and reminiscent of the last verse from Judges:
"In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
Therefore, one really shouldn't be too surprised if Rome has to scratch around from antiquity to desperately justify their doctrine of purgatory.
Once again, this is why it is paramount to always test one's writings and theories in the light of Scripture, never the other way around!
One also cannot help but wonder if Gamaliel's rejection of Paul witnessing to him about Jesus being the Jewish Messiah resulted in him being under a divine curse from God; hence, his deranged conclusion that such a temporary torture chamber awaited him; for he considered himself not 'bad enough' for Hell, nor 'good enough' for Heaven, so he closed his eyes and hoped for the best; that being a third place, 'purgatory,' being his immediate abode.
Clearly, his rejection of the Messiah and subsequent faith in the works of the law/Judaism had failed him. Unlike all the Jewish greats that went before him, he would die having no assurance of salvation, only hoping that his stay in 'purgatory' would be the least painless, and as brief as possible.
I would also suggest that Gamaliel's adoption of this purgatory-style holding area (not to be confused with Luke 16:19-31) was well known to the early church leaders too; hence, their adoption of it into some of their writings.
On this tragic point alone, there was certainly no church 'infallibility' among them, for such leaders were totally tainted by their endorsement of tarnished 'tradition.'
It must also be stated for the record that others from the ancient world believed in some 'halfway' house for their 'unworthy' dead. But such pagan beliefs are not inspired by the God of the Bible, they are from mortal man's unregenerate mind.
When we pull everything together, it is obvious where catholics get their blasphemous and horrendous doctrine from: tradition and pagan philosophies. Therefore, from the pit of Hell it came, and to the pit of Hell it must return!
(All Rights Reserved)