Purgatory is held as an ancient tradition but it is not substantiated according to the biblical record.

Actually the bible does not describe an intermediary state of judgment where people are further purified from their sins but instead it shows a permanent state of being after death within the context of an eternal abode or residence for both the righteous and the unrighteous.

Anyway concerning life beyond the grave the Old Testament provides a limited view of the afterlife and the concept of heaven and hell is more fully developed as a progressive revelation which is further defined according to the witness of the New Testament.

The concept of a purgatorial existence has its origins in the Apocryphal literature of the Maccabees which was not accepted as a sacred text by either the Jewish community which convened the council of Jamnia in 90 A.D. or the early church with the council of Carthage in 397A.D.

These councils were ordered to establish the divine inspiration of the scripture in contrast to the heretical teachings of pseudo religious literature.

This extra-Biblical book of the Maccabees was originally included in the Greek Septuagint and was later added to both the Orthodox and Catholic bibles but it was never considered canonical by those to whom these documents originated.

According to Paul in Romans 3:2 the Jews are the stewards of God’s words and they carried the responsibility to establish biblical authority under God’s directive in order to preserve God’s holy text and as a result this book along with the other Apocryphal literature of the intertestamental period was not included and was left at best as somewhat of a historical document.

The problem of extra biblical teaching is that it is primarily based on the traditional authority of a movement which can be misleading and with something as critical as life after death this teaching now becomes crucially important because of the eternality of ones soul.

In addition to this there has been the inclusion of rules that govern the effectiveness and degree of this supposed temporal state which again has no scriptural backing.

Also Catholicism teaches an intercessory role based on the various actions of the living and the meritorious deeds of the dead. This again has no biblical basis and it is presumptuous to say that the reciting of the mass and rosary, penance, and indulgences are a supplemental atonement to the work of Christ, Hebrews 7:25.

One example of the failure to this erroneous system was the abuse of indulgences in which people were paying their way to get a ticket to heaven by means of their monetary resources crediting to their spiritual account a monopolized attitude of getting out of jail which only served in reality towards the exploitation of others to benefit the coffers of religion.

The danger in this whole matter is the false assurance given to a system that can not be established scripturally which in turn has erroneously served as an enticing concept that falsely relieves an individual of their own moral responsibility before God in passing off their sins to others of which Christ alone has atoned for.

So in conclusion should we place our confidence in the authority of the word of God or the hierarchy of a religious body? I write more about Catholic tradition in another blog that I have recently posted at jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2009/12/26/catholic-tradition/

Lastly I would like to give a couple of cases from the bible which give an alternative view to Catholic tradition.

One example of someone who did not have to suffer for his venial or mortal sins is the criminal who was crucified alongside of Christ and was exonerated by Jesus at a decisive moment preceding his death in Luke 23:32-43.

Jesus told this thief that today you would be with me in Paradise and not only does this place him in proximity to Christ but it also indicates a desirous place rather than a torturous realm.

Purgatory was not mentioned here and the divine pardon was granted without further purgatorial treatment.

This example would be a clear indication of someone who according to Acts 2:21 simply called on the name of the Lord to be saved without the rigors of including the sacramental antidotes.

Also in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 it states that as believers who experience death they will be immediately ushered into the presence of the Lord and there is no indication of another itinerant habitation.

Finally there is a judgment seat for believers as indicated in the scriptures but it is of a different nature than what is prescribed by the traditions of the Catholic clergy and it can best be understand by reading the scriptural tradition versus the tradition of men.

In conclusion I hope that you would seriously consider the inscripturated text in lieu of Catholic doctrine. I pray that you will seek the counsel of the scripture and the guidance of the Holy Spirit which will lead you into all truth.

Again I desire this post to serve the purpose of challenging your heart and I pray I have not offended you in anyway and even though I have spoken of things in a critical way yet hopefully it was without a critical attitude.

In many ways I respect the devotion and sincerity of my Catholic friends but you can be sincere and still be sincerely wrong and the purpose for these blogs is to establish truth which alone can set you free.



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