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Page 509



hellish torments, but not in their bodies in the physical heaven and hell which God will reveal.

Only two intermediate states are possible -heaven or hell. Each intermediate possibility transfers its members into their final state -heaven or hell. The Bible does not teach any other intermediate or final state.

God's Word does not speak about a "purgatory," "Limbus Patrum," or "Limbus Infantum." According to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, there are other places to which souls are sent by God after death. Purgatory is said to be a middle state between heaven and hell for temporary punishment after death. Souls that have not been perfectly cleansed and have not fully satisifed God's justice for venial sins are sent to purgatory. This includes almost all who will one day enter heaven. In purgatory, the souls of the deceased suffer the pain of missing God and the pain of their remaining sin. The length of their stay and the intensity of their suffering vary according to the degree of purification required before they are fit to enter heaven. The most holy saints on earth can enter heaven directly without ever entering purgatory, while the least holy must remain in purgatory until Christ's second coming. Any length of stay is possible between these two extremes. A soul's length of stay can be shortened and the intensity of his sufferings diminished by the prayers and good works of his faithful relatives on earth. The Roman Catholic Church condemns all who do not believe the doctrine of purgatory. The Council of Trent (1545-1563) declared that all deniers of purgatory are to be anathema.

The main text used to justify this doctrine is taken from II Maccabees 12:42-45, one of the apocryphal books (not part of God's infallible, inspired Word). Other attempts are made to justify purgatory from I Corinthians 3:12-15. However, the "fire" here refers to the fire of God's holy righteousness which tests every man's works. This "fire" shall "burn up" or destroy all of a person's works that are not built upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ. These verses are not referring to the "burning of souls," but the trying of men's works. This shall happen in the day of God's judgment, not during "years of burning." No mention of a third place called purgatory can be found in this reference.

Ephesians 3: 15 testifies that all of God's saved children are either in heaven or on earth. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.

-Ephesians 3:15

How does this contradict the idea of "purgatory"?



  • Venial sins -Forgivable or pardonable sins

  • Deceased -Those who have died, whose souls have departed from their bodies

  • Anathema -Accursed; officially pronounced to be accursed by the church

  • Apocryphal books -Fourteen books that were written by Jews between the closing of the Old and the opening of the New Testament. These books are included in Roman Catholic versions of the Bible.

  •  

    Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
    Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, 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, he shall receive a reward.
    If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

    -I Corinthians 3:12-15

     


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