My first clue that Purgatory was real came a few years ago. It’s a peculiar line at the end of Matthew 12:32.
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 12:32
Heaven Or Hell Or…
The model of salvation popular in much of American Christianity says that once we breath our last breath, our salvation is already determined. That is, if while still alive, we believed Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, then we are saved and go to heaven. Conversely, if while still alive, we have not believed Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, then we are not saved and we go to hell. Period.
But those last words Jesus speaks in Matthew 12:32 sure are strange: “neither in the world to come.” Why would Jesus mention the possibility of forgiveness in the world to come if forgiveness in the world to come was impossible?
Deleting Books You Don’t Like
My next clue that Purgatory was real came as I read through the seven books that are no longer in many Bibles in America, but remain in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles in America and throughout the word. These books have been in the canon of Christian Scripture the entire time the canon has existed– over 1600 years. What’s more, these books were in the Scriptures in use during the time of Jesus and the Apostles, the Septuagint. Jesus and the Apostles spoke not one word against these seven books, and there is no good reason that these precious books are missing from many Bibles in America. The books are:
- 1 Maccabees
- 2 Maccabees
So as I was reading the Book of 2 Maccabees, I saw this verse:
It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. ~ 2 Maccabees 12:46
Praying For The Dead Is Biblical
In many American churches, you would be hard-pressed to hear congregants praying for the dead. It is heretical in much of American Christianity to pray for the dead. Yet, sit through any Catholic Mass and you will hear prayers offered for newly deceased parishioners of that church– prayers offered without a second thought or the slightest hesitation that offering prayers for the dead is not Biblical. Praying for the dead is Biblical.
As Through Fire
By this time, I was convinced that there was more to the story than I was being taught by the popular American Christian paradigm. I was convinced that Purgatory was real. But not until I started actively studying Catholicism recently did I learn that a passage I had read many times was jam-packed with Purgatorial theology and imagery.
…the fire will test each one’s work… If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. ~ 1 Corinthians 3:9-15
The fire will “purge” us. It’s a purge-atorial fire. That’s where the word “Purgatory” comes from. The Catholic Church had taught Purgatory since the infancy of Christianity, and it did not stop just because people who came along in recent centuries did not like it.
The Council Of Trent
Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has, from the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers, taught, in sacred councils, and very recently in this ecumenical Synod, that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls there detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar [Eucharist, the body of Christ]; the holy Synod enjoins on bishops that they diligently endeavour that the sound doctrine concerning Purgatory, transmitted by the holy Fathers and sacred councils, be believed, maintained, taught, and every where proclaimed by the faithful of Christ. ~ Council of Trent, 1545 – 1563 A.D.
It was a Catholic Council that gave you the 27 books of the New Testament, and it was a Catholic Council that formally asserted the doctrine of Purgatory (which had been taught since the time of Christ). Why do you accept those 27 books, but not accept Purgatory?
The Bible is always proven true, even the parts that much of American Christianity has allowed to be deleted from their Bibles.
Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians are my brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ. I have learned much from all three groups. I have had family members in all three groups. And I have been greatly blessed by all three groups. I view each group as a sibling in the same family. We all call on the name of the same Lord Jesus Christ.
…whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. ~ Acts 2:21