Catholic Dogma Answered Scripturally

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Purgatory vs. Hell
Is there a purgatory?  Is the a Hell?
(One out of two is bad!  Really bad!)

First, as far as proof texts for purgatory I know of only one that was used by the RCC to provide evidence of a post-life place for purification, the second book of Maccabees 12:43.  And, unfortunately for the would be Christian teacher relying on this passage to prove anything except that Judas was superstitious, the passage does not state or prove that a place of purgatory exists.  The only thing you can read from this is that Judas believed in the resurrection.  Let me here note that the book in question is part of the Apocrypha and though I am not scholar of the Apocrypha, I feel safe stating that it is non-canonical writing.  Some argue as do I that in reading this passage and other passages in the book of Tobit that the writings wreak of the medieval style and lore of Europe.  But, let us stick to fact.  First, I challenge every reader of this page that believes in purgatory to bring me at least one passage of scripture from the 66 books of the Bible to support it, please.

Second, let me provide scriptures that speak directly to the nature of death and judgment and eternal punishment.

John the Baptist speaks to the sinners.  He said,

"And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matthew 3:9-12

He makes no mention of an opportunity after the hewing down of the tree or the purging of the floor of any opportunity for purging from sins.  He obviously speaks metaphorically of death as the hewing down of the tree that doesn't bring forth good fruit.  Then the tree is burned.  Can a dead tree bear fruit?  Can a dead person bear the fruit of the Spirit and glorify God with his life?  (Oops, if he's dead, he by definition has no life with which to do anything.  Question asked and answered.)

Then, we have the delineation of death and judgment in Hebrews.

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" Hebrews 9:27

Again, no room for purgatory.  No second life to make things right.  What did Jesus say?  Did He teach of a burning Hell?

 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."  Matthew 5:21,22

Well, what would He mean by Hell fire.  maybe He doesn't really mean a Hell of eternal flame and punishment.  Let's look at another time He speaks of Hell specifically.

 "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.  And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. " Mark 9:43-48 (underline added)

Uh oh, sounds like He really means a Hell of burning fire (redundant for emphasis).  One could argue as many do that that is not what He meant, IF HE HAD NOT SAID IT THREE TIMES IN A ROW!  Who's interpreting here?  Jesus the God of creation said that Hell is eternal.  How do we know that it is eternal and the sufferers cannot have an end to the suffering?  He plainly states "the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched".  Those are eternal or UNENDING terms.  This is a direct statement of our God, not allegory, not symbolism, not allusion, not implication.  This is what we call a demonstrative statement in English.  That is, it makes a direct statement.  It IS NOT literature or literary.  It is the Word of life and death from the Creator, Himself.  But wait, maybe Mark didn't get it right (not a chance!).

Here's Matthew on the same teaching of Jesus.

"Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire." Matthew 18:8,9

Doesn't sound like there's any equivocation there.  Matthew describes the same thing, everlasting fire.  And, again, he quotes Jesus as having used the term Hell as the name of this fiery lake.  Am I speaking out of term with the describing Hell as a lake of fire?  Let's look at Revelations where John describes the end of time.

"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever and I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.   And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Rev 20:10-15

Does this match up with the teachings of Jesus?  Absolutely.  Look at two different instances of this teaching of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew where He is teaching the same thing that John saw at the white throne judgment.

"As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world." Matthew 13:40

"So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, Mat 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Matthew13:49,50

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" Matthew 25:40,41

Jesus told John of this before he received his vision of these events and wrote them in Revelations.  We know they are the same and what Hell is for from the direct explanation that Hell was created for the devil and his angels.  The description of John of the order of events says that men the dead come from the sea and from the "Hell" delivered up the dead that were in them.  Absolutely no reference to "Purgatory" giving up its dead.  As a matter of fact, this verse taken with what Jesus said of Hell and its fire eliminates the "Hell is purgatory" argument.  We see people in Hell coming back from Hell to be judged by Jesus to be sentenced eternally to Hell. 

Wait, maybe we haven't gotten a clear understanding of what Jesus was saying.  Is there another Gospel book that mentions fire and Hell and judgment?  Yes.  Matthew quotes Jesus yet again on the same subject, different lesson that He gave on the mountain top to multitudes.

"A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:18-23

Perfect agreement is shown with the Revelations of John.  Jesus explains the the dead that John sees coming from Hell are the "tree that bringeth not forth good fruit".  If anything, we see a clear explanation that those who are lost in sin because they reject Jesus and will not do the Will of the Father are cast into Hell when they die and wait there for their final judgment and sentencing before the only Holy God, Jesus the Christ.

Does this sound like Jesus is telling us that we get two chances to get it right?  How could we even infer from this that there is a second chance in purgatory.  Worse yet, what is the description of the fire of Hell???

"And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Matthew 13:42

This is a fire of torment, not purification.  We see Jesus does not stammer or hesitate but expressly warns us of the eternal punishment for sins.  He knows it is the most important warning He can give to the unbeliever.  If there was a purgatory, why would He, God, teach so many times of death then judgment then Hell and not once let us know about this wonderful loophole for sin, purgatory?  Is Jesus a deceitful man, a false prophet?  If purgatory existed, it would call His veracity into question.  WAIT, let me state this in a more Holy manner.  As Jesus is the father of truth, the Light to this world, His complete lack of mention of any state of post death purgatory, calls the veracity of any man in question who teaches otherwise.  God is God.  If He says anything and a man disagrees or adds to His Word, that man is a liar.  Because if a man says the opposite of God, they both cannot be telling the truth and we know that God CANNOT lie (Titus 1:2).  Therefore, the man is the lying.

The only one who needs to redefine Hell is a person living in sin rejecting the Truth of the Gospel who wants to feel comfortable in his sins.  Christians should not fear Hell.  It is the destination of the devil and his servants, not the children of God.  So, why then do we have people teaching that there is no Hell?

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."John 3:14-21 (Underline added)

Why do we have a teaching on purgatory when it obviously is not defined at all in any work in the entire Bible?  Any answer I could give is speculative since no scripture answers the question.  Therefore, I give you three questions.  Why would you follow any man or system that teaches such a bold and arrogantly unbiblical dogma while claiming to be a follower of Christ when He teaches something altogether different?  Why would you follow any man or system that teaches that Hell does not exist or is different from the Hell Jesus taught, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus?  Are you a follower of Christ or of men?

We call ourselves Christians as Josephus named us the "tribe" called Christians because we took the name of our Lord.  If you are Catholic, which name means more to you?  Do your think of your self firstly as a Christian or a Catholic?  You answer defines who you really follow, God or men.  If this makes you think or makes you angry, it should.  If being a Christian is the most important name for you and to you, then, click here.