Purgatory?

  1. The Catholic church created the concept based on misunderstood Bible verses and other non-Bible books. Then declared it an official doctrine.

  2. Protestants are opposed to the whole idea, as unbiblical. And I agree with the Protestants on this one.

Here are some of the references that were the source of confusion for the Catholic church. The church's focus in these verses was on the terms "eternal sin", "will not be forgiven in this age or the age to come", and "sins that lead to death and sins that don't":

Mark‬ ‭3:28-30‬

Jesus said: 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” 30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”

Matthew 12:31-32

Therefore, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come.

‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:16-17‬

 “If anyone sees a fellow believer committing a sin that doesn’t lead to death, he should ask, and God will give life to him — to those who commit sin that doesn’t lead to death. There is sin that leads to death. I am not saying he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin that doesn’t lead to death.”

The Catholic Church Point of View

The above references completely confused the Catholic church, and drove it to look for more references supporting their purgatory idea, both in the Bible and in other books! The one verse that drove the pope to make it official was, Matthew 12:32: "but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come." Their reasoning: "If this sin cannot be forgiven after death, it follows that there are other sins which can be forgiven after death, and this must be in some form of a purgatory". But this is so misunderstood, again by a bunch of people not filled with the Holy Spirit, and yet making big decisions. 

The confusion resulted in the church making up their own list of "death sins" and "not death sins". Example, "lying" is not a death sin, "killing" is a death sin, "adultery" is a death sin, etc.. To resolve this salvation dilemma, they introduced "Purgatory". According to Catholic teaching, because the sin that leads to death is not one we can pray about and get forgiven in this age (ie, before death), the Catholic church advised a place of suffering that people go to after death for a period of time for redemption, then on to heaven from there. A place similar to hell, but not as painful - purgatory. The Catholic church declared the purgatory doctrine around the 12th century based on some misunderstood verses and also referencing a non-biblical book called "Maccabees", an old Jewish book not part of the Bible. This is completely unbiblical. It's another human doctrine to please people; as in: "Don't worry, the church got your eternity covered, if you commit death sins, you just swing by Purgatory and get slapped around some, then on to heaven. Not so bad, keep donations coming."  Again here the Catholic church over-extended their power of the "bounding and loosening" in Matthew 18:15-19.

Here's an internet link listing the references that are supposed to support Purgatory. I don't see anything here that supports Purgatory. Only misunderstood verses that they twisted in their direction. The link also references the unbiblical books of Maccabees twice, which that alone discredits the whole doctrine: Catholic Purgatory Internet Reference

The Explanation Why It's Not Biblical

The first observation is that Jesus clearly said "only one sin is unforgivable", which is the same as the "death sin" in 1 John 5:16-17. There is no list of unforgivable / death sins; only one.

There was nothing in the above verses that alluded to some sins to be forgiven in this age and some in the next. It would be a stretch to try to read it that way. The reading more inline with the whole scripture would be that all other sins are forgivable in this age, by the blood of Jesus. To take a stretch of an explanation and turn it into a doctrine would be obnoxious and a clear indication of lack of the Holy Spirit within them. Why would the pope and his bunch want to go to such extremes to say that the rest of the forgivable sins are not all forgivable in this age by the blood of Jesus? That you still need to suffer some to get the full pardon. As in, "you can't just get off so easily after sinning all these horrible sins of the flesh." A clear lack of knowledge of God! The pope and his assistants did not seek God. They were more filled with their own arrogance, public stature, and earthly politics than seeking God.

The fact that this verse from Jesus, Matthew 12:32 ...will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come, is not fully understood, does not mean we should build a new doctrine based on it. There are many parts in the Bible still not fully understood, and God will reveal them to us in His time. Some people spend a lifetime trying to figure out one misunderstood verse, with little to no knowledge of the rest of the Bible. The internet is full of articles with big words trying hard to make Purgatory fit. But the simple answer is, it does not fit.

My Theory

With wisdom from God, if I was asked for the meaning of that verse from Jesus, "will not be forgiven either in this age or in the one to come." I would explain it like this:

Lucifer (the devil) was an angel in heaven. He committed the unforgivable sin of the Spirit when he declared himself god. Then God cast him to "eternal" hell with no chance of repentance (see Isaiah 14:12-5 here below). Note that people will have free will in heaven. Although we'd become incapable of sinning earthly sins, the freewill would keep a potential for us to commit the unforgivable sin of the Spirit, just as Lucifer did. Although not likely, such a possibility would drive Jesus to include "the next age" in His statement. 

Isaiah 14:12-15

How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.

Remember Jesus said all sins of the flesh are forgiven; no exclusions!! Only one sin of the Spirit is never forgiven, and is eternal: Jesus said: Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” 

Another possible but unlikely answer:

The "next age" could also mean after the 1st death, but before the 2nd death. Which is somewhere in the millennial before, during, or after the Jesus thousand-year rule on earth in the end times. The Bible gave some information about this millennial period, but not the whole clear picture. As described in the book of Revelation, during that period some dead people would be brought back to life to be given their first chance at believing in Jesus as the Son of God. Notice I said "first chance". Correct, these are those people who died before Christ (BC). As explained in some Revelation verses, God being gracious and fair, gives everybody a one chance to believe in Jesus. So if there are some among them that had committed the unforgivable sin, they would not be forgiven. But others with forgivable sins would be given a chance to repent.​

 

We keep praying and seeking God. And He will reveal the answers to us at the right time.
 

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