Question from on 01-08-2002: Where in the Bible can I find a reference that there does exist a Purgatory in order to combat non-catholic’s who tell people that there is no mention of purgatory or anything like it in the Bible. Thank You for helping me. Bill Gese Answer by Bill Bilton on 01-09-2002: I. A State After Death of Suffering and Forgiveness
Matt. 5:25,18:34; Luke 12:58-59 - temporary state of purgation called a “prison.” There is no exit until we are perfect, and the last penny is paid.
Matt. 5:48 - Jesus says, “be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We are only made perfect through purification.
Matt. 12:32 - Jesus clearly provides that there is forgiveness after death. Forgiveness is not necessary in heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell.
Luke 12:47-48 - when the Master comes (at the end of time), some will receive light or heavy beatings but will live. This is not heaven or hell.
Luke 16:19-31 - dead rich man is suffering but feels compassion for his brothers. There is no suffering in heaven or compassion in hell.
1 Cor. 15:29-30 - Paul mentions people being baptized on behalf of the dead, to atone for their sins. They must be in purgatory.
Phil. 2:10 - every knees bends to Jesus, in heaven, on earth, and “under the earth” which is the realm of the righteous dead.
2 Tim. 1:16-18 - Onesiphorus is dead but Paul asks for mercy on him. There is no need for mercy in heaven, and there is no mercy given in hell.
Heb. 12:14 - without holiness no one will see the Lord. We need final sanctification to attain true holiness before God.
Heb. 12:23 - the spirits of just men who died in godliness are “made” perfect. They do not necessarily arrive perfect.
1 Peter 3:19; 4:6 - Jesus preached to the spirits in the “prison.” These are the righteous souls being purified for the beatific vision.
Rev. 21:4 - no mourning or pain, but only after the coming of the new heaven and the passing away of the current heaven and earth.
Rev. 21:27 - nothing unclean shall enter heaven. Even the propensity to sin is uncleanliness. No purgatory means no salvation for most people.
Gen. 50:10; Num. 20:29; Deut. 34:8 - examples of ritual prayer and penitent mourning for the dead for specific periods of time.
Baruch 3:4 - Baruch asks the Lord to hear the prayers of the dead of Israel. Prayers for the dead are unnecessary in heaven and unnecessary in hell.
Zech. 9:11 - God, through the blood of His covenant, will set those free from the waterless pit, a spiritual abode of suffering.
2 Macc. 12:43-45 - prayers for the dead help free them from sin and help them to the reward of heaven. They are in purgatory.
II. Purification After Death By Fire
Heb. 12:29 - God is a consuming fire (of love in heaven, of purgation in purgatory, or of suffering and damnation in hell).
1 Cor. 3:10-15 - works are judged after death and tested by fire. Some works are lost, but the person is still saved. This is the purgation of purgatory.
1 Cor. 3:15 - though he will be saved, “but only” (houtos-in same manner) through fire. Man is both rewarded and saved by fire.
1 Cor. 3:15 - suffer loss = “zemiothesetai” = root word “zemioo” = also refers to punishment. This means expiation of temporal punishment.
1 Cor. 3:13 - revealing the quality of each man’s work by fire and purifying him relates to his sins (not just his good works).
1 Cor. 3:17 - proves this purgation deals with punishing sin (destroying God’s temple = bad works = mortal sin = death).
1 Cor. 3:14,15,17 - purgatory thus reveals the state of righteousness (v.14), state of venial sin (v.15) and state of mortal sin (v.17).
1 Peter 1:6-7 - Peter refers to this purgatorial fire to test the fruits of our faith.
Jude 1:23 - people saved being snatched out of fire. People are already saved if in heaven, and there is no possibility of salvation if in hell.
Rev. 3:18-19 - Jesus refers to this fire as what refines into gold those He loves if they repent.
Dan 12:10 - Daniel refers to this refining by saying many shall purify themselves, make themselves white and be refined.
Wis. 3:5-6 - the dead are disciplined and tested by fire to receive their heavenly reward.
Sirach 2:5 - for gold is tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation. Zech. 13:8-9 - God says 2/3 shall perish, and 1/3 shall be left alive, put into the fire, and refined like silver and tested like gold. Mal. 3:2-3 - also refers to God’s purification of the righteous at their death.
From E.W.T.N. website