Protestants say we go directly to heaven (not purgatory) when we die. What is the scriptural support for this?
*2 Conrinthians 5:8
we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. *
But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better*
Jesus to the thief on the cross: “today you will be with me in paradise”.
1 John 5:9–12
We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.
Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.
**And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. **
It’s my understanding that not all Protestants believe the same thing about ‘after-death-destinations’. But I do know that Heb. 9:27 tells us that after death, we are particularly judged: “And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment.” So, we know that after death, in some way our lives will be judged. As time does not exist with God, it doesn’t prove much to say that when we die, we will be with God. For, what is the chronology of this judgment? Is it immediate? Does even the word ‘immediate’ hold the same meaning after death? Even Paul’s wish to die and be with Christ does not contravene the teaching of Purgatory. For it is truly within Paul’s teaching that it was his wish to be presented to Christ ‘blameless’, ‘sanctified’, ‘guiltless’, and ‘holy’. It was also Paul’s teaching that ‘the Day’ of Judgment (surely not a 24 hr period, as it rests outside of time), consists of a purging of the believer.
All of the Scripture passages above say nothing contravening a belief in Purgatory. They, in fact, **say nothing at all **regarding what happens between the time we die and the time we arrive in heaven. They simply aren’t addressing the subject.
Take this statement: “After I get home from work on Friday, I’m going to spend a week in Yosemite.” True enough. But between the time I clock out and I arrive at the gates of the park, I need to drive home, take a shower, finish packing, gas up the car, and drive to Wyoming. Why didn’t I mentioned that at first? Because that was not the point of the information I was giving you.
For those verses to PRECLUDE Purgatory, they would have to say something like, “After we die, we go straight to heaven – No limbo, no sheol, no Purgatory, no stopping at “Go” — no nothing.”
So where is the direct Scriptural support for purgatory? Of course, it’s not there either…instead you need to interpret from other verses, such as nothing unclean will ever enter into heaven, etc. No less interpretation there than the verses cited by the Protestant posters.
Not exactly. The verses that Catholics quote at least imply that something is missing that we must be accounted for or explained.
For example, the “nothing unclean will ever enter into heaven” citation from Rev. 21: If nothing unclean can enter heaven, but all us die imperfect and attached to at least some sins, how does one become completely clean to enter heaven? That is the question that must be asked, and the historic Christian answer for 1600 years before the emergence of Protestantism was Purgatory. If Protestants don’t believe in Purgatory, they must come up with another answer, but the question cannot be ignored or avoided.
By contrast, the verses Protestants use to deny Purgatory don’t address the issue one way or the other. They are an argument from silence, which is acknowledged to be the weakest kind of argument.
This interpretation assumes that “Paradise” is Heaven.
Only one problem - Jesus didn’t go to Heaven “today” - and not for another 43 days, until Ascension Thursday. But He did go to the abode of the dead to preach to those who were imprisoned there - perhaps the Good Thief also went there with Him? (I Peter 3:19)
But no one could have gone to Heaven until after the Resurrection, which didn’t take place until the following Sunday morning, so it isn’t likely that “Paradise” was intended as a synonym for Heaven; it must have been referring to the abode of the Old Testament Saints.
Would you interpret this to mean that everyone who dies (becomes absent from their body) goes immediately to Heaven, meaning that there are no human beings in Hell, either?
Interesting, never thought about that.
All I read in those quotes is St. Paul would rather be in Heaven with Christ then on earth. Something we all agree with I think.
What about 1 Corinthians 3: 14-15:
"If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."
So here we have someone who has died and is judged. If his work is burned up he will suffer and be saved. Where can you be 1. Dead, 2. Suffer and 3. Be saved. Not Heaven and Not Hell.
The thief confessed to and aknowledged Jesus as his savior right there on the spot, as he is about to die. I can see why he went to paradise with our Lord.
As far as everyone else, sure you will go straight to Heaven if you are pure of heart and humble before the Lord. The thing is, with the exception of a few, we are not, me included. So I will humble myself, and leave it up to our Lord as far as my judgement goes. For I feel that I am not worthy to see the face of the Lord if I died today.
Remember, the first will be last and the last will be first.