How do we know it exists?

Is purgatory ever mentioned in the Bible? Did Jesus ever mention purgatory?

How can we expect purgatory to be true if the Church only formulated the idea not long ago?

Can someone please direct me towards some answers. And give me any scripture passages which clearly state purgatory is real and present.


Around 5:00 I believe answers what purgatory really is.


There is scriptural evidence for purgatory-- but I think you should be careful-- not everything has to have explicit mention in Scripture (its not everything Jesus ever said you know) some things are implicit and some things are Apostolic Tradition (i.e. the teachings of the Apostles handed down). For an example common to all Christians, take the Trinity!

Now for some answers: -






The most obvious (IMHO) is 2 Macc 12:44-46:

There are other verses as well:
1 Cor 3:15 describes those who have passed into the next life suffering loss, but they themselves would be saved through fire.
1 Pet 3:18-20 & 4:6 says that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison. Obviously, Heaven isn’t prison, and why would Jesus preach to those in Hell who have no possibility of gaining salvation? There must be another place.
2 Tim 1:16-18 shows us that Paul prayed for his dead friend, Onesiphorus. If his friend were in Heaven, why would Paul feel he needed to pray for him? If his friend were in Hell, what good would prayer do him? Again, there must be another place.
Mt 12:32 we see Jesus telling the disciples that there is one sin that “… will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Since we already know that there is no sin in Heaven and we know too that sin isn’t forgiven in Hell; we are left to ponder what Jesus meant when he referred to “the age to come.” Yet again, it suggests that there must be a place after death where sin is indeed forgiven. The Church calls that place Purgatory. Though the word cannot be found in the Bible, neither too is the word Trinity or Bible found in the Bible. However, there is certainly reference to an actual purification that takes place after death… Purgatory.


These verses are not talking about hell or heaven.

**Hebrews 12:29 **

for our God is a consuming fire.

**1 Corinthians 3:10-15 **

10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.

11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man builds on the foundation **with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, **

13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because **it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. **

14 **If any man’s work **which he has built on it remains, **he will receive a reward. **

15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; **but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. **

1 Peter 1:6-7

6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

**Revelation 3:18-19 **

18 I advise you to buy from Me **gold refined by fire **so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.

19 'Those whom I love,** I reprove and discipline**; therefore be zealous and repent.

**Daniel 12:10 **

10 "Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand.

And from the books that Martin Luther decided to remove…

Wisdom 3:5-6:

5 Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of himself.

6 As gold in the furnace he hath proved them, and as a victim of a holocaust he hath received them, and in time there shall be respect had to them.

Sirach 2:5:

5 For gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.

Zechariah 13:8-9:

8 And there shall be in all the earth, saith the Lord, two parts in it shall be scattered, and shall perish: but the third part shall be left therein.

9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined: and I will try them as gold is tried. They shall call on my name, and I will hear them. I will say: Thou art my people: and they shall say: The Lord is my God.

Malachi 3:2-3:

2 And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? and who shall stand to see him? for he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller’s herb:

3 And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice.


From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

III. The Final Purification, or Purgatory

**1030 **
All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608

**1032 **
This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.610 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.611


**954 **
The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is’”:492

**1472 **
To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.84


Here are some passages that count against the idea of a purgatory. The first is found in Colossians 2:13-14 which says:
13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Christ death on the cross for you made it possible for God to forgive you completely.

and the second is found in I John 1:7;
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse you of sin. Fire does not. Fire has more to do with testing a man’s work and not with sin.


Hi all,

www.biblechristiansociety.com has a CD entitled “Mary and the Bible, Plus Purgatory and the Bible”. It is under the “Free tapes/CDs” link on the home page (John also has MP3s available too). This is the best Biblical defense of the doctrine I have yet to hear. In addition to the verses that make no sense in a Heaven and hell only theology (someone previously posted), a logical case for Purgatory is built through Scripture. I left the CD at work, or I would turn it on and write down the verses for you right now…


I think it would be useful to you if you told us what you think purgatory is.


IMO, the best way to understand purgatory, which is a purgation of all attachment to sin to make a person fit to enter heaven, is this:

  1. A person while on earth is prone to sin.
  2. In heaven, a person is no longer prone to sin.
  3. There will therefore be a purification at death to transform a soul.


Yes, Christ’s death on the cross “made it possible for God to forgive you completely.” That is not really the issue being discussed however. Those in Purgatory are forgiven. They are not in Purgatory to be forgiven per se. They are there to be cleansed of the temporal effects of sin. For example, if what you suggest is true, then there wouldn’t be any death or pain during Child birth in the world. If what you are saying is that Christ’s death not only provides a road to salvation but it also eliminates all penalties of sin. Death and pain during child birth were the results of sin. God bless.


John 1:7-9
7but **if **we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Why do we need to confess if we are already forgiven?
What about the times I walk out of the light?
What about those who “back slide” in to sin?

Are you saying that there is nothing you can do, no sin you can commit, no matter how heinous, that will forfeit your salvation? That you can’t undo your salvation, even if you wanted to?

**Phil. 3:11 **
11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

12Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

Paul does not view his own resurrection as a certainty.

1 Timothy 4:10
For it is for this we** labor and strive**, because we have fixed our **hope **on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

**Why “labor and strive”? If there is a guarantee?
Hope? Why hope?
Paul says we toil and strive because we have our “hope” (not our assurance) on the living God. This is not because God is unfaithful, but because we can be unfaithful. We toil and strive for our salvation. **

I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8),
but I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:8, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12),
**and I have the hope that I will be saved **
(Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15).
Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12),
with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13)."

** We are not Guaranteed Salvation; We Hope For Salvation**

Heb. 9:12 - Christ’s sacrifice secured our redemption, but redemption is not the same thing as salvation. We participate in and hope for salvation. Our hope in salvation is a guarantee if we are faithful to Christ to the end. But if we lose hope and fail to persevere, we can lose our salvation. Thus, by our own choosing (not by God’s doing), salvation is not a certainty. While many Protestant churches believe in the theology of “once saved, always saved,” such a novel theory is not found in Scripture and has never been taught by the Church.

Rom. 8:24 - this “hope” of salvation that Paul writes about is unnecessary if salvation is guaranteed. If salvation is assured, then why hope?

**Rom. 12:12 **- rejoice in your “hope” (not your certainty), be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer.

1 John 3:3 - and everyone who thus “hopes” in Him purifies himself as He is pure. These verses teach us that we must cooperate with God’s grace and persevere to the end to be saved. We can and do have a moral certitude of salvation if we persevere in faith, hope and love.

for more verses that show that we "hope,click here


How does the Appocalypse address those still in Purgatory at worlds end? Are there scriptures associated with Purgatory at the end of times?


that is from the cathitism not the bible


justasking4: “Christ death on the cross for you made it possible for God to forgive you completely…Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse you of sin. Fire does not. Fire has more to do with testing a man’s work and not with sin.”

“Nothing unclean shall enter it (Heaven)” Christ died on the cross for our salvation - yes, absolutely. But still we sin. We can ask for - and receive - forgivness, but we are still sinners, and the stain of sin is upon us. Lust, greed, malice, you name it, we do it. These things we do - our “worldly” lives we lead - mark us, stain us. Who can deny that looking at pornography does not change a person? Not just degrade and diminish and humiliate, but change? Excessive drink? Same thing. Lust for flesh and power? Same again. One can understand that they are wrong for engaging in these activities, fight to change their behavior, really fight, make inroads, seek the truth etc. But they are still scarred, stained, marred, from their wonton “worldly” behavior. They are not clean. Their heart is yearning, they are searching, they are worshipping, they are working, struggling, steadily replacing their old “worldly” habits with the worship and love of Christ - but they will always carry the stains. Christ loves them, He certainly forgives them of their sins, He strengthens them, but they are not clean. They are forgiven, but not in the “clean” state needed to enter heaven.

Analogy (the best I can do right now…): If I were to strike my wife in a fit of anger, I would beg for her to forgive me. She would. But there is still a price that must be paid for this act - I must pay a price, perhaps a little jail time. I must suffer.

Sanctification involves suffering, and purgatory is the last stage of sanctification that some - I would argue most - require before being ready for entrance into heaven.


You know, I try to look at things from a simpler point of view (maybe because I’m a pretty simple person). We could discuss purgatory intellectually from here to eternity and never come to the same conclusion. I like to look at purgatory from the heart.

Simply put, God loves us to much to allow us to spend eternity living with the struggles we carry today. I like to think that purgatory is the well spring of God’s love rushing through us to cleanse us of our impurities.

If I left this earth today I would hope that God would remove this baggage I carry so I can spend forever in His loving presence.

Before you answer the question about purgatory, remove the emotion and search your heart through prayer to the Holy Spirit. Purgatory is not a punishment, it is a cleansing!


Well said!


Your analogy with your wife is good one. It would be true that you would have to “pay a price” in jail for it. However, what this example fails to take into consideration is that Someone else has taken the “jail time” for you. The price has been paid in full with the death and resurrection of Christ. The idea of punishment for our sins after death is no longer applicable to those who are in Christ.


justasking: In reading my entire post you will see that I know Christ sacrificed for my sins. However, I am still unclean. Forgiveness and being unclean, being ready for heaven, are two different things.


I agree that Christ paid the eternal price for our sins. However, there are still temporal costs for sin. Jesus does not always take away the damage done by our sins, and sometimes, expects us to make reparation for our sins. For example, He told the thief on the cross next to Him that “today you will be with me in Paradise”. However you notice He did not take the man with him. The man knew and confessed “we are paying the just reward for our deeds”. Jesus left him there to suffer for the rest of the day, have his legs broken, and die a horrible suffering death. He could have just taken his spirit with him after his profession of faith, but chose to allow him to suffer instead.

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