Scriptural passages for "burning" in Purgatory


I know that there have been numerous threads on where one would go to find the justification for Purgatory, however, I have not read or heard any justification for the following two things below. FYI: It is not that I disbelieve in them, as that would be heretical, but rather curious as to how these two concepts are justified so I can have a greater understanding.

  1. I recently heard a sermon where Purgatory was mentioned, and Father mentioned how we must pray for the souls in Purgatory, and without our prayers, they cannot move on to Heaven. Where does this come from?

  2. I recently read somewhere, or maybe it was within the same sermon (???) that the “fires” of Purgatory are cleansing but extremely painful. Can someone also provide the basis and foundation of this belief, and also maybe some explanation as to how that purification fire is different than the fires of Hell. It seems that if both are painful, both would kind of stink. Obviously, being in Purgatory, you will one day see the face of God and thus those fires would end, whereas in Hell, the pain is forever.

Thanks in advance.


Here is a very good answer:



Protestants have their explanations for the verses cited by Catholic apologists, except for Maccabees. They took that book out of the Bible though.

Remember that Benedict XVI in his encyclical on hope speaks of purgatory as a purifying of the spirit by God’s glances on our sins, not as hot fire and direct physical pain. If we explain it this way to Protestants, could not they easily agree that this experience could happen during the hour of death?

So the bottom line is that Protestants insist there is no purification AFTER death. We say it is possible at least. That is really what we are disagreeing on


Ed and Mull –

I’ve just finished reading 1 Peter and noticed there are two places in that book that mentions Christ preaching to those who have died, which suggests the state of Purgatory. No point in preaching to those in heaven, it would be like preaching to the choir; no point in preaching to those in hell, they are damned. So the third logical option would be Purgatory. I was interested to see that he included one of those passages in this article. Thank you for providing the link, Ed.


As the article points out, Purgatory was part of a belief system held by the Jews of Jesus’ time and before. Even today many Jews, not only the Orthodox, pray for the souls of the deceased for a full 11 months after a parent’s death and for one month after the death of a spouse, sibling, or child. The Mourner’s Kaddish has no mention of death or the name of the deceased but rather is a sanctification of G-d. It serves to help the departed be cleansed of their sins before G-d, as well as being an aid to those who grieve by reaffirming and strengthening their faith in the power of G-d’s mercy and justice.


You’re welcome.



Lots of info here:


Frisky, those were the Old Testament people. Jesus told them of life. That’s not purgatory per se

meltzerboy, I thought Jews don’t believe in the afterlife?


Meltzer - I noticed this too and thought it was fascinating. It’s a good argument to remember for the fundamentalists who insist it’s originally a Catholic idea.


Mull, I checked both a Catholic and Protest Bible for notes on those two passages, and they seemed a bit stymied, so I assumed Purgatory. So you’re saying that Jesus was preaching to those from the Old Testament who had died?


Thank you, Boom. Reading this, too.


Most modern Jews, who largely derive from the Pharasaic tradition, do believe in an afterlife. (This is in contrast to the non-belief of the Sadducees.) However, since the Torah does not spell out the afterlife in any kind of detail and since the focus of Judaism has always been on the here and now (even among the ancient Pharisees), not too much attention is paid to it. But there are indications of the afterlife in the Hebrew Bible.


Yes, indeed. The notion of Purgatory is common to both Judaism and Catholicism.


Doesn’t Peter say Jesus preached to the spirits in prison after His death but before His resurrection? I don’t remember it saying anything about the sins of these pre- New Testament people.

I know someone who has a degree in World Religion. It really means he knows about a lot of religions but is an expert in none. At least that’s my opinion. Anyway, he said that Sheol referred to the place kings go after death.


Sheol was thought of as the shadowy land to which ALL people go, both good and bad. But this evolved, even in the Hebrew Bible as well as the Oral Torah, so that there came to be a separation of a heavenly existence for the good and its absence, or hell, as well as a purgatorial state. But it was Christianity and Islam that put the finishing touches, and then some, on the concepts of heaven and hell.


Mull, there were two passages in 1 Peter that mentions this, and one of them refers to people of Noah’s time. Like I said, the two Bibles I checked the notes on were only guessing themselves, they didn’t give a definitive explanation. Would you like for me to give you the references? I can look them up.


That would be great. I don’t have my Bible on me


One is:

1 Peter 3: (the 2nd half of) 19 through 20.

The other one is:

1 Peter 4:6

Would you like for me to type them out for you?


In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man is said to be in Hades where he is “suffering in the flame”. Jesus tells us nothing, though, about a time limit or a hope that he may eventually cross over the gulf or chasm to join Lazarus in “the bosom of Abraham.”


Boom, this is a great web site. Thank you.

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