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What Does the Bible Say About … PURGATORY?

Is purgatory Biblical?

The notion of purgatory was created because it was felt that some people on this planet were neither good, nor bad. God had to give them another chance through the purification ritual of the purgatory. However, that notion is not Biblical at all.

First of all, nowhere is there any mention of a place like purgatory in God’s Word.

This whole notion is based on salvation by work and not on salvation by faith in the sacrifice that Jesus did for us. That notion that we can earn heaven by works is unbiblical. The apostle Paul clearly indicated that in Eph 2:8-9 “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” NIV

In fact, to depend on our works to gain salvation is a direct rejection of the offer Jesus gave us through His sacrifice. It is like saying to Jesus: “Your offer is not good enough. I can do better than you. I will earn my own salvation because your offer is not enough.”

The Bible is clear that we are only saved by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice. Salvation was complete when Jesus died on the cross and is confirmed by His last words on the cross: John 19:30 “Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” NIV

This is confirmed throughout the Bible, e.g. 1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” NIV; Heb 10:10 “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” NIV

According to the Bible, there are only two options available to us when we die: heaven or hell. Do you know which option you are going to? It is not too late to accept Jesus in your life. But don’t wait too long, because when you die, your options run out, and the choice has been made. Heb 9:27-28 “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” NIV Have you accepted Jesus in your heart? Please do so by answering the Altar’s call mentioned in this ministry.

Now, on a side note, some will take advantage with this question, by promoting their own ideas concerning the state of the dead to forward the notion that the dead are dead – they are in an unconscious state. This is called soul sleep and is not Biblical at all either. Although this topic is not essential to your salvation, I would like for you to know what God’s Word says concerning this topic. I will just briefly give you what the Bible has to say on that. For more information, go to this great site )

1. The word “sleep,” when used in relationship with death, always refers to the state of the body, not the soul. Look for example at John 11: 11 “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep…” NIV The Lord announced that He intended John 11:11 “to wake him up” “out of sleep”, which He did by raising His friend’s body from the tomb (John 11:43,44).

The prophet Daniel wrote that the dead, who “sleep in the dust of the earth,” shall awake (12:2). It is only the body of man that returns to the dust of the earth in death (cf. Eccl 12:7 “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” NIV).

It is very clear that it is man’s body that sleeps in death. There is nothing in the Bible to infer the concept of soul sleeping. The term “sleep” is never applied to the soul or the spirit, but only the body.

2. The story concerning the rich man and Lazarus makes it plain that the dead are conscious (Lk. 16:19-26). The setting described in this story is prior to the resurrection (evidenced by the fact that the rich man had brothers upon the earth (see verses 27-28), and yet both the suffering rich man and the comforted Lazarus are clearly aware of their surroundings. (Isn’t it interesting that Lazarus is mentioned in this story. Wasn’t Lazarus resurrected by Jesus Himself? (see John 11:43,44) And his resurrection did not bring salvation to the sceptics, just like this story tells us (see John 12:20)

3. The Scriptures tells us that the wicked are being punished prior to the time of judgment. 2 Peter 2:9 “The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.” NIV

Since the wicked are being continuously punished (present tense form), even before the day of judgment, and as punishment implies consciousness, it is clear that the dead are conscious between the time of their death and their resurrection.

4. More Bible texts to consider:

a. Man is made up of three parts: Spirit, Soul and Body

1 Thess 5:23-24 “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” NIV

b. There is a difference between man’s breath and spirit:

Isa 42:5 “Thus saith God Jehovah, he that created the heavens, and stretched them forth; he that spread abroad the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein.” ASV

c. Destination of the righteous after death

Phil 1:20-24 “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” NIV

2 Cor 5:6-8 “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” NIV

d. The soul is conscious after death

Rev 6:9-11 “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.” NIV

(P.S. How would it be possible for an unconscious soul to “call out in a loud voice” and to wear a “white robe”? It is clear that souls are not unsconscious!)

Look at Rev 20:4 “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” NIV and notice that their bodies are resurrected and coming back to life.

e. Additional scriptures concerning the consciousness of the soul after death

Job 26:5 “The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them.” NIV

Matt 22:31-32 “But about the resurrection of the dead-have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” NIV

1 Thess 5:10 “He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” NIV

Isa 14:9-11 “The grave below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you– all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones– all those who were kings over the nations. They will all respond, they will say to you, “You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us.” All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you.” NIV

Isa 14:15-17 “But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.

Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?” NIV

f. Man’s soul and spirit are more than breath

1 Sam 18:1 “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” NIV

2 Sam 5:8 “And David said on that day, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites, let him get up to the watercourse, and (smite) the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul.” ASV

Mark 14:34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” NIV

Ps 107:26 “They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths: their soul melteth away because of trouble.” ASV

Luke 2:35 “So that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” NIV

g. Man’s spirit is what is born again

John 3:6-7 “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'” NIV

h. God works through man’s spirit

Prov 20:27 “The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being.” NIV

i. Man’s Spirit has:

i. intelligence

1 Cor 2:11 “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” NIV

ii. emotions

John 11:33 “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” NIV

j. The soul and the spirit are separated from the body at death

Luke 8:54-56 “But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” 55 Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.” NIV

Matt 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” NIV

James 2:26 “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” NIV

1 Kings 17:21-23 “Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.” NIV

k. The word “death” which is “thanatas” in Greek, does not mean to be non-existent or unconscious, it rather means to be separated.

Col 2:13 “When you were dead (in other words separated from God, not unconscious) in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.” NIV

Eccl 9:5 “The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.” NIV

(Note: The context of this verse is “under the sun.” This text says that the dead do not know what is happening “under the sun” (on earth – Eccl 9:3: “This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun . . .” Eccl 9:6: “never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun”,) as after they die their spirit returns to God. (Eccl. 12:7: “And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” NIV)

See also Ephesians 2:1 and Revelation 3:1

l. Jesus will bring with him those who died at His second coming

1 Thess 4:14 “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” NIV

1 Thess 3:13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. NIV

Conclusion: Soul sleep is a lie from the devil who wants us to 1 Cor 15:32 “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” NIV

Do not be misled. The Bible is true and is our only guide. Who will you trust: man’s word or God’s Word? The choice is yours my friend.

Rob Chaffart


The Roman Catholic church teaches that those who are perfect at death are admitted to heaven. Those who are not perfectly cleansed and are still tainted with the guilt of sin, however, do not go to heaven but instead go to purgatory where they allegedly go through a process of cleansing (or “purging”). Such souls are oppressed with a sense of deprivation and suffer certain pain. How long they stay in purgatory, and how much suffering they undergo while there depends upon their particular state and depth of sin.

Roman Catholics also teach that a person’s time in purgatory may be shortened, and his pains alleviated, by the faithful prayers and good works of those still alive. The sacrifice of the Mass is viewed as especially important in this regard. Catholics find support for this doctrine in the apocryphal book 2 Maccabees 12:42-45.

That purgatory is a false doctrine is easy to prove. Scriptures point to this. When Jesus died on the cross, He said “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus finished the work of redemption at the cross. In His prayer to the Father, Jesus said, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Hebrews 10:14 emphatically says, “By one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those who are being made holy.” Hence, those who believe in Christ are “made perfect” forever; NO further “purging” is necessary. First John 1:7 says, “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from ALL sin.” Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Jesus took care of “purging” our sins by His work of salvation at the cross. Hebrews 1:3 says, “After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Jesus provided full purification for our sins.


Love DeeDee


There is no weigh station where you may be purged called purgatory. You either go to hell or heaven and nothing in between. Purgatory is man conceived and not biblical at all.

Luke 16:26 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ (NIV)

The whole chapter of Luke 16 explains it clearly. You believe in Jesus and go to heaven. You don’t and you go to hell. John 14:6 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (NIV)



The following scriptures are copied from the Catholic Bible 1899 Douay-Rheims Bible 1Th 4:13 (4:12) And we will not have you ignorant brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others who have no hope.

1Th 4:14 (4:13) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again: even so them who have slept through Jesus, will God bring with him.

1Th 4:15 (4:14) For this we say unto you in the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them who have slept.

1Th 4:16 (4:15) For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment and with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God: and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first.

1Th 4:17 (4:16) Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air: and so shall we be always with the Lord.

1Th 4:18 (4:17) Wherefore, comfort ye one another with these words.

It is impossible to believe in something called purgatory and believe the passage of scripture above. Either you believe this is true, or you believe a fairy tale that is recorded no where in the Bible.

Enoch I believe was a type of the church, and his life pleased God before he was taken.

Heb 11:5 By faith Henoch was translated that he should not see death: and he was not found because God had translated him. For before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God

I am persuaded by the Word of God that the blood bought church of Jesus Christ will rise to meet the Lord in the air. WITH NO STOPPING OFF PLACES

1Th 4:18 (4:17) Wherefore, comfort ye one another with these words.



Purgatory is totally not Biblical. I believe the Catholic religion developed the idea. But according to the Bible, there is only “the lake of fire” and “Heaven”.