Purgatory: Is it True, or is it False?
It is plainly false! For the doctrine of purgatory is
nowhere found in the Inspired Word.
To accept purgatory, is to deny salvation by Grace through Faith, for salvation and purgatory are mutually exclusive, it is therefore impossible for them to coexist in the Doctrine of Christ.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8, 9″
The terms “purgatory” and “probation after death” are practically synonymous, and we must be ever mindful that we cannot hold to any interpretation of Scripture, which is contrary to any other text in Scripture, at least not without first defiling it.
Note very carefully the following texts, and the problems that we find when we
try to harmonize purgatory with the state of the dead as the Bible teaches.
And the Bible is clear that the dead know not anything.
“For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten, also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 9:5-6
It is here stated in positive language that: “The dead know nothing.”
Solomon’s statements concerning the dead Eccl. 9:5, 6, 10. that they “know not anything” shows us that “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave.” Even the prosperity or adversity of their best loved relatives, produces no emotion, either of joy or sorrow. “His sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.” Job 14:21.
“The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence… For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” Psalm 115:17; 6:5
And Peter says: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day… For David is not ascended into the heavens:” in Acts 2:29; 34
The testimony of the Bible, is far from stating that the worthies of old went to heaven when they died. Paul says in Hebrews 11:13, speaking of a multitude of saints, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises.”
We are given a better understanding of the extinction of man in the grave in the fourteenth chapter of Job. If a tree is cut down, there remains in the stump just enough life for it to sprout again, but this is not the case with men; “but man dieth, and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” Job 14:10.
This is equivalent to saying that he has no existence, he is now rendered extinct, but this extinction is not final; it will last only for a fixed time. “As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up; so man lieth down, and riseth not; till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.” Job 14:11, 12.
The text which confirms this time, is spoken of by Peter in the following; he says: “in the day of the Lord the heavens shall pass away with a great noise.” II Peter 3:10.
That great noise is the voice of God which shook the earth at Sinai; which is yet once more to sound and shake the heavens, [Hebrews 12:26] it is the trump of God that is to arouse the sleeping dead. So Job’s words are equivalent to the statement that at death man becomes utterly extinct, and remains so until the coming of the Lord.
Paul’s position concerning the state of the dead, in brief is this: The resurrection of the dead depends upon the resurrection of Christ; if Christ is not raised, then the dead will not be raised; and in that case those who have fallen asleep/died, in Christ, have perished. To perish means, “To be destroyed; to go to destruction; to pass away; to come to nothing; to be blotted from existence.” It is therefore evident that the condition of those who died before Christ, first and last, was not changed in the least by His coming and His death and resurrection.
The Bible speaks of death as being “asleep.”
At death we go to the grave, and we are said to “sleep in the dust.”
As did those of the Old Testament who slept with their fathers upon death, and as Jesus spoke when telling His disciples that Lazarus was asleep: “These things said he [Jesus]: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep… Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” John 11:11, 14.
And also when the martyr Stephen was stoned to death: “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59, 60.
The place of the dead is a place that both good and bad will go. This of itself is sufficient to prove that men do not go to Heaven at death. The following description of the place of the dead also shows that it is not Heaven:
“A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” Job 10:22.
It is the “land of forgetfulness.” Ps. 88:12. It is from this place that the Lord will bring his faithful ones when He comes.
Paul says concerning them that sleep: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus shall God bring with him.” 1 Thess. 4:14.
This does not mean that He will bring them from Heaven, but from the grave, John 5:28, 29 confirms this idea.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28-29.
In light of the above testimonies of the nature and condition of death, how could it be possible to have another chance of probation after death?
“For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:14
“For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:37
“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:” Romans 2:5-6
It is therefore not possible that anyone might be judged for any works after death, when the dead know nothing, and the Scriptures clearly teach that we are judged by that which we do and say in this life.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” 2 Corinthians 5:10.
More on the “State of the Dead”
Presents of God Ministries “State of the Dead”