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For Catholic Friends

Purgatory: Your Hope For Heaven?
The HOLY BIBLE speaks on this blazing issue
affecting
over one billion people.

Millions of people on this planet are anxiously hoping to avoid eternal Hell by attempting to work their way into Heaven. But there are also millions who live wickedly and are still convinced that they will escape eternal Hell and be rewarded with a home in Heaven. Any reasonable person will recognize that this is unjust, and that a just God simply could not permit this. In fact, God warns us in the Holy Bible: "Be not deceived: God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Galatians 6:7,8). Hell is described in Matthew 13:40-42: "... so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man (Jesus) shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that cause sin, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth".

Only One Truth

But where do the wicked find their hope for Heaven? It is built upon the teaching that Hell is not for eternity, and that it is really Purgatory, from which they can be bailed out early if appropriate fees are paid by relatives or by themselves (before death). Purgatory can even be avoided altogether if one really satisfies the priests with financial and other benefits. A reasonable person will recognize this as unjust because it favors the rich and penalizes the poor. In fact, Jesus taught the exact opposite: "Jesus saith unto them, Children, how hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God" (Mark 10:24-25). So what is Purgatory, and what hope does it offer?

God, who alone has the authority to decide the condition under which one is accepted into His Heaven, has written the instruction for mankind in His Word, the Holy Bible. His Truth is not bigotry. Exclusive it certainly is, and without apology! He has the preeminent authority and the supreme wisdom to so dictate. If Purgatory is a way of entry to Heaven, He will mention it in His Word as clearly as He has mentioned Hell (for eternity).

"Thy Word is Truth" (John 17:17)

The Holy Bible in original manuscript is God's inspired and inerrant Word which instructs mankind in spiritual matters: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16). God has not given anyone sole authority to interpret His Word: " ... no prophecy (teaching) of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:20-21). From cover to cover, the Holy Bible is God's complete message (prophecy) to man. Such is the authority of the Holy Bible that David sang to God: "Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy Name" (Psalm 138:2). God endorses His Word so critically that He added a warning at the end of it: "If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" ( Rev 22:18,19).

The Holy Bible has been faithfully translated into many languages without distortion of the original truth. Computer Bible editions now allow us to easily trace words used in the Bible, and to quickly research whether an idea is in God's Word. All God's teachings concerning Heaven and Hell are in His Word: any idea not found in it is a treacherous untruth which must be rejected.

God's Way to Heaven

The Holy Bible is God's inerrant Word. It declares that Jesus came to earth as the sacrificial "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). The Bible declares that we are all sinners: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). We know that to be true because although we do not wish to do evil, we still find ourselves doing so (Romans 7:14-20). Sin has passed the sentence of eternal condemnation upon our souls, and dooms us to Hell: "The wages of sin is death (Hell), but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Wonderfully, this verse also tells us how to escape this death sentence: through a gift. God knew that our best deeds cannot meet His standard of perfection: so they are of no value in paying this penalty. God says it clearly in Isaiah 64:6: "But we all are as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses (good deeds) are as filthy rags".

How then can we avoid Hell? God is just, and His perfect justice demands that your penalty be paid. No other human is in a position to do so on your behalf: everyone is under the same judgment, seeking a way of escape. Only a perfect being can be an acceptable substitute, and that is God Himself. In the person of Jesus, God came to earth and paid the death penalty on the cross; then He arose from the grave, defying death and Hell on your behalf. He said: "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25). The Lord Jesus offers you His sacrifice as a gift (which is always free). Refusing this gift leaves you Hell-bound, without hope. The Bible declares: "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

Ephesians 2:8-9 affirm: "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" . With finality, no man can do anything to contribute to his salvation. Every good deed performed with sin-soiled hands loses its goodness by God's standard.

JESUS: Failure or Savior?

The angel said His name will be Jesus, "for He shall save His people from their sins". Jesus said that He is the only way to the Father (in Heaven). He also promised that "because I live (rise on the third day), you shall live also" (John 14:19). He declared: "It is finished" ; that is, the price for His people's sin has been paid completely. That is why Romans 8:1 declares triumphantly: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus". To say that Jesus' sacrifice was not enough for salvation is to call Him a liar and a failure in his mission to earth. He cannot be both Savior and failure! Who, and with what authority, can deny the finality and sufficiency of Christ's atoning sacrifice? The Apostle Paul explained it this way: "...if righteousness comes by the law (good deeds), then Christ is dead in vain" (Galatians 2:21). Dare any man accuse God of failing in His salvation plan? Can a sinful mortal do better than Jesus who Himself is God? We dare not bring the wrath of God upon ourselves by calling God a liar! His sacrifice was adequate to make Him our Savior, and He will judge those who reject His self-sacrifice.

Truth is Never Bigotry

One can hear shouts of "bigotry", "narrow-minded", and "Catholic bashing"! The truth can be a painful surprise but it is as healing as the surgeon's knife which removes a deadly cancer. Is the surgeon a bigot? Is his diagnosis bigotry? Certainly not. Now understand that the Great Physician (Jesus) has diagnosed man's Hell-demanding sins, and has provided the only cure possible. This is redeeming truth: not bigotry. Truth and medicine can both be bitter and painful during the healing process, but Oh how wonderful the result is! Do not cheat yourself of heaven while defending deceitful teachings. Every breath you take sucks you closer to the flames of Hell which crackle with condemnation. Neither priest, nor doctrine, nor health, nor wealth, nor poverty can remove Hell's claim on you; but the price having been paid in full by the Lord Jesus will certainly break Satan's hold on your soul, body, and mind.

PURGATORY in the BIBLE?

It was Christmas night, 1999. Our after-dinner conversation had led to my electronic Bible search for the word "Purgatory" . Carmela's usually lively face grew pale as she read the search result: "Purgatory not in Bible". That's right: God has not spoken a word about Purgatory in His Holy Book to us! He speaks of a choice between only eternal Heaven and eternal Hell. God consistently teaches us that without salvation through His way, one will spend eternity in Hell with no way out. Carmela blurted out after a brief silence: "So why do the priests teach us about purgatory? Why we have to pay money to the church to bail out our dead relatives? Why did I pay a lot of money for special mass for my husband if what you say is true?" Sensing her agony and outrage, I gently pointed out that it was God's Truth: we must "let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). Carmela acknowledged this, but the ensuing questions were troubling. The answers in the Holy Bible led her to happily pray for salvation through the one Way: Jesus who alone paid the penalty for all our sins. Jesus said: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Let us examine the Holy Bible for the answers.

Life after Death

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus teaches the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the beggar. Upon death, Lazarus went to Heaven directly, but the rich man went into the tormenting flames of Hell directly. The rich man requested that Lazarus dip the tip of his finger in water and go to him and cool his tongue. Abraham explained to the rich man why his request could not be granted: (1) God's justice demands that the price of sin must be paid in full; (2) the price of sin is an eternity in hell; and (3) hell and heaven are permanently separated by an impassable "great gulf fixed so that they who wish to pass from here to you cannot; neither can they come to us, that wish to escape from there" . If God had purgatory in mind, He would have said so as precisely as he said "cannot". Jesus declared with finality that one is designated to either Heaven or Hell before one dies, and goes there for eternity immediately after death. Recognizing these three regrettable facts, the rich man begged Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers "lest they also come into this place of torment". This sobering parable was given as a warning to the Jewish religious leaders who were deceiving the people with false teachings while enjoying the luxury of high public esteem. These truths from God's Word must be heeded now!

PURGATORY: A Brief History

The idea of Purgatory was developed by the Papacy early in European history when the Roman Catholic Church was struggling against the Royal family for wealth, property, and political power. The key to power was wealth and property, both of which the citizens possessed. So the key to power was control of the citizens. On the other hand, the citizens' ultimate concern was the destiny of their souls after death, which is a spiritual matter in the church's control. The Papacy seized the opportunity for mind control, and quickly launched the following new creeds: that only the Pope and his Priests could forgive sins (used as a threat); that Hell is really Purgatory and it is not for eternity ( a comforting lie); that all Roman Catholics will go to Heaven even if a time of cleansing in Purgatory is necessary (giving false hope ); that time in Purgatory can be reduced drastically or even avoided if the right fees, indulgences and mass are furnished ( providing to the wealthy the privilege to sin for a fee). The result was predictable: threatened with prolonged agony in Purgatory, citizens gave their money, property, men (for war), and even wives and daughters (for sexual exploitation) to the degenerate Popes and priests; yet, sadly, without escape from eternal Hell. Those who objected were brutally murdered by Papal soldiers and hatchet men. Shocking as it sounds, any reputable textbook of European history will confirm this vile history of the Papacy , which continues today, and the media now publicize the homosexuality, child abuse, abortions, adultery, and other abominable sins of the Popes and their priests. The wealthy continue to be duped by the conniving teachers of purgatory because they love their sins. In the final analysis, can one truly identify the Papacy with Christianity as described in the Holy Bible? We must apply the wisdom God has given us, especially when our souls are at stake!

Most Brilliant! Most Deadly!

"How could they get away with this lie about Purgatory?" Carmela asked. Without the truth of the Bible, the people could not recognize false teachings. So the Papacy made every effort to withhold the Bible from the people, and in the most brutal way. The Popes fiercely opposed the translation of the Bible into the spoken languages, and breathed out death to anyone who dared defy this policy. They burned to death in public squares not only those caught making the Bible available to citizens, but also men, women, and children who read or memorized the Lord's Prayer in English. In the meantime, the Papacy proceeded to attack countries which encouraged their citizens to read the Bible: from England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, and Italy, untold millions were savagely murdered for reading or possessing God's Word! That was then, but people today are still in mortal fear of offending the Pope or priests who insist that only they can understand the Holy Bible (contrary to 2 Peter 1:20-21). Jesus taught: "fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us the Truth that is in God's Word: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things" (John 14:26). The simple Truth is that salvation is a priceless GIFT (free) from God, and He will teach you as you read His Word.

PURGATORY Today: Same Lie As Yesterday!

Sadly, our Roman Catholic friends believe the Purgatory lie even today: but why? For the same reason: they are scared into believing that they need the Church's favor for passage into Heaven. Purgatory's treacherous lie continues to extort the earnings of its believers, while at the same time it deprives them of God's Truth which alone can save them from Hell. It leads them into the depths of idolatry as they purchase indulgences as payment for sins; as they make and bow before many idols (graven images), disobeying God's command that "thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image ... thou shalt not bow down thyself to them" (Exodus 20:4,5); and as they bow before men rather than before God. If only our Roman Catholic friends would read the Holy Bible and listen to God's Holy Spirit, they would learn of God's free salvation plan. They would recognize the Papacy's many heresies and believe the truth: [1] that no man on earth can forgive sins but the Lord Jesus ( "neither is there salvation in any other: for there in none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved": Acts 4:12); [2] baptisms, masses, and monetary offerings cannot pay for sins, but only the blood of Jesus can ( "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" : 1 John 1:7); [3] examples of homosexuality, rape, sodomy and other depravity practiced by Popes and priests from the past to the present are luring followers into Hell (Romans 1:18-32); [4] that the Popes are fallible human beings as declared by God and proved by their vile history ("As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one": Romans 3:10); and [5] that God desires that we study His Word and hide it in our hearts: ("Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee: Psalm 119:11).

GOD'S SALVATION PLAN: A FREE GIFT

God says in Romans 6:23: "The wages of sin is death (eternal Hell), but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". A gift is not a gift if one works or pays for it. Salvation is a gift which you cannot buy because it is priceless; and you cannot afford to reject it because it is the only way to Heaven. Jesus confirms in John 14:6: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."

God also insists in Acts 4:12: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved".

God cautions us that our efforts to work or buy our way into heaven are tainted with sin: "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). "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). How many people have boasted about what they have done for their loved ones to get out of purgatory, not knowing that God said: "They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him" (Psalms 49:6-7). He also said: "But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil" (James 4:16).

Jesus willingly gave his life blood as payment for your sin, and He alone can forgive your sin: "... ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, ... by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18-19). Only believe fully: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). To believe in Jesus means to live for Him according to His Word, the Holy Bible. He gives us grace and power to do so.

HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE?

God challenges you in the Holy Bible: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation" (Hebrews 2:3). Having read these truths from God's Word, about both His gift and His judgment, you may be drawn by God's Holy Spirit to repent of your sins and ask the Lord Jesus to forgive and cleanse you, and to give you His power to live for Him. Please speak to Him right now very humbly and sincerely: He knows what you want to say, and He will honor your plea for salvation. Now that you know what the Bible declares, to do otherwise is to sin, as God explains in James 4:16-17: "But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" .

NOW IS THE TIME

Dear friend, whether you be Pope, priest, or parishioner, your eternal destiny is at stake . You do not know when your life on earth may suddenly end without a conscious chance to make peace with God. This very moment is the surest opportunity for you to cry out to God for salvation. Only God cared enough to set aside. His heavenly glory and suffer the terrible agony of our punishment so that we may be pardoned. If there was another way, He would have told us. God counsels us through Isaiah the Prophet (Isaiah 55:6-7): "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon". 2 Corinthians 6:2 declares: "behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation".

Confess to the Lord Jesus in a simple prayer such as this:

    "Dear God, I come to you in Jesus' Name. I am sorry that I have sinned against you. Please forgive me and cleanse me from all sin. Wash me in the purifying blood of the Lord Jesus, and make me your child from this time onward. Teach me your Truth and help me to live for you daily. Thank you for answering my cry for salvation, in Jesus Name".

 

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