IS PRAYING FOR THE DEAD BIBLICAL?
The question in the mind of those in Protestant churches is why would any one pray fro the dead, because the moment a person dies they either go to heaven or the go to hell.
But in the mind of those raised in the Catholic church are taught that when a person dies they go to one of THREE different places. That is to say according to the Catholic church when a person dies they either go to heaven, hell, or PURGATORY.
So then WHAT is this place called PURGATORY? Please read the study called “IS THE DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY BIBLICAL?” for what the whole word of God teaches, but for now purgatory according to the Catholic church is a place of suffering where the should of a person who has been forgiven of their sins, but there is still yet the “EFFECTS” of sin that must be cleansed before the soul can enter into heaven.
It is also believed by the Catholic church that those alive on the earth can PRAY for the dead souls in PURGATORY so that their suffering is eased and even shorten if enough prays and masses are offer to God in their behalf.
Here are two verses or passages of scripture taken from the Catholic Bible that gives what the Catholic church feels is more than enough Biblical evidence to pray for the dead so that the effects or traces sins of the dead may be erased so that the souls of those who are suffering in the flames of purgatory may be lessened and even shortened. Again I will explain a little on what Purgatory is in this study, but for a more in depth study on the subject of where and how that doctrine of purgatory came to be and is this doctrine a sound Biblical teaching please read the study “IS THE DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY BIBLICAL?”, but for now in this study we will try to stay focused on answering the question is praying for the dead a SOUND BIBLICAL teaching based upon the WHOLE word of God?
The first passage of scripture in the Catholic Bible and in some Protestant Bibles as well is taken from from 2 Maccabees 12:42-46, which is not in most Protestant Bibles, but is in all Catholic Bibles. Now I myself do not dogmatically teach as some believers do that a Christian should not even consider reading these books called the Apocrypha books that are in the Catholic Bible and in SOME Protestant Bibles as well. But rather I teach that IF one does use these Apocrypha books to teach Biblical doctrine, then that doctrine must AGREE with the rest of God's word.
In other words, you cannot take a passage of scripture from the book of 2 Maccabees and dogmatically demand that this is what the WHOLE word of God teaches. Any verse from any book in the Bible, any Bible, when read alone and apart from the rest of God's word may SEEM to be saying something that it is NOT TRULY saying when it is interpreted in the LIGHT of the WHOLE word of Almighty God.
So then, with that being said the purpose of this study in God's word is to answer the question “Is praying for to dead a SOUND BIBLICAL teaching?” Therefore in order to satisfy this question it is needful to base our conclusions on what we find that the BIBLE says and NOT what TRADITION says. In other words, we must consider all the books of the Bible that were once used by the church before the reformation and this would include what has now come to be called the Apocrypha books that are included in the Catholic Bible, but are not considered inspired books by most Protestant churches and therefore they are not included in most Protestant Bibles, but they are included in SOME protestant Bibles.
Again please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I am NOT putting my stamp of approval on the Apocrypha books saying that they are indeed INSPIRED books of the Bible. All I am saying is that these books should not be viewed as taboo or FORBIDDEN books to read. I do not believe that any church should FORBID their congregation from reading any book that teaches on subjects in the Bible including modern books written by Christian authors. But instead if a church truly feels that a certain book that is written by another denomination could cause a believer to fall away from God and the true gospel of Jesus Christ, then rather than forbid that book to be read I believe that they should teach FROM that book showing the ERRORS made by those who wrote the book and how the INTERPRETATIONS of of the scripture found in those books do NOT agree with the rest of God's word. It may be that many of these so called Christian books written in modern times are indeed in error, or it may be that by studying the book more closely the church may find that they themselves are in ERROR and that some of these books are indeed teaching the TRUTH.
Anyway this study is NOT about dogmatically telling you that IF you pray for the dead, then you are sinning against God. Nor is this study about trying to convict those who do NOT pray for the dead as I myself feel that some Catholic writers come across this way to me personally by trying to make people feel guilty for not praying for the dead.
But rather this study is about presenting to you, the reader and seeker of the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God, with ALL the evidence from both sides of this controversial subject of praying for the dead to answer the question, “Is praying for the dead a SOUND BIBLICAL teaching?”. Does this teaching of praying for the dead AGREE with what the WHOLE word of God teaches us?
With that being said here is 2 Maccabees 12:42-46, where we see Judas Maccabees and his soldiers praying for their fellow soldier who just died in battle when they discovered that these soldiers who just died were wearing pagan amulets, which was forbidden for them to do in God's word.
II Maccabees 12: 42
And the second passage of scripture and only other main passage of scripture that I found that is used by the Catholic church to try and support their teaching of praying for the dead is found in every Bible in 2 Timothy 1:18, which says,
Now when I read these passages of scripture I thought HOW can anyone come up with the idea of a place called “PURGATORY” where most every single Christians goes, that is to say, according to the Catholic teaching of purgatory most every Christian goes to purgatory, when they die in order to pay penance for the sins by suffering in untold agony in the fiery flames of purgatory that they have committed while they were yet alive on the earth from just these two passages of scripture?
Well there are other verses that they use to build the idea that when God forgives sin he still requires PENANCE to be made for that sin. This is a study in and of itself, but I will at least touch on a few of these verses as well in this particular study, but for a deeper understanding of penance and forgiveness please read the studies called “TRUE BIBLICAL REPENTANCE”, “TRUE BIBLICAL FORGIVENESS”, and “DOES GOD REQUIRE US TO DO PENANCE FOR OUR SINS?”, but for now let us turn our attention to these two main verses used by the Catholic church to teach their doctrine of praying for the dead.
We will begin by reading 2 Timothy 1:18 again.
“The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, you know very well.”
The “him” and the “he” here in 2 Timothy 1:18 is referring to Oneisphorus, who some have INTERPRETED to be DEAD and therefore verse 18 can then been interpreted as a PRAYER for the DEAD.
BUT was Oneisphorus really DEAD when these words were written? We will see the sound Biblical answer to this question in a moment but first I want you to read a short article written by a Franciscan priest in the Catholic church where he says that the justification for the teaching of purgatory goes BEYOND the intention of Judas Maccabees words. But then he goes on to REASON in himself by saying, what other reason could there be to offer sacrifices for these soldiers who were sinning against God when they died in battle as IF this were the ONLY possible explanation for why Judas Maccabees ordered these sacrifices and prayers for these dead soldiers who were sinning against God by wearing these again amulets when they died in battle was to get them out of purgatory. You can read the article below and then I will give you some other reasons of why these sacrifices and prayers for these dead soldiers who were sinning against God when they died in battle that AGREE with the rest of God's word and do not contradict other verses in the Bible like the doctrines of purgatory and praying for the dead.
Why Pray For The Dead?
Q: A Christian friend of mine says that the Bible contains no references to purgatory. What is the basis for the Catholic Church’s teaching about this? Why do Catholics pray for the dead?
A: In 2 Maccabees 12:38-46, Judas Maccabees orders that sacrifices be offered in the Temple in Jerusalem for slain Jewish soldiers who had worn pagan amulets (good-luck charms).
Some people have seen this story as biblical justification for the teaching on purgatory. That certainly overstates the author’s intention. If, however, those Jewish soldiers did something wrong by wearing pagan amulets, why offer sacrifices on their behalf?
The two Books of Maccabees are probably not in your friend’s Bible because they were originally written in Greek. During Jesus’ lifetime, some Jewish people regarded these books as inspired by God.
About 60 years after Jesus’ death, however, rabbis at Jamnia in Palestine drew up the list (canon) of the Scriptures used by Jewish people to this day. That shorter list includes only works composed in Hebrew, excluding the two Books of Maccabees, five other books and parts of the Books of Daniel and Esther.
For centuries, Eastern and Western Christians accepted as inspired the longer list. When Martin Luther translated the Bible, he used the shorter list. Sometimes, these seven books are printed in Protestant Bibles as “Deutero-canonical” or “Apocrypha.”
The New Testament and early Christian writings offer some evidence for purgatory. In 2 Timothy 1:18, St. Paul prays for Onesiphorus, who has died. The earliest mention of prayers for the dead in public Christian worship is by the writer Tertullian in 211 A.D.
The question of purgatory and praying for the dead was a major issue between Catholics and Protestants in the 16th century. The Council of Trent’s 1563 decree about purgatory reaffirmed its existence and the usefulness of prayers for the deceased, yet it cautioned against “a certain kind of curiosity or superstition...” about it.
The Roman Catholic teaching on purgatory reflects its understanding of the communion of saints. We are connected to the saints in heaven, the saints-in-waiting in purgatory and other believers here on earth. Prayers for the deceased are not a means of buying their way out of purgatory.
The Catholic Church’s teaching about purgatory (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1030-32) says that all sin, unfortunately, has a life of its own and may have bad effects even after the sinner repents. Sincere repentance includes a desire to repair the damage done by one’s sins. That may or may not be complete before the person dies.
When the world ends at the Final Judgment, there will be only two possibilities: heaven and hell. We who celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection over sin and death look forward to sharing in that victory, and we pray that our beloved dead may do the same.
Before we go back to 2 Maccabees let us first put to rest that the New Testament scriptures that the Catholic church claims that they offer SOME evidence for the doctrines of purgatory and the praying for the dead to get them out of the suffering in purgatory.
Let me begin by saying the IF these doctrines or praying for the dead and purgatory where TRUE SOUND BIBLICAL teachings, then there would be far more evidence than just SOME this very vague evidence offered by the Catholic church for support of these teachings. I mean THINK this through for yourselves my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, IF praying for the dead could get the dead out of purgatory and into heaven, then this teaching would be all over the New Testament leaving absolutely no doubt that it is God will to pray for the dead, but the TRUTH of the matter is that these teachings are NOT found anywhere in the New Testament. And the very vague verses that are used to TRY and support these Catholic doctrines are taken out of context and are INCORRECTLY INTERPRETED to mean something that they are NOT truly saying.
So then, first let us read 2 Timothy 1:18 again only this time let us KEEP it in the CONTEXT of where it is found to see what this verse is truly saying to us. Now those who teach the doctrine of praying for the dead SAY that this man Onesiphorus has already DIED when this prayer of HOPE or positive confession of HOPE for him was spoken in verse 18.
However, the CONTEXT seems very clear to me that Onesiphrus is still yet LIVING and that this prayer of HOPE was made for him so that the eyes of his understanding would be opened to the truth so that he would once again turn BACK to the true gospel of Jesus Christ BELIEVE unto the END so that he would be found worthy to receive eternal life at the second coming of Jesus. Read the CONTEXT for yourself and see what is truly meant by verse 18.
Please read 2 Timothy 1:13-18, which to me Oneisphorus is NOT dead, but rather has just turned away from following the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
17. But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me (speaking of before Onesiphorus turned away from the sound words of the gospel of Jesus Christ which I preached and he once believed, but has now turned away from sound words that I preached to him).
18. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, you know very well.”
Now Paul makes mention that some believers have TURNED AWAY from following the true gospel of Jesus Christ that he was preaching. He calls them by name, Phygellis, Hermogenes, and Oneisphorus. Paul mentions Oneisphorus separate from the other two, because Oneisphorus is closer to Paul than the others. We can clearly see this closeness between Paul and Oneisphorus and how dear he was to him in the following verses.
First Paul prays a prayer of hope that the Lord will give mercy unto the HOUSE or the family of Onesiphorus. So should we INTERPRET this to mean that the entire family has DIED as well? NO, not at all! You see my dear brother and sisters, in our Lord Jesus Christ, if you had a family member that has been faithful in serving the Lord and then that family member suddenly TURNED AWAY from following God you who have remained faithful to follow God would certainly want your fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord to PRAY for you and that family member who has TURNED AWAY from God. This is what these prayers were for and not prayers made for the DEAD.
The only other place in the Bible that speaks of Onesiphorus is in 2 Timothy 4:19-21 where the saints are asked to give salutations to the HOUSEHOLD of Onesiphorus and others. Salutations are NOT prayers, but rather they are GREETINGS to fellow FAITHFUL BROTHERS and SISTERS in the Lord. In other words, you do do give a salutation to a brother who is living is sin as if nothing has happened. The Bible teaches us that we are not to treat brothers and sisters who have turned away from the gospel or who are living in SIN in the same way that we treat the FAITHFUL brethren. Here is what 2 Timothy 4:19-21 says.
“Salute (as in give God speed and your blessings to) Priscilla and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. (in other words, Paul is saying I want you to continue to salute the HOUSEHOLD of Onesiphorus, because they have remained faithful to the gospel, but do not salute Oneisphorus, because he has TURNED AWAY from God. Salute also)
22. The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.”
Salutations are only given to FAITHFUL BELIEVERS who are IN the faith. If you remember Onesiphorus TURNED AWAY from the faith. So this is why no salutation was asked to be given directly to Onesiphorus and NOT because he had DIED physically.
The Bible teaches us that there is always still HOPE for a person who has fallen back into sin to turn away from sin and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as there is always hope for every sinner to repent of their sins and come to Jesus.
So you see, Onesiphorus was still yet LIVING when Paul wrote these words to the church. Therefore 1 Timothy 1:18 cannot be used as SOUND BIBLICAL support for the teaching of praying for the dead in any way shape or form. Even IF Onesiphorus was truly dead when Paul wrote these words in 1 Timothy 1:18 these words are NOT a pray of FAITH whereby a believer can KNOW with complete ASSURANCE that Oneisphorus will be granted mercy on the day of the Lord. Paul's words in verse 18 are more of a confession of HOPE more so than a PRAYER of FAITH being asked of God to FORGIVE Onesiphorus for turning away from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Can you not see that there is a big difference between saying a hopeful positive confession over someone you know has died in SIN than saying Father forgive them for the sins that they have committed against me.
Now while it is true that any believer can and should forgive anyone who sins against them and God will forgive them, but to say that the Bible teaches that we as Christians can say a prayer to forgive any sinner for all their sins to be forgiven and God will without fail forgiven them is going beyond what the word of God actually teaches about asking forgiveness for others who have sinned. So then, to say that verse 18 is a model of a prayer for the dead asking God to forgive the dead of their sins and God will without fail answer your prays and forgive the dead of their sins in going way beyond what the whole word of God clearly and plainly teaches us, which is once a person DIES, then whatever state in which they draw their last breath and die, then they will be JUDGED according to their LAST WORK on the earth.
This is made very clear to us in Ezekiel chapters 18 and 30 where God is pleading with the wicked to TURN from his wickedness so that he may LIVE. And also WARNS the righteous that if they turn AWAY from walking in righteousness to live in SIN and they should DIE while living in SIN, then that should shall DIE and NONE of their RIGHTEOUSNESS will be REMEMBERED that they did when they once walked with God.
Please read Ezekiel 18: 20-28.
“The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
22. All his transgressions that he has committed, they shall NOT be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. (when God forgive you then you are forgiven of ALL your transgressions)
24. But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All his righteousness that he has done shall NOT be mentioned: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die.
The Bible only speaks of TWO choices, which are RIGHTEOUSNESS or SIN. The Bible speaks of only TWO places that a person goes when they die, which are the RIGHTEOUS go to HEAVEN and the WICKED SINNERS goes to HELL, which shall be cast into the LAKE of FIRE to be DESTROYED on the day of judgment. The Bible speaks of only TWO kinds of people, which are the LIVING or the DEAD while clearly teaching us that it is ONLY the LIVING who have the opportunity to CHANGE their WAYS. In other words, once a person DIES, then in whatever state that the draw their last breath and DIE will determine their FINAL destiny by their OWN CHOICE that they made WHILE they were LIVING.
This is WHY Paul said may The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day speaking of the second coming of Jesus where only the RIGHTEOUS dead in Jesus Christ will be raised form the dead and be given eternal life. There are absolutely NO SECOND CHANCES AFTER a person DIES. Once a person DIES their fate is SEALED by the CHOICE that THEY THEMSELVES made WHILE they were LIVING. We can only HOPE that they made the RIGHT choice before they DIED.
So naturally every true believer would have this HOPE that God would grant mercy to those we dearly love who are NOT presently serving the Lord. But this does NOT mean that they are ALREADY DEAD if we pray this kind of prayer, because I am sure that all of us have loved ones who are not presently serving God in RIGHTEOUSNESS. In other words, Paul's confessing of HOPE for Oneisphorus to come back to the true gospel and be saved does NOT mean that he is DEAD. This is just one way to INTERPRET this verse.
So then, to dogmatically demand that Oneisphorus was DEAD in INTERPRETING the scriptures beyond what they are actually saying. And to say that a prayer of HOPE will without fail be granted by God is ALSO to go beyond what the word of God teaches us about prayer. In other words, the prayer of FAITH must be based upon solid sound biblical evidence that it IS God's WILL and his PROMISE to do something, other wise it is just HOPE in something that is NOT PROMISED by God in his WORD, his WHOLE word.
Also the Bible teaches us that when a brother or sister in the Lord sins, then we are to treat him or her like a sinner. In other words, we need to pray for them to see their sin and repent. We are to ask for God's goodness, mercy, and grace to lead them to repentance. In 1 Corinthians 5:11 Paul tells the church at Corinth not to eat will one who is CALLED a brother who is living in SIN.
“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is CALLED a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”
Now some groups of believers have taken this verse or have interpreted this verse to the extreme by taking it to mean that we are to treat our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord who are living in SIN as total outcasts as if they do not exist. The Jehovah's Witnesses call this practice dis fellowship, and believers like the Amish call it shunning. The Catholic church calls it excommunication from the church. These practices are NOT sound Biblical teachings and most always serve to drive the person farther away from God and not back to God.
So in truth I personally believe that all these groups of believers have taken this and other verses to the extreme. To me passages of scripture like this means that we are NOT to treat our brothers and sisters in the Lord, who are willfully living in sin, as if there is nothing wrong with it and so we continue go on with life as if nothing at all has happened. And we continue to eat and fellowship with them as if they were doing nothing wrong.
No! A thousand times NO! That would be going to the other EXTREME.
Paul is telling us not to keep company with a brother or sister that is living in sin in the same way that we do NOT keep company with other sinners in the world outside the church body of believers. So how are we to treat sinners in the world. We do NOT greet them as BROTHERS and SISTERS in the Lord. We do not excuse their sin, but rather we WARN them of their sin. We pray that their eyes of understanding be opened to see their sin and repent. We pray for God to send more laborers into the harvest to do the same. We thank God for his goodness that will lead them to repentance. And we do not partake of their sin ourselves therefore setting forth an example for them to follow. But we do NOT treat them like they do not exist. They are being DECEIVED by the devil who has blinded their eyes. What would YOU want your fellow brothers and sisters to do if YOU were the one who fell into the snare of the enemy and sinned?
This is what 1 Timothy 1:18 means when the implication was made to SALUTE the HOUSEHOLD of Oneisphorus, because they have NOT turned away from the faith, but do NOT go on and continue to SALUTE or greet Oneisphorus himself as your brother in the Lord, because he has TURNED AWAY from obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ. Do not invite Oneisphorus into your home as a BROTHER and do NOT bid him GODSPEED as if nothing has happened.
Again I my self do not find any hint in the New Testament to pray for the dead. I see absolutely no clear, plain, and simple evidence in these passages of scripture about Oneisphorus that would indicate that he was DEAD and that the church was being taught to PRAY for the DEAD.
And again IF praying for the dead were TRULY a teaching of God, then it would be ALL OVER the entire Bible leaving absolutely no doubt that it is God's WILL to pray for the dead. But this is NOT the case. The ONLY evidence offered for these false teachings of the Catholic church are a few very vague verses and some very questionable church TRADITION that opposes and even contradicts the clear plain teaching that Jesus made the ATONEMENT for the sins of the world ONCE and for ALL time.
Now the early church had only the Old Testament as their scriptures, but they also had the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles who were given revelation knowledge of what these Old Testament scriptures were actually teaching. So the New Testament church was taught from the Old Testament the true meaning of these Old Testament scriptures. With that being said let us go to the Old Testament and see what it has to truly say about the DEAD.
But before we take a closer look at these Old Testament verses I want to let my readers and seekers of the truth know that I do NOT believe that the WHOLE word of God teaches us the doctrine of soul sleep, which FALSELY teaches that when a person dies physically, then their soul dies as well, in that, the soul supposedly goes into a state of complete and absolute unconsciousness and it remains in the grave in this state of complete unconsciousness until the resurrection. In other words, the false doctrine of soul sleep falsely teaches that the soul of the righteous does NOT go to be with the Lord in heaven when a righteous Christian dies as the New Testament clearly teaches us that the SOUL of the righteous do indeed go to be present with the Lord in heaven the very moment that the faithful believer dies. Please read the study called “IS THE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP BIBLICAL?” for all the scriptural evidence exposing the error of this false doctrine of soul sleep.
Also I want my readers to know that I do NOT believe that the WHOLE word of God teaches us that the SOUL of man is IMMORTAL as the Catholic church and many in the main stream churches FALSE teach. Please read the study called “IS THE SOUL OF MAN IMMORTAL?” for all the scriptural evidence that exposes the errors of this false doctrine of the immortal soul that has led to another false doctrine of eternal torment in flames of fire in hell for all eternity.
And as well I do NOT believe that the WHOLE word of God teaches us the doctrine of eternal torment in hell as the Catholic church and others in the main stream church falsely teach. Please read the studies called “IS THE DOCTRINE OF HELL BIBLICAL?” and “DOES REVELATION 20:10 TEACH ETERNAL TORMENT?” for all the sound Biblical evidence that exposes the errors of this false doctrine of eternal torment in the flames of fire of hell.
With that being said please read Ecclesiastes 9:1-10 from the New Century Version, which teaches us that it is ONLY the soul of the wicked who have died that are tormented with IMAGE and the KNOWING of what they are GOING to face on the day of judgment, because they KNOW that they have NO HOPE of reward of eternal life in the world to come. They made their choice while they were living. This passage of scripture teaches us that ONLY the LIVING have HOPE of the reward of eternal life and it is ONLY the righteous in Jesus Christ who are given the promise of this reward of eternal life in the world to come at the second coming of Jesus.
“I thought about all this and TRIED to understand it.(please keep in mind that this book in the Bible is written from an earthly human perspective OF God rather that a thus says the Lord literal factual style of writing. Even the writer plainly states that he TRIED to understand. In other words, God did not dictate word for word every thing that is written in this book of wisdom. Therefore we cannot build doctrine from such books unless our own personal INTERPRETATION of these OLD Testament verses AGREE with the NEW Testament verses and the REST of God's word. Now we can use these wisdom books to support doctrine that is already clearly understood from the NEW Testament and supported as well by Old Testament books that have factual thus says the Lord type statements. But clearly here in this verse the writer plainly says of himself that he TRIED to UNDERSTAND IT) I saw that God controls good people and wise people and what they do, but no one knows if they will experience love or hate.
2. Good and bad people end up the same -- those who are right and those who are wrong, those who are good and those who are evil, those who are clean and those who are unclean, those who sacrifice and those who do not. The same things happen to a good person as happen to a sinner, to a person who makes promises to God and to one who does not.
4. But anyone still ALIVE has HOPE;(This should make it blatantly clear that ONLY those who are ALIVE have HOPE. This also teaches us that the DEAD meaning ONLY the WICKED who have died have NO HOPE, because if this verse truly means that ALL the people who have DIED have NO HOPE, then this would CONTRADICT the NEW Testament passage of scripture found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 that clearly teaches us that ONLY the UNRIGHTEOUS SINNER who dies is WITHOUT HOPE. To dogmatically demand that this verse means ALL the dead have NO HOPE then Jesus did not rise from the dead and there is NO HOPE of a resurrection for any of the dead righteous or unrighteous. So NO, this verse does NOT mean ALL the dead have NO HOPE, but rather means that ONLY the dead who have die while living in SIN have NO HOPE) even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!(in the Bible both the dog and the lion are used as types for sinners. So he is saying that a sinner who is LIVING is better that a sinner who in DEAD)
5. The living know they will die, but the DEAD know nothing. DEAD people have no more REWARD (again it is ONLY the WICKED DEAD who have NO reward of eternal life in the world to come), and people forget them.(the wicked will be destroyed and they will be no more and the righteous will forget them. God will wipe away every tear)
6. After people are dead, they can no longer love or hate or envy. They will never again share in what happens here on earth.(again this is speaking of ONLY the WICKED who have died, because when a person dies while living in SIN they seal their own fate by the choices they themselves made while they were yet LIVING. Please read Ezekiel chapter 18 and chapter 30, which clearly and plainly WARNS us that if a RIGHTEOUS person should TURN AWAY from there walking in righteousness to live in SIN and if they should DIE will living in SIN then they shall DIE and NONE of their works of righteousness that they did will be remembered.)
7. So go eat your food and enjoy it; drink your wine and be happy, because that is what God wants you to do.(now these two verses are INTERPRETED by ATHEIST that there is NO LIFE after death so enjoy life to the fullness NOW, because the dead are DEAD and CEASE to EXIST. Can you not see, how close this false doctrine of soul sleep is to this atheist doctrine of devils that falsely teaches that there in no life after death. In other words, the atheist falsely teach that once a person dies then the cease to exist and have NO CONSCIOUSNESS of ever being alive again.)
10. Whatever work you do, do your best, because you are going to the GRAVE, where there is no working, no planning, no knowledge, and no wisdom.”(these last four verses clearly teach us that Solomon has LOST his HOPE in God and that it is UNLESS. But we KNOW from the REST of God's word that this is NOT the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God)
So then, it is not that all the memory of the dead is erased and the dead know not anything, but rather that PEOPLE who are alive on the earth lose memory of the dead over time. It is people who are ALIVE that forget the dead. This can also mean that in the world to come at the end of the 1000 year reign of Jesus when the wicked shall be destroyed and shall be no more that the RIGHTEOUS who have been GIVEN eternal LIFE shall FORGET the wicked who suffered the SECOND DEATH. And it can also mean that the righteous when God wipes away all tears shall wipe away nay memory of those we love that did not accept Jesus as they savior and were destroyed in the lake of fire.
Also in other translations it becomes apparent that what is forgotten by those who have died while living in SIN is actually the HOPE and REWARD that is lost to the person who dies while living in willful sin.
Also in the CONTEXT of people who are still ALIVE having HOPE verse 10 which states that in the grave there is no working, no planning, no knowledge, and no wisdom, which teaches us that after a person DIES, then there is NO HOPE for them to be saved IF SO BE that they died in a state of sin. The knowledge and the wisdom of the truth to be saved is for people who are yet ALIVE and not in the grave. In other words, if a person is NOT saved BEFORE they DIE, then there is NO HOPE for them.
But some Catholics desiring to cling to the false teaching of praying for the dead and the doctrine of purgatory take verses out of context and interpret this verse to fit their own man made doctrines and say that this verse means since that dead cannot work THEMSELVES, then that is all the more reason that we who are alive should work for them by praying for them to be relieved of their suffering in the tormenting purifying flames of purgatory.
Again please keep in mind that this verse when left in it's context is speaking of ONLY the WICKED who have died who have NO HOPE of REWARD, because they died while living in SIN. And the Catholic doctrine of purgatory teaches that ONLY the REPENTANT who have been FORGIVEN of their sins go to purgatory and the WICKED unrepentant SINNER goes STRAIGHT to HELL.
You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, verse 10 starts out by saying, "do your BEST", while we are ALIVE, and then we are given the REASON why we must WORK while we are yet ALIVE. And the reason is that after a person DIES there is NOTHING they can do to receive the reward of eternal life in the world come. It is ONLY the living who can work and gain knowledge of the truth to be saved. There is no knowledge or wisdom being taught to the DEAD in the grave. Only the living have HOPE of receiving REWARD by BELIEVING and OBEYING the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Bible teaches us that God chose that BY the foolishness PREACHING to SAVE those who BELIEVE the gospel of our salvation. God did NOT choose to save the wicked AFTER they have died. TODAY is the day of salvation. God did NOT choose to save the sinner who has died by way or through prayer and masses being offered as sacrifices for them, but rather God chose to save only those who BELIEVE and OBEY his Son Jesus the Christ in this present world while they are yet LIVING.
Also in Ecclesiastes 9:5 the Hebrew word that is translated as "any thing" also means "ought else", which means to "possess else". One of the meanings of the word "else" here is otherwise. So here is another way to translate verse 5 which I will give to you my readers and seekers of the truth as I myself have come to understand this verse to truly mean through studying the definition of the original Hebrew words.
Please understand that this is MY translation of this verse in the light of what these Hebrew words mean in there original language.
“For the living KNOW that they shall DIE: BUT the DEAD know nothing otherwise, neither have they any more a reward;(in other words, the DEAD speaking of ONLY the WICKED who have died know very well that they are DEAD and they know nothing ELSE but DEATH, as in, they now truly know what death is; both physically death AND that they are SPIRITUALLY dead, separated from God forever. They know that they possess death and that there is NO HOPE of REWARD any more. This knowledge of having NO HOPE of reward of eternal life is all they can think about. The Bible teaches that there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is the TORMENT that the wicked dead suffer in the grave KNOWING that they could have had eternal life but know they are face only with DESTRUCTION in the lake of fire that awaits them.) for the memory of them is forgotten.” (Where the most common interpretation is that the LIVING will forget the wicked dead. BUT this last phrase "for the memory of THEM is forgotten", in the light of this translation, may very well refer to HOPE and REWARD that is lost and forgotten by the wicked who have died, rather than the memory of the dead is completely erased. In other words, the word "THEM" here may very well be referring back to the two things that the WICKED dead ONLY do not have. The wicked dead no longer have HOPE of reward nor can they think of anything else but their DOOM, but this MEMORY of THEM speaking of HOPE and REWARD is lost or forgotten. And this the forgotten memory belongs ONLY to the wicked dead who are being tormented with NO HOPE and NO REWARD of eternal life while they are in the grave waiting to be destroyed in the lake of fire.)
However, any student of the Bible understands that the word of God is a TRANSLATION and therefore is only as close to the true meaning as the TRANSLATOR has chosen to translate the Hebrew or the Greek into English. This should be clear to anyone who has read from DIFFERENT translations of the Bible. Again any student of the Bible also knows that Old Testament scriptures should be interpreted in the LIGHT of what is clearly seen in the NEW Testament and NOT the other way around where the NEW Testament verse are CHANGED to MAKE or FORCE them to agree with these verses from the OLD Testament that are unclear and need to be revealed to us as what they truly mean.
Please read 2 Corinthians 3:14-16, which teaches us that there is a VEIL upon people who read of the OLD Testament scripture unless the anointing of the Holy Spirit of REVEALS to them the true meaning to their heart or their spirit.
"But their minds were blinded: for until this day remains the same veil untaken away in the reading of the OLD testament; which veil is done away in CHRIST (speaking of the anointing or the teaching of the Holy Spirit of God, which is given only to BELIEVERS in Jesus Christ).
15. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.
16. Nevertheless when it (speaking of the HEART or the spirit or the INNER man) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away."
So then, is your HEART wholly turned to the Lord where you are truly seeking the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God? Are you truly turning to the Lord and seeking HIS truth. Or do you consider yourself beyond being able to be deceived by the enemy so therefore only your group of believers knows the truth?
This is where I myself see the greatest dangers of some of these groups that teach soul sleep and other FALSE doctrines such as the praying for the dead and the doctrine of purgatory, because they teach their followers that they ALONE have the truth and they alone are INFALLIBLE, so therefore if you are not part of their group, then you are not saved and cannot be saved until you join their group. I was taught in the Catholic church that if anyone leaves the Catholic church, then that is a MORTAL SIN that will send them straight to hell. To ME, this kind of lording over your congregation using FEAR to control you to accept and believe ONLY what they teach by telling there followers that if they leave off believing exactly what their church teaches, then they shall be lost unless they come BACK to THEIR church and no other, which to ME is the true mark of a cult.
To ME, it is not so much that false doctrine defines what a cult is, but rather to ME, a cult is a group that dogmatically teaches that if you are not a member of their group, then you can not be saved, because supposedly they ONLY have the truth. This is nothing more than PRIDE, so be not deceived by these false teachers. The truth of the matter is that most every church has SOME false teachings, so this would mean by the definition of some that all churches are a cult. So NO, a thousand times NO, just because a church teaches something that is false does not mean that it is a cult. Again this is a FEAR tactic to keep their followers in line so to speak. Perhaps we will talk more on this at a later time but for now let us get back on track.
So then, now knowing that people who DIE while LIVING in SIN seal their own fate the very moment that they die HOW can praying for the DEAD be of any benefit to the dead? The righteous do NOT NEED any prayers when they die in righteousness, because they go STRAIGHT to be present with the Lord IN HEAVEN to await their reward of eternal life, which will be given them at the second coming of Jesus. In other words, there is absolutely NO passages of scripture in the entire Bible that give SOUND BIBLICAL support to the the false teaching of PURGATORY.
Again sound Biblical support for any Bible doctrine means that the verses used to support a teaching in the Bible CANNOT in any way contradict or oppose any other part of God's word. And clearly the doctrine of purgatory and praying for the dead who supposedly go to purgatory not only opposes the clear teaching of the New Testament, but also DISHONORS the WHOLE word of God by denying that the ATONEMENT that Jesus made for the sins of the world ONCE and for ALL time was NOT SUFFICIENT enough to CLEANSE us from our sins completely.
Believing in purgatory to ME, is like saying sorry Jesus but I do NOT believe that the price you paid of being brutally beaten to near death and then suffering being NAIL to a cross of SHAME was NOT good enough to CLEANSE me of ALL my sin, so I myself must SUFFER for my own sins to cleanse MYSELF of any remain effects of sin that YOU were NOT good enough to cleanse for me in order to go to heaven.
Hope PRIDEFUL and ARROGANT to even think that the sacrifice of suffering that Jesus bore for YOU was NOT good enough to CLEANSE you of ALL your unrighteousness!
Please read 1 John 2:9, which CLEARLY teaches us that if we ask for forgiveness of our sins then God COMPLETELY and TOTALLY forgives us of ALL our sins AND then CLEANSES us from ALL our UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, which include EVERY EFFECT of our sins.
The Bible does NOT teach us of a THIRD INTERMEDIATE place that ONLY the dead in Jesus Christ who have been FORGIVEN of their sins go in order to be PURGED or CLEANSED from their sins or the effects of their sins when they die. Jesus already paid for yours sins to be CLEANSED by his shed BLOOD.
The Bible teaches us of only TWO places that the souls of the dead go when they die, and those two places are either up to heaven or down to the pit where the souls of the dead await their appointed resurrection.
Even the Catholic church that teaches this doctrine of purgatory state in their doctrine that in the world to come there are ONLY TWO places to go and they are that a person either goes to heaven to be with God OR a person go to be eternally tormented in the flames of hell.
First I must say that they are correct about being ONLY just TWO places to go on the day of judgment, but I must also warn my readers that their BIBLICAL accuracy in their teachings of these two different final destinations for mankind is NOT correct based upon the WHOLE word of God. So again I first warn my readers that the doctrine of eternal torment in the flames of fire of hell that originated in the Catholic church is not a SOUND BIBLICAL teaching. And the Bible does not teach us that the righteous shall live UP IN heaven, but rather we shall live ON the earth for 1000 years with Jesus, then after the this 1000 years all the wicked will be destroyed with the lake of fire never more to rise again and Almighty God will create a new heaven and a new earth and Almighty God himself will then come DOWN to dwell with mankind on the new earth.
So then, seeing that the Catholic church teaches of ONLY TWO places on the day of judgment I must ask those who teach this doctrine of purgatory where the ones who are supposedly sent to purgatory to be purged of any left over traces of sins and the effects that their sins may have had on others go if they do NOT receive ENOUGH prayers or sacrifices of the mass offered up for them when the day of judgment comes? Does God say oh well that's close enough come on into heaven? Or does God say I am sorry but you did not have enough people praying for you so I am going to have to send you to hell.
I mean seeing that on the day of judgment there are ONLY TWO places for them to go, where do Catholics go if not enough prayers and masses are offered for them to settle the debt of their sins? Keep in mind that time is UP for this place called purgatory to do it's job and all those who are in purgatory when the day of judgment comes have to go somewhere seeing that there is just TWO places to go. So does God just say well I guess you suffered enough so come on in? Or does God say sorry you still have not been fully cleansed to enter into heaven?
I mean consider those who die only moments before Jesus returns. HOW is only a few brief MOMENTS of suffering in purgatory going to purify them, when it takes sometimes many years for all the other Christians to be purified enough to go to heaven? Ho would that be fair to those who had LESS sins suffered for many years before being aloud into heaven while these who died only MOMENTS and had much greater sins get to go right on into heaven suffering only perhaps seconds.
I mean really do those dear saints who did indeed believe in Jesus and did their best to live for him then go to hell because there was NOT ENOUGH prayers or masses offered for them after they died, or there was NOT ENOUGH TIME for them to be purified in the flames of purgatory, because they happened to die only moments before Jesus comes again?
Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, that Jesus became that FINAL SACRIFICE for the sins of the whole world and that whosoever BELIEVES on Jesus and obeys his teaching will go directly to heaven to be present with the Lord the very moment that they die? Please consider very closely the following passages of scripture that clearly and plainly teach us that those who have died BELIEVING on Jesus that he died for their sins are IN HEAVEN present with the Lord and that they are NOT in this man made fictitious place called PURGATORY. We will take a look at the origin of the doctrine of purgatory after you read these following verses and their clear explanations.
Here are the clear, plain, and simple NEW Testament verses that teach us that the RIGHTEOUS dead are indeed IN HEAVEN present with the Lord, which clearly teaches all those who are sincerely seeking the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God that there is NO such place as PURGATORY. So therefore WHY pray for the dead, because if a person dies while living in willful sin, then they have sealed their own fate by the choices they themselves made while they were living. And once a person dies all work for them ceases and all they have to face is their judgment, which for the sinner is eternal destruction in the lake of fire never to rise again. And if a person dies believing in Jesus being faithful to obey the gospel, then that soul of righteous person in Jesus Christ goes to be present with the Lord IN HEAVEN awaiting the reward of their new immortal body. So no matter in what state a person dies there is absolutely no benefit to be received or gained by the one who died through the PRAYERS of the living being offered up for them, because they are already either in hell or they are already in heaven awaiting their day of resurrection to be judged.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved (speaking of our physical body that the real you the INNER man dwells in while alive on the earth were to DIE then), we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
4. For we that are IN this tabernacle (or WE speaking of the real us our INNER man, our SPIRIT or our SOUL that is presently IN or inside this physical body) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon,(with our new IMMORTAL glorified bodies of flesh and bone just like Jesus has now) that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5. Now he that has wrought us for the selfsame thing is God (meaning that this the goal or joy that is set before us by God that we are aiming towards), who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
8. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be ABSENT from the body (in other words, a believe should NOT fear death or love life more than loving God, but rather a believer should be willing to lay down his of her life for the testimony of Jesus), and to be PRESENT with the Lord.(who is IN HEAVEN seated at the right hand of the Father)
9. Wherefore (or for this very reason) we labor (or we work the works of righteousness and do the commandments of God walking in love one toward another NOW in this PRESENT world), THAT (or so that or in order that), whether PRESENT (meaning whether we are yet alive IN our physical body) or ABSENT (having left our physical bodies to go be present with our Lord in heaven), we may be accepted of him.(in other words, the early church knew and plainly taught us that if we want to be PRESENT with the Lord then we must make are election SURE now in this present world, because this is the only way we can be sure that we will be accepted of him when we die)
10. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done IN his BODY (while we are LIVING, because we have no body when we die until the day of judgment), according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.”
11. And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, CONCERNING them which are asleep (or I do not want you to be DECEIVED about where your fellow brothers and sister in the Lord who have DIED have gone), that you sorrow not, even as others which have NO hope.(You do not have to sorrow that your loved ones are SUFFERING in the tormenting fires of purgatory any longer, because the central message of this whole passage of scripture is about the HOPE that we as Christian have concerning our future resurrection and our CHANGE, which is speaking of our receiving our new glorified IMMORTAL bodies of flesh and bone like Jesus has now. Christians should not fear death, because we shall pass from death unto life and death has no sting for the true believer in Jesus Christ so sorrow NOT for those you know and love who have gone home to be with the Lord.)
14. For (or because) if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep IN Jesus will God BRING WITH him. (in other words, the SOULS of the dead IN Jesus Christ are IN HEAVEN present with the Lord right now awaiting their reward of their new IMMORTAL bodies and God will BRING these SOULS that are in heaven WITH him when Jesus comes again to execute the wrath of Almighty God. It is at this time that the physical dead BODIES belonging to these SOUL of the righteous dead will be raised from the graves and reunited with their physical bodies. Then immediately after this FIRST resurrection ALL the righteous saints both the newly just raised to life dead in Christ AND those of us who have remained ALIVE unto the coming of Jesus shall ALL be CHANGED TOGETHER. Be confident and be assured that your love one who died IN Jesus are NOT in a place of SUFFERING to be purged from their sins, but rather they are IN HEAVEN PRESENT with the Lord)
15. For THIS we say unto you BY the word of the Lord, (in other words, this passage of scripture is a THUS SAYS the LORD factual statement that can and should be use to build good SOUND BIBLICAL doctrine upon, because it is qualified as being BY the WORD of the Lord) that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (or go BEFORE or go ahead of) them which are asleep. (meaning we do not ascend up into the AIR to meet Jesus until the dead are raised from the dead. And it also means that we do no receive our reward of eternal life before or ahead of those who have died in the Lord. In other words we ALL receive our IMMORTAL bodies at the SAME moment of time that only takes a split second according to 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, and THEN we shall ALL be caught up together at the same time WITH the newly raised dead in Christ)
17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.(which basically teaches us that there will be no rapture UNTIL this FIRST resurrection takes place where we ALL shall be CHANGED in a moment and in a twinkling of and eye. This is just one of the many reasons why there can be no PRE tribulation rapture of the church.)
18. Wherefore (or for this very reason) COMFORT one another with these words.(referring to this whole passage of scripture that clearly teaches us that the DEAD who are IN Jesus Christ are indeed IN HEAVEN WITH our Lord and the God will BRING these SOULS of those who SLEEP in Jesus WITH him when Jesus comes again at his second coming)”
The main thing that I want you to see and understand from this passage of scripture is that it is a THUS SAYS the LORD passage and that the DEAD or the SOULS of those who have DIED in Jesus Christ are PRESENT WITH our Lord IN HEAVEN, therefore they CANNOT be in a man made fictitious place called purgatory, because this passage of scripture is a thus says the Lord type of verse plainly says that God will BRING WITH him from heaven those who sleep or those who have DIED in Jesus Christ, wherefore COMFORT one another with these words. How can anyone be COMFORTED know that their loved ones are SUFFERING untold agony in the flames of purgatory?
Now a dear brother in the Lord wrote to me arguing that the SOULS of the righteous are NOT in heaven, because the DEAD are DEAD, as in, dead as a door nail in the GRAVE in a state of complete unconsciousness. He then went on to try and explain this clear thus says the Lord NEW Testament verse AWAY by saying that God will BRING the dead WITH with him AFTER they are RESURRECTED from the DEAD and they are CAUGHT UP in the AIR to meet Jesus and so shall forever be with the Lord, THEN the dead will be WITH him.
And I thought to myself that the DEAD in Jesus that God will BRING WITH him will NOT be DEAD after they are RAISED from the dead and given new IMMORTAL bodies BEFORE we are ALL CAUGHT UP to be with Jesus in the AIR. And I thought to myself that IF this INTERPRETATION of his was true, then HOW can the Lord BRING them if they are ALREADY here on the earth supposedly remaining in the GRAVE as the doctrine of soul sleep dogmatically demands.
And then the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance several other NEW Testament verses that AGREED with the teaching that the SOULS of the righteous who have died are INDEED IN HEAVEN PRESENT with the Lord. Therefore ALL these other clear plain and simple NEW Testament scriptures would need to be explained AWAY as well and most assuredly they would need to be explained away in a much more logical way that he has tried TRIED this verse in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 to be explained away.
So again, I implore you my dear brothers and sisters I our Lord Jesus Christ, please do NOT try and change the clear, plain and simple meaning of the NEW Testament scriptures in order to try and make them agree with your own personal INTERPRETATION of the OLD Testament scriptures. But rather be open and teachable to hear and consider doctrine that is based upon the NEW Testament scriptures which reveal the TRUE meaning of the OLD Testament scriptures. In other words, if you demand that 2 Maccabees be the inspired word of God then you must without fail interpret this book in the LIGHT of the NEW Testament and the REST of Gods word.
This brother who wrote me who believes in the doctrine of soul sleep wrote me several times on this subject and we exchanged emails for a couple of weeks, but after I heard this last argument I knew on the inside of me that God was trying to get my attention to write an in depth study on this subject to explain the errors made by those who teach that no one goes to heaven because all the dead remain in the grave in a state of unconsciousness until the resurrection. You can read all the verses that expose the ERRORS of the false teaching in the study “IS THE DOCTRINE OF SOUL SLEEP BIBLICAL?”
This is HOW this study came to be. You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, I do NOT go OUT and search on the Internet for false teachers, but rather the Lord BRINGS these false teachers to me. I mean I never even heard of this doctrine of soul sleep until this brother wrote me and dogmatically told me that I was NOT teaching the truth about the thief on the cross being with Jesus in PARADISE on that very selfsame day that they died on the cross. And I thought to myself WHAT are you talking about, and what Bible are you reading from, because I have never gotten any understanding like this from the Bible. Then I received email after email the next few days of why I was wrong in what I was teaching about the thief being with Jesus that very selfsame day that they died on the cross. It was then that I knew that the Lord was wanting me to write on this subject of soul sleep.
You see, I had prayed and asked God just a few days prior to these emails from this dear brother accusing me of being a false teacher and said to God, "What do you want me to write on next", and then out of the blue so to speak I am being accused of false teaching about the thief on the cross being with Jesus in paradise that very self same day that they died on other cross. You can read this study called “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE?” for yourself to see that I am not teaching false doctrine.
Again I just present to my readers ALL the evidence that I myself have been made aware of and then let you decide for yourself. Yes, I do give my OPINIONS and the conclusions that I myself have drawn from studying ALL the evidence, but I will not call you a heretic if you do not agree with the way that I have come to believe. Now this particular brother did not call me a heretic, but I did sense from some of his emails that I was no brother of his simply because we did not AGREE on what he himself believes to be the truth. I pray that I never make anyone feel that they are NOT a true Christian just because they do not AGREE with my opinions and the conclusions that I myself have drawn for doing these in depth studies in God's word.
Now it is equally true that I did not go out to find this false teaching of praying for the dead and the doctrine of purgatory, but rather the Lord brought it to my remembrance.
I was having a conversation with my sister, who at this present time of writing this study, is still a Catholic. The subject came up about soul sleep and I shared with her what the Bible teaches. She then shared her Catholic faith of praying for the dead and waited for my response. Even though I knew deep down that this doctrine was not a sound Biblical teaching I could not give her any answer other than I had not really ever studied that particular subject before. She agree that she had never really truly studied this doctrine before either, so the subject of our conversation pretty much ended right there for the moment. God then began dealing with me to search out the origins of these teachings that seem to be taught only in the Catholic church. And that is how this study came to be as well as the study called “IS PURGATORY A SOUND BIBLICAL TEACHING?”
With that being said let us get back to the dead in Christ coming WITH Jesus at his second coming, which again clearly teaches us that the righteous dead are indeed IN HEAVEN to be PRESENT with the Lord just like Paul teaches us in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. Again we have already covered this particular passage of scripture, which obviously is a NEW Testament scripture as well. Now here is yet another NEW Testament passage of scripture that to me, definitely teachings us that the righteous saints are indeed IN HEAVEN and the they will come WITH Jesus FROM HEAVEN at his second coming. Please read Revelation 19:1-16 where we see a great multitude of PEOPLE before the THRONE of Almighty God IN HEAVEN praising God and being given white robes that is called the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the SAINTS and this all takes place IN HEAVEN just BEFORE Jesus and his army of saints leave heaven to come back to the earth at the second coming of Jesus.
“And after these things I heard a great voice of MUCH PEOPLE IN HEAVEN, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God:
4. And the four and twenty ELDERS (who some Bible teaches believe are the twelve apostles and twelve representatives one from each tribe of Israel, because they are called ELDERS in the same way that mature spiritual leaders in the church are called ELDERS) and the four beasts fell down and worshiped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
6. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters (or many people), and as the voice of mighty thundering, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns.(Among these voices PRAISING God up IN HEAVEN before his THRONE are God's SERVANTS the righteous SAINTS.)
7. Let US be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (in other words, the time has arrived that we along with our fellow brothers and sisters who have remained alive for our blood to be avenged and that we should reign with our Lord on the earth.)
10. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See you do it not: I am your FELLOW SERVANT, and of your BRETHREN that have the TESTIMONY of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (here we see John who is IN HEAVEN talking with a FELLOW SERVENT and BROTHER in the Lord who has the TESTIMONY of Jesus)
15. And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Now here in this passage of scripture we have more than just one verse that clearly teaches us that the saints who have died are indeed IN HEAVEN. So then, we should in all fairness view each verse in this passage of scripture as a separate supporting argument on this side of the saints being IN HEAVEN. In other words, in Revelation chapter 19 in verse 1 we see MUCH PEOPLE up IN HEAVEN before the THRONE of Almighty God, so we will call this verse number five in our list of verses that clearly and plainly teach us that the souls of the saints who have died are without a doubt IN HEAVEN present with the Lord.
VERSE # 5.
“And after these things I heard a great voice of MUCH PEOPLE IN HEAVEN, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God:”
So then, since the whole word of God does NOT teach us about a THIRD coming of Jesus, then WHO are these PEOPLE of great number UP IN HEAVEN PRAISING GOD if they are NOT the souls of the righteous who have died having a testimony of Jesus and for the word of God? Clearly this scene of MUCH PEOPLE being IN HEAVEN who are PRAISING Almighty God is not taking place AFTER the second coming of Jesus as you will clearly see as we continue this study in God's word.
Then in verse in verse 4 we see 24 ELDERS up IN HEAVEN before the THRONE which again some teach that number 24 represents the priesthood where the priests mediate between the people and God. And some believe that 12 of these ELDERS are the 12 Apostles of Jesus plus another 12 representatives of the 12 tribes of Israel and these are before the very throne of God as a council so to speak for the multitude of people that are redeemed. This brings us to argument number 6 or verse #6 for the support of the teaching that the souls of the righteous are indeed in heaven present with the Lord.
VERSE # 6.
“4. And the four and twenty ELDERS (who some Bible teaches believe are the twelve apostles and twelve representatives one from each tribe of Israel, because they are called ELDERS in the same way that mature spiritual leaders in the church are called ELDERS) and the four beasts fell down and worshiped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.”
Moving on to verses 5-7 we see that a voice coming OUT of the THRONE of Almighty God that is IN HEAVEN is calling out to these SAINTS who again are IN HEAVEN PRAISING the Almighty for REIGNING or for being ALMIGHTY. Please notice that these SAINTS or this MUCH PEOPLE are called his SERVANTS in verse 5 of revelation chapter 19.
“5. And a voice came OUT of the THRONE, saying, Praise our God, all you his SERVANTS, and you that fear him, both small and great.
6. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters (or many people), and as the voice of mighty thundering, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns. (Among these voices PRAISING God up IN HEAVEN before his THRONE are God's SERVANTS the righteous SAINTS.)
7. Let US be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is COME, and his wife has made herself ready. (in other words, the time has arrived that we along with our fellow brothers and sisters who have remained alive for our blood to be avenged and that we should reign with our Lord on the earth.)”
You see the phase “...and his WIFE has made herself ready.” is speaking of the saints still ALIVE on the earth. So again there is NO such palace called purgatory that make us READY to get into heaven AFTER a Christian called a saint in the Bible dies. Remember in Revelation 6:9-11 when the saints or the SOULS of the saints in heaven asked HOW LONG Lord do you NOT judge and AVENGE our shed blood? And God told them basically to be patient and WAIT till their brothers and sisters in the Lord who were still on the earth be killed as they were killed for there testimony of Jesus and the word of God. THEN they these SOULS of the righteous who have died were given white ROBES, which we learn in this passage of scripture is the righteousness of the saints. But when you understand that at this time of the second coming of Jesus that the SAINTS are going to be CLOTHED with new IMMORTAL bodies, then it appears to me that these white robes are representative of the IMMORTAL bodies that we shall receive at the second coming of Jesus.
But the main point for this particular argument is that clear these SOULS of the righteous who have died are INDEED IN HEAVEN and PRESENT with the Lord WITHOUT any BODIES waiting to be CLOTHED upon with their new IMMORTAL bodies. So then when Jesus comes again at his second coming these SOULS of the dead in Jesus Christ will COME WITH Jesus FROM HEAVEN back to the earth to be re united with their resurrected physical bodies that with be raised from the their graves here on the earth, and THEN we ALL shall be changed in a moment in a twinkling of and eye and be given new IMMORTAL bodies of flesh and bone like Jesus has now. So a thousand times NO, Jesus is not coming again at his SECOND coming to raise the dead in Christ and take them BACK to heaven to PRAISE God in order to satisfy your OWN PERSONAL INTERPRETATION of scripture where you dogmatically demand that NO ONE goes to heaven when the died.
Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, that IF this were true, then this would mean that Jesus would have to come a THIRD time back to the earth and the Bible says absolutely NOTHING about a THIRD coming of Jesus. Just go back and re think what has been TAUGHT to you about the OLD Testament verses that they keep drilling into you over and over nearly every Sunday demanding that they cannot possible mean anything other than what they dogmatically demand them to mean. Always interpret the OLD Testament in the LIGHT of the NEW Testament. Moving onto the next verse or argument that clearly supports the truth that the souls of the righteous who have died are indeed in heaven present with the Lord.
Then in revelation 19:8,9 along with verse 7 we see these same white ROBES that we see be given to the SOUL under the altar of God are being GRANTED to the SAINTS to wear, which tells me that the saints in heaven do not actually receive their new immortal bodies until they are first resurrected. I will explain this a little further in a moment, but for now I want you to see that these SAINTS are indeed up IN HEAVEN present with our Lord and that they are PRAISING God for the time has arrived to be married to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Therefore there can be no such place called purgatory and since there is no such place then there is absolutely no need to pray for Christians who have died remaining faithful believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, because they are IN HEAVEN and are PRESENT with the Lord. This brings us to argument number eight or verse # 8.
VERSE # 8
“7. Let US be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is COME, and his wife has made herself ready. (in other words, the time has arrived that we along with our fellow brothers and sisters who have remained alive for our blood to be avenged and that we should reign with our Lord on the earth.)
8. And to her (the church is always referred to in the feminine gender as the BRIDE of Christ at this present time, then at the second coming of Jesus the church will be known as the Lambs WIFE, because this is when the MARRIAGE of the Lamb will take place. Anyway to the church or to HER) was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of SAINTS.
9. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are CALLED unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, these SAINTS who are IN HEAVEN and who are PRESENT with the Lord being without a body to be CLOTHED upon are being CALLED to the marriage supper of the Lamb. In other words. God is saying to the SOULS of these saints, the INNER man, it is TIME now to avenge your blood so go with my Son back to the earth to be re united with your physical bodies and I will CHANGE them to new IMMORTAL bodies of RIGHTEOUSNESS that I now grant unto you to wear. It is TIME to judge the wicked for the wickedness has come to full and there is NONE, no not ONE wicked person who seeks after me.
So then, let the wicked remain wicked for that brief moment that I will CHANGE the righteous who are living righteously before me when I send my Son to execute my WRATH upon the wicked. And then after my Son has received all the righteous who are changed I will during my wrath show mercy and all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved alive to be taught of me being during the thousand year that I grant my Son to reign over my kingdom. please read the studies that I have written on the subject of "THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS" for a deeper understanding of what I just said, but for now let us continue with this study in God's word.
Then in verse 10 we see that the Apostle John, who we know was caught up into heaven to be given these revelations from Jesus, is talking with a FELLOW SERVANT and a BROTHER in the Lord who has the TESTIMONY of Jesus. Now the only way anyone can refute this verse in order to explain it away so you can say that no one has ascended to heaven except Jesus is to say that this FELLOW SERVANT who is CLEARLY up IN HEAVEN and who is talking to John is Jesus Christ himself. You can argue and say the John himself is not actually in heaven and that this is a vision, but the TRUTH of the matter is that John is talking to a MAN while is indeed IN HEAVEN and this MAN is called a FELLOW SERVANT and a BROTHER in the Lord who has the TESTIMONY of Jesus.
“10. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See you do it not: I am your FELLOW SERVANT, and of your BRETHREN that have the TESTIMONY of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.(here we see John, whose spirit has left his body and has been caught UP INTO HEAVEN, talking with a FELLOW SERVANT and BROTHER in the Lord who has the TESTIMONY of Jesus)”
But even if this BROTHER here in verse 10 who is without a doubt up in heaven and who has the testimony of Jesus turns out to be proven to be Jesus without a doubt there is still yet more clear evidence yet remaining to see. What I mean by this is that I myself can see that there is a possibility that this verse may be speaking of Jesus as an angel of God, AS IN, a messenger of God, and NOT as an angelic being. Please read the study called, "IS JESUS MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL". Also I can see that this messenger of God talking with John up in heaven is a fellow servant of God and our fellow brother in the faith where we know from other verse that Jesus is called our fellow servant and our brother. Now the next part of this verse that most of us interpret as being that this person in heaven who HAS the TESTIMONY OF Jesus is concluded to mean that this man PREACHES Jesus just like John and every other Christian who preaches Jesus. But then I have to ask myself why go on to explain that the TESTIMONY of JESUS is the spirit of PROPHECY. This makes me personally think that this verse may be saying that these scriptures that this man up in heaven is speaking to John are PROPHECIES of JESUS, which means that the scripture are PROPHECIES of the coming MESSIAH and therefore this man IN HEAVEN may be saying that HE is that man whom this spirit of PROPHECY is speaking. In other words, this man in heaven MAY be saying in the first person I HAVE the TESTIMONY or I am the ONE of whom the scriptures PROPHESY. I am JESUS. Please keep in mind that in the Bible when people hear the NAME of a person they actually HEAR what that name MEANS and the name JESUS means the salvation of YHWH. That is to say the salvation of Almighty God. This is one of those verses that I myself can see either way, but to some it can only mean ONE way because of what they have been taught concerning Jesus being the one true and only Almighty God as opposed to being the Son of Almighty God. Again I am not dogmatic about muck of what I teach and say that if you do not believe every jot an tittle of what I teach then you are not my brother or sister in the Lord as some of these groups who teach this doctrine of soul sleep do with those of us who do not believe their teachings. Again this is the only mark of a "CULT" in my definition of a cult. I myself do not say that you are not my brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ just because you may disagree with the conclusions that I have drawn by studying closely all the evidence form both side of a controversy.
Any way there are more verses that clearly teach us that the souls or the spirits of the dead saints are indeed IN HEAVEN. In the verse that follows we can see that the word "ARMIES" is in the plural form and that these ARMIES will one day very soon FOLLOW Jesus FROM HEAVEN. Now while these verses do not actually come right out and plainly say the words SAINT or the SOULS of the saints to identify who these armies are we know from other verses that Jesus is coming WITH an army or a great number of his SAINTS. And we know from other verses that Jesus is coming WITH his mighty ANGELS. In other words, Jesus will be coming with BOTH the SOULS of the SAINTS, which is one army or one group with great number in that group as well as Jesus will be coming with yet another mighty army or great number of angels. We also see that these who are following Jesus FROM heaven are now CLOTHED with white robes. Please read again Revelation 19:11-16 which is describing the second coming of Jesus as we take a look at argument number ten of verse #10 as the tenth passage of scripture that supports the sound Biblical teaching that the souls of the righteous go to heaven when a righteous person dies.
VERSE # 10
“11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war.
12. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
14. And the ARMIES which WERE IN HEAVEN followed him upon white horses, CLOTHED in fine linen, white and clean. (these ARMIES which are again plural and in more than just one army singular that WERE up IN HEAVEN who FOLLOWED or who will be following Jesus to the earth at the second coming of Jesus agrees with what we are assured is the word of the Lord in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18” “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord” that clearly teaches us that the DEAD in Jesus will God BRING WITH him. And in verse 9 of this passage of scripture in 1 Thessalonians just as we are assure that they are THUS SAYS the Lord type verses we are also assured that these verses here in Revelation chapter 19 are the TRUE sayings of Almighty God. “These are the true sayings of God.”that the armies of saints WERE IN HEAVEN and will come WITH Jesus FROM HEAVEN when he comes again.)
15. And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16. And he has on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Now some may try and argue that the “ARMIES” here refers to ANGELS and NOT to the SAINTS that WERE IN HEAVEN who Jesus will BRING WITH him. To this feeble argument I ask where in scripture are the angels granted by God to be CLOTHED in fine linen white and clean, which in the CONTEXT of this passage of scripture is called the righteousness of the SAINTS. Remember the CONTEXT and read verse 8 once again.
“And to HER (referring to the CHURCH, the BRIDE of Jesus Christ who is being CALLED to the MARRIAGE supper of the Lamb. To HER, to the CHURCH, to the SAINTS, and NOT to the angles) was granted that SHE should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen IS the righteousness of SAINTS.”
This verse does NOT say that this FINE LINEN that is clean and white is the righteousness of the ANGELS, but rather the FINE LINEN in this entire CONTEXT is called the righteousness of the SAINTS which is ONLY for the SAINTS to be CLOTHED UPON. Verse 14 clearly and plainly states that these SAINTS WERE IN HEAVEN and FOLLOWED Jesus FROM HEAVEN to judge and make war. As I said before I myself believe that since the word “ARMIES” is plural then this most logically in the light of other verses means that part of this army coming FROM heaven will be BOTH the SOULS of the SAINTS who have died in Jesus Christ AND the mighty ANGELS. And this AGREES with other verses in the Bible in which I myself find absolutely NO contradiction anywhere in the WHOLE word of God. Please read Jude 1:14,15 where we see that when Jesus comes again he will bring WITH HIM ten thousand SAINTS.
“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold,the Lord comes WITH ten thousands of his SAINTS, (these SAINTS that are coming WITH Jesus when he return are the SOULS of the dead in Jesus Christ who are now at this time IN HEAVEN PRESENT with the Lord.)
15. To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Again this agrees with all the other verses in the Bible. Please keep in mined that we must always INTERPRET the OLD Testament in the LIGHT of the NEW Testament and NOT the other way around. Then in Zechariah 14 we are told the same thing that the SAINTS will come WITH the Lord when he returns from HEAVEN to make WAR with the ungodly and execute the WRATH of Almighty God.
“Then shall the LORD go forth (from heaven), and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4. And his feet shall stand in that day (the second coming of Jesus) upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5. And you shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, you shall flee, like as you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the SAINTS WITH thee.”
Now this OLD Testament scripture may at first sound a little confusing when we read the words with THEE or with YOU in today's modern English. In other words, WHO is the thee or the you here speaking of? Well the prophet is speaking TO Israel the Jewish people who believe in God, but who have not yet heard of JESUS. However, in the NEW Testament that REVEALS to us what the OLD Testament is TRULY saying we can see more CLEARLY that this verse in the OLD Testament is saying that these Old Testament Jewish believers who have not yet heard of Jesus will also be IN HEAVEN and will be AMONG the number of the SAINTS speaking of the dead in Jesus Christ will all come to TOGETHER with Jesus at his coming.
Can you not see my dear brothers and sister in our Lord Jesus Christ that this agrees with the verses in the NEW Testament that teaches us that Jesus descend first into the lower parts of the earth to PREACH to these Jewish believers in the Old Testament who died without ever hearing abut Jesus and how Jesus lead these captive out of their graves and took then to heaven where they are at this present time?
Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, who are in the Catholic church, and understand this vast amount of sound Biblical NEW Testament evidence that the SOULS of the SAINTS are IN HEAVEN and that they will come WITH Jesus when he returns and that they are NOT in this man made fictitious place called purgatory.
We have also clearly seen that these saints IN HEAVEN are NOT is a states of complete UNCONSCIOUSNESS as some FALSELY teach, because we see them PRAISING Almighty God. Nor were the Old Testament saints in a state of unconsciousness in the Old Testament times when they WERE being kept in the LOWER PARTS of the earth BEFORE Jesus lead them out of their graves and they ascended into heaven with Jesus were they are today along with all the NEW Testament SAINTS.
Please keep in mind the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus who died and the rich man went down into the pit into silence or the DOOM of DEATH. The rich man knew his fate that was awaiting him on the day of judgment and was in torment of this flame that was to destroy him to be no more. But Lazarus went down into the lower part of the earth that was on the side of Abraham's bosom so to speak referring to the side where the souls of the righteous who died went to be kept until God could execute the next step of his PLAN of salvation. This side of the place of the dead in the OLD Testament times was called PARADISE. Please read the study called "WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE" for an in depth understanding of where the Old Testament saints WERE being TEMPORARILY kept until Jesus could die for their sins and how Jesus PREACHED the gospel of salvation to the SPIRIT be kept in this holding place for the dead. I also show in this study that Jesus took these spirit of these souls of the Old Testament saints with him to heaven where they are presently awaiting to be glorified with their new IMMORTAL bodies like Jesus has now. But for now let us get back to the study at hand.
Please keep in mind that the OLD Testament scriptures or verses that SEEM to be saying that the DEAD do NOT praise God are in the form of QUESTIONS. They are NOT statements of fact as in thus says the Lord type statements. Many of these OLD Testament verses are PRAYERS from man to God and NOT God speaking to man. In other words, most of the verses that are used by those who teach this doctrine of soul sleep are from the OLD Testament. And they are from books of the Bible like the Psalms that are written in a POETIC style of writing from MAN'S perspective of the things of God. These kind of verse cannot be used to build doctrine upon unless they AGREE with the more clear, plain and simple verses of the NEW Testament.
Also please keep in mind that in some OLD Testament verses the word “DEAD” refer to ONLY the WICKED and NOT to the righteous dead. And you must also understand that under the OLD covenant or during the OLD Testament times ALL the dead went into the heart of the earth that was called the place of the dead which was divided into parts separating the wicked dead from the righteous dead. The side of the righteous dead was called PARADISE, which means a place of comfort. Jesus tells us in one of his parables that the righteous were being COMFORTED in the bosom of Abraham. Again please read the study “WHAT AND WHERE IS PARADISE?” in which I explain how the Old Testament SAINTS were taken to heaven when Jesus ascended into heaven the first time shortly after he arose from the grave.
So then, in the LIGHT of all these many clear, plain, and simple passages of scripture in the New Testament as well as in the Old Testament, which clearly teach us that when a person dies in the grace of God they go STRAIGHT to heaven to be present with the Lord, then HOW can anyone still hold fast to the FALSE teaching of the Catholic church that teaches it's people that when they die they will have to go to the fires of purgatory in order to be purged from their lesser venial sins and any effects that they did not do enough penance for to purify them enough so that they can then enter into heaven?
In other words, the BIBLE, the word of TRUTH, teaches just the OPPOSITE of this false doctrine of purgatory, so HOW then can anyone who has read this study in God's word still yet continue to believe church tradition OVER the very word of Almighty God?
Praying for the dead has long been a pagan practice long before Christianity ever came to be. Writings of the pagans offering sacrifices and praying for the dead go back to the time of Plato. And much like the Catholic church the priest of these pagan religion where the only one who had the authority to mediate these prayers and sacrifices for the dead where the priests, which led to these pagan religions playing upon the emotions of those who had loved ones who died charging them money in exchange for prayers and sacrifices offered up for their loved ones who died.
It was the abuse of selling “INDULGENCES” during what has been come to be called the dark ages that caused great Christian men of God outside the Catholic church as well as great men of God WITHIN the Catholic church itself to stand up against this abuse CHARGING money for these man made INDULGENCES. It was because of these noble men who searched the word of God for themselves that came the cry for the Catholic church to REFORM or CHANGE it's teachings, and this cry for REFORM of doctrine has been come to be called the great REFORMATION of the church, that literally caused the Catholic church to SPLIT and many Catholics came over to the side whole had all along been PROTESTING and OPPOSING the false teachings of the Catholic church. This is how they were come to be called PROTESTANTS.
I will cover these things in some other studies not yet written, but hopefully coming soon to AmatterOfTruth.com. I do however have the studies that I mentioned in this study already posted on my website. You may want to read the related study called “IS THE DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY BIBLICAL?”.
Thanks for reading and may God continue to bless you richly as you continue to seek the truth of the whole word of God.
Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,
RETURN TO HOMEPAGE
Some more verses used to try and prove the teaching of purgatory.
the causes of the reformation
who started the reformation?
The church before the reformation
Excerp from a sermon by a priest named Johann Tetzel to sell "INDULGENCES"
You may obtain letters of safe conduct from the vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ, by means of which you are able to liberate your soul from the hands of the enemy, and convey it by means of contrition and confession, safe and secure from all pains of Purgatory, into the happy kingdom. For know, that in these letters are stamped and engraver all the merits of Christ's passion there laid bare. Consider, that for each and every mortal sin it is necessary to undergo seven years of penitence after confession and contrition, either in this life or in Purgatory.
How many mortal sins are committed in a day, how many in a week, how many in a month, how many in a year, how many in the whole extent of life! They are well-nigh numberless, and those that commit them must needs suffer endless punishment in the burning pains of Purgatory.
But with these confessional letters you will be able at any time in life to obtain full indulgence for all penalties imposed upon you, in all cases except the four reserved to the Apostolic See. Thence throughout your whole life, whenever you wish to make confession, you may receive the same remission, except in cases reserved to the Pope, and after wards, at the hour of death, a full indulgence as to all penalties and sins, and your share of all spiritual blessings that exist in the church militant and all its members.
Do you not know that when it is necessary for anyone to go to Rome, or undertake any other dangerous journey, he takes his money to a broker and gives a certain per cent-five or six or ten-in order that at Rome or elsewhere he may receive again his funds intact, by means of the letters of this same broker? Are you not willing, then, for the fourth part of a florin, to obtain these letters, by virtue of which you may bring, not your money, but your divine and immortal soul, safe and sound into the land of Paradise?