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Catholic view of Purgatory ... Is it real?

michael_legna's picture

Time to drop the skeptic stance and try to rebut actual issues

Sorry it took so long to get back to you but this is getting quite long. :) LOL

JStaller said -
It seems that what you require of me is a spelling out of every objection I have to every verse you cite. So be it. I wonder how long it will take before you give up reading my explanations. :) To be efficient, I will offer only my objection and suggest in brief an alternative view for those scriptures which I believe require alternative reading. My statements will be in bold so that you can find exactly my points of contention:

Thank you that is what I mean when I think of picking apart the scripture used to support a doctrine. I would never think of giving up reading your explanations, in fact my intent is to respond to each and every one of them except where you already indicate we are in agreement.

ML said -
Purgatory is based on several premises

2. That sanctification comes from good works and repenting of poor works

JStaller said -
Not agreed. "Now are ye clean, from the words I have spoken unto you." Not "Now are ye clean, because you feel bad about what you did before and are doing better now."

I am sorry, I have not heard anyone take this stance before. I have seen people try to distinguish (erroneously) between sanctification and justification, but most Christians (including most Protestants) see sanctification as our walk in Christ conforming ourselves to His will. It is viewed by most merely as works leading to crowns but they do not deny that it is our work and not some forensic declaration of God.

The context of the verse you reference is as follows:

Joh 15:1-11 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

In it we see the cleansing that is referred to in verse 3 (your quote) is the initial cleansing we undergo when we become followers of Christ and is linked to the Baptismal washing we receive. The context goes on though to discuss how we are to remain in that condition, through bearing good fruit, by obeying the commandments, by not sinning and other verses tell us what we must do when we sin, and that is to repent and confess those sins for forgiveness.

1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

And if we look at what happens when we do those things - we are cleansed once again. It is this part of life (after the verse you reference) which shows sanctification.

ML said -
5. That true repentances includes the reconciliation with those offended and restitution

JStaller said -
Absolutely not. Reconciliation and repentance are utterly two different things that are sometimes but not always connected. Likewise, I can 'repent' of a deed for which I can make no restitution; my repentance is nonetheless sincere.

I disagree, you can feel sorry for a deed without making restitution, but feeling sorry is different than being repentant. Repentance implies more than mere sorrow, it implies a turning of ones life around. Stopping doing what is wrong and start doing what it right. In fact the Latin word used for repentance in the Vulgate translation of the Scriptures is a military term meaning "about-face".

Authenticity and sincerity with regards to an issue only exists when one is willing to act on your decision regarding it. Putting your money where your mouth is. Not merely paying lip service to something but real service. In other words if you are not willing to pay for the window you broke in your neighbors house, but still insist you are sorry, then you are not sincere and authenticity is missing.

JStaller said -
Likewise on the reconcilation; I may be reconciled to my brother simply because I forgive him, regardless of his level of repentance.

As the injured person in an offense you are certainly free to waive your right to restitution and can indeed offer reconciliation freely to the offender. But as offenders we cannot expect that as the required attitude of the offended party.

ML said -
6. That nothing which is defiled or defiles can enter into the kingdom of heaven

JStaller said -
Agreed.

Point of contention though: We disagree on what constitutes the kingdom of heaven.

Do we? I doubt it, at least not on a general level. To me the kingdom of heaven is being in union with God. We get a taste of it here on earth being part of the Church and by having God abide within us (Luke 17:21). We will experience it more fully after death when we are welcomed to be with Christ and be absent from the world (2 Cor 5:8).

JStaller said -
I offer no scripture as of yet because you have not; you have started with unproven premises

That is of course the point of premises. They are unproven and accepted as factual building blocks for an argument. I did not initially take time to defend them as they are obvious to me and to most Christians so why waste the time except on those where there was disagreement. In fact there was much we were already in agreement about so my approach has some merit.

I did intend to address those that you did not accept as true - and feel I have. But we can discuss them further if need be.

JStaller said -
...ideally, one would consider the overall message of scripture and the specific applications of scripture before deriving a specific;

That would be true if we could hold all of scripture in our heads at one time, but we cannot. So the only way to get to the overall message of scripture is to derive specific interpretations for each and every verse then compare those specific interpretations against one another to see if there is any contradiction. If there is then one of those specific interpretations must be wrong. That is the only way we can do it relying on scripture alone, besides one other method I know you do not accept.

The other approach is to trust and accept the teachings handed down from the one Person Who could hold all of scripture in His head at once and Who passed this knowledge of proper doctrine down through the Church - but I know you don't accept this process so we are left doing it the hard way.

JStaller said -
this does not seem to be the case. Again, you began with a definition (from Church authority) of purgatory as support for the doctrine of purgatory

That is not true. I presented the definition from the Church to show what the position of the RCC was, not as a supporting argument that position was correct. It is there to serve only as a statement of position to keep us from arguing about issues which do not make up part of the doctrine of purgatory - like salvation, the Trinity, the Eucharuist etc.

ML said -
From these premise together it is concluded that if one dies without having properly repented of sins in this life (but was a true believer in Christ and the Gospel) these sins must be purged from us to make us holy enough to be in the presence of God.

JStaller said -
Obviously, we have much to discuss :) So read on!:)

Am I to take this to mean that you accept the logic of the form of this argument and thus its conclusion if or when I show these premise to be true? Since you offer no rebuttal to it, but later bring up a complaint about form of argument (the angry rhinoceros) I am not sure.

The argument for Purgatory being based on the premises is one of simple replacement of equals. I will walk through it slowly to show precisely how I see it so you can either agree to the validity of the form or not - before we get into whether you accept the truth of these replacements. So for right now let's focus on the form of the argument, not the truth of the premises - so that once the truth of them is established we know that the conclusion is valid and true, or if the premise turn out to be false we will know it is not a valid proof.

Remember we are applying this only to those who accepted Christ and built on the foundation of Christ. Those who do not even start there do not have this argument or process applied to their situation as we both freely admit. In other words the "we" in these premises are people who accepted Christ.

We start with the first premise and apply the definition of sanctification being the process by which our lives are made holy.

In this way the first premise
1. That we need to sanctify our lives
becomes
"We need to make our lives holy."

The second premise
2. That sanctification comes from good works and repenting of poor works
becomes
"Holiness comes from good works and repenting of poor works."

Combining that with the third premise
3. That poor works and sins are the same thing
and one gets
"Holiness comes from good works and repenting of sins."

Combining the fourth premise
4. That repentance must be complete for one to be truly repentant
with the fifth premise
5. That true repentances includes the reconciliation with those offended and restitution
yields
"Complete repentance includes the reconciliation with those offended and restitution."

Combining this conclusion
"Complete repentance includes the reconciliation with those offended and restitution."
with the one above
"Holiness comes from good works and repenting of sins."
yields
"Holiness comes from good works and reconciliation with those offended and restitution."

If we negate this conclusion we get
"Unholiness comes from less than good works and lack of reconciliation with those offended and lack of restitution."

If we apply the definition that anything which is unholy defiles to the last premise
6. That nothing which is defiled or defiles can enter into the kingdom of heaven
we get
"Nothing which is unholy can enter into the kingdom of heaven."

Combining this last conclusion
"Nothing which is unholy can enter into the kingdom of heaven."
with the one just before it
"Unholiness comes from less than good works and lack of reconciliation with those offended and lack of restitution."
we get
Nothing which has less than good works and lacks reconciliation and restitution can enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The conclusion to these premises seems to present a quandary, in that it implies a need for a process to achieve this state for the individual who although a believer in Christ, still sinned (as we all do) and may not have fully repented of them.

To state it another way - How can one who has accepted Christ enter into the kingdom of heaven if they are not fully reconciled or have not made restitution for their offenses?

(NOTE: Those who would claim that all that is needed is belief in Christ for entrance into the kingdom are not arguing the doctrine of purgatory but are arguing the doctrine of salvation and so should start there and not attempt to address this issue until there is an understanding of the other doctrine first.)

The proposed answer to the above question is that scripture describes a purification process so that if one dies without having properly repented of sins in this life (but was a true believer in Christ and the Gospel) these sins can be purged from us to make us holy enough to be in the presence of God.

So if we are in agreement with the form of the argument we need to agree on 2 definitions or equalities besides these 6 premises.

Def 1 - Sanctification is the process by which our lives are made holy.

Def 2 - Anything which is unholy defiles

ML said -
The following is a list of scriptures a brief interpretation of each which support the above premises.

The Old Testament has several archtypes of purgatory or analogies for its process which we should be aware of - they are as follows:

Psa 66:12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

ML said -
The Psalmist speaks of going through fire and being brought to a much better place. Certainly a judgment seat where we are simply declared righteous with no additional purification process involved does not match such a description.

JStaller said -
Objection: This psalm is certainly about difficulty followed by vindication, but the broader context of the psalm strongly indicates that the Psalmist is commemorating THE EXODUS.

Alternative: This is a direct reference to historical circumstances described in Exodus 13.18, 14.21, and incidences like that of Korah.

Yes, but remember we are looking at these descriptions as possible archetypes as well. For example any discussion of Adam in the Old Testament can be claimed to be discussing the real events around his life and his actions - that does not stop it from also being an archetype for Christ's life as we all know it to be. So this complaint which you lodge repeatedly is not a valid argument.

Pro 17:3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

ML said -
The proverb makes the point of comparing the trying of men's hearts with the refining of precious metals which is analogous to the discussion of 1 Cor 3:10-16 where men's works, the products of their hearts are tried by fire in order to separate the dross or stubble from the gold and precious stones.

JStaller said -
Objection: This proverb does certainly make a comparison between God refining people and people refining precious material, but nothing inside the proverbs suggests anything about the afterlife or about spiritual salvation.

First I have to remind you we are not talking about spiritual salvtion, let's keep our terms straight. Second I need to ask where else do you suggest that God does this refining if not spiritually in the after life? Do oyu contend He interferes with our free will in this life before we have had a chance to resist temptation and avoid sin on our own? If so how does He decide who He will and won't refine? No this refining must occur after our death and our last chance to do this sanctification on our own, else God ends up playing favorites and is unjust.

Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

ML said -
This makes it clear that God will judge all our works, not the just the good works, this is completely independent of whether we are saved or not. The unsaved will have their works judge and will not be saved by their good works and will be condemned by their bad ones, because they did not build on the foundation of Christ. The saved will have built on the foundation of Christ and so will suffer loss as their bad works are burnt away, and will receive rewards for the good works which survive.

JStaller said -
Objection: You got pretty close. You should have kept it at "This makes it clear that God will judge all our works, not just the good works." I agree. But again, Ecclesiasties has more to say about the finality of death and virtually nothing to say about an afterlife.

Interesting claim but since you offer no explanation about how a judgment by God is consistent with the finality of death at the exclusion of an after life I cannot accept your interpretation of Ecclesiastes since that interpretation contradicts the idea of God judging our works which is right in this verse.

JStaller said -
Alternative: Ec 12.14 is simply the Preacher's redactor trying to resolve the Preacher's unsatisfying conclusion that "all is vanity" by exhorting readers to keep the law despite not being able to have certainty regarding the afterlife. Inspired redaction? Absolutely. Evidence for purgatory? Absolutely not.

I think you are giving the redaction too little credit. To keep the law just in case there is an after life is too similar to Pascal's wager (which is roundly condemned as lacking real faith. Pascal basically argued that even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should "wager" as though God exists, because so living has potentially everything to gain, and certainly nothing to lose.

To paraphrase it to fit the form of your interpretation of this verse it would be like saying if I live rightly and there is an after life I will be rewarded, and if there is not after life I have lost nothing. While alternatively if I live to my advantage over others and there is no after life I am ahead while if there is one I have much to lose. This sort of reasoning is not true faith and would result in the one choosing either side of the argument losing regardless of the choice they made. I do not believe the Holy Spirit inspired Scriptures would put forward such a faithless argument.

Wis 3:5-6 5 And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself. 6 As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering.

ML said -
This verse tells us that the dead are disciplined and tested by fire to receive their heavenly reward

JStaller said -
Objection: This verse says nothing about the dead. At all.

Alternative: This verse talks about people (a group of people, actually) that have been tried and purified and then accepted. Nothing more and nothing less.

You cannot claim such a testing or purification unless you can identify the place and time and method of such a purification. To suggest such an alternative interpretation places a burden of proof on yourself to show a doctrine, obviously consistent with the rest of scripture, which suggests God purifies us and tries our works, in a manner we could describe as fire or burning, and does so in this life, chastising us and rewarding us.

Isa 4:4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.

ML said -
This is a reference to the burning away offenses by the spirit of judgment. Where does this occur if not during the purging after death?

JStaller said -
Objection: Your confusion as to when purguing described by this verse occurs does not result in a default, purgatorial interpretation:

Alternative: The purging mentioned in Isaiah 4.4 is the same purging referred to throughout the book, that is, the purging of national calamity and personal destruction. Again, it is the destruction and thus purification of the GROUP that is described, the purifying of God's nation Israel:

Based on the consistant theme of Isaiah, which is an explanation for the national calamity of Israel's captivity, the purging/purifying envisioned by Isaiah is a group redemption accomplished within history through the destruction and subsequent purification of Israel.

Again this can be a description of an actual event and still be a archetype of another spiritual dimension to our relationship with God, just as all the other archetypes are. So your simply identifying the physical event described does not suffice as a rebuttal to the identification of it as an archetype.

Bar 3.4 O Lord Almighty, thou God of Israel, hear now the prayers of the dead Israelites, and of their children, which have sinned before thee, and not hearkened unto the voice of thee their God: for the which cause these plagues cleave unto us.

ML said -
Baruch asks the Lord to hear the prayers of the dead of Israel. Prayers for the dead are unnecessary in heaven and unnecessary in hell. These dead are in purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: You have equated the prayers BY the dead with prayers FOR the dead.

No, there are two sets of prayers going on in the verse. The prayers of the dead and the prayers of their children for those who have died. The prayers of the children are the ones being addressed by my explanation.

JStaller said -
Before making this equation, you might want to look at

Psalms 28:1 Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. OR Psalms 6.5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? OR Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest OR Isaiah 38:18 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. OR Psalms 88:10-12 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

That last line there sort of kills your interpretation. "Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the LAND OF FORGETFULNESS."

Only if you prescribe to the doctrine of soul sleep, or try to interpret verses such as these to be denying there is an after life.

JStaller said -
Alternative: Though I am unfamiliar with the larger context of this passage from Baruch, it looks like the speaker is asking that God cease from inflicting plagues on CURRENT Israel, based on the prayers of DEAD Israel; the speaker is asking that God honor the price exacted from the dead.

It appears as much as you want to accuse me of coming into this discussion assuming the existence of purgatory you enter into it assuming everything it directed at groups and their salvation as opposed to individuals. But it doesn't matter, historical events related even to groups can act as archetypes for individuals and events related to individuals lives can act as archetypes for groups.

Dan 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

ML said -
Daniel refers to this refining by saying many shall purify themselves, make themselves white and be refined.

JStaller said -
Objection: None. You correctly note that Daniel is talking about purification, which the dead will miss out on and that the wise will discern. Nothing about purgatory there...

Sorry it does not say the dead will miss out on this, it says there will be a refining and the description of that refining is similar to the one mentioned in 1 Cor 3 and elsewhere in the Bible. Until we review all the mentions of this purification and its archetypes we cannot say when, where or how that purification takes place or whether those aspects match the doctrine of purgatory. Or if you intend to claim it occurs in a manner inconsistent with purgatory you must show that when considering all the evidence together it in fact does or matches some other specific set of times and places and methods better.

Mic 7.8-9 8 Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. 9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.

ML said -
We see that we will have to sit in darkness and bear the indignation of the Lord when He executes judgment against us and our sins, but we will eventually be brought forth into His light and we shall behold His righteousness – but only after first going through this process. This is such a good description of the spiritual darkness and suffering in purgatory it can hardly be anything else.

JStaller said -
Objection: "This is such a good description of the spiritual darkness and suffering in purgatory it can hardly be anything else." So the above verse does line up with your hypothesis about what purgatory MIGHT look like? Because I myself have never been to purgatory, but I have certainly sat in spiritual darkness, suffering for my sins, waiting on the redemption of the Lord in the form of deliverance from my suffering.

Alternative: This verse is clearly about suffering for sin and being brought after a time back into the light; nothing in this verse suggests that this suffering is a post-death purgatorial suffering terminated at another post-death judgment.

Nothing in this verse suggests that this suffering is a post-death purgatorial suffering?

Does that include the judgment of God that is specifically mentioned? Do you suggest that we are judged by God prior to the judgment seat?

Does that include being brought forth into His light and beholding His righteousness? Do you suggest that we come into the presence of the Lord and behold His righteousness prior to entering into His midst in the kingdom of heaven? Remember no man has seen the Father, but the Son.

You need to support such a claim and reconcile it with many other scriptures I am sure many will bring forward before such an idea can be accepted.

Zec 9.11 As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.

ML said -
God, through the blood of His covenant, will set those free from the waterless pit, a spiritual abode of suffering which the Church calls purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: "The pit wherein is no water" might be what the Catholic Church today calls purgatory, but the verse itself suggests nothing beyond a reference to the gehenna you so aptly describe.

It might except for one detail - the ones being talked about get to leave this pit of suffering without water. Those who enter gehenna (hell) never get to leave. Condemnation is eternal punishment - no relief. The fact that there is relief here means it cannot be hell discussed and the fact that there is suffering here means it cannot be heaven. The reference to the blood of His covenant also shows we are talking about those who are saved - yet they are suffering - this in no way matches a doctrine consisting only of heaven and hell in the after life.

JStaller said -
Alternative: This verse suggests that God, bound by the Israel-God covenant founded at Sinai and sealed in blood, will honor his obligation to bail Israel out of her spiritual, political, and national hell once she has suffered long enough to be purged of her sins. So it is 'purgatorial' in nature, describing the purging and salvation of A GROUP that took place within history.

Again the presence of a real life event does not mean this cannot be an archetype of another spiritual aspect of Christianity as I have already pointed out. You will have to offer another argument to remove this from consideration as we formulate a doctrine to reconcile all these verses.

Zec 13:8-9 8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

ML said -
God says 2/3 shall perish, and 1/3 shall be left alive, put into the fire, and refined like silver and tested like gold. Where else can we expect to have those who are living put into a fire and refined like silver unless we are speaking of those who are physically dead, but spiritually alive because they built on the foundation of Christ?

JStaller said -
Objection: Again, Zechariah is writing about the national redemption of Israel, which suffers massive casualties, and says that the survivors of Israel's national calamity will suffer further refining.

Alternative: Zechariah is describing the captivity of Israel, in which survivors of the wars and raids brought on Israel are tried by further enslavement, and thus refined, emerging from this captivity as a people then truly belonging to God. Think "A light to the Gentiles." You might start catching my drift.

Again the presence of a real life event does not mean this cannot be an archetype of another spiritual aspect of Christianity as I have already pointed out. You will have to offer another argument to remove this from consideration as we formulate a doctrine to reconcile all these verses.

Mal 3:2-3 2 And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? and who shall stand to see him? for he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller's herb: 3 And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice.

ML said -
This refers to God's purification of the righteous at their death.

JStaller said -
Objection: Where does the subject of death come up in the above verse?

The verse talks about the day of His coming. That is a reference to the judgment for those who are still alive on earth - and so they must die (Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:) and those who are already dead to either go through the judgment or to have already gone through it. So now at this day of coming and the associated judgment (which only occurs after death) we have a refining and cleansing and purifying.

JStaller said -
Alternative: Malachi is writing about a time that God will purify the house of Levi, A GROUP in charge of the temple. Again, the principle of purification is applied at the corporate level.

Again the presence of a real life event does not mean this cannot be an archetype of another spiritual aspect of Christianity. Your alternative have in general been of this form and so have little relevance on determining whether or not these are archetypes of the purgatory described as an understanding of the verses identified.

ML said -
Of course there are references to purgatory in the Deuterocanonicals as well, which is one of the reasons the reformers made such a determined attempt to remove them from the Scriptures.

Sir 2:5 For gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.

ML said -
This comparison of refining of precious metals and the testing of men and their humility is a clear parallel analogy to the doctrine of purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: You've confused humility and humiliation. Two very different things, my friend.

No, they are very closely related. In a general sense humiliation is a lowering in or deprivation of character or self-esteem. Humility is a recognition that ones esteem is less than one might be tempted to assign to it yourself. Often times the only way people gain humility is through humiliation. This could easily be the case for those who go through purgatory, since they have refused to be reconciled or have not made restitution to those they offend. The attitude of lack of humility is precisely the characteristic we would expect to encounter in those in purgatory and the refining that occurs could easily be seen as humiliating.

JStaller said -
Alternative: The above scripture again only describes a PRINCIPLE of purification, stating that God puts men through humiliating circumstances, and that those humiliating circumstances refine them.

Yes, you are correct but if you cannot offer a doctrine to express where, when and how this purification occurs and have it reconcile all the applicable verses (especially those which relate this to an event at the judgment seat) then we are free to apply it to supporting the doctrine of purgatory rather than leave it as an non-understood section of scripture.

JStaller said -
You might want to look up the terms humiliation and humility in a dictionary.

I have, and it is completely consistent with my interpretation above.

Sir 7:37 A gift hath grace in the sight of all the living, and restrain not grace from the dead.

ML said -
Certainly there is no need for grace in heaven, and there is none offered to those in hell. This grace is being prayed for, for those in purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection:"This grace is being prayed for." Based on what part of the verse is this grace 'being prayed for, for those in purgatory"?

Because this is a request made by those alive on earth, asking for grace not to be withheld from those who are dead.

Now who among the dead need grace - not those in heaven, and it will do those in hell no good. This request for grace for the dead simply does not fit a doctrine which has only heaven and hell in its description of the after life.

2 Macc 12:39-46 39 And the day following Judas came with his company, to take away the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury them with their kinsmen, in the sepulchres of their fathers. 40 And they found under the coats of the slain, some of the donaries of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbiddeth to the Jews: so that all plainly saw, that for this cause they were slain. 41 Then they all blessed the just judgment of the Lord, who had discovered the things that were hidden. 42 And so betaking themselves to prayers, they besought him, that the sin which had been committed might be forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves from sin, forasmuch as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because of the sins of those that were slain. 43 And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. 44 (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,)45 And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. 46 It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

ML said -
The prayers for the dead help free them from sin and help them to the reward of heaven. Those in heaven have no sin, and those in hell can no longer be freed from sin. They are in purgatory. The reformers were particularly troubled with these verses because he rejected the age-old teaching of purgatory. As a result,
they removed Maccabees from the canon of the Bible.

JStaller said -
Objection: The conclusion drawn by Judas upon finding the idols is that because of the worship of idols by some, the entire group perished. Hey, look at that--the entire group suffered because a few broke the law.

What is your point - that sometimes God punished whole groups because they were all wicked? So what, that does not prove that all purification occurs on a group basis. It certainly does not prove that a purification identified as occurring at the judgment can be explained away by such a group event.

JStaller said -
Further, Judas doesn't offer the gift with a mind toward anything resembling purgatory:

He offers it to help those who are dead, and those who are dead and in hell cannot be helped and those who are dead and in heaven do not need our help - so clearly Judas recognizes the existence of a third state where those who are in it need assistance and prayers.

"And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously CONCERNING THE RESURRECTION."

"For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,)"

JStaller said -
I'll just point out here that Judas give money hoping that the money helps them receive a judgment or stamp of righteousness on Judgment Day; nothing in the text you have have cited suggests a post-death, pre-heaven purgatorial release.

Sure it does. Those in hell can receive no help toward receiving a judgment or stamp of righteousness on Judgment day. Those in heaven do not need it. It is only those in a third state such as Purgatory who would need such assistance.

JStaller said -
Alternative: Skipping over the typical Protestant charge that this is a Catholic interpolation in an already-inferior book, I will just suggest that the only safe conclusion we can draw from the passage is that Judas hoped his monetary gift to the Temple would counteract the wickedness of the idolaters on JUDGMENT DAY, a decisive moment, and not at all a gradual period of post-death pre-heaven purification.

So you are claiming that Judas did not understand that judgment occurs at death but at some point in time in the future for all together? Where then do you suggest all these dead people's souls are waiting during this time?

ML said -
In the New Testament we see even more support:

JStaller said -
Oh really?

I don't mind candor but if this snideness/smugness wasn't a little bit humourous it would be completely unnecessary as it adds nothing to the discussion. Still I can live with it as I appreciate a bit of lightness here and there.

Matt 5:25-26
25Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

ML said -
These verses allude to a temporary state of purgation called a "prison." There is no exit until we are perfect, and the last penny is paid.

JStaller said -
Objection: These verses allude to suffering in a prison. There is no exit until the last penny is paid. Your other statements, "A temporary state of purgation" and "No exit until we are perfect," are unsupported by the verse itself, and by the reasonable interpretations of the all the other verses thus far presented.


It is a metaphor just as the judge and the officer are. This must be a spiritual purification because it is something we are to concern ourselves over, even above and beyond our offering worship to the Lord.

JStaller said -
Alternative: There are two really good ways to read this verse.

1)Individual application of the purification principle, in which God allows individuals to suffer the painful consequences of harbored bitterness

And where does these painful consequences occur? In this life? Are you prepared to put forward a doctrine of God punishing us for our sins here on earth? Isn't that the idea people use to propose that AIDS is a punishment of gays? Is there really any support for such a doctrine in scripture?

2)Corporate application of the purification principle, in which God allows a group (ISRAEL) to suffer because she would not forgive the debt owed her by another (the nations). One need not accept both applications, but both are reasonable given the context of Matthew, which is a Sermon on "The Kingdom of Heaven."

No, I don't think either are reasonable because the verse emphasizes the idea that concern over this reconciliation with our brother (love of brother) and the concern over the possible punishment should take precedence over even offering worship to God.

Mat 5:48 Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.

ML said -
Jesus says, "be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect." We are only made perfect through purification, and in Catholic teaching, this purification, if not completed on earth, is continued in a state we call purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: Matthew's "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" follows on the heels of "Love unconditionally, just like God loves even the traitorous tax collectors." Again, in your interpretation, you don't cite the verse or the surrounding scripture,

I have no problem with the surrounding context as it is talking exactly about what is needed to be repentant and make the necessary restitution to be reconciled with those we have offended. Love is precisely how we become perfect, and it is what is behind all true repentance, because repentance based on just fear is never truly real.

JStaller said -
but you do say "...in Catholic teaching this purification is continued in a state we call purgatory." You have again cited the disputed Catholic teaching as evidence for the disputed Catholic teaching. (I only point this out for the hundredth time because the first time I pointed it out, you seemed surprised or offended.)

I am not using the Catholic teaching as evidence at all, I was merely explaining how this view fits into the Catholic doctrine in a consistent way. There was such a complete misunderstanding of the doctrine of purgatory at the beginning of this thread I feel the need to restate the Catholic definition of purgatory and show how it fits the verses I bring up, that is hardly an appeal to authority as evidence as you accuse me of.

JStaller said -
Alternative: Again, Jesus is radically redefining God's expectations for His true people, demanding that they, like God, forgive those that don't deserve it, forget the debt the nations owe them, and accept the equality of Jew and Greek alike.


Not only forgive but love so as to be truly repentant. This issue of complete and true repentance is significant in the doctrine of Purgatory so it should not be missed when it comes up in scripture.

Another reason we must be perfect links to Rev 21:27 where it says that which is imperfect cannot enter the presence of the Lord. So of course this relates to the need for purification of any works we do not fully repent of in this life.

Matthew 12:32 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

ML said -
Jesus clearly provides that there is forgiveness after death. Forgiveness is not necessary in heaven, and there is no forgiveness in hell. This proves that there is another state after death, and the Church for more than 2,000 years has called this state purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: You have assumed in this verse that "the world to come" is the afterlife. What if Jesus means "the world ORDER to come?" The "world to come" sounds a lot the the Kingdom that would come from the Heavens (represented by Daniel as a Son, THE Son of Man). You have not anywhere established that "the world to come" is indeed the afterlife.

First if He has meant the world ORDER to come, He would have said so. Second the idea of a literal, physical kingdom, that lasts for 1000 years, here on earth, after His second coming is another whole debate and so in my mind is not a supported conclusion one can use as an alternative interpretation without a lot of work.

JStaller said -
Alternative: Matthew 12.32 should be directly linked to--surprise--Matthew 12.25-31, which is Jesus arguing not for an afterlife, but for the immediate presence of God's kingdom: Matthew 12:27-28 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.


The presence of the Kingdom within us when we accept Christ is not the world to come. Come on even you don't believe that!

JStaller said -
Based on the context of the verse, Jesus suggests that those who call his righteousness wickedness will be absolutely unable to partake of the grace available to God's Israel in the state of affairs now being ordered by his own ministry as the finger of God.

Huh? Where does this come from? The verse is not about righteousness it is about those who have sinned by blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and that is a sin (not righteousness) that cannot be forgiven in this life – or in the next.

Mat 5:25-26 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26

Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

ML said -
This verse is telling us that we must make restitution and be reconciled to those whom we offend as part of a true repentance, because if we do not we will find ourselves having to suffer a loss as this lack of restitution is purged from us in a place of judgment until we are in a state of true repentance.

JStaller said -
You may not have intended to, but you have actually cited this verse twice, offering two different interpretations of it.

I am sorry for the confusion on my part I did inadvertently list this verse twice but these interpretations are not different and if you think they are then you really do not understand the doctrine of Purgatory yet.

JStaller said -
I have already objected to your first interpretation, and have offered an interpetation consistent with the Bible as a whole. But in the spirit of fair play, I'll tackle this one, too.

Objection: You say "This verse is telling us that we must make restitution..." I can stop right there, because 'this verse' flatly says NOTHING about restitution, only about reconciliation. Because this verse says NOTHING about restitution, and only speaks of reconciliation, any further suggestion that 'THIS verse' instructs us on the consequences of NOT making restitution (your statement, "if we do not we will find ourselves having to suffer a loss") is completely and totally unfounded.

If you think reconciliation is to be expected without making restitution or that repentance is possible and to be accepted as true and complete by God then you neither understand reconciliation nor repentance.

The verse does indeed indicate the link between restitution and reconciliation, because it says if we do not reconcile with those we offend then we will be forced to make restitution, by being thrown into prison until we repay the loss of those we have offended – that is the definition of restitution.

JStaller said -
Alternative: Again, Jesus is radically redefining God's expectations for His true people, demanding that they, like God, forgive those that don't deserve it, forget the debt the nations owe them, and accept the equality of Jew and Greek alike.


No this is not about the offended individual at all! The verse focuses on the offender and the consequences they face if they do not make a complete repentance of their offense and make it right with those who were offended.

Matt 18:21-35
21Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

JStaller said -
As an aside, you might like the parallel Jesus is drawing here by going back to a statement marking the total depravity of the Noaic (Noah's) generation and restructuring it to mark the regeneration of his own followers:

Genesis 4.23-24 And Lamech [Noah's dad] said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.

If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.


These are contrary archetypes one of revenge and the other of being willing to forgive completely and perfectly thus the tie in between the two based on the symbol of perfection or completeness -the symbolism of 7 x 70. Just as Cain was to be avenged perfectly, by God - those who come seeking forgiveness in a truly repentant manner are to be perfectly forgiven by God. But if we do not repent fully and completely we cannot be in His presence.

Matt 18:21-35 continued
23Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

24And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses

ML said -
These verses allude to a temporary state of purgation called a "prison." There is no exit until we are perfect, and the last penny is paid.

JStaller said -
Objection: This verse alludes to a metaphoric prison. And the last penny is paid. But your statement "There is no exit until we are perfect" and "A temporary state of purgation" are superfluous to the text.


What is going on here then? If you agree it is metaphoric prison then what is it a metaphor too if not a spiritual purging of our failure to properly repent? Paying the last penny, means we have made complete restitution (our repentance is complete/perfect).

JStaller said -
Alternative: Jesus, as the Son of Man representing God's Kingdom that Daniel said would descend on a cloud from the Heavens, is offering to one group of servants (think "Pharisees") who have borrowed and lost much, a forgiveness of debts. In a tragic and ironic twist refuse to extend their own forgiveness to others (think "harlots and sinners") who owe them much much less; Jesus is suggesting that if the Pharisees don't reconcile ("Agree with thine adversary...") with the harlots and sinners, or even the larger category of non-observant, God will reject the Pharisees. Again, this reading is supported by the message of Jesus, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand," and also by the destruction wrought upon the Pharisees and their Temple when Jerusalem was utterly destroyed and Israel was delivered to the tormentors until she paid the debt she owed her Lord.


Sorry if this is supportable as an alternative interpretation you would have to do a much better and more detailed job of development because none of that matches the verse near as well as my interpretation. There is no paying the last penny, no being let out of this metaphoric prison, no seeking forgiveness by the Pharisees (who did not see they needed to do so). The alternative just doesn't match.

Luke 12:47 And that servant who knew the will of his lord, and prepared not himself, and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more.

ML said -
When the Master comes (when we face Jesus at the judgment seat), some will receive light or heavy beatings but will live. This state is not heaven or hell, because in heaven there are no beatings, and in hell we will will no longer live with the Master.

JStaller said -
Objection: You have assumed that this parallel is only about a future date, and had no application to the immediate circumstances faced by Jesus' immediate audience, and have thus extrapolated from a this-worldly store an other-worldly meaning.


No, I just don't see the immediate circumstances as being the ONLY application, as they seldom if ever were, otherwise there would be nothing to learn from them and they would not have been put in the scriptures for our instruction. But I am interested in just what the immediate circumstance are that you think fulfills this description? Who is the master? Where did this judgment occur? Who were those who got a heavy beating and who were those who only got a light one? I don't know of any immediate circumstance that fits this description.

JStaller said -
Alternative: When the Son of Man arrives (And who called himself the Son of Man? And when did he arrive in Israel?) the servants who had a lot of responsibility (think Pharisees and the like. "Woe unto you lawyers, who bind heavy burdens and grievous to be born on the backs of the people!) will be severely punished, while those servants who didn't know any better (think "harlots and sinners," perhaps publicans, or even unobservant Jews) will be lightly censured.


And where is the evidence of this punishment in the life of Jesus, where did He punish those whom fit these two groups you identify?

Luk 12:58-59 58 And when thou goest with thy adversary to the prince, whilst thou art in the way, endeavour to be delivered from him: lest perhaps he draw thee to he judge, and the judge deliver thee to the exacter, and the exacter cast thee into prison. 59 I say to thee, thou shalt not go out thence until thou pay the very last mite.

ML said -
These verses allude to a temporary state of purgation called a "prison." There is no exit until we are perfect, and the last penny is paid.

JStaller said -
Objection: Okay, listing the parallel to another verse that I have hammered away at twice already is simply redundant.

I am always amazed that so many Protestants believe that two accounts of the same incident in two different books of the Bible can be redundant and carry no more information than reading just the one, especially when we are talking about the Gospels which they acknowledge are each written to a different audience with a different emphasis of purpose.

Luk 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

ML said -
In this story, two temporary places of the dead were mentioned, one was Hades and another Abraham's bosom, one was damned and other blessed. What are they? In most modern translations both Protestant and Catholic, the word " Hades" was replaced with hell. Hades is a Greek word meaning the abode of the dead which did not imply a condemnation as the word Gehenna or hell itself. How about Abraham's bosom?

When the Lord told this story, no one was entered into Heaven. Thus the deceased faithful and patriaches of the Old Testament had to stay at another place of "the dead" which was referred here as Abraham's bosom.

JStaller said -
Objection: You have extrapolated from a this-worldly story and otherworldy meaning.

What?! How do you see this as a worldly story with its reference to Abraham's Bosom?

JStaller said -
Alternative: Think along the lines of "the first shall be last, and the last shall be first." Those living in worldly splendor would be surprised to learn that they aren't actually keeping company with Abraham; you might, in your analysis of this parable, want to consider that Jesus did not think Abraham was dead at all, and that he used Abraham's "living" status to argue that the scriptures support a resurrection. This is a radical redefinition of the resurrection, to say the least.


Yes, your redefinition is indeed radical.

Abraham is alive, spiritually alive and this makes the story other worldly, just as Abraham's bosom is a spiritual abode. In fact we see that based on the fact that the rich man could not communicate with his relatives to warn them.

JStaller said -
To clarify, then: It is a perfectly legitimate reading that suggests this parable reflects the true spiritual nature of the real sons of Abraham; position and favor, ease and affluence, are not definitive marks of God's favor or approval; further, simple mastery of "Moses and the prophets" is not assurance that one is within the borders of God's Israel, a true son of Abraham; that membership will be revealed in "the world to come."


Where does any of this so called legitimate reading offer an interpretation for the concern the rich man shows to his relatives and the lack of ability to reach them with a warning?

JStaller said -
This parable, then, is not so much about heaven and hell as it is about vindication for some and damnation of others, a judgment revealed once it is no longer possible to switch sides. This judgment could very well be some kind of national destruction, revealing the living and the dead...


That is of course the point, the only time it is no longer possible to switch sides is after we are dead. Then we have made our last choice as to whether we will accept Him or not, and then – the judgment. That is why the timing of the purification in 1 Cor 3 is so easily identified with being after our death. That and the fact that being saved is mentioned, and oh yeah the fact that the giving of rewards is mentioned; all of which occur after death not in this life time.

ML said -
Remember in hell the condemned souls are incapable of love.

JStaller said -
Remember? I've yet to see any evidence for this particular propostion.


Are you simply playing the role of the skeptic here or do you really want to suggest that those in heal can express love? Does any Christian denomination or any doctrine of such even suggest that those in hell have any remorse or love towards others?

ML said -
In hell one condemns and blasphemes God, there would be no reverence for the Divinity and no compassion for others.

JStaller said -
This falls in the category of "True Enough that it's Not Worth Arguing About."


Because it is clear that the rich man in Hades did not take the point of view and so could not be in hell. Hades (the place of the dead) and hell being two different places. And we know he is not in heaven, because he is suffering. So where is he?

ML said -
I do not believe that Hades where the rich man was confined was eternal hell for the following reasons:

1. Hades is simply defined as the abode of the dead, therefore, it does not necessarily mean eternal damnation.

JStaller said -
Agreed.

ML said -
2. In hell all souls are not capable of love and here the rich man was still concerned for his brothers' salvation's.

JStaller said -
Thus far unsupported but irrelevant in the scheme of things, since I don't need to be pursuaded the the place of torment in question is NOT a metaphysical hell.


It is a widely accepted view and is not irrelevant to those who might not accept the idea that Hades and Hell are different states of existence.

ML said -
3. In hell all souls constantly curse God and here the rich man still revered Abraham who represented holiness.

JStaller said -
see #2 for the applicable sentiments


So we are in agreement that Hades and Hell are different. Then what is the purpose of the torment going on in Hades if it is not related to eternal damnation?

ML said -
4. In hell the evil souls would not discuss or be concerned with such matters as salvation or repentance.

JStaller said -
Unsupported and unfounded.


But widely accepted, and if it was worth the bother a case could easily be made for this truth. I did not expect to have to prove every doctrine I used as support, especially the ones which have wide acceptance across denominations - after all one does not prove Newton's Laws when one is presenting a higher order proof of some more scientific concept..

ML said -
5. In Purgatory, we have to carry out expiation for our past sins and the temporal punishments are very closely associated with our offenses. Here the offenses of the rich man were eating sumptuously and lack of compassion. Thus his torment involved with his mouth burning in flame.

JStaller said -
Still haven't seen any unchallenged evidence for Purgatory, but now we're venturing into quite imaginitave and colorful images. If such a place as purgatory existed, sure, it MIGHT match this description.

If purgatory does not exist then you need to provide a place that does match this description or admit that there is a aspect to our after life you do not understand, in which case purgatory becomes a real possibility of being the best explanation available.

ML said -
6. If such offenses as eating sumptuously and lack of compassion actually brought about an eternal damnation for the rich man, none of us would be saved!

JStaller said -
Very, very true :)


So there are offenses which do not lead to eternal damnation but we will suffer for and then what – how do we spend eternity if not condemned are we not to be saved?

Let's see, sins, death, period of suffering, eventual salvation – sounds like Purgatory to me.

ML said -
In summary, we see that the dead rich man is suffering but still feels compassion for his brothers and wants to warn them of his place of suffering. But there is no suffering in heaven or compassion in hell. So where is the rich man? He is in purgatory.

JStaller said -
Or he's a symbol for those individuals who find themselves unexpectedly shamed by their refusal to accept the way of salvation, those leaders that took Israel down the broad path of destruction, instead of following the narrow road to Jesus, the Door of the Kingdom...


But this symbolism does not address all the signs or symbols, the suffering, the desire to be comforted by those in a better place, the desire to help those left behind on earth, the inability to reach out to them, the eventual leaving that state (since it is not eternal damnation).

1Co 3:10-16 10 According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation: and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus. 12 Now, if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: 13 Every man's work shall be manifest. For the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire. And the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any mans work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. 16 Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

ML said -
Of course I have already offered a detailed analysis of this section of verse early on in this thread so will not repeat it here.

In summary I will point out that in verse 13 Paul writes about God revealing the quality of each man's work by fire and purifying him, this purification relates to his sins (not just his good works). Protestants,

JStaller said -
It is interesting to me that, as a Catholic who is constantly objecting to being misrepresented by Protestants, you would turn right around and attribute to me a position that I have never, ever argued for

I am sorry but I am not attributing this position to you. I am providing an overall defense of Purgatory to all who may read this and so am trying to cover all the bases that any reader may wish to consider. When painting with such broad strokes it is unfortunate that some may take these issues to be directed at them and I apologize for that.

ML continued -
...in attempting to disprove the reality of purgatory, argue that Paul was only writing about rewarding good works, and not punishing sins (because punishing and purifying a man from sins would be admitting that there is a purgatory).

ML said -
Verse 14 explains that purgatory thus reveals the state of righteousness

JStaller said -
Verse 14 explains that people will be vindicated by survival


But survival of what? Not the man himself, he is already saved by having built on the foundation of Jesus. It is survival of his works which are tested by fire, a testing done by the Lord.

ML said -
Verse 15 explains that those in purgatory are in a state of venial sin, they have not mortally wounded their relationship with Christ.

JStaller said -
OR verse 15 explains that, though the work a worker did on the Living Temple as a colaborer with God might be destroyed, he himself will nonetheless be saved, perhaps along with the good material

Yes, but since the worker is the Living Temple (see verse 16) it is the labors works which are burnt away from the Temple (purifying it). The laborer is saved and his good works are used to grant rewards. His bad works are lost to him and he suffers for that loss. This is the same thing I said above except I make the distinction between venial sins (those which are burnt away) and mortal sins which mortally damage our relationship with Christ such that we are not building on Him as a foundation and so do not go through this destruction of works of collaboration – proving once again that Purgatory is not a salvation issue.

Ml said -
Paul says though he will be saved, "but only" through fire. The phrase "but only" in the Greek is "houtos" which means "in the same manner." This means that man is both rewarded and saved by fire.

JStaller said -
OR Paul is simply saying that the painful loss of building material will refine a colaborer by teaching what to build with and what to avoid...

That might be true if you want to minimize what it means to be saved, but then you also have to minimize what is meant in scripture by building on the foundation of Christ, and the whole concept of rewards. But to do that one needs to have a doctrine that is complete enough to be able to interpret each of these verses consistently and cover all the details, instead of the vague hand waving we have seen so far in your suggestion of a corporate purification.

ML said -
When Paul teaches that those whose work is burned up will suffer loss, the phrase for "suffer loss" in the Greek is "zemiothesetai." The root word is "zemioo" which also refers to punishment.

JStaller said -
Just because someting CAN mean two things doesn't mean it MUST mean that which supports your case, which is still thus far unsupported by the scriptures you have provided....


Just because the translators of the KJV did not get all the meaning of the term does not mean it is not there either. This is just more of your taking the role of cynic/skeptic and it does nothing to further the discussion as a skeptic can deny anything even their own existence, and do so without any merit to their position.

ML said -
This means that there is an expiation of temporal punishment after our death,

JStaller said -
You have constructed an equation that looks like A = B and B might = C so C must = 7 which then means that 7 = an angry rhinocerous.

Interesting claim but I don't think you are fair in this analysis and I challenge you to frame my argument in this way by replacing the A, B, C and 7 with statements of mine in a one to one correspondence. Otherwise your complain is just silliness.

JStaller said -
There is no cohesion to your paradigm of interpretation without a a prior ASSUMPTION of Purgatory, without the prior assumption that the Biblical writers were, while addressing historical situations immediately urgent to their cultures and countries,

This also is an unfair characterization as I have shown verse which are cohesive and which you can only reject by denying they are archetypes (with no basis for this denial) or by saying they represent only a physical reality of that moment. If anything it is your interpretation of these verses which is not cohesive, because to acknowledge their relationship is to reveal your interpretation to be inadequate to handle them.

JStaller said -
also trying to secretly explain a metaphysical reality that wouldn't be discoverd for 1500 or so years


Sorry but that is simply not true, the doctrine of purgatory goes way back to the very early days of the Church – going all the way back to Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian and Augustine.

It is your alternative doctrine of corporate purification which is exceedingly new.

ML said -
which cannot mean either heaven (no need for it) or hell (expiation no longer exists).

ML said -
In verse 17...

JStaller said -
What happened to verse 16? Did you skip it on purpose, or on accident?

I said above this is a summary, and so I was only hitting the highpoints.

ML said -
...we see the destruction of those who defile the Temple of God with back works (not building on the foundation of Christ) occurring at this same judgment that the suffering loss and rewarding for good works occurs.

JStaller said -
Yes. The event that reveals the good material will also reveal the bad material. This is what makes the purification principle, so often applied throughout the Bible, operate.

ML said -
The only place final condemnation occurs...

JStaller said -
You've yet to show me any evidence supporting the use of the adjective "final"

It is because it is linked to the same event which determines whether we built on the foundation of Christ (the judgment) and whether we will be saved (the same judgment) and the granting of rewards (again the same judgment).

ML said -
...is at the judgment seat after death

JStaller said -
You've yet to show me any evidence that we're talking about "after death."

Then you are missing the timing of all the other events taking place simultaneously.

ML said -
so we can conclude the loss and rewards also occur after death.

JStaller said -
That is a very angry rhinocerous you are describing.

Only because you don’t want to see it. Your claim of my argument lacking form is made without proof or even an attempt at proof and your refusal to see the connection of all the events (which are everywhere else in scripture discussed with relation to the judgment) does nothing to rebut my present argument.

ML said -
In summary works are judged after death

JStaller said -
so far unsupported conclusively


Now you really are just playing the role of the cynic aren't you? Are you now prepared to deny that works are judged after death?

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

(amazingly I have to come back to this and point out that below you acknowledge the fact you here deny proof exist of) I refer of course to your unreserved agreement with the teaching of:

2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Now which is it do you deny works are judged after death or do you agree to that point?

ML said -
...and tested by fire

JStaller said -
agreed, if we can both agree that "fire" is really a description of a purification process.

I don't know what you can agree to anymore as you fluctuate between agreeing it is a description of purification and at other times rejecting the idea.

ML said -
Some works are lost, but the person is still saved.

JStaller said -
Or "some people are lost, and the nation is still saved" or "some elements are lost, bot the body is saved." All valid conclusions based on the reasonable interpetations thus far presented.


Sorry nowhere does the verse talk about any people being lost. It says the works are burnt away and the person suffers loss because of it.

1 Cor 3 cannot be talking about a corporate purification because the Temple of God is not being referenced here as a group but as each individual laborer. Remember verse 16 – the one you complained I skipped over in my summary – perhaps I should have pointed it out more forcefully as it makes it clear your corporate interpretation does not work for this section of verse.

ML said -
Paul is referring to the state of purgation called purgatory

JStaller said -
thus far an unsupported conclusion.

I disagree, and this simple statement of mine carries every bit as much weight as your denial – so lets stop making these silly judgments unless we are prepared to support them. That means doing more than simply taking the skeptics position who can never prove anything.

ML said -
The venial sins (bad works) that were committed are burned up after death, but the person is still brought to salvation

JStaller said -
so far unsupported by solid evidence.

Sorry but this has much more support than any competing interpretation I have seen, certainly more than yours which cannot handle the details of the verses we have looked at.

ML said -
This state after death cannot be heaven (no one with venial sins is present) or hell (there is no forgiveness and salvation).

JStaller said -
If you had shown that at any time we had arrived on the "after death" map, you might be on to something.

It is shown by the simultaneous events mentioned which only all occur together at the judgment after death.

1Co 15:29-30 29 Otherwise, what shall they do that are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not again at all? Why are they then baptized for them? 30 Why also are we in danger every hour?

ML said -
Paul mentions people being baptized on behalf of the dead, to atone for their sins. These people cannot be in heaven because they are still with sin, but they also cannot be in hell because their sins can no longer be atoned for. They are in purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: Paul is arguing in 1 Corinthians 15 for a RESURRECTION, not for purgatory.


Please provide some basis for this claim and while you are at it explain how a baptism of the dead impacts the salvation of anyone after their death. Or do you just intend to ignore the subject of this sentence in order to shoe horn your interpretation into the context?

JStaller said -
Alternative: Like Judas Maccabeaus who gave money to the temple hoping that it would sway God's judment when the dead offenders were raised back up, these believers could just as easily be baptizing themselves on behalf of those anscestors who never had a chance to enter the Body of Christ because, historically, they died before Jesus suggested he was the New Israel.

Yes, these two acts of reconciliation are similar, and the basis for the use of indulgences which make restitution for the sins we fail to completely repent of in life.

2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

JStaller said -
Agreed.


Wait a minute - just above you denied that this was a proven concept. This playing the skeptic just to increase my burden unnecessarily is not befitting an honest investigation of the doctrine. I have actually gone back and made a note modifying my response to your position – since there is no way you can be taking it in a serious manner.

Php 2:10-11 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

ML said -
Every knee bends to Jesus, in heaven, on earth, and "under the earth" which is the realm of the righteous dead, or purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: "under the earth" which is the realm of the righteous dead, or purgatory... Again, Michael, you've cited the questioned doctrine as evidence for the questioned doctrine.


No, I am showing my interpretation of this verse, as pointing to a realm of the righteous dead under the earth. If you have another name for it or explanation of this realm please give it. While you are at it show how it fits your denial of works being judged after death and how your corporate purification fits into this idea and finally how a doctrine of soteriology which contains only heaven and hell can accommodate this region under the earth.

JStaller said -
Alternative: "Under the earth" should be read "Buried in the ground." We're talking about the grave, using the same poetic language as the psalms. We're talking about the dead, sure. But not about purgatory. We're talking about the Resurrection, sure. But not about purgatory.


Tell me how this soul sleep, unknowing dead that you want to attribute this too can bend their knee? What happened to God not being God of the dead but of the living, that Abraham and others are still spiritually alive. How far do we have to wander into Adventist doctrine to accommodate your corporate purification doctrine?

1 Th 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

ML said -
This condition of being completely unblameable in holiness is only accomplished after complete sanctification which of course requires full repentance of all sins we commit. Thus if we commit sins in this life which we do not fully repent (including those we do not make the necessary restitution for) we must have them purged in purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: On what authority do you say that "completely unblameable in holiness" has to do with our character and not with imparted grace...? But the real objection lies in your application, where you have overlooked the voice of the writer, who is clearly addressing THE GROUP and admonishing the GROUP to become better in their THIS-WORLDLY CONDUCT


Because the words are right there in the text. I added the word completely because it is physically impossible to be only partially unblameable. You are either blamable or you are not. No in between. It is this complete purification which we see is necessary before we can enter into His presence in Rev 21:27.

JStaller said -
Alternative: Tie 1 Thess. 3.13 to the IMMEDIATELY preceeding and following verses and you'll get an accurate picture of Paul's intent, the SPIRIT of Paul's message:

1 Thessalonians 3.12-4.2 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification...

JStaller said –
Even a precursory look should reveal to you why the passage you have cited in support of an individual, metaphysical purgation in actuality supports the collective sanctification of a group in this present world.


Sorry you are going to have to show it to me because I do not see anything that even hints at a collective sanctification. The sanctification is individual and exhibited by our love for those around us. No discussion of group sanctification at all.

2 Tim 1:16-17 16 The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus: because he hath often refreshed me and hath not been ashamed of my chain: 17 But when he was come to Rome, he carefully sought me and found me.

ML said -
Onesiphorus is dead but Paul asks for mercy on him. But there is no need for mercy in heaven, and there is no mercy given in hell. Where is Onesiphorus? He is in purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: You'll, uh, have to show me where it says that Onesiphorus is dead. Otherwise, this verse counts for absolutely nothing in this debate


If we look at verse 18 we see - "The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day." This is one clue we have that Onesiphorus was no longer living. Since "the day" we all hope to find mercy of the Lord, is the day of judgment, which as I have pointed out repeatedly occurs after death.

Also the way in which Paul refers twice to "the household of Onesiphorus," makes it plain that Onesiphorus himself had died.

Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

ML said -
Without holiness no one will see the Lord. We need final sanctification to attain true holiness before God, and this process occurs during our lives and, if not completed, in the state of purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: Holiness is a necessity. And Jesus obtained that holiness for his Body when he was resurrected from the dead.


And our sins are blots on that holiness, which must be confessed and repented of in order to be forgiven.

JStaller said –
Can individual parts of the Body be made more holy? Absolutely. But is the Body blameless and holy before God? Absolutely. We are, after all, the Body of the Resurrected Son of the Living God.

You have slipped once again into arguing against Purgatory on the grounds of salvation which is because your understanding of salvation is incorrect. Salvation is not based on a righteousness which is merely imputed to us, it is based on one that is both imputed and infused. Salvation is something that must be held onto and worked out with fear and trembling. We must not just be covered by His blood as if trying to trick the Father, we must become converted and be as little children innocent and pure. That is the role of sanctification and of purification in purgatory.

Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

ML said -
The spirits of just men who died in godliness are "made" perfect. They do not necessarily arrive perfect. They are made perfect after their death. But those in heaven are already perfect, and those in hell can no longer be made perfect. These spirits referred to in this verse were in purgatory.

JStaller said -
The men who died are "made perfect" not because they were further purged, but because the victory of God accomplished at the appearance of the Son of Man upon the cross and evidenced by the Resurrected Body proves that their expectations of vindication were authentic; see how these perfected souls are inextricably linked with the "General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn?"


No we are not made perfect by Christ's sacrifice. In fact Paul talks about his making up that which is lacking in Christ's sacrifice.

Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

We all have to make our own sacrifice and repent of our own sins or the merits of Christ cannot even be applied to us. This is why the doctrine of faith alone is so inadequate at properly describing salvation, and why works must accompany it to perfect that faith. But all of this occurs before the purification after death or else the person being considered never even goes through Purgatory as it is only for those who are saved. If you deny the role of works in salvation you may not be able to see this, but that does not change the reality of it, it only exposes the failings of the doctrine of faith alone.

Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

ML said -
God is a consuming fire

JStaller said -
Agreed.

ML said -
(of love in heaven, of purgation in purgatory, or of suffering and damnation in hell).

JStaller said -
That middle clause about "purgation in purgatory" is as of yet unsupported...


Again I am showing the consistency of one interpretation of all the related scriptures, your comment that it is unsupported is made simply by ignoring all the previous supporting evidence and does nothing to further the discussion. Anyone can play the role of skeptic but it offers no insight.

1 Pt 1:6-7 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

ML said -
Peter refers to this purgatorial fire to test the fruits of our faith.

JStaller said -
Peter refers to purifying tribulation to test either the group or individuals within that group

Those in this prison did not ascent or decline to these teachings in mass, so there is no evidence this is a corporate purification. It is still and individual choice and so too and individual purification. Salvation by group is a very strange concept and I see no support for it in scripture.

1 Pt 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

ML said -
Jesus preached to the spirits in the "prison." These are the righteous souls being purified for the beatific vision.

JStaller said -
Jesus "preached" to the souls in prison. These are the then-unvindicated souls languishing in the annals of Israel's tragic history. (Amazing. It's all a matter of where you put the quote marks :)


What is the point of preaching to them if they were in some sort of soul sleep unable to respond? What is the point of purifying them if they were already either bound for heaven or hell as all their decisions we made previously while they were still alive on earth as your denial of the doctrine of Purgatory would require?

1 Pt 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

ML said -
Jesus preached to the spirits in the "prison." These are the righteous souls being purified for the beatific vision.

JStaller said -
This verse says nothing about Jesus doing the preaching.


That is why it was presented along with 1 Pt 3:19. Do you know anyone else who could go to them and preach the Gospel?

JStaller said –
You gotta remember that Isaiah and the whole cadre of prophets preached "the gospel."

Not in prison they didn't. Besides you would have to prove they were preaching the Gospel = if you are going to demand I prove every detail of my claims you should have to do the same. I don't think the Gospel was revealed and certainly was not fully understood until Jesus' ministry.

JStaller said –
Even though righteous Israelites died, slain by men in the flesh, without seeing the grace dispensed unto Christ the Lamb they nonetheless lived according to God in the spirit

Yes, some understood the issue of God desiring mercy over sacrifice and they also got it that the intent of the law was more important than the letter, but that is not the whole of the Gospel, it leaves out the place of the Gentiles and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and several other major points. But I do agree that they were primed for the Gospel if they got that much and lived their lives according to what they knew. Still if they had known the Gospel there would have been no reason for Jesus to preach to them – but 1 Pt 3:19 said He did.

Jud 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

ML said -
The people who are saved are being snatched out of the fire. People are already saved if in heaven, and there is no possibility of salvation if in hell. These people are being led to heaven from purgatory.

JStaller said -
Fair Paraphrase: Use fear to save certain others, which is legitimate, making them afraid of coming into contact even with things that MIGHT be contaminated or dirty.


What is the fire metaphoric of – fear? That does not fit the grammar.
How does it cleanse away the garment already spotted? I don't see the fit at all.

Rev 3:18-19 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

ML said -
Jesus refers to this fire as what refines into gold those He loves if they repent of their sins.

JStaller said -
Agreed.

So what happens if they have not fully repented? Do they not go through this fire of refinement? Do they become condemned to hell? Is that consistent with your judgment of the escaping damnation for eating sumptuously?

Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

ML said -
God shall wipe away their tears, and there will be no mourning or pain, but only after the coming of the new heaven and the passing away of the current heaven and earth. But remember there is no morning or pain in heaven, and God will not wipe away their tears in hell. These who are crying are the souls experiencing purgatory.

JStaller said -
Objection: Revelation 21 describes those inside the gates of New Jerusalem, the city founded on a Rock. Of course John isn't talking about people in hell; those people are far, far outside the gate. Those who are crying are those outside the kingdom, and they are weeping and gnashing their teeth.


Where do you get that they are in the presence of the Lord when they are crying? That is a strange view of the beatific vision or theism as some call it. When I come to be in His presence I will certainly not be crying except maybe tears of joy. But someone is crying prior to being with Him (which is why He is wiping away their tears). Who are these people who cry just before coming into His presence? They are not those who end up in hell, and they cannot be those who are going straight to heaven in the hidden by His blood soteriology. So who are they – address the verse in what it says.

Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

ML said -
Nothing unclean shall enter heaven. Even the propensity to sin is uncleanliness. It is amazing how many Protestants do not want to believe in purgatory.

JStaller said -
It's actually not that amazing.


It is for them to have missed this requirement and then to have it pointed out to them and still deny that God is merciful enough to provide a means to rectify the situation even after our death based merely on the fact of our accepting His Son as the foundation of our life.

Of course if one's soteriology is based just on the covering by His blood such that our works play no role in our salvation it is easy to also deny their role in being made perfect and so one can easily deny any purification, whether it be sanctification in this life or the purification left undone until after our death.

ML said -
Purgatory exists because of the mercy of God.

JStaller said -
OR Purgatory exists because an institution needs to justify the philosophical Hellenizing of Hebraic metaphysics (which were already scant)

Pure conjecture of a group formed in modern times with no more (and probably a great deal less) understanding of the 1st Century Hebrew culture than the ECF had.

JStaller said -
along with the complicated criteria developed by an individualizing of what was beforehand a group-oriented soteriology. That's just one possible and reasonable explanation anyway.


An explanation that is so vague it cannot be made to fit the details of any of the verse shown is not one I would call reasonable.

ML said -
If there were no purgatory, this would also likely mean no salvation for most people.

JStaller said -
OR If there were no purgatory, this would likely mean that God wasn't still sitting in judgment of His Son in which all redeemed creation lives and moves and exists in the untarnished reality of I AM.


Of course you are arguing against Purgatory by referencing a salvation argument, when the two are not related as we see by the fact that those who go through this trial of their works by fire are those who built on the foundation of Christ – so your argument is misplaced and not applicable except perhaps to reveal your salvation doctrine is incorrect if you assume being saved makes you perfect. If you accept salvation as some sort of covering which hides our sins (much as Luther describe it as a layer of snow over a dung heap) then you are espousing an idea of the Father being fooled, and that we can sin all we want (committing adultery 1000 times a day if we want to again use an example of Luther). I don't accept that righteousness is merely imputed, it is also infused, we must become converted, become as little children, clean and innocent through confession and true repentance. Then as we sin in our lives, and we will, we can repent and become clean again. Those sins we do not repent of before death must also be cleansed from us and that is what is being describe in 1 Cor 3 and elsewhere.

ML said -
Scripture also supports the idea of purgatory through the indirect concept of praying for those who are physically dead

JStaller said -
Oh really?.

ML said -
These prayers are unneeded for those in heaven and are not effective for those already condemned to hell.

Here are some examples of ritual prayer and penitent mourning for the dead for specific periods of time. The Jewish understanding of these practices was that the prayers freed the souls from their painful state of purificatioin, and expedited their journey to God.

JStaller said -
I eagerly await the evidence supporting this claim, which would significantly shift my opinion

Gen 50:10 And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days.

Num 20:29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.

Deu 34:8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

JStaller said -
Sounds like they're mourning. I don't see anything in that passage about praying for the dead. Mourning is not praying for the dead; it is sorrowing, formally or informally.

I am surprised by this comment, since you seem to focus on the Hebriac roots of Christianity I would assume you were familiar with the El Malech Rachamim. Though some people think it is the Kaddish that is the "Jewish Prayer for the Dead," - "that designation more accurately belongs to the prayer called "El Maleh Rachamim," which specifically prays for the soul of the deceased." - from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish

The El Maleh Rachamim “God is filled with mercy” memorial prayer is often chanted to close the funeral. Chanted in Hebrew while the congregation stands, El Maleh Rachamim asks a merciful God to care for the soul under sheltering wings of peace. To help the soul merit this closeness, a pledge to charity is promised. http://www.isolomon.com/channel.aspx?channel_id=267

The Jewish people as part of their mourning process definitely pray for the souls of those who have past, and those prayers could not be in any way effective in the Protestant model of the after life which includes only heaven and hell.

JStaller said -
I have been unusually direct because you demand my full honesty. I hope you'll forgive my obvious smugness, but I have written what I have written. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus.

I appreciate your being direct, it is what I was after, the smugness I can overlook (though it adds nothing to the discussion).

You have played the role of skeptic well, denying things just because denial is always an option, even when there is no reasonable alternative, refusing to accept things as archetypes simply because you can, but that is hardly a convincing argument to come from. Just claiming something is not archetype because you say so does not really address the issue. Claiming there is some vague other way to see all this as a corporate purification without actually fleshing that idea out enough to fit precisely into these verses is no more convincing. Finally denying the linkage between the judgment and the end of ones life to place a time on this purification and the need for this purification so as to enter into the Holy City and be in His presence is not enough to out weight the evidence of the scriptures which provide those links.




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