Is purgatory a biblical teaching?
[Steve Myers] A news item on the internet caught my attention. The title of the article was, "Get Time off in Purgatory by Following the Pope on Twitter." Now the reason for the article was in regard to the Catholics celebrating World Youth Day down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. And the idea behind this article was saying that if you follow events on Twitter that you could spend less time in purgatory after you die , hopefully on your way to heaven.
Now the interesting part of this is this whole idea that somehow indulgences could be granted to make it to heaven a little bit easier. Now that’s something that came up in the Catholic church during the 1300's. Hundreds of years ago the popes began to teach that the church had the power to forgive sin.
Now that’s really not a biblical concept. You won’t find that in your Bible. And the interesting part as well is this whole concept of purgatory to begin with. You know when you die the Bible says you go to the grave, and you await the resurrection. You’re not somewhere else, but that you await the return of Christ. You await the resurrection of the dead. That’s what comes next, not some state where you’re wafting away in purgatory or some other place.
Here’s what the interest part about the whole story is: one of the things that the Catholics site to justify belief in purgatory is this scripture that’s found in Matthew chapter 5. Now I noticed this on a website called aboutcatholics.com .
And on that site the first New Testament reference is made to purgatory was found in Matthew 5:26 Matthew 5:26Truly I say to you, You shall by no means come out there, till you have paid the uttermost farthing.
American King James Version×. And here’s what that passage says, it says, and it quotes Christ, "Assuredly I say to you, you will by no means get out of there until you pay the last penny." And so they interpret this to mean you won’t get out of purgatory until every last little sin is accounted for. And so this idea that somehow by following the Pope on Twitter you could get out of there faster and those pennies would be paid is what the implication is all about.
Yet, you look up this passage in Matthew chapter 5 and what is it talking about? It’s talking about relationships. It’s talking about getting along with your brother. It’s talking about having relationships that if you owe someone something, if someone takes you to court, that you better settle those things quickly because ultimately God’s the judge. So this section of scripture, if you look it up, you look at the background, you look at the context, it has nothing to do with an afterlife.
So I hope you’ll take the time to notice what exactly it says here, that it really has nothing to do with what happens after death.
Well, that’s BT Daily . We’ll see you next time.