by Joel Fernandez
The concept of purgatory is something that has been a matter of debate among believers ever since the protestant reformation. The Catholic church teaches the doctrine of purgatory while the protestant church rejects the notion because the death of Christ was meant to atone for the sins of humanity. As with most things, the whole truth is somewhere in the middle. Today’s conversation will set the record straight once and for all.
Whatever you choose to call it, there is a place between heaven and hell where souls must go to atone for sins that were committed in life. All of our sins are tallied up and the amount of time that a true believer spends in purgatory is calculated by the almighty himself. In the past, souls that went to purgatory were not made aware of where they were. Some people even went as far as to make the unfortunate mistake of cursing God while in purgatory and ended up in permanent hell as a result. As of this conversation, souls that are in purgatory are made aware of where they are and thus will be allowed to hope for their inevitable release from suffering.
While the Catholic church made the correct decision to acknowledge the unpleasant reality of the existence of purgatory, there are a few minor problems with the doctrine. To that end, the notion that we can pray for the souls in purgatory and shorten their time there is simply untrue. But the idea of living the best life possible in the eyes of God in order to reduce the time spent in purgatory is accurate. As such, a soul can be in purgatory for a few months or thousands of years if the sins committed must be punished for a commensurate amount of time.
The reason for that is that God the father is just. He believes in being appropriately rewarded or punished for anything that we do. You may have been to church on a particular Sunday and heard a preacher say that even the most vicious murderer in can repent and reach heaven. But it simply would not be fair if the criminals that were crucified alongside Jesus could reach heaven at the same time as St. John the Baptist. Moreover, a soul that ends up in heaven will be rewarded in a way that is commensurate with their level of their faith during their life on earth. Meaning that even though everyone in heaven is happy, there are in fact varying levels of happiness among the citizens of God’s kingdom.
In keeping with the idea of being rewarded or punished appropriately in God’s kingdom, there is at least one way to measure the reward that a person receives in heaven. If a person lives a life of difficulty and strife and manages to stay in faith, that person will live better in heaven than a person who is wealthy on earth; assuming of course that both souls reach heaven. For the sake of this conversation, we will assume the best.
In other words, it is possible for a wealthy preacher to go to heaven, but they should not expect to live in opulence once there. And if they deliberately forgo the doctrine of purgatory because doing so will maintain their “prosperity preaching” business model, they will add to their time in purgatory; assuming of course that they don’t go straight to hell when they die. Anecdotally, the idea of there being a line to the pearly gates is completely false. When a person dies, their soul either goes straight to hell or purgatory.
But this conversation is not all doom and gloom. There are a few ways that one can skip purgatory and go straight to heaven. As per his covenant with Israel, all Jews who believe in God will skip purgatory after death. If an archangel or angel decides to temporarily give up the graces of heaven after having their memory wiped and become human as a means to advance God’s plan for humanity, they will get to skip both death and purgatory at some point like Enoch and Elijah did. And last but not least, God reserves the right to send word of a person’s ability to skip purgatory by way of an angelic visitation. If you happen to receive a message during angelic visitation, make sure that the entity that you speak to acknowledges that Christ is lord. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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