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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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Is Purgatory Mentioned in the Bible?

The Bible’s answer

No, it is not. The Bible does not contain the word “purgatory,” nor does it teach that the souls of those who have died are purified in purgatory. * Consider what the Bible teaches about sin and death and how it contradicts the doctrine of purgatory.

  • Faith in the blood of Jesus, not time in a so-called purgatory, purifies a person from sin. The Bible says that “the blood of [God’s] Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin” and that “Jesus Christ . . . freed us from our sins by his blood.” (1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5, New American Bible) Jesus gave “his life as a ransom for many” to pay for their sins.Matthew 20:28, NAB.

  • People who have died are unconscious. “The living know that they are to die, but the dead no longer know anything.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, NAB) A person who has died cannot feel anything and therefore cannot be cleansed by any fire of purgatory.

  • There is no punishment for sins after a person dies. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death” and that “a dead person has been absolved from sin.” (Romans 6:7, 23, NAB) Death is the full and complete punishment for sin.

^ par. 3 Regarding purgatory, the book Orpheus: A General History of Religions says that “there is not a word about it in the Gospels.” Likewise, the New Catholic Encyclopedia states: “In the final analysis, the Catholic doctrine on purgatory is based on tradition, not Sacred Scripture.”—Second Edition, Volume 11, page 825.

^ par. 8 See the New Catholic Encyclopedia, Second Edition, Volume 11, page 824.