Forgotten Bible Truths Have Been Rediscovered
Throughout the centuries of Christian church history, many Biblical truths have been lost or have been completely trampled under foot. Many church teachings today foster an incorrect view of who God is and slanders His true character. Today's modern Christian church would sadden and anger Jesus' disciples if they lived today... although, the Bible does warn of an apostacy or falling away from sound doctrine before the return of Jesus and this has happened.
The Bible mentions this falling away in 2 Thessalonians 2 and makes reference to a man of sin which will come onto the scene of human history before the return of Jesus. This man of sin is given the title of "the son of perdition".
There are only two places in scripture where "the son of perdition" are mentioned... One is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2, which refers to the Antichrist and the other in John 17:12 which is Judas, a disciple of Jesus.
(2 Thessalonians 2:1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
(2 Thessalonians 2:2) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
(2 Thessalonians 2:3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
(2 Thessalonians 2:4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
In John 17:12 there is another mention of "the son of perdition" which refers to Judas the disciple of Jesus.
(John 17:12) While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Only two characters in the whole Bible are referred to as "the son of perdition"... The disciple Judas - (John 17:12), and the Antichrist - (2 Thessalonians 2:3) - both worked from within the inner circle of Christ's body of believers and betrayed Christ.
Topics in this document are meant to help shed light on restored Biblical truths that God has brought back into view for His End Time, Last Day people. Many beliefs about the character of God are wrong.
People of God, in the Last Days, will exonerate and bring to the forefront, God's true character which has been lost and damaged for centuries. Many lost Biblical truths resurfaced during the Protestant Reformation, and more truths have been rediscovered over the last few centuries.
Because some Biblical truth may hit close to home, text in this document may seem insensitive and offensive to some since we tend to protect teachings, doctrines and beliefs of tradition we hold as truth. I do not wish to offend anyone, but simply wish to show God's restored truth... and the Bible will be the plumb line for doing so.
You owe it to yourself to do your own research to determine whether what is written in the topics below, are truths or not. Do not let any man, or woman, social movement, church or organization do your thinking for you... Let God's "Road Map", the Bible, lead you into His truth.
Important! -- There will be numerous references to the Roman Catholic Church made during the course of this document. I need to make this perfectly clear that I am not speaking against the members of the Roman Catholic Church. There have been and are many Christ centered, loving Christians in the Catholic church.
It is the apostate papal system that I wish to bring into focus.
A Little History:
During the Dark Ages, Biblical truth was kept away from God's people by the Roman Catholic Papal System, otherwise known as the system of Roman Catholic Popes. The Bible was written, at that time, in Latin and was forbidden to be read by Laymen. Only Roman Catholic clergy were allowed to read the Bible and the papacy went as far as to place the Holy Bible in the "Index of Forbidden Books", in 1229A.D. During this time in church history some were able to get access to the Bible and persecution fell upon God's people who rejected papal rule. Many Christians were imprisoned and/or even killed for standing up for their personal convictions brought about from reading the Bible.
"Canon 14. We prohibit also that the laity should not be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books. "- The Church Council of Toulouse 1229 AD Source: Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, Scholar Press, London, England copyright 1980 by Edward Peters,ISBN 0-85967-621-8, pp. 194-195
The Council of Tarragona of 1234, in its second canon, ruled that:
"No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days, so that they may be burned... "- The Church Council of Tarragona 1234 AD; 2nd Cannon - Source : D. Lortsch, Historie de la Bible en France, 1910, p.14.
"Opened on Thursday alongside the Inquisition archives was the infamous Index of Forbidden Books, which Roman Catholics were forbidden to read or possess on pain of excommunication. They showed that even "the Bible" was once on the blacklist. Translations of the holy book ended up on the bonfires along with other "heretical'' works. The Index of Forbidden Books and all excommunications relating to it were officially abolished in 1966. The Inquisition itself was established by Pope Gregory IX in 1233.... " - Vatican archives reveal Bible was once banned book By Jude Webber ROME, Jan 22, 1998 (Reuters)
The explanation given by the Catholic church was that certain translations were un-approved and considered "Defective" by the church. It's interesting that the Bible's they considered defective, were the translations that were published by Wycliff and Tyndale. The Bible exposed the errors and deceptions used by the church to control their followers through fear and deception.
So why were Wycliff and Tyndale hated so much by the Catholic church of their times? It was because, Tyndale dared to translate the Bible into a language his contemporaries could understand and Wycliffe's passionate desire that everyone should be free to read the good news of eternal life through faith in Christ. At that time the Bible was written in Latin, a language that most could not read.
"It was in England that a major battle was fought and won for the right of the common people to have the Word of God in their language. One of the first who sought to make Bibles available to the average person was John Wycliffe, an Oxford theologian and 14th-century English reformer." --- Quoted From the "History of the English Bible Translation"
"Wycliffe argued that the Scriptures did little good locked away in Latin that few could understand. God's Word, he declared, is for all people: 'No man is so rude a scholar but that he might learn the words of the Gospel according to his simplicity.' Wycliffe thus determined to give the English people a translation that could be read in their native tongue. He and his associates completed the monumental task about 1382. Wycliffe's translation was based on the Latin Vulgate, as he and his colleagues knew no Hebrew or Greek. --- Quoted From the "History of the English Bible Translation"
"Wycliffe's Bible was the first complete rendering of the Scriptures into any form of modern English. His hand-copied Bibles were circulated widely and eagerly read. (This was before the days of printing.) But his Bibles brought him into conflict with Roman Catholic church officials. An inscription on a memorial table on the wall of Lutterworth church relates that Wycliffe's Bible drew on him the bitter hatred of all who were making merchandise of the popular credulity and ignorance." --- Quoted From the "History of the English Bible Translation"
"In 1522 Tyndale conceived the ambitious project of translating the New Testament directly from the Greek into English, bypassing the Latin Vulgate. To a critic of the plan, Tyndale announced: if God spare my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.' The project became his life's work." --- Quoted From the "History of the English Bible Translation"
The Roman Catholic papacy ruled over the then known world from 538A.D. until 1798A.D.. During this time of religious intolerance and persecution, the Roman papacy imposed their beliefs over the conscience and convictions of men. Even today, deciding for oneself what you will believe theologically or rejecting what is taught by the Roman Catholic Church is considered Heresy by the church.
-- Definition of Heresy:
In order to do Roman Catholics no injustice, we shall quote from unquestioned authorities among them. And, since they will persecute people for “heresy,” we must first let them define what they mean by “heresy.”
In the New Catholic Dictionary, published by the Universal Knowledge Foundation, a Roman Catholic institution, New York, 1929, we read: FAFA 62.5
“ Heresy (Gr., hairesis, choice), Deciding for oneself what one shall believe and practice. ” Art. “Heresy,” p. 440. FAFA 62.6
"The Catholic Church is a respecter of conscience and liberty... Nevertheless, when confronted by heresy... she has recourse to force, to corporal punishment, to torture... She lit in Italy... the funeral piles of the inquisition. " -- Catholic professor Alfred Baudrillart "The Catholic Church, Renaissance, and Protestantism", pp 182, 183
Because of the tremendous suppression of Biblical truth during the Dark Ages, God re-awakened His truth to a Roman Catholic bishop by the name of Martin Luther. Martin Luther discovered by reading the bible that "The Just shall live by faith". This simple phrase liberated Luther from papal rule and started what later became known as the Protestant Reformation.
(Galatians 3:11) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. [Also See: (Habakkuk 2:4), (Romans 1:17), (Hebrews 10:38)]
Please understand, most of the Biblical errors which found their way into both the Catholic and Protestant churches today, originated in the Roman Catholic Mother church.
Sunday V.S. Sabbath Observance, What Happened???
The reason churches today worship on Sunday is because in 321A.D. Constantine the Great established the observance of Sunday as a legal duty, enacting that all courts of justice, inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to be at rest on Sunday, "vernerable day of the sun", (venerabili die solis), with an exception in favor of those engaged in agricultural labor. ("Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., art. "Sunday").
The Catholic papacy adopted this day of Sunday observance as well in order to distance themselves from the Jewish religion and to bring pagan worshipers into the Christian church. They did this to accommodate pagan religious practices, the culture of that time. In other words, Sunday was the day which pagans practiced as their religious day of worship. They worshiped the Sun.
So when did Sabbath observance come back into the picture for Christian believers?
Sabbath keeping has been practiced starting after the last day of Creation, when God hallowed the Seventh day, on through the Jewish religion and into the Christian era. Even during the time of Roman Catholic papal rule, Sabbath keeping was practiced by those who rejected Roman Catholic dogma. One group that held fast to Sabbath keeping was the Waldenses. This was a group of Christians that regarded Catholic practices as apostate teachings and fought to keep Bible truths alive during times of persecution and intolerance from the Catholic Church.
As was written in the great book called "The Great Controversy", the following statements couldn't be said better...
"But of those who resisted the encroachments of the papal power, the Waldenses stood foremost. In the very land where popery had fixed its seat, there its falsehood and corruption were most steadfastly resisted. For centuries the churches of Piedmont maintained their independence; but the time came at last when Rome insisted upon their submission. After ineffectual struggles against her tyranny, the leaders of these churches reluctantly acknowledged the supremacy of the power to which the whole world seemed to pay homage. There were some, however, who refused to yield to the authority of pope or prelate. They were determined to maintain their allegiance to God and to preserve the purity and simplicity of their faith. A separation took place. Those who adhered to the ancient faith now withdrew; some, forsaking their native Alps, raised the banner of truth in foreign lands; others retreated to the secluded glens and rocky fastnesses of the mountains, and there preserved their freedom to worship God." (The Great Controversy)
"The faith which for centuries was held and taught by the Waldensian Christians was in marked contrast to the false doctrines put forth from Rome. Their religious belief was founded upon the written word of God, the true system of Christianity. But those humble peasants, in their obscure retreats, shut away from the world, and bound to daily toil among their flocks and their vineyards, had not by themselves arrived at the truth in opposition to the dogmas and heresies of the apostate church. Theirs was not a faith newly received. Their religious belief was their inheritance from their fathers. They contended for the faith of the apostolic church,--"the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 3. "The church in the wilderness," and not the proud hierarchy enthroned in the world's great capital, was the true church of Christ, the guardian of the treasures of truth which God has committed to His people to be given to the world." (The Great Controversy)
"The work of Sabbath reform to be accomplished in the last days is foretold in the prophecy of Isaiah: "Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil." "The sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, everyone that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer." Isaiah 56:1, 2, 6, 7. " (The Great Controversy)
Sabbath keeping had started afresh in the hearts of Christians who wished to follow what God said and not what Man taught. In current times, there are still many non-Jewish religions and churches that observe the Sabbath today.
In the Last Days, God will bring back truths that have been lost or trampled under foot by the Roman Catholic papacy, and the Sabbath is one of the most important Last Day truths that followers of Christ must understand. This is because, the day that you choose to worship on will become a litmus test at the End of time for whom you give authority to over religious matters.
I will also give you a sneak preview at what the Roman Catholic church states. They assert that Sunday observance is "Their Mark of Authority over religious matters".. This is an important statement which one needs to understand in the Last Days, since the ramifications are huge to followers of Christ.
1) the act of transubstantiating; change of one substance into another
2) R.C.Ch., Eastern Orthodox Ch. a) the doctrine that, in the Eucharist, the whole substances of the bread and of the wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ, only the accidents of bread and wine remaining
Directly from papal Teachings
"...the power of the priest is the power of the divine person; for the transubstantiation of the bread requires as much power as the creation of the world. ...thus the priest may be called the creator of the Creator..."
- St. Alphonsus De Liguori, in The Dignity of the Priesthood, p 33.
The papal practice of the Eucharist Communion and claim of Transubstantiation, started around the year of 1215A.D..
The original ceremony of Communion started prior to Jesus' death on the cross when Jesus and His disciples met in the Upper Room and had Communion together. Unlike Baptism, which is a one time event, Communion is meant to be observed throughout the life of a Christian. It is a time when we corporately come together as one body of Christ to remember and celebrate what Christ did for us on the Cross of Calvary. We are told in 1 Corinthians 11:24...
(1 Corinthians 11:24) And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
(1 Corinthians 11:25) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
(1 Corinthians 11:26) For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
(1 Corinthians 11:27) Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
(1 Corinthians 11:28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
(1 Corinthians 11:29) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
When we observe Communion, we are proclaiming our faith in His Substitutionary death on the cross for our sins, and show our participation in the body of Christ as we wait for His soon return. (1 Corinthians 11:26). When we observe Communion, we are taking time to examine ourselves, (1 Corinthians 11:28), and we are proclaiming a statement of faith in Christ.
Baptism by emersion has been practiced in the Christian church since the days of Jesus, but in 1311 A.D. a council of bishops from the Roman Catholic church, met at Ravenna in Italy and voted that either sprinkling or immersion was acceptable for everybody in the church. The practice of sprinkling then took over universally (except in the Greek Catholic Church), and has spread into some Protestant denominations in the ritual of infant baptism. This practice was accepted for many years...(George A. Klingman, Church History for Busy People)
But... during the 1600's a Baptist minister named John Smyth reestablished the practice of Baptism by immersion again, which he believed was shown in Holy Scriptures and was modeled by Jesus when He was baptized by John the Baptist. Most Protestant churches today have embraced total immersion as a Baptismal practice and consider sprinkling a practice of the Roman Catholic church.
Infant baptism and sprinkling is still practiced in some Protestant churches today, which is a carryover from the Roman Catholic church.
What is the Symbolism of Full Immersion Baptism?
Our Christian life begins with a changed heart in the life of the new believer. This is referred to as "passing from death into life". This new life begins when a new Christian turns away from sin and stops practicing sin in one's life. Baptism is the next step in a new believers life and the process of full immersion under water reflects that we are dying to our self and the sins of our old life. By coming out of the water, this reflects that we are resurrecting into the promise of a new life through Christ. (See Romans 6:3-7)
(Romans 6:3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
(Romans 6:4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
(Romans 6:5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
(Romans 6:6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
(Romans 6:7) For he that is dead is freed from sin.
In addition, our assurance of salvation rests solely upon our faith in the Substitutionary death of our Savior Jesus Christ, which through His death, burial, and resurrection we are justified and will be given Eternal life when we resurrect at the Second Coming of Jesus. (Romans 4:24, 25).
(Romans 4:22) And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
(Romans 4:23) Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
(Romans 4:24) But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
(Romans 4:25) Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
(Romans 5:1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
(1 Corinthians 15:51) Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
(1 Corinthians 15:52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
(1 Corinthians 15:53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
(1 Corinthians 15:54) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Baptism by immersion best portrays God's act of salvation through Jesus Christ. Every Christian that is baptized tells all who witness their baptism, "I am placing my faith in my Savior Jesus Christ, who went down into death for me and as I go down into this water, I too, by example accept Christ's gift of salvation and will die to myself and to sin, and I will rise again after physical death when Jesus returns at the Second Comings."
On a another note, Baptism also declares the rejection of Satan's government of selfishness, which runs rampant in today's world, and signifies the acceptance of God's government of love for others.
In 1215A.D., Auricular confession of sins to a Priest, instead of God, was instituted by Pope Innocent III in the Lateran Council. The Roman Catholic Priest took on the responsibility of Jesus and usurped Jesus' authority in the body of Christ.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that her priests (no matter how wicked or sinful they may be personally) exercise the power of forgiving sins by hearing confession of sins and granting pardon for them as ministers of God and in His name. Each Catholic is expected to account to a priest every impure thought or deed, to accuse himself before a priest of EVERY SIN to the best of their memory. Unless Catholics confess their sins to a Priest, they will end up in Hell forever... Although it is possible to gain forgiveness even of mortal sins if out of love of God above all else, you feel perfect contrition (CCC, 1452).
According to the Catholic faith, perfect contrition is quite rare and you must still intend to go to sacramental confession.
(Perfect Contrition - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Perfect contrition (from Latin contero – grind, crush, pound to pieces) in Catholic theology is a repentance for sins which is motivated by the love of God. It contrasts with imperfect contrition, or attrition; a repentance arising from a less pure motive, such as common decency, or fear of Hell.
Perfect contrition sounds like a contrite heart and God always looks upon the heart of Man to see the motivation behind what we do and how we act. A priest is really not needed if one is truly sorry for their sins.
(Psalms 34:17) The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
(Psalms 34:18) The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
(Psalms 34:19) Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
(Psalms 51:16) For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
(Psalms 51:17) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
(Isaiah 57:15) For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
(Isaiah 66:1) Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
(Isaiah 66:2) For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
The following are errors and falsehoods that are believed by the Catholic church and are NOT found anywhere in the Bible... As you can see in the verses above, God is looking for a contrite heart that is truly sorry for sin. He is not working through Man, but through Jesus.
The following Taken From Roman Catholic Documents
"The priest does really and truly forgive sins in virtue of the power given to him by Christ".Joseph Devarbe's Catechism, p. 279
"Sins can be forgiven only through the Sacraments when duly administered: hence, it follows that both priests and Sacraments are the instruments which Christ makes use of to accomplish in us the pardon of sin and the grace of justification." Catechism of Trent, p 115 (quoted in Apostolic Digest, by Michael Malone, Book 5,"The Book of Obedience")
"And God himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of his priest and either not to pardon or to pardon, according as they refuse to give absolution, provided the penitent is capable of it." St. Alphonsus De Liguori, in The Dignity of the Priesthood, p. 27
"Were the redeemer to descend into a church, and sit in a confessional to administer the sacrament of penance, and a priest to set in a confessional, Jesus would say over each penitent: 'Ego te absolvo,' the priest would likewise say over his penitents, 'Ego te absolvo,' and the penitents of each would be equally absolved." St. Alphonsus De Liguori, in The Dignity of the Priesthood, p. 34
"Through priests, God communicates His grace to the faithful in the Sacraments. In a word, without priests, we cannot be saved!" St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori, (quoted in Apostolic Digest by Michael Malone, Book 5: "The Book of Obedience", Chapter 3: "The Sacraments Administered by the Priests Are Necessary for the Salvation of All Mankind").
During and after the Protestant Reformation, truth was re-embraced, and personal prayer for forgiveness of sins was offered to Christ and Christ alone. Repentance had been rekindled in the hearts of God's people. There is no other way for sins to be forgiven accept through confession to Jesus alone. Confessing your sins to anyone other than Jesus, is a falsehood, an error, and is not supported by Bible Scripture.
(Philippians 2:9) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
(Philippians 2:10) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
(Philippians 2:11) And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Acts 4:10) Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
(Acts 4:11)) This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
(Acts 4:12) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
(John 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
(Revelation 5:12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
(Revelation 5:13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
Other Scriptures of Interest...
(1 Timothy 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
(Matthew 23:9) And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
(Hebrews 7:25) Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
(Hebrews 8:1) Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;.
(Isaiah 42:8) I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
(Matthew 6:7) But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
(Matthew 15:3) But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
In 593A.D., Gregory I introduced the doctrine of Purgatory into the the Catholic church. By 1439A.D., Purgatory was proclaimed as a Dogma and was made official in the church.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Purgatory (Lat., "purgare", to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.
If you will notice the last part of the definition of Purgatory above... It states... "... for those who... have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.", this is simply a bypass of Jesus' finished work on the Cross and puts in place Works as your method of payment for your sins.
Now the Catholic church does teach that salvation involves a gradual process of sanctification over time which isn't too different from what Protestants believe. Protestants believe that the believer is saved through the finished work of Christ on the cross. Sanctification is the process by which God changes the heart of a believer and re-creates their heart and character in the the character of Jesus. God's desire is that we reflect the character of Jesus to the world. The process of sanctification is a life long process and is something that God does for the believer over time.
Catholic doctrine teaches that believers can lose their salvation and become isolated from God, but they can regain it through church sacraments. The Catholic church goes on to say, that few people can be accepted directly into Heaven at death. Those who are in a state of mortal sin at the time of their death are sent to Hell. Purgatory cleanses the remainder from the temporal consequences of the sins that they have collected during their lifetime on earth. The Catholic church teaches that eventually, the latter will be eligible to be transferred to Heaven.
What are Church Sacraments?
Webster's New World Dictionary:
...any of certain rites instituted by Jesus and believed to be means of grace: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, holy orders, matrimony, and Anointing of the Sick are the seven recognized by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches; Protestants generally recognize only baptism and the Lord's Supper (the Eucharist)
The Catholic Church teaches that the effect of a sacrament comes, ex opere operato, by the very fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it. However, a recipient's own lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can block the effectiveness of the sacrament in that person. The sacraments presuppose faith and through their words and ritual elements, nourish, strengthen and give expression to faith.
What are Mortal Sins?
Mortal sins are sins that destroy the grace of God in the heart of the sinner. By their very nature, a mortal sin cuts our relationship off from God and turns man away from his creator. St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews tell us that "if we sin willfully after having the knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins" (Hebrews 10:26).
Mortal sin is a refusal of God's offer of live and love. It's that simple. No matter how much you want to love God, no matter how strong you feel your budding faith life is...
... a single act of mortal sin is a bold declaration that you do not accept God's love. Click Here for Catholic Church Definition: Mortal Sin
Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.... Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. (Catechism, 1855 & 1861)
In the inset above the Catholic church makes reference to Hebrews 10:26, but their reference needs clarification to understand what is being said in this passage. What is meant here is that if one turns away from the only provision for the forgiveness of sins, Jesus, and willfully sins, he is rejecting Jesus. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are given the Holy Spirit and God writes His Law on our hearts so we will not want to sin against Him anymore. But after accepting Jesus, we will still wrestle with sin in our lives, make mistakes and sin.
We all have sins we struggle with, some like to call them 'treasured sins' that we will hold on to because we have a hard time letting them go, but with the help of Jesus, He can liberate us from those sins. We live in a fallen, sinful world and will not be totally liberated from sin until the New Earth and the New Jerusalem is created after the Second Coming of Jesus.
The picture drawn in Hebrews 10:26 shows that there is no other provision for sin other than Jesus. When one willfully turns from Jesus and sins, there is no forgiveness for those sins. In other words, there is no other way one can be saved and forgiven other than Jesus.
Those who do not engage in true worship and surrender to Christ, and who do not continue to persevere (Hebrews10:19-25), will ultimately fall away and be lost. Once saved, always saved, is a belief that scripture does not support. There is no other name under Heaven by which we can be saved, but Jesus. If you walk away from Him, how will you attain salvation and forgiveness of sin?
I suggest you read all of Hebrews chapter 10 to get the full meaning of what Paul is saying in this chapter and not just read one verse to build a premise.
(Hebrews 10:26) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
(Hebrews 10:27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
(John 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Scripture goes on to say that we are in a sanctification process and if we sin, we still have an advocate with the Father, which is Jesus. We just need to come back and ask for true forgiveness and trust in Jesus to save us from our sins. But if we decide to reject Jesus and continue sinning, there is no provision for those actions since we are rejecting the only provision for sin that God has supplied, Jesus.
(1John 1:8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
(1John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1John 1:10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
At the heart of the doctrine Purgatory is the idea of "Works", where you pay for your sins in Purgatory. The scripture makes it clear that we can do nothing to help in our salvation... See Ephesians 2:8,9.
(Ephesians 2:8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
(Ephesians 2:9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
The Catholic church still teaches the doctrine of Purgatory, and teaches the doctrinal error of Eternal Damnation in Hell Fire where the Wicked will be tortured in the Lake of Fire for the ceaseless ages of Eternity. The concept that God will torture his creation through out Eternity in the Lake of Fire is a pagan belief and teaching that the Catholic church embraced to control their parishioners. Unfortunately, after the Protestant Reformation, the Protestant church brought along this errant doctrine and still teaches this today.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Penance is a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ in which forgiveness of sins committed after baptism is granted through the priest's absolution to those who with true sorrow confess their sins and promise to satisfy for the same.
It is called a "sacrament" not simply a function or ceremony, because it is an outward sign instituted by Christ to impart grace to the soul. As an outward sign it comprises the actions of the penitent in presenting himself to the priest and accusing himself of his sins, and the actions of the priest in pronouncing absolution and imposing satisfaction.
This whole procedure is usually called, from one of its parts, "confession", and it is said to take place in the "tribunal of penance ", because it is a judicial process in which the penitent is at once the accuser, the person accused, and the witness, while the priest pronounces judgment and sentence. The grace conferred is deliverance from the guilt of sin and, in the case of mortal sin, from its eternal punishment; hence also reconciliation with God, justification.
Finally, the confession is made not in the secrecy of the penitent's heart nor to a layman as friend and advocate, nor to a representative of human authority, but to a duly ordained priest with requisite jurisdiction and with the "power of the keys", i.e., the power to forgive sins which Christ granted to His Church.
Webster's New World Dictionary:
Penance - Noun
(1a) a sacrament involving the confession of sin, repentance, and acceptance of the satisfaction imposed, followed by absolution by a priest -- (1b) the satisfaction imposed, as the recital of certain prayers
(2) any act of reparation, self-punishment, etc. done in repentance for a sin or wrongdoing
As you can see, this is just another form of "Works" where Jesus is once again side stepped in favor of the priest or your self induced punishment where you work, and are responsible for your own salvation.
The beginnings of practicing the sacrament of penance in the form of individual confession as we know it now, i.e. bringing confession of sins and reconciliation together, can be traced back to the 11th century. In 1215A.D. the Fourth Council of the Lateran made it canon law that every Catholic Christian goes to confession in his parish at least once a year.
Although the issue of the institution of this sacrament by Jesus himself (believed by the Catholic church only) had been debated since the Council of Trent, in 1907A.D., in Lamentabili Sane Exitu (items 46 and 47) Pope Pius X specifically reaffirmed the relevance of Gospel of John 20:22-23 to this sacrament, overriding any previous assertions. In Lamentabili Sane Exitu he quoted John 20:22-23: "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." (Source: Wikipedia)
Now, I have to ask you... If a church does not follow Holy Scripture, how can they be representative of God and administer priestly duties? We cannot call ourselves a true Christian and followers of Jesus, if we are not obeying His commandments. Wearing the name of a Christian title, does not make for a Christian. That would be like calling myself a doctor of medicine and getting my education from a bicycle Users Manual. This would not make me a doctor now would it?
We need to follow and obey the laws of God if we are going to be one of Jesus' followers. We must come to Jesus for forgiveness and no one else. After all, why would Jesus say the following in His Holy Scripture.
(1 John 1:6) If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
In 1 John 1:6, this verse is saying that if we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice truth. In other words, if we are not following what God has outlined in His Holy word, then we are not walking in light, but rather we are walking in darkness.
(1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
In 1 John 1:9 the Bible is saying that if we confess our sins to "Jesus", then God is "Faithful and Just" to forgive us our sins. It's our confession to Jesus that God accepts, not our confession to a sinful man. The confessing of our sins to anyone other than Jesus, is a deception which God will not accept.
If we must work penance for our sins we are rejecting Christ's finished work on the cross when Jesus died for your sins and mine.
(Ephesians 2:8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
(Ephesians 2:9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
As you can see, salvation is by faith in Jesus and not by works< . This is what Holy Scripture teaches. It is all about Jesus and NOT about us. We do not work out our salvation through Penance. This is an offense to God. God sent His son to Earth to save Mankind (John 3:16). Any other approach to salvation neglects and rejects God's only provision.
Webster's New World Dictionary Definition
Indulgence - Noun
The act of indulging oneself, or giving way to one's own desires -- A favor or privilege
The granting of certain religious liberties to Dissenters and Roman Catholics by Charles II and James II --The Roman Catholic Church: partial or complete remission, under conditions specified by the Church, of divine temporal punishment that may otherwise still be due for sin committed but forgiven
The Roman Catholic Church claims the power to excuse or release persons from all or part of the suffering coming to them in Purgatory. This is done for good acts performed or prayers said. As you can see, this again is another form of "works" and is associated with a doctrine that is not found in the Bible, i.e. Purgatory.
In the Middle or Dark Ages, indulgences were granted in exchange for donations given to the church. Thus the scandal of selling indulgences, was the catalyst for bringing about the Protestant Reformation by Martin Luther.
While the practice of the selling of indulgences has been condemned, the Roman Catholic Church still grants indulgences for deeds and prayers. If a devout person gains more indulgences than they need to wipe out their own time in Purgatory, they may assign the excess indulgences to persons (usually deceased) of their choosing.
Certain prayers take three years off one’s sentence in Purgatory. Other actions, usually performed over a period of days, carry a "plenary indulgence." That is, they release a soul from all their Purgatorial sentence, no matter how long. Some Roman Catholics make a practice of collecting as many plenary indulgences as they can. They assign them first to their deceased relatives, and then to the souls in Purgatory with the longest sentences.
Such practices are incomprehensible to Christians outside the Roman Catholic Church (and to many within it as well). In fact, it was indulgences by the Catholic church that became the catalyst that inflamed Martin Luther in 1517, to publish his Ninety-Five Theses against the Roman papacy on the doors of the Catholic church. This simple act by Luther launched the Protestant Reformation.
Contrast indulgences with Tithing. The act of Tithing is an act of giving back to God what He has blessed us with during our life. Tithing shows God that we acknowledge His provision in our lives and shows we support His church. Tithing has never been used to place oneself in a beneficial position with God like penance is used in the Catholic Church.
Webster's Definition: Tithe -- noun
one tenth of the annual produce of one's land or of one's annual income, paid as a tax or contribution to support a church or its clergy
Some believe that Tithing gained momentum in the Christian church around 1700A.D. There is debate whether Tithing should be stopped since it was done during the Old Testament period.Some excerpts in this topic were taken from Amazing Bible Facts - "The truth about the Sabbath"
On a Final Note
If you do not know or have drifted away from God, please consider what I've written here. Satan mocks those who reject Jesus, knowing they will suffer the Second Death.
Remember, Belief Cannot Change Reality and the reality is that God exists and wants nothing more than to have a relationship with you through His Son Jesus. Please hearken to His call on your life.
If you do not have a relationship with Jesus, please consider turning your heart and life over to Christ...