Is The Catholic Belief in Purgatory Biblical?

purgatoryIn Hebrews 4, it says Jesus, our High Priest, passed through the heavens. Does this mean Jesus spent time in purgatory before He entered Heaven?

Hebrews 4:14 (NKJV)

Our Compassionate High Priest

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

In Hebrews 4:14, the writer says that Jesus is a high priest Who passed through the heavens. The Greek word for Heavens is ouranos, which can mean the air, the universe or Heaven. Given the context of Hebrews 4, the author is using the word to mean the earthly atmosphere and the universe.

The writer is saying that our High Priest passed through the heavens as he departed this world and entered directly into the throne room of God. Notice in verse 14 the writer says that Jesus passed “through” the heavens. Passing through means He didn’t stop along the way, This confirms that the heavens were not Jesus’ final destination or even a temporary stopping place. The writer was emphasizing that our High Priest crossed over from the world of men to the world of God to represent us in that place.

More importantly, there is no such place as “purgatory.” This teaching is a false concept invented by men and in conflict with the Bible and with the true Gospel. The Catholic church invented the concept to accommodate their theology of faith plus works.

The Catholic heresy of purgatory supposes that we gain entry to Heaven by a combination of faith in Christ plus our righteous works. The heresy teaches that if at death a person has failed to obtain sufficient personal righteousness through good works, then they cannot enter Heaven. Instead, the person must be “purged” of remaining unrighteousness prior to entering Heaven. The place of their purging is called Purgatory.

This concept is an invention of men and not one found in the Bible. In fact, it is completely contrary to the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that men are saved by faith alone and not by our works:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

No works are required for salvation because our works cannot produce personal righteousness or holiness:

Romans 3:20,28 (NKJV)

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Furthermore, men can claim no righteousness of our own, according to Scripture. Our righteousness is given to us by Christ:

Romans 4:1-5 (NKJV)

Abraham Justified by Faith

What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

David Celebrates the Same Truth

But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

Our faith is credited to us as Christ’s righteousness, so we have no need for righteousness of our own:

Romans 10:10 (NKJV)

10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.

Therefore, there is no such place as purgatory, for all who believe in Christ are made righteous and enter Heaven upon their death, while those who do not believe remain in their sin and perish eternally.




“The author’s biblical interpretations and conclusions presented in this document rely on original teaching used by permission of Verse By Verse Ministry International (VBVMI). The author’s views may not represent the views of VBVMI, it’s Directors or staff. Original VBVMI teaching may be found at”


Join our mailing list

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.