This teaching is also based upon the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin. From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:
The book of Maccabeus was not a part of the Cannon of Scripture. One of the things that authenticated acceptable books of the Bible was their mention in the New Testament. All of the books of the Old Testament of the Textus Receptus where referenced to by the Lord Jesus, or the Apostles. This validated their authority. The book of the Maccabeus was never mention, and was not used by early church fathers.
The sons of Job referenced in Job 1:5 above, were not even dead at this time. While Job beheld the harmony and comforts of his sons with satisfaction, his knowledge of the human heart made him fearful for them. He sent and sanctified them, reminding them to examine themselves, to confess their sins, to seek forgiveness; and as one who hoped for acceptance with God through the promised Saviour, he offered a burnt-offering for each. We perceive his care for their souls, his knowledge of the sinful state of man, his entire dependence on God's mercy in the way he had appointed. (Matthew Henrys Concise Commentary)
Those that die without trusting Christ as their Savior are dead in their sins, without hope, condemned to eternal Hell. Those without Christ do not have to wait until they die to be condemned because they are already condemned. You can do nothing for the dead. See comments about catechism #956, & #958.
Those that sleep, or die in Christ, have hope. All else has no hope!
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Copyright © 1996 Robert T. Weaver