I. Biblical English = II. Old Testament Hebrew = III. New Testament Greek
I. Purgatory = II. Sheol = III. Hades
I. Christianity = II. Judaism = III. Paganism
The fact of the matter is that many scholars have produced a growing body of evidence proving that the Hebrew word Sheol, which is mentioned over 55 times in the Old Testament, and the Latin word Purgatory MEAN the SAME THING. Therefore, the Bible does not mention Purgatory by name simply because it was originally written in Hebrew (Sheol) and Greek (Hades) and not Latin (Purgatorio). Due to the differing Biblical languages in question, Purgatory is referred to in Scriptures as either Sheol or Hades. Listed below are two different on-line authorities who have both come to the exact same conclusion about the actual meaning of the words Sheol in Hebrew, Hades in Greek, Purgatorio in Latin, and Purgatory in English:
SOURCE #1 - “Sheol” is the Hebrew name for what could be Hades, Hell, Purgatory, or a well of souls-a holding tank.
(Book Review: Sheol Has Opened, ForewordReviews.com)
SOURCE #2 - I'm going to suggest that what the Latin word, "Purgatorio" signifies, that is the place where we are purged of disordered self-love, the Hebrew word, "Sheol" can also signify or denote. Just like the Greek word "Hades" can denote it. Three words, perhaps with the same reality, with proper distinctions made.
(Purgatory: Holy Fire, by SCOTT HAHN, CatholicEducation.org)
Tragically, more than few Biblical scholars mistakenly insist the two words in question, namely Hades and/or Sheol must always translate into the English word Hell. This woefully misleading replacement of the words Hades and Sheol with the English term Hell began with the 1611 King James Version of the Bible Unfortunately, the Protestant Biblical Scholars have boldly continued in their deceptive usage of the English designation Hell when replacing the original Greek/Hebrew term called Hades/Sheol. Knowing full well the word Hades/Sheol actually refers to something very, very different from Hell, they silently carry on with their deliberate mistranslation of nearly every Protestant Bible still being published today. In the vain hope of denying Purgatory for the next 1,000 years, certain Protestant authorities have conspired to leave most readers of Protestant Scriptures in the dark about the issue. Sadly, the vast majority of God-fearing Protestants will never be made aware of the real meaning behind the words Hades and Hades. Their naive certainties about the evils of Catholicism destine most of them to an ill-informed Protestant Christian faith which has been founded, not upon zealous scholarship or pious reasoning, but upon generations of bigoted ignorance concerning the many Biblical truths of Purgatory. The word Purgatory is derived from the Latin Purgatorio, ("cleansing," "purifying") in Hebrew it's Sheol.
- Purgatory - Biblical and Patristic Insight, CatholicApologetics.info
First of all, Hell was considered a place of eternal damnation, while Sheol and Hades were mostly viewed as somewhat miserable, but temporary spiritual realms of suffering. Hell, and its never-ending duration, could not possibly be the correct translation of either Hades or Sheol, which were temporary abodes of the dead. Indeed, the New Testament shows that Jesus never uses these two terms to describe Hell. Instead He refers to Hell, the land of eternal damnation, as Gehenna every single time. Christ does mention the Sheol, or at least its upper regions, using a particular set of words called the Bosom of Abraham (Paradise). This spiritual haven for the righteous was deemed to be eternal so it most definitely was not Heaven, but certainly was not Hell (Gehenna in Hebrew). This specifically Hebrew land of the deceased could be compared to some of the highest levels of Purgatory where there is far less suffering than way below. Indeed, these peaceful, yet shadowy, regions of the dead are, according to legend, presumed to be located fairly close to the Divine light of Heaven.
Some Scriptural scholars claim Sheol or the Netherworld was the Jewish name for Purgatory...The evidence is...significant that Sheol signifies Purgatory. At the very least, ancient Israelites believed in a place or state where you would go when you die that was temporary, and neither heaven nor hell.
- Chapter 23: Purgatory, CatholicApologetics.com
Given the actual definition of the word, any New Testament mention of the Greek term Hades should simply be seen as yet another Biblical reference to Purgatory. As with Christian Purgatory, Hades traditionally referred to a temporary Greco-Roman land of the Gentile dead, which inevitably led to Pagan Heaven (Elysium). After Christianity finally adopted Latin as the official language of the Holy Bible and the Church, the original Biblical names such as Hades and Sheol eventually became known as Purgatory- defined as a temporary spiritual abode for most Christians which preceded entry into Heaven. Thus the formula: Sheol = Hades = Purgatory is both historically and metaphorically correct. Over time, however, the Jews stopped referring to their version of Purgatory as Sheol, calling it Gehenna instead. The Sheol, basically remained the same centrally-located place stretching from the uppers levels which bordered Heaven, to the pit of Hell at the very bottom. The Sheol was now seen as having two distinct regions- an upper one meant only for the righteous called Paradise (Bosom of Abraham), along with a much lower region called Gehenna. This particular region which consisted of the lowest depths within the entire Sheol was where the wicked spirits and sinful souls of the condemned were punished, perfected and purified. Thus, the Biblical words which define this unique three-tiered system of the after-life in English, Greek, and Hebrew reads as follows:TEXT: Salvation + Redemption + Damnation = Language and Religion
HOLY BIBLE: Heaven + Purgatory + Hell = English Christianity
NEW TESTAMENT: Elysium + Hades + Tartarus = Greek Paganism
OLD TESTAMENT: Gan Eden + Sheol/Gehenna + Gehenna = Hebrew Judaism
SOURCE DOCUMENT: Purgatory + Hades + Sheol/Gehenna = English + Greek + Hebrew
Deniers of Purgatory should always remember that both the Jews, and the Greco-Roman Gentiles who ruled them, basically agreed that the spiritual world consisted of a three-layer system of the after-life, with the vast majority of souls finding themselves in what is now called Purgatory (Hades/Sheol). The reason behind this similarity in religious thought, was due to their shared sense of logic and reason- the simple common sense underlying these two doctrines. Both Jew and Gentile recognized that, rather than being total Sinners or perfect Saints, most people were a combination of both good and evil which required some, but not never-ending punishment, after death. Indeed, Jews still believe in a version of Purgatory even today and will sometimes call it by that name rather than by the Hebrew expression Sheol/Gehenna. Even so, the English term Purgatory, derived from the Latin Purgatorio, remains a mostly Catholic phrase which basicallly means the same thing.
Those who still hysterically refuse to accept the existence of Purgatory, and insist that Jesus Christ would most definitely have referred to such a place by name, should read their Gospels again, as well as their Old Testament. When studied carefully enough, and if read with an open mind, the four Gospels really do contain literally dozens of references to Purgatory. One just needs to look.
May the LORD God bless you in the name of St. Judas Maccabaeus.