Bible “Ante-Types”: The Desert Wanderings of Exodus as a “type” of Purgatory

Sometimes, God’s elect have bad habits,
and are otherwise “not yet ready for prime time (“Heaven”)

The Old Testament of the Bible is replete with persons, places, and events which serve to prefigure things that would become realities in New Testament times. These are typically known as biblical “ante-types”.

“Bible only” Christians generally fail to appreciate the fact that the God who saves, nonetheless does not always instantaneously conduct his people into the “Promised Land” … which is a metaphor for Heaven. Sometimes, an intermediate course of purification and sanctification … often including a modicum of suffering … is required.

In the case of God’s Chosen People, the Israelites of the Exodus, that “intermediate course” took the form of  a 40-year long desert trek.

Only then would the Israelites be ready to enter the Promised Land.  And even after all that, only two of the original group, estimated to originally number some 2,000,000 souls, made it in alive!

All the rest were required not only to wander, and to experience a life of considerable suffering, but also to die.

Catholics have always understood, that even in these New Testament times of grace, only perfectly holy souls are permitted to enter Heaven, and that many of the faithful departed, while not “bad” enough to warrant Hell, certainly don’t meet God’s high standards for admittance to Heaven.

For those souls, an “intermediate stay” in Purgatory is required. Once their prescribed course of purification and sanctification, along with a modicum of suffering, has been completed, Heaven is always, absolutely guaranteed.

You can find an extensive list of scripture passages dealing with Purgatory here.

This is a clear case of God treating all of his people pretty much equally … but in different ways … at different times.

No real mystery here … the Bible says it’s so … and it’s only fair!

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