This is how early Christians decided what to believe

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, as the Bible does that after death comes judgement. When the physical body dies, the soul (which is immortal) is separated from the body and comes before the Lord for what is known as “Particular Judgement” i.e. the judgement of the individual soul. Shortly after, the soul begins to receive its reward either in hell or in heaven (could pass through purgatory first). There are indeed two and only two eternal destinations: Heaven and Hell. Purgatory is a temporary place where souls, who still have not fully atoned for their sins, pass through. Let it be known that the Church teaches that the souls admitted in purgatory are those who on earth have already been forgiven, not unrepentant souls.

Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven” through a purification or immediately” or immediate and everlasting damnation. (CCC 1022)

The General/Final Judgement:

This is when the Lord shall separate the “sheep from the goats”. All those in heaven and hell will be reunited with their bodies and shall appear before the Lord who shall come to the world the second time, this time to bring a final end to evil and perfect all of creation.

The resurrection of all the dead, “of both the just and the unjust,”623 will precede the Last Judgment. This will be “the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man’s] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”624 Then Christ will come “in his glory, and all the angels with him. . . . Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. . . . And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” CCC 1038

In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life . . .

The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God’s love is stronger than death. (CCC 1039-1040)



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