Luke 13:22-25 – Few to Be Saved?
Luke 13:22 He went on his way through cities and villages, teaching, and traveling on to Jerusalem.
Luke 13:23 One said to him, “Lord, are they few who are saved?” He said to them,
Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter in by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter in, and will not be able.
Luke 13:25 When once the master of the house has risen up, and has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ then he will answer and tell you, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
Some inquired of the Lord, Will there be but few saved? Some have read into this narrative that Jesus answered that very few will be saved, that only those who enter in by the narrow door will be saved, and that all else will be eternally lost. In reality, Jesus did not give a direct answer to the question. Two reasons are suggested for this: (1) The Holy Spirit had not yet been given, and His followers could not then be prepared to understand the Plan of God thoroughly. (2) It was not due time to explain all the particulars of the salvation of the Church as the seed of Abraham, and then later the restoration of the world by means of the seed of Abraham. Jesus applied the matter to His hearers personally, saying: “Strive to enter in by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter in, and will not be able. hence once the master of the house has risen up, and has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ then he will answer and tell you, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.'”
Jesus did not in answer say that all would be saved — delivered from Adamic death — in the age to come. (John 12:47,48; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2), for it is quite possible that they (who were Jews acquainted with the Law) would have misunderstood that, and possibly thought it a license to sin. Rather, he speaks of the salvation, deliverance, pertinent to this age as figurative a “narrow door.” The “narrow door” evidently refers to Jesus himself, as the door of sheep field (John 10:7), as related to those who are to inherit the kingdom, that is, those who are to be rulers and judges in the kingdom in the age to come, as members of the seed of Abraham. (Luke 12:32; 22:29; Galatians 3:17,29) Few are finding that door (Matthew 7:13), and many seek to enter into the door who are not able due to lack of true exercise of faith. (Mark 4:2-9) This indicates that the vast majority of Christians are not truly consecrated, but have accepted Christ only nominally, not in the heart, while for various reasons are actually still attached to this world.
Jesus speaks of a time when the door is to be shut, which would indicate that no one will then be any longer able to enter into the sheep field of this age. The shutting of the door seems to signify the full end of this age, and the time when Satan is abyssed, and thus the present sheep field will no longer exist. There will be those seeking to get in in that day, although the door has been shut. Jesus continues to explain:
Luke 13:26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’
This indicates that many of those that had personally seen Jesus at his first appearing will be among those seeking to enter the door after it has been shut.
Luke 13:27 He will say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity (workers without legal authority).’ (corresponds to Matthew 7:22,23)
Luke 13:28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and yourselves being thrown outside.
Luke 13:29 They will come from the east, west, north, and south, and will sit down in the kingdom of God. — See Matthew 8:11.
In the age to come, many of those Jews who had seen Jesus will evidently think that they should be of the “kingdom” rulers, but they will find themselves outside of the royal house; they will be wondering why they, being Jews who had walked and ate with Jesus, are left out. Jesus points to those Jews who had seen him but had not fully committed to being disciples as though saying to Jesus in “that day” (Matthew 7:22) — the day of judgment: “We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets,” as though this meant that they should be inheritors of the kingdom. These, in their own estimation, should have been inheritors of the kingdom with Jesus, and this causes them great distress in the age to come, with weeping and gnashing of teeth that they were not included in the kingdom. The Gospel message first went to the Jews, but later it included Gentiles. Elsewhere Jesus expanded on this, and identifies the time will the door will be shut, saying:
Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 7:22 Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy by your name, by your name cast out demons, and by your name do many mighty works?’
Matthew 7:23 Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity [work without legal authority].’
Thus it is “in that day”, the millennial day, the day of judgment, when Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can be seen ruling, that the door is shut, and it is “in that day”, the millennial day, that many will be trying to get into the kingdom who will not able to enter therein.
Does this mean that they are barred from salvation altogether, that they are lost forever? No, for the very fact that they are there “in that day” to ask the questions Jesus spoke of shows that the ransom sacrifice of Jesus had been applied for them so that they were raised in the resurrection of the unjust to receive a new judgment based on the books that are opened at that time. — John 5:28,29; 12:47,48; Acts 24:15; Romans 5:21-22; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 20:12.
Thus seen, while there are few who are being saved (through faith) in this age, the destruction that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7:13 is the destruction that has been upon man since Adam sinned. It is not the second death for which there is no ransom provided. Those on the broad road that leads to destruction are eternally lost, but they fail to be of the seed of Abraham that is to bless all the nations. The application of the “ransom for all” is still applied to them, and they will have their opportunity to live forever in the age to come. They do not come forth in the resurrection of life, the resurrection of the just, but, due to Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, they do come forth in the resurrection of judgment, the resurrection of the unjust. — John 5:28,29; 12:47,48; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:11-13.
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