NOTE: The following sermon is helpful in seeing what the "narrow gate" and "wide gate" is all about. 

 

 

CLICK HERE: https://www.tsdowntown.com/sermon-database/message/hell-and-how-to-stay-there/watch

 

 

Matthew 7:13,14

 

ESV    

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

 

YLT (Young’s Literal Translation)

Go ye in through the strait gate, because wide is the gate, and broad the way that is leading to the destruction, and many are those going in through it; how strait is the gate, and compressed the way that is leading to the life, and few are those finding it!

 

CLT (Concordant Literal Translation)

Enter through the cramped gate, for browd is the gate and spacious is the way which is leading away into destruction, and many ae those entering through it. Yet what a cramped gate and narrowed way is the one leading away into life, and few are those who are finding it.

 

Greek

into-come-ye thru the cramped gate that broad the gate and well-gush-spaced the way the one-from-leading into the destruction and many are the ones-into-coming thru her any yet cramped the gate and having-been-constructed the way the one-from-leading into the life and few are the ones-finding her ye-be-heeding

 

Strong’s

EnterG1525 ye inG1223 at theG3588 straitG4728 gate:G4439 forG3754 wideG4116 is theG3588 gate,G4439 andG2532 broadG2149 is theG3588 way,G3598 that leadethG520 toG1519 destruction,G684 andG2532 manyG4183 there beG1526 which go inG1525 thereat:G1223 G846

Mat 7:14 BecauseG3754 straitG4728 is theG3588 gate,G4439 andG2532 narrowG2346 is theG3588 way,G3598 whichG3588 leadethG520 untoG1519 life,G2222 andG2532 fewG3641 there beG1526 that findG2147 it.G846

 

[SEE NOTE at the end of this section for explanation of Strong’s.]

 

 

_______________________________________

 

 

The following bullet points relate to this passage directly and indirectly. Hopefully you will find these brief observations from various commentaries helpful.

 

  • TRADITIONAL VIEW: Few find the path to heaven; most people go to hell.

 

  • This passage goes back to Matthew 5. Jesus is not speaking to the multitudes nor the gentiles - He is addressing His disciples. Keep in mind that he is teaching them with parables. The evening of the last supper Jesus reminds them that all along He has been teaching them everything with parables.

 

  • The parables and this passage are likely about the Jews who accepted Christ being able to flee the coming destruction in 70 AD, while those who chose the status quo suffered horribly in Gehenna, the actual site of burning debris near Jerusalem.

 

  • Most of Jesus’ warnings were addressing the Jewish leaders of an impending destruction which occured a few short years later, in their generation (67-70 AD). This was the slaughter of over one million Jews in Jerusalem. Most of them were burned, some alive, in the landfill southwest of Jerusalem known as Gehenna.

 

  • Most Christians are unaware of the devastating destruction that took place between 67-70AD. It is the cause of many eschatological and doctrinal errors. An accurate understanding of the fall of Jerusalem will prove to be helpful in seeing that those taking the “wide gate” conforming to the status quo suffered a horrible destruction exactly as Jesus warned.  

 

  • Only a few walked the narrow way during that time. Most are choosing the broader road. (Present tense. 30 to 70 AD)

 

  • Everyone is in various ways, and at certain times, on the path of destruction.

 

  • The prodigal son went through the wide gate and was destroyed. When he repented, he returned to his father and his father said that his son was once LOST (apollumi - destroyed) and is found, and was once dead and is now alive.

  • If we assume that Jesus’s warnings were about eternal matters such as the destiny of ones soul, then we’d have to negate countless scriptures stating the opposite as well as declaring that the devil is much more successful than Jesus.

  • This passage has no reference to the future world whatsoever.

  • Jesus didn't say that small is the gate leading to Heaven. - - He said "leading to life."

  • The Greek word for destruction used here is a state that one can be saved from.

  • It’s important to understand that the word for 'destruction' [Greek 'apoleia'] in Matthew means waste or ruin. For example, a wineskin which is destroyed or ruined. 

 

  • Matthew 26:7-8 and Mark 14:14, "a woman approached Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive fragrant oil.  She poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw it, they were indignant. ‘Why this waste [destruction]?’ they asked."

  • Acts 8:18-24 Notice that destruction precedes a change in attitude and repentance when a man named Simon tries to buy the power of the Holy Spirit from Peter.

  • Sodom was destroyed with an eternal fire (the fire did not burn forever - it was from an eternal source which was directly sent from God. Jude 7) yet God declares that Sodom will be restored beyond its former greatness. The pattern of restoration after destruction is a much overlooked aspect of scripture. The resurrection of everyone who has ever lived is a major part of the standard of restoration.

  • The path of godliness is followed by a comparative few. The way of evil is broad and much traveled. People can be on the path to destruction and repent. Clearly, the word 'destruction' here doesn't mean eternal burnings.

  • No one hears the notorious words "those not believing will go to the second death" (Revelation 20:15) until [1] they have experienced their resurrection (in the second resurrection, Revelation 20:12 as opposed to the first resurrection of 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) and [2] they have experienced, witnessed and lived through a long day of the judgment of all things, all human history, etc, Revelation 20:12. - Who, after all that, isn't going to believe? In fact we are told that everyone will worship and bow to Jesus as they see His amazing atonement and God’s endless mercy.

  • Psalm 22:27 "All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD. And all families of the nations will worship before you."

  • "Wide is the gate" (imperfection/sin) "leading to destruction" (non-life) and all are upon it. Until faith in Jesus will we see this path and enjoy God's love and mercy. However, without this faith, God's mercy is not withheld. He is merciful to all His creation and has provided salvation and justification to all through the "faithfulness of Christ" - not our faith. Christ has saved ALL - only a few have come to see and enjoy His finished work on the cross enabling them to enjoy this GOOD NEWS. [the gospel message is not an ultimatum, it is good news]

  • That faith and repentance are gifts of God. Only a few in this life will receive that gift. The remainder who enter through the broad path via destruction will see God’s mercy after the resurrection of all.

  • Nothing in the Bible supports the notion that God is finished working in peoples hearts when they experience death in this life. Even Martin Luther, the great reformer and theologian stated, "God forbid that I should limit the time of acquiring faith to the present life. In the depth of the Divine mercy there may be opportunity to win it in the future."

  • This life is not about passing a test. God is obviously setting the stage and creating an amazing back drop in order to exhibit His amazing love and mercy - apparently to be realized after the resurrection of all.

  • While most Christians seem to focus their efforts on getting themselves “right”, they may fail to see that this really is a focus on themselves. His ultimate plan is to show His mercy to all. As Max Lucado entitled one of his books, “It’s Not About Me.” 

  • How many do you now who truly have "zoe" life. An overcoming life - an attitude of total confidence. "Joy unspeakable and full of glory?" Peace that passes understanding. Not many! It is because few are able to "enter through the narrow gate.....walk in the strait way". Their belief helps them to see the truth that brings joy. 

  • It is narrow because it is "only in Christ". As such it is the "eye of the needle". But this does not negate God’s plan to bring all others in through the wide path of destruction.

  • It seems obvious that there are two groups of those whom God saves. As 1 Timothy 4:10 states “God is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe” and I Corinthians 15:22, 23 "in Christ all shall be made alive.. but each in his own order."  

 

  • How many do you know who are walking in "destruction", "chastisement", i.e. the fruit of their own works (we reap as we sow), sowing to the flesh, reaping "death/corruption"? Are they going to eternal hell? Let's hope not since so many of them are “believers”, babes in Christ, carnal, having seen Jesus but still living as if they had not.

  • Is it grace? or is it law? It is the grace of God that teaches us to flee immorality, as Paul said. How does it teach us? By allowing us to reap the result of our carnality when we refuse the "easy yoke" and cling to the "wide path.”

 

  • The way is not so narrow any more! Jesus came to save the world. And Christ is victorious.

 

  • This passage is not about a few believers being saved, while the vast majority of mankind is hell bound. It is a warning of a current situation in Jerusalem.

 

  • The ancient fall holy days prophecy the long 2nd advent - Day of Atonement as Day of Judgment. It’s very interesting that these are synonymous.

 

 

NOTE:

 

  • Strong's number G2147 is bolded above. Now let's look at the number in the Greek parsing:

 

  • Mat 7:14 | οτιG3754 CONJ | τιG5101 I-NSN | στενηG4728 A-NSF ηG3588 T-NSF πυληG4439 N-NSF καιG2532 CONJ τεθλιμμενηG2346 V-RPP-NSF ηG3588 T-NSF οδοςG3598 N-NSF ηG3588 T-NSF απαγουσαG520 V-PAP-NSF ειςG1519 PREP τηνG3588 T-ASF ζωηνG2222 N-ASF καιG2532 CONJ ολιγοιG3641 A-NPM εισινG1510 V-PAI-3P οιG3588 T-NPM ευρισκοντεςG2147 V-PAP-NPM αυτηνG846 P-ASF

 

  • Notice the parsing for this (V-PAP-NPM). This "V" means this is a verb. The very next letter is the tense and that tense is "P" which stands here for PRESENT Tense. So there we have it. Jesus was actually speaking here in the PRESENT Tense. He was not saying that Few would EVER FIND the narrow way (future tense) but saying that Few were FINDING the narrow way at that time (Present tense).