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#8 - - Matthew 7:13,14



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.

ESV (English Standard Version)



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!

YLT (Young’s 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.

CLT (Concordant Literal Translation)


13 "You folks enter at once through the narrow, restrictive and cramping gate [note: is this a picture of being brought to birth?] – because wide [is] the gate and spacious (roomy, having the characteristics of free, open country) [is] roadway habitually leading off into the loosing-away of loss and destruction (or: demolition), and many are the folks continuously (or: one after another in a steady stream) entering through it – 14 "for the gate is narrow, cramping and restrictive which is habitually leading off into the Life – and the path has been compressed and squeezed [to where the traveler is being pressed and encumbered] – and the folks presently (or: one after another, in a continuous procession) finding it are few.

JMNT (Jonathan Mitchell New Testament)


Point to consider as you study this passage . . . 


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

  2. 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.

  3. The parables and this passage are seen by many to be 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.

  4. June Aguilar notes that it is important to recognize the same words from John 14:6 "Jesus saith to him, I AM the Way, and the Truth, and the Life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me." and from John 10:7 "Therefore Jesus said again, "Very truly I tell you, I am the GATE/DOOR for the sheep.”  Jesus is telling them that, as opposed to the Law and the Prophets never being a way that they could come into "right standing" with God, He Himself would be the GATE/DOOR/WAY/LIFE. 

  5. 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.

  6. Most of Jesus’ warnings were addressing the Jewish leaders of an impending destruction which occurred 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.

  7. 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.

  8. In those days, it was quite normal to enter a city on a broad road, which led through a wide gate. However, narrow side paths were also available with entry leading through a narrow gate.  A. E. Knock pointed out that these paths were seldom used. The small gates were closed during the day and locked at night. It was easier to take the broad road.If this were the case, why would anyone use the narrow path? It would not be natural to do so.   

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

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

  11. 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.

  12. It is not unlikely that this passage has no reference to the future world.

  13. Jesus didn't say that small is the gate leading to  Heaven, He said "leading to life.”

  14. Few find the Gate, because the Gate must find them. If one does find the Gate, that one is righteous and not "the Lost" (Jesus came to seek and save the lost). Jesus finds the Gate and Jesus is the Gate.

  15. Paul quotes Isaiah in Romans saying "None is righteous... none seek for God."  Since the whole Bible is true... God must seek us. The Door must find us.

  16. The Greek word for destruction used here is a state that one can be saved from. It precedes restoration.  

  17. The centurion at the cross was destroyed when he saw Jesus dying and stated, “Surely, this is the Son of God!” Saul was destroyed on the road to Damascus, and Zaccheus was destroyed when he climbed down from the tree and met Jesus. 

  18. 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, yet it still remains. 

  19. 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.”

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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 enter into a changed attitude, known as repentance. For most this will likely occur at the resurrection. Acts 24:15 

  23. Revelation 20:12. - Who isn't going to believe? In fact we are told that everyone will worship and bow to Jesus as they see His glory and relentless mercy.

  24. 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.”

  25. "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 - it is simply not seen or understood. 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 simply good news]

  26. 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 also see God’s mercy after the resurrection of all. Yet everyone will experience the destruction of death. 

  27. 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.”

  28. 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.

  29. 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.” 

  30. How many do you know 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 simply helps them to see the truth that brings joy. 

  31. 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.

  32. 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."  

  33. Even “believers” walk in the wide path. How many do you know who are walking in "destruction", "chastisement", i.e. the fruit of their own works, 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.

  34. 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.”

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

  36. Israel was given a covenant calling, to be a light to the nations, to spread the blessing of Abraham to the nations of the ethnic multitudes, and to bear God’s image to them.  They had failed in this calling, and their failure, their sin, led them into exile.  Even when some returned, during the Persian reign of Cyrus, the kingdom was not restored to them, and now they were in exile within their own land, under the domination of Rome.  The gate, leading to the roadway that they and their ancestors had traveled continued “habitually leading off into the loosing-away of loss and destruction (or: demolition).”  Injustice abounded.  The people as a whole became increasingly landless, and had to become craftsmen or day laborers.  Their inheritance became lost.  They needed and longed for a Deliverer, a Savior.  And God provided one.  Verse 13, above, uses the noun which indicates “loss, destruction, ruin, etc.”  But this condition of having been demolished makes them a target for the Savior.  Luke informs us that Jesus said, “You see, the Son of the Man (= the eschatological messianic figure) came to seek after, and then to save, deliver and restore what is existing being lost, ruined, demolished and destroyed” (Lu. 19:10).

  37. Jonathan Mitchell adds, “This road was wide, because the path had been long tread by the entire people.  It was the roadway of the Empire.  Folks had no choice.  Some went to work for the empire, and were despised by the rest of the people.  The Pharisees considered these folks outcasts, untouchables.  But the Pharisees walked this same path, and became whitewashed tombs, full only of dead men’s bones.  They did not lift a finger to help, and actually increased the burdens of the people by multiplying rules and regulations.”

  38. Jesus was the Gate (and a Door for His “sheep” – Jn. 10:7) that opened to a new Way.  It was the Way which He Himself embodied and walked.  It was that of laying down His life for His friends.  It was the Way of going after the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and bringing even that one sheep back to the Father’s fold.  This was a narrow Gate leading to a compressed and squeezed Path, for He was that and formed the Path, by walking it.  But now He had a FEW who were learning how to enter through Him, and walk this same Path.  It was restrictive and narrow Gate, but it is the One “which is habitually leading off into the Life” – the Christ Life of the new covenant; the Life of the little called-out communities.  You see, He came to call folks out of that broad road, and then to take up their crosses and follow Him (Mat. 16:24).  They were called to build a New House – a New Temple – and we find Paul speaking of building it of gold, silver and precious stones, founding it upon the Rock (Mat. 16:18), Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:9-17).

  39. In Mat. 7, Jesus spoke about building His House (vss. 24-27).  We suggest that the fall of the house built by the foolish man (Paul’s 1st Adam, or, the leadership of Second Temple Judaism), as described as Jesus finished these sayings, corresponds to the “loss and destruction” of the “spacious roadway” of vs. 13, above.  The immediate inferences of the destruction in both vs. 13 and vs. 27 were to the fall of the physical temple and Jerusalem, in AD 70.

  40. All of the admonitions and warnings of this chapter pertained first to Israel and specifically to Judea, in the 1st century AD.  Everyone has been able to draw wisdom and insight from these saying, ever since Jesus first said them.  They all apply to this life here on earth.

  41. Jesus was speaking to his disciples, and He was warning them of Israel’s coming destruction as a nation. “Many” in Israel were attempting to fulfill the law to obtain God’s blessings and their salvation as a nation. However, Israel’s history had revealed the weakness of the flesh and the impossibility of reaching that goal through the law. 

  42. The covenant of grace would be God’s answer, and “few” of them would accept the new way. Given man’s nature, it was quite natural for them to believe they could achieve salvation through their own efforts by following the law. (Our tendency is to want to be our own god.) It would take a lesson in humility (the difficult and narrow path) to admit their failure. In 70 A.D. the destruction of the “many” occurred. 

  43. However, Jesus did not acquiesce to this outcome as the end of the matter. He would now take the way of the cross as a ransom for “many” (Mathew 20:28). This is the same “many” who entered the wide gate and walked the easy road of self-reliance and self-righteousness to destruction. 

  44. Jan Bonda: “Jesus goes the way of the cross in order to open for these many the way of escape from eternal punishment, to make sure that their ‘going away to eternal punishment’ is followed by their return. For that reason, He became obedient until death on the cross. Therefore, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall at last confess: Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:8-11).” 

  45. Jesus is the Gate. He clearly said, I am the door. The many that find their way to destruction is all. "Many" often means all in the gospels, partly because the Aramaic word for many is the same as the word for all.






  • 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).

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