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How Many are Saved?

The Door in Heaven, Visions of Heavenly Realities, and Christmas

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Question #1:   I have some questions about the number of people who are saved. Does the bible say that the main cause why many people are lost is because they are unbelievers? Is that stated in the bible? Is the unbelief of people the only cause why many people will be lost? Is there any other reason? Does the bible say anything about how many people will repent from their sin? Will it be few or many who repent?

Response #1:  You will find helpful details that touch on all these questions in the part 3A of the "Coming Tribulation" series, specifically, in section II, "The Great Apostasy" (see the link). But let me give you some basics here:

1) People are lost only because they do not believe in Jesus:

For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world but in order that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not being judged. The one who does not believe has already been judged because he has not believed in the Name (i.e., Person) of God's one and only Son.
John 3:17-18

2) As the verses above makes clear, the two choices are belief or no belief; all who are truly believers in Jesus are saved (Rom.10:13), while all who reject Him in this life perish (Acts 4:12). For all people, He is either the stone of stumbling unto eternal condemnation (Rom.9:22-23), or the Rock on which we build our eternal life (Matt.7:24; 1Cor.10:4).

3) Repentance from sin goes hand in hand with turning away from the world and turning towards Jesus Christ. No one is without sin, but for the believer, sin is an aberration rather than a life-style. Repentance indicates a change both of mind and heart to place God's priorities first instead of the priorities of this world (for a discussion and passages, see the link: "Repentance").

4) The Bible does not give precise numbers, but it often indicates that those saved are greatly in the minority compared to those who refuse God's gracious offer of eternal life in Jesus Christ, the only way to salvation (1Pet.4:18; cf. Matt.7:14).

As our Lord says in Matthew 7:14: "How narrow is the gate and how constrained is the road which leads to [eternal] life, and how few are those who find it!"

Please read this study for more information on the process of faith (and why it is that so few respond in faith):

        Peter #24 "Faith Dynamics"

God's Free Gift of Salvation.

God's Free Gift.

Assurance of Salvation

There is one more thing I would like to say about this particular issue: it is very true that we are saved by God's grace (Eph.2:8-9), but that does not mean that we do not have free will. Every human being is responsible to God for all of his/her decisions in life, and there is no decision more important or with more consequences than the decision of whether or not to follow God through faith in and faithfulness to Jesus Christ. For in addition to being saved by grace, we are also saved through faith (Eph.2:8-9). God wants those who will worship Him willingly (Jn.4:23). God says "come!" (Rev.22:17), but not everyone listens. Why? Simply because they choose not to for a whole variety of ultimately unsatisfactory and inexcusable reasons. What will they say when the stand before God? Will they say that the coming into the world of God's only Son was not enough? Not enough that He took on human flesh for them, knew unprecedented sorrow and sadness, suffering and resistance? Not enough that He spread light in the world for them to see, but they refused to open their eyes? Not enough that He ran the gauntlet of gauntlets for them, was betrayed and denied, mocked and beaten, spit upon and falsely accused and condemned? Not enough that He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross for them, to see the loss of all that He had for them, to go into the darkness for them? He came into this world to help us all, to save us all. We were lost, and the only thing that could save us was the Son of God Himself volunteering for the mission beyond all missions, a mission terrible beyond our understanding at this point in these limited human bodies with their limited perceptive abilities. Jesus, the Son of God, allowed Himself to be forsaken by the Father on our behalf, though He had perfectly fellowship with Him even before the universe was formed before that point. Our Lord won us back from the grave by being judged for our sins, for all sins, on Calvary's cross. He gave up His life for us so that we might not die forevermore. Could God have done any more for us, or even for them, for those who reject this one way to escape death and damnation?

Beyond all this, only each person him or herself knows what is in his or her heart, and why they haven chosen to disregard God's ineffable gift – especially given the consequences of that rejection.

Praise be to our Lord has won the victory for us! Thank God that we are among the saved, however many or however few!

Please also see:

Faith: What is it?

God's Free Gift of Salvation.

Free-Will Faith in the Plan of God.

The Saved and the Unsaved

Faith: What is it?

Free Will Faith and the Plan of God

The Plan of God and Individual Salvation

In Jesus' Name,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

We are so grateful to the Lord for the site you created so people like us can learn bible truths in a way we never did before. We live in Pakistan and appreciate your site and information in it alot and pray that the Lord will richly bless you and your family. Our question to you is about Rev.4. John saw a door open in heaven and then saw many other things after that but does it ever clarify whether or not John entered that door or saw the vision from the earth?

God bless.

Response #2: 

Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. I very much appreciate them. To answer your question, in my reading of this passage John did indeed see these things "from heaven" not "from the earth", so that he was brought to heaven "through the door". Whether he did so bodily or in the Spirit, like the man Paul knew in 2Cor.12:2 we cannot say. In 2nd Kings chapter 2, Elijah does go up bodily, but his circumstances are unique (as one of the two witnesses to come, he will return likewise in bodily form; see part 3A of "Coming Tribulation"). This portion of Revelation is covered in part 2B of the "Coming Tribulation" series and you can find the quote I'm pasting in below at the following link (along with more context): The Door.

The Door: In the visions of God, John sees heaven opened (cf. Ezek.1:1; Matt.3:16; Acts 7:56; 10:11; 2Cor.12:1-5; Rev.19:11), and is spiritually ushered into the "third heaven", the unseen throne room of God. (1) This door opens into the third heaven through the barrier of the heavenly sea (on which see below). Now it is an exceptional thing to think of sinful mankind being able to penetrate beyond the veil of heaven, and such a thing is only possible in any sense or at any time because of the work and the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ who by His death broke down for us this barrier between God and sinful mankind (Eph.2:14-18; 4:7-10; Col.2:13-15; Heb.9:24). Jesus is the only true door into heaven (Matt.7:13-14; Lk.13:24-25; Jn.10:7-9; 14:6; cf. Ps.118:19-27), for He is the One whose blood has opened an entrance for us into the very presence of God Himself (Matt.27:51; Heb.10:19-20). Only through Him, and in Him, and by following Him where He has gone (Heb.6:19-20; cf. Heb.2:10 [Greek]; 12:2), can we too enter into the holy of holies for fellowship eternal with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit forevermore (Lk.23:43; Rev.3:21).

Yours in Him who is our only door to eternal life, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill

Question #3:  

Dear Robert,

I can across your web-site today and found much of teaching good in terms of content. I think the new Christian greatly benefits from it. I came across many things that caught my eye and some are right on but others I don't quite understand the point. I put one statement in bold and italics as to ask a statement and a question:

I turned around to see: John, in the midst of this ecstatic, prophetic state, nevertheless maintains his personality and normal perspective. In this his experience is identical to that of other prophets, for example, Isaiah and Ezekiel (cf. especially Is.6; Ezek.1-2). Indeed, the similarities not only between John's experience and theirs, but also in the particulars of what he is shown are most reminiscent of what both of these Old Testament prophets were given to record. It is important to note that this is because they all saw the same reality, glories of God that are not visible to the rest of us, and most definitely not because of "literary borrowing" (as many who deny the truth of scripture would have it). The similarity of experience between Ezekiel and John is particularly striking. Both are exiles (Ezek.1:1), both see the Lord in His glory (Ezek.1:26-28), the cherubim (Ezek.1:5-21), the throne and the sea (Ezek.10:1; cf. 1:22), both are commanded to "eat the scroll" they are given (Ezek.2:8-3:3), both describe the marking of the elect to be spared divine judgment (Ezek.9:3-4), and both relate the taking and scattering of fiery coals from the altar of God as an instrument of divine judgment (Ezek.10:1-6). For anyone acquainted with both books, it is clear that this is a partial list of many other similarities which should not be considered surprising given that, as we have seen above, Ezekiel is largely taken up with describing (even if sometimes by way of foreshadowing) the very events that John is given to directly prophesy in Revelation. (from CT 1)

Very often when I was young in Christ 15 years ago I had to take for granted the things taught to me because I had no means to find out on my own but as I grew in my knowledge of the

Bible and of the Lord, some areas I had to adjust what I had learned. That's the way it is with all Christians but to each person he gives revelation so each one can come together and contribute that revelation so the body of Christ can be enlightened and grow.

The Lord showed me the meaning of the Seven-fold Spirit and His relationship to the seven churches. The elements, that is the theophany of Jesus reveals attributes that Christ is showing to us. You must realize that if there was no way correlate it the other scriptures, who would believe me when I told them? No one is not going to just take my word for it without using Scripture. That's nonsense. On the other side of the spectrum, how are we going to teach something difficult to understand if the Holy Spirit doesn't show us? Jesus said that is one of His jobs, to teach us all things.

To close, all things pertaining to God, worship, interpreting Scripture and living for Christ are all activities we can not do rightly without the help of the Holy Spirit. The vision John saw was real but the vision has meaning, at least one meaning that can be conveyed and taught to the church because not everyone saw the vision. The meaning of the vision, not the vision itself comes from the Scriptures and has to or else there would be no way to convince non believers or people are believers but those who don't believe or have not received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Grace to You,

Response #3: 

Thank you for your e-mail. I appreciate your kind and supportive comments, and your spiritual insights. I very much agree that without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, much of what we do as Christians would be impossible. After all, even in the Old Testament "economy", the Spirit is the One responsible for illumination, inspiration, and revelation. It is just that at that time, He was "with us", rather than "in us" through the blessed baptism all believers now enjoy (Jn.14:17).

As to the passage you ask about, my purpose in making this statement you italicize is to correct the impression left by many liberal commentators on Revelation that John somehow "got" these things from Ezekiel. That is, in secular literary composition, scholars are always looking for antecedents. In my own secular field of Classics, it is true that much latter poetry, for example, borrows from Homer and Hesiod, and indeed often deliberately so. But this is divinely inspired literature, and it is not the case that John is writing these things because he already read them (in Ezekiel, for example). The reason for the similarities in Ezekiel and in Revelation is not because of literary borrowing (as we have in secular cases). It is because what Ezekiel saw and what John saw were the same divine realities.

I hope this clarifies the confusion for you. Please feel free to write me back on this.

Yours in Him who is the reality of realities even though we do not see Him yet, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill

Question #4:  

I have enjoyed reading the web site. You have done a great deal of work. Have a wonderful holiday. I never say merry Christmas for I believe Christmas is every day and try to remember the coming of our LORD and HIS Sacrifice for us each day, each moment. How can we give material gifts and expect this to somehow represent HIM (II Cor 9:15)? We have a holiday away from work and a time to rest and hopefully remember HIM. For me the best Christmas is spent in Bible Study and Worship. We should be sharing with those that don't have rather than giving more to ones that have everything and just end up putting things in a "garage sale". I know I'm scrooge, we have so much to be thankful for and should be on our faces giving praise and thanks to the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

In HIS Love and Mercy,


Response #4: 

Thanks so much. I really appreciate you encouragement. I do plan a nice holiday. Going down to Florida to spend Christmas with my mother. There's not much I can disagree with in your comments on Christmas. Certainly, it is an extra-biblical invention, and has developed into something which doesn't have very much to do with Christ for most people. In truth, we who believe in Him have "graduated" to a day-by-day Sabbath rest, and a daily "in remembrance of Me", so that the whole idea of making one day more important than another is really antithetical to the Bible - every day is a gift from Him to be used for Him (Rom.14:5-6; Eph.5:16; Col.2:16-17; 4:6). Like you, I try not to "rain on the parade" of those who get so involved; like Paul, whether it is "from false motives or true", the proclaiming of the Lord to any true degree is something of which I am in favor (Phil.1:18), and one can only hope that some of that light will shine through for those who might not otherwise get even a glimmer of the truth.

I do pray for you and yours for a really blessed time, and continued spiritual advance in Jesus Christ our Lord.

In Him,

Bob L.

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