Saturday, April 12, 2014

"The way is narrow and few find it"

"For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Matthew 7:14)

Christianity is the world's largest religion, 31.59% of the world population - on the face of it. Broken down, Christianity comprises the following sects:

Roman Catholic 18.85%,
Protestant 8.15%,
Orthodox 4.96%,
Anglican 1.26%
Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican, Wiki CC

However, if you remove Catholicism and Orthodox, which aren't Christian and are false, all you've got left is Protestant and Anglican, or 10% of the world population.

The Anglicans have a mix of Catholic and Protestant Reformation theology and so one cannot say with assurance that likely most of the people in that sect have been fed pure doctrine. So say perhaps .26% of Anglicans of the reported 1.26% are saved. And with apostasy rising and the remaining 8% of Protestants representing Christianity left, one can say with assurance that likely at least half of those claiming Protestant roots are not saved (or more).

Remember, mixed in with Protestants are Charismatics, Word/Faith heretics, and Liberals. That brings the Christian denomination from a 31% of the world's population down to a likely 2-4% of the world population.

2-4 percent of 8 billion is 160-380 million saved. Alternately, that's seven billion eight hundred forty million people alive today on this planet right now who are going to hell when they die.

source
We know that there is only ONE way, ONE truth and ONE life, in Jesus. There are no near misses or almosts. Jesus said the way is narrow, and few find it. He really means few.

When the rapture comes, all those people listed as a number in the chart above will be left behind to face a terrible and horrific hell on earth. God's wrath will be unleashed. He has refrained from delivering His full cup for all these thousands of years, since the last global judgment, The Flood. But once again He will unleash it. It will be so terrible that unless He cut the days short, no flesh would survive. (Matthew 24:22)

In Revelation 6:8, it is often interpreted that to mean that in that Seal Judgment, a fourth of the earth's population will be killed.

"And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:8)
Narrow gate on The High Way Cotterdale, North Yorkshire, Great Britain.
This gateway, and another further east, is only 2ft 6in wide.
Photo by John Slater, Creative Commons

At the moment of this writing there are 7.2 billion people on the earth. That's 1.8 BILLION people dead in a matter of moments, or days, weeks at most. And you remember how the world reacted when 3000 were killed in the twin towers and the Pentagon and the planes of 9/11.

The above judgment leaves 5.4 billion alive. However, there will be fewer than that because of suicide, murder, starvation and disease. (Revelation 6:4-8, Revelation 8:11). So roughly let's say 5 billion.

Then, Revelation 9:15 says,

"So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind."

A third of 5 billion is 1.6, leaving 3.4 billion. More than half the earth's population has died off, or more, because we haven't counted additional deaths from secondary causes, or war. Three and a half years have passed, and the Great Tribulation hasn't even begun yet. You see how completely Jesus meant it when He said that unless the days were cut short no flesh would survive. For example, let's look at a series of cascading events.

In Revelation 8:7 & 11 it says,

"The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up." (Revelation 8:7)

The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter. (Revelation 8:11)

Vision of John of Patmos from Revelation 4:4
four seraphim surround the throne of Christ,
twenty-four elders sit on thrones to either side
(Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry)
Hail ruins crops. Without crops, people can't eat. If people can't eat, they die. If all the grass burns up, then cattle can't eat. If cattle can't eat, they die, and there is no meat or dairy. Without meat or dairy, people die. In addition, millions of dead and bloated cattle laying around pollute the waters. Cholera breaks out. Disease runs rampant, and people die.

I hope you are getting a more specific idea of just how many people are deceived in a false religion and will be left behind to die in their sins. It has been like this throughout the ages, most don't believe in Jesus. The Great White Throne Judgment will have a very long line.

God's grace is very great. He is merciful. See a picture of this in Pastor Phil Johnson's sermon on "Raising Cain". Cain was the world's first born man. He was the world's first falsely worshiping man. And He was the first murderer. Pastor Johnson says in his exposition of Genesis 4:1-17,

Notice the gracious way God deals with Cain throughout this account. This is important. There are people who believe God loves the elect, but has nothing but hatred for everyone else. I don't believe that. Scripture teaches that "The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made." (Ps. 145:9). He has "no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ezek. 33:11).

I'm committed to the doctrine of divine election. But let me say as clearly as possible that I also believe those who go to hell have no one to blame but themselves. The fact that Cain ultimately lived a life of self-will and sin was in no way God's fault. God constantly dealt graciously with Cain.

Over and over in Scripture we see God graciously and patiently appealing to those who ultimately spurn Him, and Cain is the first example of this. Notice that even God's judgments are tempered by grace. Even when it would be perfectly just for God to destroy Cain, the Lord shows him great mercy.

Cain deserved to die for his act of killing his brother.

Genesis 9:6 says, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image." In other words, capital punishment is a fit penalty for murder.

And Cain knew this. As soon as he knew he could not hide his act of murder, he feared that (verse 14) "I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." The Hebrew literally means, "All who find me will kill me." The King James Version translates it this way: "It shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me." (I think that's funny. Everyone who finds me shall slay me?

Actually, even if that were the whole world's ambition, only the first person who found him would get to kill him. After that, Cain wouldn't have to worry about it any more.)

But God was gracious, and He put a mark on Cain so that those who found Him would know that he was under divine protection. We don't know what sort of mark this was. Obviously, this was at a time when the earth's population was still very small. It would have been no big deal for word of this to spread throughout the whole human race, so that everyone knew Cain was under the protective hand of God. This mark was not the mark of a pariah. The mark itself was not God's judgment; it was an act of mercy.
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But failing that, why didn't God strike Cain dead the moment he killed his own brother? Why did He guarantee him protection from avengers and mark him with a special mark and allow him to live a long life? There's only one reason: because God is a God of grace and mercy. He was extending to Cain the opportunity to repent. God's words to Cain in verse 7 are an explicit plea for repentance.

God is gracious and merciful! He is wonderful. Please be aware of the lateness of the hour. Please be aware that His long-suffering mercy will end and He will unleash His long-stored up wrath. Please be aware of the real people behind the numbers of just how many are going to die in their sins. Please be grateful you are one of the few who found Him.

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Further reading:

Here is a neat link to World Population statistics, live

Sermon, "A Jet Tour Through Revelation"

List: 21 Brief Observations concerning Revelation 6:9-11

2 comments:

  1. Thank you once again Elizabeth for this message! And thank you for the link to the sermon 'Raising Cain' by Phil Johnson. Yes, we all need to appreciate the lateness of the hour and the urgency therein. Let's not be lazy thinking there is time 'for this and that'.

    Colette

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  2. "For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous." Rom. 2:13 The law Paul is referencing is the gate, but he is not referencing the Sinai code nor OT ceremonial laws.

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