Posted in prophecy, theology

When Jesus says, “Many will say to me…” just how ‘many’ will it be?

By Elizabeth Prata

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Jesus doesn’t just give comforts and ease in His sermons. He healed, yes. He promised rest and peace for the repentant, yes. But He also issued dire warnings to the unsaved, the hypocrite, the haughty sinner and so on. He said twice in Matthew 7 that ‘many’ will not get to heaven.

We understand the word many here in the English language. It meas ‘lots.’ But studying the Bible means delving. In the Greek language the New Testament was originally written in, there are nuances and depths of meaning and shades to words. So in the Greek, what does ‘many’ mean? This is of concern, of course, because none of us want to be caught in the net of ‘many’ on the Day of Judgment.

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. (Matthew 7:13)

On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ (Matthew 7:22)

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance for the meaning of many as used in these two verses is the same word: polýs – many, high in number; multitudinous, plenteous, “much”; “great” in amount (extent).

4183 /polýs (“much in number”) emphasizes the quantity involved. 4183 (polýs) “signifies ‘many, numerous’; . . . with the article it is said of a multitude as being numerous” (Vine, Unger, White, NT, 113,114) – i.e. great in amount.

You might recognize the prefix we use in the English- poly.

The word means so much, to such a great extent. Jesus compares one thing to another quite often, Here, it’s many and few. Compared to the saved, the number who are going to be cast into hell are many Matthew Henry sums up with this:

Those that are going to heaven are but few, compared to those that are going to hell; a remnant, a little flock, like the grape-gleanings of the vintage; as the eight that were saved in the ark, 1 Pt. 3:20.

It’s sobering to think of the entire world drowned except for 8 people. I think that we truly underestimate the depth of our sins as humans. The saved understand we are thoroughly depraved, but until confronted with the holiness of God, we really don’t understand. The few who were confronted with it and lived, (Daniel, Isaiah, John, Job, etc) immediately fell as dead men writhing about their own putridness. So it is hard to look at a large number of unsaved, especially when so many of them are pious and Christian seeming. But there will be “many.”

And because we have a hard time grasping the depth and treachery of sin, we tolerate it.

John D. Street (@jdstreetjr) Tweeted,

Is it possible for Christians and the church to be too forgiving? Revelation 2:20 (NAS): “But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel…” “Tolerate” is the same word “to forgive” (ἀφίημι). The answer is yes, especially when it comes to abiding sin!

Here is Matthew Henry on the ‘many’ and the ‘few’ in the Matthew 7:15 verse above.

Here is, (1.) An account given us of the way of sin and sinners; both what is the best, and what is the worst of it.

[1.] That which allures multitudes into it, and keeps them in it; the gate is wide, and the way broad, and there are many travellers in that way. First, “You will have abundance of liberty in that way; the gate is wide, and stands wide open to tempt those that go right on their way. You may go in at this gate with all your lusts about you; it gives no check to your appetites, to your passions: you may walk in the way of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; that gives room enough.” It is a broad way, for there is nothing to hedge in those that walk in it, but they wander endlessly; a broad way, for there are many paths in it; there is choice of sinful ways, contrary to each other, but all paths in this broad way. Secondly, “You will have abundance of company in that way: many there be that go in at this gate, and walk in this way.” If we follow the multitude, it will be to do evil: if we go with the crowd, it will be the wrong way. It is natural for us to incline to go down the stream, and do as the most do; but it is too great a compliment, to be willing to be damned for company, and to go to hell with them, because they will not go to heaven with us: if many perish, we should be the more cautious.

[2.] That which should affright us all from it is, that it leads to destruction. Death, eternal death, is at the end of it (and the way of sin tends to it),—everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord. Whether it be the high way of open profaneness, or the back way of close hypocrisy, if it be a way of sin, it will be our ruin, if we repent not.

(2.) Here is an account given us of the way of holiness.

[1.] What there is in it that frightens many from it; let us know the worst of it, that we may sit down and count the cost. Christ deals faithfully with us, and tells us,

First, That the gate is strait. Conversion and regeneration are the gate, by which we enter into this way, in which we begin a life of faith and serious godliness; out of a state of sin into a state of grace we must pass, by the new birth, Jn. 3:3, 5. This is a strait gate, hard to find, and hard to get through; like a passage between two rocks, 1 Sa. 14:4.

There must be a new heart, and a new spirit, and old things must pass away. The bent of the soul must be changed, corrupt habits and customs broken off; what we have been doing all our days must be undone again. We must swim against the stream; much opposition must be struggled with, and broken through, from without, and from within. It is easier to set a man against all the world than against himself, and yet this must be in conversion. It is a strait gate, for we must stoop, or we cannot go in at it; we must become as little children; high thoughts must be brought down; nay, we must strip, must deny ourselves, put off the world, put off the old man; we must be willing to forsake all for our interest in Christ. The gate is strait to all, but to some straiter than others; as to the rich, to some that have been long prejudiced against religion. The gate is strait; blessed be God, it is not shut up, nor locked against us, nor kept with a flaming sword, as it will be shortly, ch. 25:10.

Secondly, That the way is narrow. We are not in heaven as soon as we have got through the strait gate, nor in Canaan as soon as we have got through the Red Sea; no, we must go through a wilderness, must travel a narrow way, hedged in by the divine law, which is exceedingly broad, and that makes the way narrow; self must be denied, the body kept under, corruptions mortified, that are as a right eye and a right hand; daily temptations must be resisted; duties must be done that are against our inclination. We must endure hardness, must wrestle and be in an agony, must watch in all things, and walk with care and circumspection. We must go through much tribulation. It is hodos tethlimmenē—an afflicted way, a way hedged about with thorns; blessed be God, it is not hedged up. The bodies we carry about with us, and the corruptions remaining in us, make the way of our duty difficult; but, as the understanding and will grow more and more sound, it will open and enlarge, and grow more and more pleasant.

Thirdly, The gate being so strait and the way so narrow, it is not strange that there are but few that find it, and choose it. Many pass it by, through carelessness; they will not be at the pains to find it; they are well as they are, and see no need to change their way. Others look upon it, but shun it; they like not to be so limited and restrained.

Those that are going to heaven are but few, compared to those that are going to hell; a remnant, a little flock, like the grape-gleanings of the vintage; as the eight that were saved in the ark, 1 Pt. 3:20.

Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1645). Peabody: Hendrickson.

What a blessing we have in the ark of Jesus, saved through the storm and floods of His wrath. Repent and believe the Gospel, (Mark 1:15) and you will join the “few” who love Him more than our sins, the devil, and the world.

Posted in theology

When the Bible repeats a name…

By Elizabeth Prata

When the Hebrews wanted to express intimacy within a close relationship with someone, they repeated their name twice. Doing so was an expression of a close, personal bond. Knowing this ancient manner of speaking brings all the more sweetness to the following biblical examples:

On Mount Moriah when Abraham had been instructed to sacrifice his son Isaac, and Abraham was about to plunge the knife into Isaac, the Angel of the LORD (Preincarnate Christ) stopped Abraham, saying,

“Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Genesis 22:11).

When God called to Moses from within the burning bush, He said,

 “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:4b).

God encouraged Jacob to go to Egypt in Genesis 46:2, He called to him:

And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.”

God called to Samuel in the night, “Samuel, Samuel” in 1 Sam. 3:10.

God called to Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4)

We must not forget the most intimate relationship in the universe that sparked the most desolate lament upon separation- from Jesus on the cross, crying out “My God, My God.” (Matthew 27:46).

You might note that some of these intimate, loving calls from the LORD happened before the person He was calling knew Him. Samuel had just begun his training in the temple. Saul/Paul certainly didn’t know God. But we do read in 1 John 4:19 that “We love because he first loved us“. He initiates the love, He establishes the relationship.

Therefore, the question of life is not whether we know Jesus, but does He know us?

My two points, the notion of the repeated name calling and the the scriptural truth that He knows us first is tied together in one verse that has devastating meaning. Matthew 7:21-24.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

Let’s unpack this.

The people standing before the judgment throne of God thought they knew Jesus. They are abruptly and shockingly told they never had the relationship they thought they had. They were ignorant of the one-way nature of it. Or they were self-deceived. Or they never examined themselves to see if they were in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5). Perhaps they bumped along in what they thought was a walk with Jesus but no one ever lovingly confronted them with the fact that fruit is absent. Or maybe they were never lovingly disciplined by their elders at church on church non-attendance.

Jesus looks them in the eye and dismisses them from His presence. “I never knew you,” He will say.

Oh! WOE!

He says that all their religious work was for naught. Everything that they did in His name is completely and totally rejected. The teaching they did in His name, and their mighty works, and casting out of demons, everything else, all for nothing. Empty. Void.

‘And then He will declare to them’…the word declare here is homologeó which means to publicly declare. A deeper meaning of this compound word in the Greek is to “speak to a conclusion.” It’s very final, this word. He will proclaim, or declare, with finality, the non-existent relationship.

Here is MacArthur’s explanation:

And here Christ openly proclaims that He does not know them. That same word, homologia him will I confess before My Father.” The same word is used. If you’re not willingly openly proclaiming Christ here, then He will not openly proclaim you there. Instead He says, “I never knew you.”

Worst of all, He calls them evildoers, workers of lawlessness, ye that work iniquity, lawbreakers, or simply evil people (depending on the translation.) In all cases, the news is very, very bad. Where they say “Lord, Lord”, their expression of intimacy, He utterly rejects any knowledge of or hope for a relationship by voiding their life.

Their final moments standing before Jesus will be of shock, rejection, and pain. As the Judgment concludes, He says,

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.‘ (Matthew 25:41).

This is serious, serious stuff. I do call out false teachers, people who think they are doing the Lord’s work, but are not. Why? This verse is haunting. It makes me cry every time I work with it. Can you imagine this scene? I have to, because it’s in the Bible. But do I want to? No. But this is the verse I think of every time I engage with a false teacher or their disciples. This. Every time.

It is agreeable that the Lord calls to His people by an endearment like the repeated name. We have a loving and perfect Savior who is also our Friend, Groom, Brother and so much more. For those who are truly saved, they will hear the welcoming words of Jesus. Maybe He will say, “Elizabeth, Elizabeth, well done good and faithful servant.” How sweet those words would be.

jesus love

Posted in Uncategorized

Have you ever been snubbed?

a snub is defined as-

an act of showing disdain or a lack of cordiality by rebuffing or ignoring someone or something.

Did you ever go into a store or pass someone walking or anywhere, and you know they saw you but they refuse to acknowledge you? That’s a snub.

I’m on the spectrum and I accidentally snub people all the time. Sorry. I tend to focus more on inanimate objects than I do on people and I literally don’t see you. Children are an exception. I always see them.

A hilarious quote I read from Kin Hubbard says that “some people are so sensitive they feel snubbed if an epidemic overlooks them.”

Remember the angst in High School when we walked down the hall and saw the boy (or the girl) and desperately hoped for eye contact, acknowledgement, or best of all, personal affirmation. Would he stop, look, chat? Oh, no, he didn’t look! She didn’t see! They rejected me!

It felt horrible and as adults if we care to admit it, it still does. Snubbing and his big brother Rejection are wounds that hurt. We’ve been snubbed when a friend is angry with us, We’ve been rejected by a spouse through adultery. We have been passed over for promotion. We crave affirmation and recognition, but when we’re being ignored through a snub or rejected through anger or hate, it hurts and the hurt takes a long time to heal.

Now bundle all the times you’ve been snubbed, overlooked, and rejected, and magnify that a billion times. Imagine how you might feel at the universe’s worst snub, its highest rejection.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32).

In the first case, the person being rejected thought he was a Christian. He labored, he preached, he rebuked demons. And he was rejected. In a stunning turn of events, the person will receive an eternal rejection to his face, and be banished from glory and the presence of Jesus forever.

In order to ensure that you, dear reader, are not one of those rejected and snubbed, having no place card at the Banquet, test yourself to see if you are in the faith. Is It Real: 11 Biblical Tests of Genuine Salvation can be read here.

In the second case, the person was an outright Christ rejecter. Whether they were a ‘spiritual person’ of another religion, or an atheist, agnostic, or other flavor of rejecter, in turn they will be rejected on the Day. Forever.

This is a hurt and a wound from which one does not ever recover. Make sure you are not rejected on the Day, and repent of your sins. Today is the day of your salvation. Don’t wait, don’t procrastinate. If you’re feeling feel drawn, investigate and examine yourself to see if you pass the test.