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Saturday 17 December 2022

Few or Countless Multitudes?

This sign is only correct if you take your theology from bad boomer rock songs. If you take it from the Bible, God wins massively by bringing countless numbers onto his team: 

"9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:9-17)

We are not told how many go to heaven, just that we cannot number them. God did not lie to Abraham when he said his descendants would be as the stars, impossible to count. We are never told how many go to hell, it's undoubtedly a lot, but we are not told as much about large numbers for hell, as we are for heaven. God's plan is to save a tonne more people, and who knows how long history goes for and what it will look like.

You may say, but didn't Jesus say the road is narrow and few find it? Yes, but that could either be him describing the system of Israel in his day, or simply noting that without someone to show people the way, few find it. It's hard to find a narrow path if you know not where to look, it's much easier if you are told the way. The coming of Jesus enlightened all men, showed the way and changed things forever. 

Perhaps it means few in comparison, but I wonder if that reading fits with the wider argument of Scripture. There are other ways to read it, as I noted. 

However you slice it, the number people in heaven will be multitudinous. Join the winning team, it's going to be good in the next world. 

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