Questions From Readers
No, these verses do not support that conclusion. Rather, they relate particularly to gaining life in the heavenly Kingdom.
Jesus’ words at Matthew 7:13, 14 are part of the Sermon on the Mount. He said: “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.”
Much of what Jesus said on this occasion related especially to the heavenly Kingdom. For example, he began with the words: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.” He said that the pure in heart would “see God” and that “the kingdom of the heavens” belongs to those “persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” (Matthew 5:3, 8, 10) Later in that same discourse, Jesus spoke of the broad road leading off into destruction and the cramped road leading to life. In part, he added: “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.”—Matthew 7:13, 14, 21.
The meaning of Luke 13:24 is similar, as shown by the context. Jesus gave two illustrations about “the kingdom of God.” Later, he was asked: “Lord, are those who are being saved few?” Jesus replied: “Exert yourselves vigorously to get in through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will seek to get in but will not be able.” “Many” refers to people who begged to be let in after a door was shut and locked. These were “workers of unrighteousness” who did not qualify to be with “Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God.” The “many” had thought they would be first “in the kingdom of God,” but they actually would be last, evidently meaning that they would not be in it at all.—Luke 13:18-30.
The context shows that Jesus was dealing with entry into God’s heavenly Kingdom. Jewish leaders back then had long enjoyed a privileged position, with access to God’s Word. They felt that they were spiritually rich and were righteous in God’s sight, in contrast with the common people, whom they held in low esteem. (John 9:24-34) Yet, Jesus said that tax collectors and harlots who accepted his message and repented could have God’s approval.—Compare Matthew 21:23-32; Luke 16:14-31.
Common people who became Jesus’ disciples were in line to be accepted as spiritual sons when the heavenly calling did open up at Pentecost 33 C.E. (Hebrews 10:19, 20) Though vast multitudes heard Jesus, those who accepted him and later gained the heavenly hope were few. But the little flock of spirit-begotten humans receiving that reward could be compared to Jacob reclining at a table in heaven with Jehovah (the Greater Abraham) and his Son (pictured by Isaac). That certainly was worth exerting oneself for vigorously, but most who heard Jesus did not do so.
Consequently, we can see from the context in both instances that Jesus’ comments (about few being on the cramped road leading to life and being saved) related primarily to having God’s approval at that time when He was holding out the hope of heavenly life. Relatively few who heard the message of truth and learned what was required responded and proved faithful.—Matthew 22:14; 24:13; John 6:60-66.
It is interesting that even today, when the whole Bible is available and there is abundant fulfillment of divine prophecies about the last days, comparatively few respond to the Christian message and endure in serving Jehovah. This is in line with Jesus’ illustration about different soils. He said that some would hear “the word of the kingdom,” but Satan would snatch away what was sown. Others would accept the word with joy but in time would fail because of tribulation or persecution. Yet others would prove unfruitful because of “the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches.”—Matthew 13:18-23.
We can be sure that it will be much different when millions upon millions are resurrected during the Judgment Day. Then Satan will not be free to snatch away seeds of truth sown in their hearts. They will not have to cope with persecution or the anxieties of the present wicked system. They will be taught in a righteous environment, surrounded by the miraculous work of God, including the resurrection of the dead and the healing of the nations. Granted, some will not respond even then. (Compare John 11:45-53.) But there is good reason to think that the majority will get the sense of the word, respond to it, and be saved.