By Femi Aribisala
SOME people were coming from a mighty crusade along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Millions of people had been in attendance. There was a big traffic jam that stretched for miles and miles. But the people did not seem to mind. The crusade had been glorious. The power of God was present to heal. The testimonies were considerable. Many had been touched by the power of God.
Suddenly, they saw a man in flowing white robes standing on the side of the road. “What’s going on?” he asked. “What is all this excitement about?” “Are you the only stranger in Lagos?” one of them replied. “Do you mean to tell us that you have not heard about this mighty crusade that has drawn people from all parts of the country?”
The man was not impressed. “One thing I know,” he offered, “out of this great multitude, only 2,000 are going to enter into the kingdom of heaven.” As soon as he had said this, he literally disappeared from their sight.
The men were so dismayed by this strange man and his prophecy that, at the next intersection, they crossed over to the other side of the expressway and went back to the crusade grounds. When they got there, they sought audience with the man who God had used to do the miracles and the signs; determined to give him the ominous message of the “angelic” stranger and to see what he would make of it.
But something strange happened when they got to the famous preacher. As they were ushered into his office, they saw seating in front of him, the same strange messenger in white robes who they had met on the expressway. He had come to deliver the same message to the preacher in person. When he finished, he quietly got up and left.
But one question was burning in their hearts. How did the man disappear on the road, and how did he get back to the crusade grounds before they did?”
Lord, are there few that are saved? The answer is yes, only a few are saved. According to the revelation of he who is the Lord God Almighty, “many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14). The testimony of Jesus is “the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10). Therefore, no matter what anyone thinks, relatively few Christians are going to end up in heaven.
Yes, many are now called, but few are going to be chosen. Few are going to spend eternity with God. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit has been saying to the churches. (Revelation 2:29).
From the first time that time the gospel has been preached, the message has been the same, but people have refused to listen. Isaiah cried: “Who has believed our report?” People have simply refused to believe the report of the Lord.
The word of prophecy that many are called but few are chosen was in operation before Isaiah and it has been in operation since Isaiah. That word of prophecy is the most repeated passage in all scripture. It is repeated more times than any other scripture in the bible. It is the scripture that the Lord used to call me to ministry: Matthew 13:13-16.
God says in effect: “So many people will hear the gospel, but they will not listen.” Only a very few people will be saved.
Keep on hearing
When Isaiah volunteered and asked the Lord to send him to preach the gospel, the Lord gave him a strange assignment: He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.” (Isaiah 5:9-10).
Isaiah could not believe this kind of assignment. What is the point of asking me to preach to people when you know that they will not listen? Isaiah had volunteered for a job without knowing its full details. Perhaps if he had known, he would not have been so forward. So he asked the Lord: “How long?” “For how long shall I preach to them and they won’t listen?”
But the Lord’s answer brought no reprieve: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate.” (Isaiah 6:11).
God prophesied, in effect, that we would not listen until the destruction decreed has been effected. This is powerful scripture. We would not listen until we are destroyed.
How can a man listen after he has been destroyed? He will only listen when he is beyond redemption. Then he will remember all the warnings he heard and ignored. He will remember all the scriptures he overlooked. He will remember all the ones he highlighted in his bible but failed to practice. He will remember reading this article of faith.
Few are chosen
In the story that Jesus told the Pharisees, the rich man finally believed the gospel but, alas, only when he was already in the grave. He was then concerned that his relatives should know that hades is real and not just a figment of someone’s imagination. So he pleaded with Abraham that Lazarus should be sent to warn them from the grave:
“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:27-31).
So determined is the Lord that this prophecy of unbelief is fulfilled that when he came in the flesh, he was often speaking in parables. His disciples wondered at this tendency. They asked him: “Why can’t you speak plainly to the people?” Jesus told them: “I am always speaking in parables because I don’t want the people to understand what I am saying.”
But why does Jesus not want the people to understand? He does not want them to understand because heaven is not for everyone. Heaven is only for a select few. (Matthew 13:11-16).
The gospel has always been rejected and will always be rejected. For 120 years, Noah preached the gospel. Nevertheless, only eight people were saved from the Flood. Lot preached the gospel to the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, but only he and his two daughters were saved. Even his wife perished.
Moses also preached the gospel of salvation. A mixed multitude of over two million people left Egypt with Moses, yet only two entered into the Promised Land. Moses himself did not make it.
God would have all men to be saved. (I Timothy 2:3-4). But alas, only a few will be saved.