by Shawn Brasseaux
Have you ever wondered how many people will be in heaven? Will everyone be there? There are many arguments such as “all roads lead to heaven” and “all religions lead to the same God,” so everyone will eventually get to heaven, right? This idea, known as universalism, is a devil’s lie! How blasphemous and disrespectful it is to say that there are other ways besides going through Jesus Christ.
Even though we cannot produce an actual value, we can assuredly infer from Scripture that there have not been—and never will be—many souls in heaven. Throughout human history, God has always had a small, small, small number of followers because the majority of people living in the Old Testament and New Testament were pagan idolaters. They had no real knowledge of the one true living God, JEHOVAH. Even though we in the 21st century have increased communication, most of society is just as ignorant of JEHOVAH today as people in the Bible who lived thousands of years ago!
Make special note that Old Testament believers are not called “Christians.” Believers were first called “Christians” in Antioch, and they were saved by the Gospel of Grace preached first by the Apostle Paul, according to Acts 11:26.
- 2350 B.C. – Noah and his family were the only true believers, so they were the only survivors of the global flood (Genesis 7:13). At the time of Noah (2350 B.C.), there were only eight believers in the whole then-known world, making millions to a few billion people lost and hell-bound (2 Peter 2:5)!
- 2175 B.C. – Right after the flood, the whole then-known world is assembled at the tower of Babel in pagan worship. While the Bible does not give us the number of believers at this time, we understand there were not many (see Genesis 11:1-9).
- 2100 B.C. – Just prior to Abram (Abraham) being saved, we find that his father’s household is pagan. Joshua 24:2 says: “And Joshua said unto all the people [Israel], Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.” The number of believers in the world was so minute that there were almost no believers! (Noah could have been alive at this time, based on the fact that Noah lived 350 years after the flood; Genesis 9:29. However, it seems as though Noah lost his testimony a short time after the flood.)
- 900 B.C. – Another instance of God having a remnant of believers is found in 1 Kings 19:18. Elijah thought he was the last remaining believer in JEHOVAH, but the Lord told him: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (cf. Romans 11:4). There were only 7,000 Jews who had not worshipped Baal, a pagan god.
- 700 B.C. – Isaiah 1:9 says that God had only a “very small remnant” of believers in Israel. How many? Not many!
- Circa A.D. 27 – Jesus Christ Himself told us in Matthew 7:13,14 that “wide is the gate, and broad [wide] is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many go thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Jesus knew that few would go to heaven, and many would choose to go to hell. Notice the issue of free will—God did not choose them to go to heaven or hell, they went there willingly!
- Circa A.D. 30 – After Christ’s ascension, the eleven apostles are searching for a man to take Judas’s place. Just before the Day of Pentecost, how many believing Jews were still following the apostles in Jerusalem? About 120! There were only 120 believers in Jerusalem after three years of Christ’s ministry (Acts 1:15), and the twelfth apostle (Matthias) was chosen from that group of 120. Although this group of Jewish believers grew to at least 8,000 according to Acts 2:41 and Acts 4:4, this is still a rather small percentage of the whole nation Israel. It is estimated that there could have been 250 million people in the whole then-known world.
- Circa A.D. 55 – The Apostle Paul writes that he knows that he will only be able to lead “some” people to salvation (Romans 11:14; 1 Corinthians 9:22). Paul knew that not many would care to have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and that he would not save “most” or that he would save “all.” There would only be “some” who would be saved. Only a few would place their faith in the Gospel of Grace.
There are approximately 6.8 billion people in the world, and over two billion claim to be “Christian.” I highly doubt that there are two billion Christians in the world today. How could one-third of the whole world be “Christian,” when the Bible was very clear that there have never been many believers? Perhaps there are millions of Christians today, but certainly not billions. Why? Because half of those two billion “Christians” do not even have assurance of salvation in Jesus Christ! They identify with a “paganized” form of Christianity (Christendom), a works-religion that emphasizes man’s performance and ignores the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ.
There are many professing Christians who actually rely on books and teachings that actually contradict the Bible! Many professing Christians are “religious,” trying to merit favor with God by doing something in their own strength. This is not true Christianity, so these people are not true Biblical Christians. Christians are not called to merit God’s favor by adhering to religious commandments; we are hell-bound sinners, and the only way we can be reconciled to God is if God does something on our behalf. This is why Jesus Christ died for our sins!
Christians are called to believe the Bible “rightly divided” and completely trust in it alone (2 Timothy 2:15). Christians are defined by their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and their belief in God’s Word. Doing good works, going to church, praying daily, getting water baptized, giving money to charity, and acknowledging that God exists does not necessarily make a person a Bible-believing saint of the most High God. Only if they have trusted in Christ Jesus alone as Saviour are they Christians.
God wants everyone to go to heaven, which is why the Lord Jesus Christ died to redeem us from our sins. “But God commended his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “God is not willing that any should perish [go to hell], but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)!
Our Lord Jesus Christ has already paved the road to heaven—too bad most people are too blind to see it. Everyone will be presented with the Truth of Scripture at least one time, and they will each have at least one opportunity to take God at His Word (having faith in God’s Word and believing and trusting the Gospel of Grace found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Usually, people are too prideful, too self-righteous, and too religious to simply accept God’s offer. Either they want to do something to provide their own salvation, or they want absolutely nothing to do with God. How sad.
This time, the road less traveled is the one that should be most treasured…by the remnant of genuine believers….
THE GOSPEL OF GRACE (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV)
“1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”