Left Out

When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselvesthrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

Luke 13:25-30

Once again, context is the key to understanding the Bible. Contrary, to the popular opinion in Christianity today, these verses are not referring to someone being left behind and destined for damnation. As we will see shortly, these verses should not be used to scare people into making a decision to follow Jesus so that they can be saved eternally. In fact, we all know that that is not a technique for eternal salvation taught anywhere in scripture.

Let’s begin with something that the text says is too much for the decisional salvation interpretation. The last verse has people in kingdom who are first, last, and everywhere in between. Does this fit the Bible’s overall teaching on eternal salvation? Are there different levels of heaven depending on how “good” we did during our lives?

The simple answer is, NO!

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Romans 8:17

If someone is child of God, they are not only an heir of God, they are a joint-heir with Christ. This means in eternal joy, all the children of God will be equal. After all, can someone really be an heir greater than Jesus Himself? I think not.

Now, that we can clearly see that this is not talking about eternal salvation, what are dealing with?

The context of this passage is part of an ongoing discussion between Jesus and the unbelieving religious leaders of Judea. These men think they have a corner on salvation and that they are the only ones who can be in and rule the kingdom. Their problem is that their definition of the kingdom is at odds with the true kingdom of God.

Therefore, those who do not believe in Jesus at that time in history will see people (Gentiles) from all over the known world sitting down in peace with the forefathers that they supposedly cherished so much. They wanted a kingdom that fit their definition and the location they desired.

God’s kingdom is not bound by geographic location nor can it be designed and ruled by mere mortal men.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

John 4:21-23

Within 40 years of Jesus’ ascension back to His throne, the church (the visible manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth) left the city of Jerusalem and was established in many locations beyond the kingdom of Israel. Those that believed Jesus was the Christ, believed what He and the Apostles taught them. So, when it was time, they left Jerusalem.

Those seeking an earthly kingdom with an earthly Messiah stayed in Jerusalem and were outside the kingdom (visible church) in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. 

What I find most interesting about this passage is the condition of those outside the kingdom. They are weeping and gnashing their teeth. Yes, they are sorry for their condition but there is no penitence! Even if this text were talking about eternal salvation ( which it clearly is not), the threat of eternal damnation did not bring repentance to these men. And being in the punishment itself did not bring repentance either!

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