Matthew 7:14 KJV

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Matthew 20:16 KJV

16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Daniel 12:10 KJV

10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

The above texts clearly point to the end times, but Matthew says only a few shall find the gate and be chosen whilst Daniel says many shall purify themselves.

How can we understand the above texts?

  • From among the many who hear the gospel, only a few are chosen, and there were many casualties during the Jewish-Roman war; not sure how the two are even related.
    – Lucian
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 12:20

2 Answers 2


Daniel 12:

9 He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

The word "many" is a relative term. Here it is contrasted with the word "none". It does not specify an absolute number. This "many" is consistent with the description in Revelation 7:

9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

On the other hand, Matthew 7:

13“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

"narrow" is contrasted with "wide".

14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Compared to the wide road, few people are on it. The word "few" does not specify an absolute number but a relative number compared with the number of people on the wide road.

How to reconcile Matthew 7:14 and Daniel 12:10?

Neither passages give any absolute numbers that we can use to compare the two passages. Each passage makes sense without its own context. Revelations shows that many many people will be saved in the end but we don't know exactly how many will be saved or lost. There are no absolute numbers in any of the passages that we can use to make such inter-book comparisons.

  • I agree great answer.
    – 0000
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 17:02

You state the passages you quote “point to the end times”. However you really can’t ‘lump’ these together - Yes they are about end times, but, actually very different ‘times’ in the end times. We need to see where these two, the Matthew passages and the Daniel passage fit.

And, as anything that is eschatological, there are going to be differing views, sometimes very different, so you’ll need to decide how to consider the view I forward here.

The two passages from Matthew are ‘Kingdom Parables’. Specifically the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus came and offered the Jews the opportunity to ‘bring in’ the Kingdom. This would require them to accept him as Messiah. Which the didn’t do. And it’s this rejection that puts these two Matthew accounts into ‘the future’, into the ‘end times’. But where about’s?

The ‘kingdom of heaven’ is an earthly kingdom. Jesus reigns in this kingdom. With an iron rod, ruling in righteousness, that is, expecting ‘right living’. This requires passing through ‘the narrow gate’ - not easy for ‘unbelievers’ - And, it will come - but first the Jews (Jewish leaders) need to accept Him as Messiah. That essential aspect hasn’t changed. To get the nation to do this will require that nation to be brought to a place where they have no choice but to cry out to Him. The point of no return. This being the purpose of what many call ‘the Tribulation’.

And it’s the end of that Tribulation period that Daniel is talking about. That time when the nation (Israel) repents, and accepts their Messiah. Many will realise that Jesus was and is their Messiah, and this repentance results in “Many shall be purified, and made white”. This being during the times of Tribulation, times of extreme wickedness.

Following this, that is, the end result of that period of time that Daniel talks about, the Millennium reign, the Kingdom of Heaven will begin. So the passages you quote fit very different scenarios, and can not be compared.

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