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There was a debate between two famous rabbis about this. One said that the number saved would be one third of the world. To support this he pointed to the ancient Flood in which Noah and his three sons and their families were saved. But of these three sons, Shem, the ancestor of Israel, received the greatest blessing. The second rabbi disagreed and said that the number saved would be much less than that. He pointed out that there was a multitude of people who left Egypt during Israel's great exodus. But it was only two, Joshua and Caleb, who actually entered into the land of promise. (See J.B. Lightfoot's Commentary)

The Bible does tell us in many places that the number of those who will be saved will be few. Paul, the Apostle, wrote in his letter to the Romans:

"Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: 'Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved.'" (Romans 9.27)

The number of those saved will be a "remnant," a small portion of those who could have been saved. Jesus explains why at the end of Luke 13. He said, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem... How often I would have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not" (13.34).

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