The Many and The Few

I Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea.

The cloud spoken of here is the Shekinah Glory.

I Corinthians 10:2-3 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat.

The children of Israel were fed spiritual meat. The Lord fed them Himself through the Word of Moses.

I Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

They partook of Christ during their journey from Egypt to Canaan.

I Corinthians 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

The Greek reads: With the many of them God was not well pleased. All Christians collectively are the many and the few. The few are the remnant. They are the ones that walk with God into the deeper things of Spirit. The many are the lukewarm and half-hearted. God is not pleased with the many. The majority are always lukewarm. Those who want to really move into the deeper things of God are a remnant.

The many are overthrown in the wilderness. Everybody has to have a wilderness. Even Jesus Christ went into the wilderness and was tried. The wilderness is the proving ground for a real walk with God, and it is there that the many are overthrown. The lukewarm and half-hearted will not be able to stand when the work of the cross begins.

In Matthew 16:24 Jesus said, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross…. If a person really wants to come after the Lord Jesus (that is, become as He is, partake of His nature), then the first step is to deny self. After that he must take up his cross, and there is only one reason for taking up a cross, and that is to die on it. Many of the many, though, won’t even get past the denying of self. The many don’t want to deny self. They want to do what they want to do, live and direct their own life.

I Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

This is the reason they were overthrown in the wilderness. Proverbs 3:5-7 reveals the evil things they lusted after: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. The evil the Lord is speaking about here is the evil of doing your own thing – directing your own paths and leaning upon your own understanding. A Christian that is wise in his own eyes is an arrogant Christian.

I Corinthians 10:7 Neither be idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

This is what the Laodicean Christians were doing (Revelation 3:14-22). They were playing church. They thought they were rich and had need of nothing, but Jesus said they were miserable, naked, and blind. The Scripture pictures Him outside the Laodicean church knocking on the door and saying, “If you will let Me in, I will come in and sup with you.” They didn’t have time for Christ; they were too busy with their religiosity. They didn’t want the fullness of Christ. This is the kind of thing Paul is talking about here. The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play their religious games. We’re not talking about the most wicked things out in the world. The greatest sin a Christian can commit is to do his own thing, choose his own religious way.

I Corinthians 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

Look at this spiritually. First, it says they were overcome in the wilderness. Then it says they fell in one day. You will recall that a day in the Scriptures can represent a relationship. They came to a place where they were to have a certain relationship with the Lord and they fell. They couldn’t break through.

Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

The majority of the population is not seeking to enter into anything of God. Even many Christians are not seeking to enter into any more than what they have at the present time. They are satisfied right where they are and not looking for any more of God in their lives. However, this verse is saying that many who are seeking to enter in will not be able. They have a revelation that there is more of God available and are seeking to enter in but cannot. Does that bother you? It bothers me. This may be difficult for some to understand, but it is quite possible to want more of God in your life and not be able to make it happen. Why is that? There must be an emptying out of self in order to receive more of God in your life, and that means a work of the cross. Many Christians, while wanting more of God, don’t want it enough to die out to self. The cross experience exceeds their dedication.

Deny yourself! Take up your cross! The many fell in one day. They came to a relationship with the Lord that demanded an elimination of self and they couldn’t make the transition. Well-meaning Christians, but they are falling in the day of His Lordship! It is one thing to want more of God; it is quite another thing to be dedicated to the means.

I Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

The Israelites, while in their wilderness journey to Canaan, tempted Christ. “Well, I’m not going to reject Christ.” Every time you do not take the initiative to move more into God because you are satisfied with your present state, you are rejecting Christ.

I Corinthians 10:10-11 Neither murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

In verse 11 the Greek word translated “ends” is telos, which means “the goal, the point aimed at as a limit, or ultimate result.” The Greek word translated “world” is aion, which more literally means “age.” So, these things are written for those whom “the ultimate goal of the ages are come.” Spiritually, the “ends of the ages” refers to the realms of maturity. So, these things are written for the few, those who are coming to the fulfillment of their purpose in God.

Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of [the] many shall wax cold.

We must take note of three things in this verse. One, the Greek word for “iniquity” is more accurately translated “lawlessness.” A Christian that is not subject to the Lord as he should be, but is doing his own thing, is lawless. Second, the Greek word for “love” is agape, which is divine love. This can only refer to Christians, because non-Christians do not have divine love. Third, the definite article “the” precedes the word “many” in the original text. Therefore, the divine love of “the many” among Christians will gown cold because of their lack of submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Literally, he that shall endure into the end (telos), into that ultimate purpose that God has for them shall be saved. Lethargy and passivity seems to be taking over in the Christian world. Consequently, “the many” will be in trouble; for as Jesus said, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:24). Those who enter into the fullness of God’s provision will be “the few.”

Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose