Matthew 21:31


I can remember, when I was younger (teenage age) I sometimes thought about this verse, the German translation (Luther) has:

Wer von den beiden hat des Vaters Willen getan? Sie antworteten: Der erste. Jesus sprach zu ihnen: Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Die Zoellner und Huren kommen eher ins Reich Gottes als ihr.

“eher” in German can mean both earlier or more probably, I always asked myself if it means earlier, would it mean all will be saved? I checked this verse recently and it actually means something like earlier, proagousin in Greek, something like “to precede”

the KJV has:

Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

I know this a kind of unorthodox argument in favor for universalism, but I think it implies very much that finally all enter God’s kingdom, and I already thought had that as a young boy, when I had never heard of universalism and knew the bible only little.

What do you think?

Jesus said FEW would find the way that leads to life

Yep, even the Pharisees get in, eventually. :wink:

I wouldn’t call it “unorthodox”, strictly speaking; but yes, when I was growing up I would always think to myself, ‘huh, that was a weird way of putting it.’ I think in my mind I used to interpret it as, “these are ahead of you in the kingdom”–which I commonly still do, although with me in the Pharisee position. :mrgreen:

Either way, though, it still involves both groups of people (the ‘sinners’ and the ‘Pharisees’) getting in. It’s a little-known nod toward universalism–good eye for seeing it!


Hey, that’s a pretty good univeralism reference! I guess I’d always just thought it was natural for him to say that without reflecting much upon it (as those who truly believe in Him must feel these kinds of sayings are natural regardless of their official beliefs).

Of course, I guess we naturally feel as if the “upright” will be saved – but if the less-than-worthy are saved, and before the others, then surely all will then, right?