The question of how many souls will go to heaven is an intriguing one for many Christians. On one hand, we know heaven will be glorious beyond imagination and God desires all people to be saved. On the other hand, Jesus himself said the road to heaven is narrow and few find it.
So what does the Bible really say about the number of souls going to heaven?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Bible does not give an exact number of souls who will go to heaven. However, verses suggest more people will choose the wide road to destruction than the narrow road to heaven.
Only a Remnant Will Be Saved
Old Testament Scriptures Point to a Remnant
The Old Testament contains several prophecies that only a remnant of God’s people will be saved. Isaiah wrote, “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved” (Isaiah 10:22).
Jeremiah stated, “In the whole land, declares the Lord, two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it” (Jeremiah 39:9). Zephaniah also predicted, “I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the Lord” (Zephaniah 3:12).
Clearly, these prophets foresaw that only a portion of Israel would come to salvation.
Jesus Said Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen
Jesus himself said the way to heaven is narrow while the road to destruction is wide and many follow it (Matthew 7:13-14). He also taught many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). On one occasion he was asked, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
Jesus answered, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to” (Luke 13:23-24). Jesus made plain that heaven’s gates are narrow and not everyone will enter them.
The Road to Heaven is Narrow
Other New Testament verses also indicate most people are on the broad road to hell. Acts 16:17 states, “the way of salvation” was made known to the Philippians jailer and his household. The definite article implies there is only one way.
1 Peter 4:18 warns, “it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” This signals that few will find eternal life. While God desires all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), the sad reality is many reject Christ and his narrow path to heaven.
In the end, Scripture is clear that only a fraction will embrace the gospel and enter heaven’s pearly gates. The road is narrow but open to all who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
God Desires All to Be Saved
God Takes No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked
The Bible clearly states that God desires all people to repent and come to salvation. As Ezekiel 18:23 says, “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?”
God is perfectly just, but also perfectly merciful. He wishes for no one to face eternal separation from Him.
Jesus Died for the Sins of the Whole World
When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for the sins of all humanity (1 John 2:2). As 1 Timothy 2:3-4 expresses, “God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Salvation through Christ is available to every single person on earth.
Tragically, many will still reject God’s free gift and choose eternal destruction instead of life with Him. But that is not God’s wish for anyone.
God’s Grace is Available to All
The apostle Peter explains that the Lord “is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s grace is open to everyone – no matter how sinful their lives have been in the past.
Paul writes in Romans 5:20 that “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” There are no limits on God’s grace and no exceptions on who can receive it. Even in the final judgment, some from every tongue, tribe and nation will be saved (Revelation 7:9).
In the end, the precise number who will enter heaven is known only to God. But we do know that His desire is for every single person to repent and receive eternal life with Him. Tragically, many will still reject His incredible, undeserved grace. Yet the offer remains open to all.
The Number of the Redeemed is Vast
A Great Multitude from Every Nation
The Bible indicates that the number of people who will be saved and go to heaven will be vast. In Revelation 7:9, John describes seeing a vision of “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”
This shows that the redeemed will be incredibly numerous and diverse, coming from all corners of the earth. In Revelation 5:11, John hears angels declaring that the number of the redeemed is “myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,” indicating an extremely large number.
God’s desire is that “all people will be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4), so it is likely that a great majority of humanity throughout history will accept Christ’s offer of salvation and spend eternity with Him in heaven.
The Redeemed are Innumerable
There are several other passages that speak to the vast numbers of those who will be redeemed. In Genesis 22:17, God promises Abraham that his offspring will be as numerous as “the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.” This imagery is indicative of a very large multitude.
Hebrews 11:12 indicates that Abraham believed God’s promise that his descendants would be “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” In Revelation 20:8, John speaks of how Satan will gather “Gog and Magog” at the end of the age, noting that “their number is like the sand on the seashore.”
This again points to an extremely large group of people. While we do not know the exact number of the redeemed, Scripture repeatedly affirms that it will be an incredibly large multitude from diverse backgrounds across the earth.
Their innumerable voices will one day join the eternal chorus around God’s throne in heaven.
How Should We Respond?
Hold to Truth and Grace
When pondering profound questions like how many will be saved, it is wise to hold firmly to what Scripture reveals, while also extending grace to those who see things differently. God’s Word makes clear that Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6), and that repentance and faith in Christ are necessary for salvation (Mark 1:15).
However, only the Lord knows the human heart, and we should avoid passing judgment on others (Matthew 7:1-5). We can humbly share the gospel, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead people to repentance and faith according to His timing.
Make the Most of Every Opportunity
Rather than engaging in unprofitable speculation about the eternal destiny of humanity, a better response is to make the most of every evangelistic opportunity. Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20), and His love compels us to plead with men and women to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
When we stand before Christ, we will not be asked how many souls we thought would be saved. We will be asked what we did with the opportunities given to share the good news of salvation with our neighbors and the nations.
Trust God’s Justice and Mercy
While Scripture warns that many will perish apart from Christ, it also declares that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). The Judge of all the earth will surely do what is right (Genesis 18:25). We can trust Him to balance His attributes of justice and mercy perfectly.
Our wisest course is to heed Jesus’ words: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). Where God’s Word has spoken clearly, we should believe.
Where it maintains silence, we would do well to follow the example of the Psalmist who proclaimed: “I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me” (Psalm 131:1).
In summary, the Bible indicates many will choose the broad path of destruction, but God desires all to be saved. The number who will respond to the gospel is vast and uncountable. As believers, we can hold these twin truths in balance – God’s warnings about the narrow road and His mercy available to all.
This should motivate us to make the most of every chance to show others the way to heaven through faith in Christ.