by GC Willis, a study on tribulation and anguish. public domain
The Last Lap of the Narrow Way — Thlipsis, Plateia.
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
The "Narrow Way" begins at the "Strait Gate." (Matt. 7: 13,14). The Greek word here for "Narrow" is thlibo, meaning 'compressed.' It is also translated 'afflicted' (2 Cor. 1: 6); 'suffer tribulation' (1 Thess. 3: 4); 'troubled' (2 Cor. 7: 5). The Greek word thlipsis (formed from thlibo) is used over and over again to describe the normal path of the Christian through this world. For instance, in John 16: 33, "In the world ye shall have tribulation," we have thlipsis used. In Romans 5: 3, "We glory in tribulation," we find this word again. In 2 Cor. 4: 17, "Our light affliction," it is the same. And the examples might be greatly multiplied. The Bible makes it unmistakeably clear that the "Narrow Way" is a way of tribulation.
We must remember that the word 'strait', in the expression "The strait gate," is an entirely different word in English to 'straight'. We speak of a 'straight line;' but a 'strait gate' means a 'narrow gate.' The Greek word is a 'stenos' gate. It is used three times in the New Testament, and always means 'narrow.' From this word stenos another word is formed, stenochoreo. This word is used seven times in the New Testament, including the noun formed from it. In 2 Cor. 6: 12 we read: "Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels." In Romans 8: 35: "Shall . . . . distress?" 2 Cor. 6: 4: "In necessities, in distresses;" 2 Cor. 12: 10: "In distresses for Christ's sake." So we see that the 'Strait Gate' by which we enter the 'Narrow Way' is one that brings us distress and pressure. That is the proper, normal path for the Christian in this world. "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3: 12). True, we may seek to reign as kings down here, and dwell in our 'ceiled houses:' but that is not the path marked out by our Master for His servants.
And what is the 'Last Lap' of this 'Narrow Way'? It leads us to "The Street of the City," the Heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21: 21; 22: 2). The word for 'Street' here is plateia or platus. It means 'Broad' or 'wide,' and is the word used for "Wide is the gate" in Matt. 7: 13. We walk the 'Narrow Way' down here: but when we get Home, we will find that it led to the 'Broad Street,' paved with gold where are the 'Many Mansions.' And then we will find it was no mistake when the Apostle said that our light thlipsis, our light affliction, which is but for a moment, (that is the length of the Narrow Way compared to the length of the Broad Street above), worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory. (2 Cor. 4: 17).
And what is the 'Last Lap' of the 'Broad Way' that is entered through the 'Wide Gate' that leadeth to destruction? Romans 2: 9 gives us the answer: "Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile." 'Tribulation' here is thlipsis, and 'Anguish' here is stenochoria, the very words we have just seen that mark the path of the Christian through this world! The Christian starts with the 'Strait Gate' and the 'Narrow Way' that tell of Tribulation and Anguish, but they are but for a moment,' and he ends in the 'Broad Street' and the Many Mansions, for Eternity. The Unbeliever starts with the 'Wide Gate' and the 'Broad Way' that perhaps tell of ease and luxury: but they end in thlipsis and stenochoria, — Tribulation and Anguish, — for Eternity!