The Fourth Book of Ezra is an apocalyptic Jewish work composed towards the end of the first century CE, some years after the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed. 4 Ezra was authored in Hebrew or possibly Greek and survived to our day only in Latin, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian and Arabic translations. Despite the fact that Christian scribes added 2 chapters to this extra-biblical text (not by the biblical prophet Ezra) the rest of the book is full of first-century Jewish theology and many Hebraisms. In this excerpt, Ezra laments why so few people stand to inherit the world to come. You can compare his words to the teaching in Matthew 7:13-14, 22:14, Mark 10:26, and Luke 13:22-23. Many are called by God but only a few righteous will endure to the end. The narrow road is not well-traveled.
” 1 He (angel) answered me and said, “The Most High made this world for the sake of many, but the world to come for the sake of few. 2 But I will tell you a parable, Ezra. Just as, when you ask the earth, it will tell you that it provides very much clay from which earthenware is made, but only a little dust from which gold comes; so is the course of the present world. 3 Many have been created, but few will be saved.”…
41 “For just as the farmer sows many seeds upon the ground and plants a multitude of seedlings, and yet not all that have been sown will come up in due season, and not all that were planted will take root; so all those who have been sown in the world will not be saved.” 42 I answered and said, “If I have found favor before you, let me speak. 43 For if the farmer’s seed does not come up, because it has not received your rain in due season, or if it has been ruined by too much rain, it perishes. 44 But man, who has been formed by your hands and is called your own image because he is made like you, and for whose sake you have formed all things—have you also made him like the farmer’s seed? 45 No, O Lord who are over us! But spare your people and mercy on your inheritance, for you have mercy on your own creation.”
46 He answered me and said, “Things that are present are for those who live now, and things that are future are for those who will live hereafter. 47 For you come far short of being able to love my creation more than I love it. But you have often compared yourself to the unrighteous. Never do so! 48 But even in this respect you will be praiseworthy before the Most High, 49 because you humble yourself, as is becoming for you, and have not deemed yourself to be among the righteous in order to receive the greatest glory. 50 For many miseries will affect those who inhabit the world in the last times, because they have walked in great pride. 51 But think of your own case, and inquire concerning the glory of those who are like yourself, 52 because it is for you that Paradise is opened, the tree of life is planted, the age to come is prepared, plenty is provided, a city is built, rest is appointed, goodness is established and wisdom perfected beforehand.
53 The root of evil is sealed up from you, illness is banished from you, and death is hidden; hell has fled and corruption has been forgotten; 54 sorrows have passed away, and in the end the treasure of immortality is made manifest. 55 Therefore do not ask any more questions about the multitude of those who perish. 56 For they also received freedom, but they despised the Most High, and were contemptuous of his Law, and forsook his ways. 57 Moreover they have even trampled upon his righteous ones, 58 and said in their hearts that there is no God—though knowing full well that they must die. 59 For just as the things which I have predicted await you, so the thirst and torment which are prepared await them. For the Most High did not intend that men should be destroyed; 60 but they themselves who were created have defiled the name of him who made them, and have been ungrateful to him who prepared life for them. 61 Therefore my judgment is now drawing near; 62 I have not shown this to all men, but only to you and a few like you.” (4 Ezra 8. 1-3, 40-62 quoted from Charlesworth edition)