The fall of Jerusalem in 70AD and how the many statements and prophecies of Jesus and other New Testament writers relate to it is a lost teaching in this day and age. It is the cause of much doctrinal error and eschatological [end time doctrine] errors. The history of the fall of Jerusalem proves beyond doubt that those that rejected Christ, those that took the "wide gate" of conformity to the status quo, suffered horribly.
This same subject is discussed in Matt. 7:13, 14. "Enter in at the strait gate! Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction. There will be many that go that way. Strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life. Only a few will find it."
The language teaches that only a few walked in the narrow way marked out by Christ during that time. The many chose the broader way of wrong. If we relate these passages to the after life, we cannot escape the conclusion that heaven will only contain a few souls and the overwhelming majority will be perpetually burned. This conclusion would negate countless scriptures and make the devil more successful than Jesus the Christ. These passages have no reference to the future world whatsoever. They speak of the few who, in our Savior's day, went right while the overwhelming majority went wrong. While at first this may sound like I am putting a spin on this scripture - wait until you get the whole picture!
Students of scripture - learn this well! The Greek word for destruction used here and many other verses is a state that one can be saved from.
It important to understand that the word for 'destruction' [Greek 'apoleia'] in Matthew means destruction, waste or ruin. Believers in eternal burnings READ INTO words like this the meaning of hell fire and brimstone. Here are some other uses of the word:
Mat 26:7-8 and Mark 14:14, "a woman approached Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive fragrant oil. She poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw it, they were indignant. "Why this waste [destruction]?" they asked."
Acts 8:18-24, "Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money saying, "Give this authority to me as well so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish [be destroyed] with you because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have no part or portion in this matter for your heart is not right before God. Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity. But Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me yourselves so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."
As the example in Acts 8 makes clear, repentance is possible from a state of 'destruction.' Several other uses of this word show that a person can be delivered from, or repent of, a state of 'destruction'.
Acts 25:16, "To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die [destruction], before the accused confronts the accusers face to face and be allowed to answer for himself concerning the alleged crime."
Clearly Acts 25 makes clear again that one can be in a state of 'destruction' and yet be delivered from it since a trial could result in a man's freedom. The language in Luke has a more special application to the Jews than that in Matthew. The verse in Matthew could be applied to every age since Christ. It is as true now as at the time Jesus spoke. The path of godliness is followed by a comparative few. The way of evil is broad and much traveled. People can be on the path to destruction and repent. Clearly, the word 'destruction' here doesn't mean eternal burnings.