Do Gentiles Have a Share in the World to Come?
The Gemara infers from the mishna: Balaam is the one who does not come into the World-to-Come; but other gentiles come into the World-to-Come. Whose opinion is expressed in the mishna?
It is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua, as it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer says: It is written: “The wicked shall be turned back to the netherworld, all that nations that forget G-d”(Psalms 9:18). “The wicked shall be turned back to the netherworld”; these are the sinners of the Jewish people, as only the sinners are sentenced to the netherworld. “All the gentiles that forget G-d”; these are the sinners of the gentiles. From the fact that it is written: “All the gentiles,” it is apparent that none of the gentiles have a share in the World-to-Come. This is the statement of Rabbi Eliezer. Rabbi Yehoshua said to him: But is it stated in the verse that the sinners of the Jewish people will be like all of the gentiles? It is stated only: “All the gentiles that forget G-d.” Rather, the wicked shall be turned back to the netherworld, and who are they? They are all the gentiles that forget G-d. Gentiles who fear G-d do have a share in the World-to-Come.
And that wicked person, Balaam, also provided a sign with regard to himself. He said: “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his” (Numbers 23:10). If I die the death of the righteous, by natural causes, my end will be like his, i.e., I will receive a share in the World-to-Come like the Jewish people. And if I do not die by natural causes: “I will go to my people” (Numbers 24:14), i.e., my fate will be that of the rest of the wicked people in my generation, who have no share in the World-to-Come.