What did Jesus mean when He said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
There are several different schools of thought on what Jesus was referring to in saying it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to gain eternal life (Matthew...

July 01 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20130511 11776 1xe65rn Pattyann Oloughlin. I'M Blessed to be a Child Of God.Mother of 3 Boys,loving sis
Correct.. We can not serve 2 masters.. Money should not be our first thought when we wake up everyday or the last thought every evening,, God wants our hearts.. He see's our Hearts,, be careful Not to follow the Money .. .. Ask and you will recieve,, But remember to always ask for Wisdom first,, Remember the money we earn or recieve is not ours,, lesson number ONE~~

July 11 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Al Mari Private practice as a cardiovascular & thoracic surgeon
This statement was in a narrative regarding a man who was asking "what he can do to inherit eternal life"(Mk. 10:17-29).

And for the context, please notice the emphasis of the question on "man" Mk. 10:17,"what shall (I) do that (I) may inherit eternal life?. It was about having "self" doing something to attain eternal life.

Also, this trust in what "man" can do was reiterated in Luke 18:9-30, in v-9, "And he spake this parable unto certain which (trusted in themselves) that they were righteous, and despised others...".

Moreover, notice in Mk 10:28-29, "Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is (no) man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,". Even when Peter and the disciples claimed that they (humans) left material things for the sake of Jesus' and the gospel, Jesus categorically denied that claim.

It appears that there was this belief predominant at that time that man can attain "eternal life" with "good works". Even now, some think this way.

The focus of Jesus' answer was to emphasize that "eternal life" is impossible for man (even rich man, or apostles they may be) to achieve on his own. That the "righteousness of God" is not anchored on man; it is a gift of God the Father and by grace. All mankind will die one way or another as "it is once appointed unto man to die and afterwards, the resurrection." (Heb. 9:27). As to eternal life after resurrection, this can be gifted to us only by God the Father. While Jesus is the "only specific man chosen by the Father to effectuate his plan, he himself died as a man and was "powerless". Jesus proved this concept by dying himself and, being dead, was dependent on the Father to resurrect him so that we "shall(future) be saved by his life"(Rom. 5:10).

And Jesus knowing that those around him saw him as a "man", he therefore had to deflect and redirect to a "default answer", that no man, yes "none is good but God". Eternal life can only be given by God the Father (John 3:16). Jesus was here in this narrative, to honor God, his Father. And, you and I now know that man-Jesus' role was to follow the will of the Father, as in "not my will but your will"(Lu. 22:42)

With the context thus explained, we can now understand Mk. 10:23-25 "Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

The preceding is clear as to the wisdom of Jesus' way of answering the question, "What can man (and for that matter "any man") do to inherit eternal life?" No man can. It is "frank cluelessness", silly and preposterous to even think that man can attain eternal life on his/her "own works". It is so ridiculous that the gravity of there ignorance was displayed by him equating their argument to "..it is easier for the camel go through the eye of a needle"." But Jesus said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." (Mk.10:27). Even, the counter argument of a Peter and disciples notwithstanding(Mk.10:28-29). 

Through man-Jesus, his death reconciled us to the Father and having been resurrected he went to the Father to receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. This is the Holy Spirit given as a gift as promised to YHVH ELOHIM, the Creator Logos who incarnated to Jesus. This HS was not a reward for Jesus' death; again Jesus' death was for "reconciliation". But the "faith (of) Jesus" on the Father whose promise would be kept for sure, as a "gift by grace". From "faith of Jesus to our faith".The HS "seals, sanctifies and develops" in us the "mind of Christ; for us to be "like him", and to "bring many sons to glory"(Heb.2:10).

Indeed, eternal life is not to attained through "any man's own works" it is a gift of God the Father, by grace.

March 01 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Frederick Thomas Rom 3:4 ...let God be true...
The eye of a needle. Mat 19:24
 Matthew 19:24  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into the kingdom of God
I pick up in 1Timothy chapter 6 the affect riches can have on our salvation.

1 Ti 6:17   Paul spoke earlier at length about those who desired to be rich. Here he deals with those who are already rich. Timothy should command them not to be haughty. This is a temptation to the wealthy. They are apt to look down on those who do not have a great deal of money as being uncouth, uncultured, and not very clever. This, of course, is not necessarily true. Great riches are not a sign of God's blessing in the NT, as they were in the OT. Whereas wealth was a token of divine favor under the law, the great blessing of the new dispensation is affliction.

The rich should not trust in, literally, “the uncertainty of riches.” Money has a way of sprouting wings and flying away. Whereas great resources give the appearance of providing security, the fact is that the only sure thing in this world is the word of God.

Therefore, the rich are exhorted to trust in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. One of the great snares of riches is that it is difficult to have them without trusting in them. Yet this is really a form of idolatry. It is a denial of the truth that God is the One who gives us richly all things to enjoy. This latter statement does not condone luxurious living, but simply states that God is the Source of true enjoyment, and material things cannot produce this.

6:18   The Christian is reminded that the money he possesses is not his own. It is given to him as to a steward. He is responsible to use it for the glory of God and for the well-being of his fellow men. He should use it in the performance of good works and be willing to share it with the needy.

John Wesley's rule of life was, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

Willing to share expresses the idea that he should be ready to use it wherever the Lord may indicate.

6:19   This verse emphasizes the truth that it is possible for us to use our material things in such a way in this life that they will reap eternal dividends. By using our funds in the work of the Lord at the present time, we are storing up... a good foundation for the time to come. In this way, we lay hold on the life which is life indeed.

September 24 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Mark 10:25. - It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, etc. This is a strong hyperbolic proverbial expression to represent anything that is very difficult to do. Dr. John Lightfoot, in his Hebrew expositions of Matthew's Gospel, quotes instances from the rabbinic writings of a very similar phrase intended to represent something that is possible. For example, he quotes one rabbi disputing with another, who says, "Perhaps thou art one of those who can make an elephant pass through the eye of a needle; that is, "who speak things that are impossible.' St. Jerome says," It is not the absolute impossibility of the thing which is set forth, but the infrequency of it."

October 25 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
In Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, and Luke 18:25, Jesus spoke of the extreme difficulty for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. In fact, it is impossible. 

Most commentators agree that the explanation of a camel with its load removed and shuffling on its knees through a low-arched door in a large gate is a contrived explanation. No archaeological or historic evidence exists of a gate like this.

However, the idea of an actual camel is probably not what Jesus was referring to either. It is suggested that ‘camel,’ (Greek ‘kamelos’) should be ‘thick rope,’ (Greek ‘kamilos’). They sound the same and differ by one letter. Although the ‘kamilos’ is a rare Greek word, other languages have the same similarity. In Hebrew, ‘gml,’ can be either ‘camel’ or ‘cable.’ The older Aramaic word that has no vowel points as the ancient Hebrew, is ‘gmla.’ also meaning both ‘camel’ and ‘cable.’ Jesus may have drawn on either the Hebrew or Aramaic for His statement. 

‘Rope’ or ‘cable’ appears in some old translations such as the Armenian, Georgian, Peshitta, and some Greek. Several commentators such as Cyril and Theophylact, noted that the hawser is meant as the rope from a ship’s apparatus. Cyril stated that the ropes went by the name ‘camels,’ which could solve the problem once for all.

The figure of speech used here is a hyperbole or exaggeration. What usually goes through the eye of a needle is a thread, but a rope would be an oversized thread. Everyone, especially fishermen who mended nets and surgeons (Luke uses a surgeon’s needle), would understand the comical imagery of a person struggling to thread a rope through a needle. 

However, if Jesus had meant camel, the people would be scratching their heads to figure the bizarre connection between a camel and a needle. There is none. Threading a rope through a needle is absurd but putting a camel through a needle is even more outlandishly absurd and not visually conceivable. 

The comparisons are always a like item but magnified. Jesus used this type of hyperbole in Matthew 7:3-5, in referring to a ‘beam’ or plank in contrast with a mote, a speck of wood as sawdust. A plank is an enormous speck of wood. Another exaggeration like this is Hosea 8:7, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” 

Another example is Matthew 23:23, 24. The leaders zealously paid more attention to paying tithes of small herbs and ignored the more important matters of justice, mercy and faith. To them Jesus said, “Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.” This is a well-known proverb and here it means an actual camel. As meticulous as they were to prevent the tiniest unclean animal, the gnat, from being in their wine or vinegar, they figuratively swallowed the largest unclean animals of their world. 

Jesus taught the impossibility of rich men entering into the kingdom of God, but with God it is possible, Matthew 24:26.

January 07 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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