|| Bible Question: When
Jesus said, " . . . it is easier for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,"
was He referring to a geographical formation called the "eye
of the needle"?
Bible Answer: Three
of the four gospels record this saying from Jesus. It is recorded
in Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25, and Luke 18:25.
Geographical Location. First,
was Jesus referring to a geographical location? The answer is no.
There are no historical or archaeological findings that have been
identified as the "eye of a needle." Some writers have claimed
this was a reference to a gate, but there is no evidence for that
conclusion other than the author's imagination.
was using a parable to make a point. At the time of Jesus there were
several similar proverbs. There was a Jewish proverb which says that
a man cannot even in his dreams watch an elephant go through the eye
of a needle. There was also a proverb in the Koran which says, For
those who have denied and scorned Our revelations the gates of heaven
shall not be opened; nor shall they enter Paradise until the camel
shall pass through the eye of a needle (Koran 7:39). The Talmud
also has a statement A needles eye is not too narrow for
two friends, nor is the world wide enough for two enemies. These
proverbs may have been adapted from Jesus' proverb since both the
Koran and the Jewish Talmud were written after Jesus.
is also possible they had a different origin. In any case the proverbs
have the same meaning: impossibility.
was not saying that one cannot be rich. Nor was He saying that God
rejects rich people because they are rich. Even Abraham, Job, King
David, and King Solomon were very wealthy men. Jesus' point was that
when one is wealthy that person may be willing to "serve God"
but not completely. When it comes to depending on God for the forgiveness
of one's sins, we find it hard to admit we are nothing when we think
we have everything. The man Jesus was talking to was pursuing God
according to his own heart.
young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what
am I still lacking?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish
to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the
poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow
Me." But when the young man heard this statement, he went
away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. "And
again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of
God. (NASB) Matthew 19:20-24
It is not enough to want to please God. The true test of being God's
children is a willingness to give up everything if asked to do so.
This is hard when one feels he has most everything. It is as difficult
as a camel trying to go through the eye of a needle. Neither can a
rich man enter heaven who wants to get there on his own power. After
he dies and realizes that he needs God, he is too late.