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The Eye of a Needle

What did Jesus Christ mean when He 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?

What did Jesus Christ mean when He 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" (Mark 10:25)? Although the scriptural context is clear—Jesus was warning His followers not to put their trust in riches—the question is puzzling. What exactly was Jesus saying?

Some have believed that the phrase "eye of the needle" refers to the name of a small gate into a city through which camels had to kneel to enter. A number of Bible resources show that this interpretation is incorrect. One representative resource says, "There is no archaeological or historical support for the common idea that the 'needle's eye' was a small pedestrian gate through the city wall" (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 1995, "Tools of the Bible: Needle," p. 1266).

"Jesus' words in Matthew 19:24 (also Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25), that it is easier for a rich man to enter [the kingdom of] heaven than 'for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,' reflect an idea found in early rabbinic writing . . . The statement simply means that humanly speaking, this is an impossible thing. Only a divine miracle can make it possible" (ibid.).

It appears that Christ's words must be taken literally. Just as it is impossible for a camel to go through the tiny eye of a needle, it is equally impossible for those who trust in riches, instead of in God, to enter the Kingdom of God.

 

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