The eye of a needle and being rich


“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” (Matthew 19:24)

This phrase in the bible is one of the most phrases that refused to enter my heart in my childhood. While I never considered my family to be a rich one, the whole idea of Jesus descriminating and generalizing against rich people felt against his nature for me. Subconsciously I never absorbed it, and consciously I tried always to justify it by what he said next:

“Who then can be saved?” (Luke 18:26). And Jesus replied, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).

Things which are impossible with men are possible with God? So that means that no matter how much it is hard for a man to be saved, God can always do it, and thus everyone can end up in heaven.

The eye of a needle stayed at the back of my mind till few days ago when suddenly it crossed my thoughts path, and while re-thinking again that phrase of Jesus, I decided to Google it in order to get the phrase literally as it has been written in the bible in order to quote it here for discussion.

To my surprise, and maybe *someone* wanted to reveal something for me. A big interesting surprise has been waiting for me. For some scholars, they believe that the eye of the needle IS NOT what I have literally taken before as being the eye of the needle of sewing, in fact, it may most probably has been a small gate at the entrance of Jerusalem.

“When the city-keepers had locked the main gates, camels and their owners who arrived after hours could squeeze through this gate.”

Which may be explained that camels can enter the eye of the needle if they let go of their baggage. ie, Rich people can enter heaven if they don’t keep themselves too much attached to their material properties.

That is an impressive interpretation to that phrase that kept me in owe, thinking of how much people can up with different interpretation for a supposed holy phrases. It made me wonder that even if those holy books are the words of God, how much of it do God followers get precisely? and how much would it easy if they just take the core of love and apply it to their lives instead of following verses that can easily be mis-interpreted?

15 thoughts on “The eye of a needle and being rich

  1. hmmm doesn’t the link that you have there totally demolish what you were trying to say ? and honestly i think he does a good job at it. the rationale for rich people finding it “harder” to get to heaven is that money is power and power corrupts that has always been the case, even in islam a similar statement is made. so your original grimace with verse was correct😀 what you have mentioned is not the way a religious person should adhere to his religion. religion is usually an all or nothing deal. you can’t whimsically deny statements and verses that deny your own personal moral code.

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  2. no_angel, it does, in a way😛But I somehow disagree with that. Power doesn’t always corrupt, and if there is any slight different interpretation to the verse, then it is worth thinking of. Besides, the gates being called eyes of needles is very interesting in its own merits.I don’t also agree with the notion that religion is an all or nothing deal. Verses do have different interpretations and explanation of some people may end up contrary of what is meant in those verses. There is no or all deal. We all take what suits us.

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  3. <>Observer<>, it’s an interesting verse that is constantly pondered upon. But most theologians agree with the context in which the Eye of the Needle refers to the small gate in Jerusalem, as you’ve discovered.I agree with you that power doesn’t <>always<> corrupt. It just corrupts most of the time.🙂 This is why Jesus didn’t say that it was <>impossible<> for a rich man to enter into heaven; he just said that it is difficult.You will find that many people of influence tend to “not need God” because they have everything they need. But the Bible tells of plenty of wealthy, blessed people that are close to God and did not let their personal possessions come between their relationship with God.I also agree that sometimes the literal translation, taken out of context, can be tricky and sometimes dangerous. This goes for religious teachings across the world.

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  4. Interesting🙂I guess it was meant to be that way(interpreted in different ways), imagine what the world would be like if all ppl followed the same interpretation of the “holy book”, every interpretation suits one person’s nature more than the other.For example, heaven and hell, for me it is simple if you do good, you will feel good and that is heaven, if you do bad things you will feel bad and that is hell, if I would believe that there is a real physical hell and heaven in the afterlife, my life on earth would be meaningless, I would never care or fight for my rights, I would think this is not the time for justness it will come after I die …. For others believing in afterlife is what makes them good and productive on earth…I think that if “god” wanted the holy books to be clear he would’ve made them clear .. but he wants them to be interpreted differently🙂

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  5. sorry i should’ve used tends since i was quoting my bad. regarding that explanation of it being a gate and is an allegory to unloading your earthly sins. for one there is no historical evidence of there ever being a gate so its more likely to be a story of lore rather than fact. the other is that it detracts from <>the impossibility of the act that is mentioned in the next verse.<> (dave it does say it is impossible rather than difficult) plus if it was an allegory then paul wouldn’t have emphasized that they have let go of their material wealths a few verses later.my understanding of the verse is that it was a common idiom at the time to show the difficulty of the task nothing more nothing less. idioms aren’t literal by their nature. as for religion being all or nothing, if that isn’t the case then we would never have religious sects and each main religion will be a single unite rather than a fragmentation of polarized sects. but one thing all of them agree upon that their main tenants are sacred and are not to be questioned . hence why i say it is an all or nothing and you can nitpick your way through religion.

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  6. على الرغم من ان الفرضية قد هدمها الكاتب الا انه التفسير الاكثر اقترابا اعجبت انا به شخصيا كان لابد لهم من التخخف من الاحمال للدخول من البوابة …بالنسبة لموضوع an all or nothing dealالدين خاضع للأنسان و بالتالى ممكن نفس الاية تتفسر بأكتر من معنى المهم زى ما قلتى take the core of love and apply it to their lives instead of following verses that can easily be mis-interpreted

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  7. natasha, interested thought. The question is: Why God didnt make holy text clearer? Maybe because he wants people to be different? But can we people realize this and accept it?Abbas, I agree with you. Welcome to my blog.

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  8. Admin says:

    that is one weird article!!man, it’s already known that God’s expressions like “Rich” people are not taken literally.when God is talking about “Rich” people not entering the heaven he surely doesn’t mean that everyone with fifty thousand US Dollars and above will not enter heaven!! God’s expressions are much deeper than what you think, when God says “Rich” people here he means those greedy people who are so attached to their materials and physical life more than their spiritual life!! because for sure when you die and meet God, his heaven criteria will not be based on the question “how much you have in your pocket?” but he will ask “how much and what do u have in your heart?”

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  9. Hamza, you are welcome man🙂Rani, ya ahlan wa sahlan fel blogshpere😛. I know that sometiems versus are not to be taken literally, but if you do a little google search you would find many articles about this issues. The gate theory is presented by many, and while some disregarded it, it may have some of truth. It is just interesting to know that such ideas exist, dont you think so?

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  10. Admin says:

    Thanks Fadi..well, i know that there are some articles about this, but when it comes to such clear things all what u have to do is to turn your faith on, cuz many ppl think many different things but they are not always true especially when things comes to God cuz those stuff are spiritual, and cant be converted to physical tangible things to touch, this is what is called faith!speaking out of this clear case, there are some cases that u dnt fully understand but thats not because its wrong but because we cant understand and cover God in our small minds! remember the story of the little boy trying to move the water of an ocean to a small hole!!religious facts are spiritual so u can understand 90% of it using ur physical mind, the rest is based on ur trust and faith in God!

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  11. bambam says:

    rani i hope you dont take this the wrong way because i am really curious to know. have you ever read any of the three instances of the story that this verse is taken from ?

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  12. Admin says:

    yes, i know how this verse came out and what does it deeply mean, otherwise i wont be discussing the whole thing!i never thought that this verse is ambiguous for some people! this is clear as sun shine! God doesn’t care about money!!!!!!!! and he surely doesn’t do any type of discrimination!! am shocked am discussing this clear issue!!!

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