How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God! (Luke 18:24)
Relate: Jesus said that it is more difficult for a rich person to enter heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Now I have heard an illustration about there being a gate in Jerusalem called the needle gate and it was so small that for a camel to go through the merchant had to strip everything off and crawl through on its knees and… baloney. The story sounds great but it is not true. If you happen to be reading this and you are a pastor or teacher, please check your facts and don’t repeat stories like this.
I have also heard that Jesus was talking about how people would make rope from camel’s hair but that the hair was too thick and they had to unwind it in order to… malarkey. This one is also just as bogus as the one before it. Jesus was using a figure of speech that was common in the Jewish world. It is a metaphor. There are two differences where in Jewish Talmudic literature coming from further east they talk about an elephant going through an eye of a needle. In Babylon, where these passages were written, the elephant would have been the largest animal seen. In Jerusalem, few if any would have ever seen an elephant. The camel would be the largest animal they have seen. Jesus was using a metaphor to say that a rich person going to heaven was the next thing to impossible.
React: How rich are you? Have you ever looked that up? I am in the top 7% of the richest people in the world. Where are you? Check here:
You are rich. That’s the bad news. The good news is actually a third use of the metaphor that can be found in ancient Jewish literature. In the Midrash Rabbah, we read: “The Holy One said, ‘Open for me a door as big as the eye of a needle and I will open for you a door through which may pass tents and camels.’ ” It is like mustard seeds and moving mountains. No matter how rich you might be, there is still hope. Give to God your “needle’s eye” worth of faith and He will make a way for even a “fat camel” like you to get to heaven.