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"Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.” 26 And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” 27 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:23-27

If you do an internet search of this topic (which may be how you found this page) you will find arguments of original language, of either Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic, asking the meaning of this words, “Did they mean a doorway or sewing needle; did they mean a camel or a rope?”

We’re going to do something a little different... We’re going to look at the Bible.

So the statement comes after Christ told a rich ruler to sell everything he owns and give it to the poor. The rich ruler could not do it and walked away sad. Then, Yeshua makes this statement and His disciples were so amazed at the statement that Yeshua made the statement again.

The popular teaching is that this is a small door either next to or within the main gate. To get a camel through the doorway, a person would have to unload the camel and pass the bags through the door to the gatekeeper on the other side. The camel would then have to crawl through the gate and the gatekeeper will help the owner load the belongings back up on the other side.

That’s a really nice story and makes for some really good visuals of giving all we have to Christ but I don’t believe that it’s true; and here’s why.

First of all, the teaching dates back to either the 15th or 19th century. This means that this interpretation was not taught for eight centuries.

Second, while man doors existed, the description of the man door being called the “eye of the needle” is nonexistent in all Biblical text’s.

Notice that Christ was not saying that it’s difficult to get the “camel” through the “eye of the needle”; He was saying it’s impossible. Before you click away from this page listen to what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that rich people will not make it to Heaven and neither is Christ. After all, He said what is impossible to man is possible with God (Mark 10:27). Yet, the truth of the impossibility is still there.

Some may be asking, “Didn’t He say it’s HARD for a rich man to enter Heaven and then give this story?” He did; but, notice what the disciple's response was:

"And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” Mark 10:26

So that’s the third reason I don’t believe the “gate” interpretation is true. If the “gate” interpretation was true then the disciples would not have been so distressed about the impossibility of accomplishing the task that Christ used as an analogy. If this gate was in existence, the disciples would have seen the task of unloading a camel to get it through the door. They would have looked at Christ and said, “Wow, that’s pretty hard”. They would not have been questioning how anyone can go.

The fourth reason rests on the third. With the “gate” interpretation, man unloads, leads the camel through, and then loads the stuff back on. What Christ was talking about could not be done by man; it’s “impossible” (Mark 10:27)

Since we are looking at this, I want to clarify two mistakes that people make when looking at this statement of Christ. The first error is that they universalize this statement of Christ. This means that there are people who say everyone must sell everything they own and give it to the poor and live in complete poverty. That is not true. When looking at the New Testament church in Acts it says they went from house to house (Acts 2:46, 5:42), even though some sold all they had (Acts 2:45). So obviously Christ did not mean everyone.

That brings us to the second error in that people often take lightly this statement of Christ. Why they typically do is that they look at this statement and they say, “What He really meant was you must be WILLING to sell everything you own”; and I have a problem with this statement also. The reason I have a problem with this statement is that it’s not true either. Christ did not look at the man and say, “Be willing to sell everything you own”. When you look at the words of Christ in Mark 10:21 you see five verbs that were commanded to this man: go, sell, give, come, follow

The problem came to the fact that this rich man saw Yeshua as a good teacher (Mark 10:17) by which we get advice from but he did not see Him as his Lord to which we follow without question. And this is the danger we must look at in our lives.

Often we want to come to Christ as a Savior, or “good teacher”, that we get the advice of how to live but we don’t see Him as our Lord to which we follow without question. While some may have ended up on this page looking for information for a sermon, and some may be regular readers, yet it’s highly likely that most of those who landed on this page are actually looking for a way to live comfortably in your affluence while still being saved. The fact is, this statement by Christ is very hard for us to realize in the comforts of our stuff; and we are comforted by the fact that Christ did not tell everyone to sell what you have and give it to the poor. Truth is, if you are comforted by this fact then you would be the one that Christ would make such a command to.

Think about it, this rich ruler was living a good, obedient life, yet he looked at his riches as more secure than listening to Christ.

What you may have wanted to hear is that the “eye of a needle” is a “gate”. Let’s say that interpretation is true. The fact is, people who are comforted by that interpretation have never unloaded their “camel”. You may ask, “Well, how can you say that?”. Because and soon as we start making excuses for why Christ would not have us sell everything we prove that we’ve never unloaded it all.

Understand that Christ does not say that money is inherently evil. He does not say that having money is bad. He’s saying to give your extra money to those who are hungry. He’s not telling this man, “Money is bad. Get rid of it”. No, what He’s saying is, “The money you have is good. Give it to those who are hungry. Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself”.

Some may be saying, “Aren’t we saved by Grace and not by works?” You can look at that in the article What to do