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Almost impossible for rich to enter heaven?

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by AskTheFamily, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. AskTheFamily

    AskTheFamily Junior Member

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    “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Luke 18:25)

    Comments on this. Why is it so hard for a rich man to enter heaven? Also since it's impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, doesn't that it mean it's actually impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven and actually makes the verse not make sense?
     
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  2. TamaraLynne

    TamaraLynne Veteran

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    I have heard that the eye of a needle is actually the name of a gate into the city...but I could be wrong.


    Sorry...my view of those scriptures are not always embraced...so many people want to believe it is about money. I have been dirt poor my entire life so its not that I have money that I just can't let go of...

    its not about money in my opinion.
     
  3. CaliforniaSun

    CaliforniaSun Well-Known Member

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    How about an "open top beetle through the eye of a needle"?
     
  4. Jane_the_Bane

    Jane_the_Bane Gaia's godchild

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    Let's start with the "camel"-bit: there have been several attempts at explaining this weird imagery throughout the millennia.
    The most popular is probably the claim that one of the gates of Jerusalem was called "the eye of the needle", and that it was so narrow that a merchant's camel needed to be relieved of its burden before it could fit through.

    However, it's also been suggested that this is actually a very early misprint, substituting "kamelos" (= camel) for "kamilos" (= rope, cable).
    That doesn't render the task easier, but it makes for a much more congruent (if less humorous) picture.


    Now, as for the problems attached to being rich.
    Large material wealth creates a kind of attachment that can be quite crippling, so much so that even completely secular people are able to notice it. We might call it "the Scrooge factor".
    Long story short: in order to STAY rich, you need to ignore the plight of those less fortunate than yourself. Oh, sure, you might spend a certain percentage of your income to humanitarian causes, but at the end of the day, the money that's needed to finance your pool and your yacht could still have been used to feed starving children or buy vaccines for some deadly but easily cured disease on the other side of the globe.
    With great power comes great responsibility, and if you follow the ideal laid down in the synoptic gospels to their utmost destination, there's no room for bathing in luxury while others starve.

    Of course, this radicalism does not work very well in practice - and my guess is that it was only so popular in early Christianity because they were essentially expecting the world to end Any Day Now. What's the use of hoarding material possessions if the One God's about to wipe the slate clean and erect a new kingdom?
     
  5. ProScribe

    ProScribe Well-Known Member

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    I think in this instance - your material possessions are a priority before the 'Kingdom of Heaven' . .
     
  6. Viren

    Viren Contributor

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    I think is has to do with the futility of putting trust in money even though it's so unstable.
     
  7. TamaraLynne

    TamaraLynne Veteran

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    Well...I know that to covet things or to be a scrooge and hold on to your money at the expence of others is not a good thing...to put anything else above God is just not good.

    But I believe that the story of the rich man in the bible holds so much more in meaning...there is another level of understanding that once you see it then you will be so blessed.

    Many things people say about money being the interpretation in these verses has caused a chain reaction of some people thinking to give all they have is a way of buying their way into heaven...to the point where they think wearing a watch around their wrist is a sin...the chain reaction has some who are now poor ,hungry and cold and in the gutter thinking money is evil...

    Others feel that we need to be wise with our money and not only save and use it for feeding the hungry but being wise....but by whos wisdom is it in how we are wise...or using wisdom? Mans wisdom is what we depend on when saving money and distributing it....to them it is a sin not to be wise with ones money...to another to have any money is evil...because of how they see those scriptures.

    No...there is another meaning to those scriptures to be seen.....but I don't feel that anyone really hears what I'm saying...even preachers get mad at me because they are so sure it is about money.
     
  8. Taleswapper

    Taleswapper Singing songs, righting wrongs, and kinging kongs.

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    The message of Jesus in the New Testament largely revolves around virtuosity, generosity and forgiveness. I'm not as well-versed in the Bible as others here, but I understand the passage to mean that the greedy nobles of the time would not be granted eternal life like the common, God-fearing peasantry would.
    This might be a really simplistic way of looking at it, but I've always read it to be just that: the greedy, detached noble who hoards his money is not welcome into Heaven.
    I think Mark 12:41-44 had the same sort of message. It doesn't matter how wealthy you are, it's your virtue that saves you in the end. So greed would obviously run counter to that and make it very difficult to enter Heaven.
    It doesn't mean that the rich can't get into heaven, but the most common way of becoming rich is to inherit your fortune and keep it for a very long time. It may have been the same way back then, with rich people just sitting on their money while the rest of the people starve. Either way, I believe Jesus was trying to say to be giving and be compassionate.
     
  9. Sister of Faith

    Sister of Faith {Guide us to the straight path[1:6]}

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    Luke [18:25] reminded me with a verse in the Noble Quran
    { Lo! they who deny Our revelations and scorn them, for them the gates of heaven will nor be opened not will they enter the Paradise until the Jamal goeth through the needle’s eye. Thus do We requite the guilty.} [7:40]

    The gates of heaven will not be opened for their deeds or souls. Prophet Mohammed said: (So they (angels) ascend it and it will not pass by a gathering of the angels, but they will ask, who's wicked soul is this' They will reply, `The soul of so-and-so,' calling him by the worst names he was called in this life. When they reach the (lower) heaven, they will ask that its door be opened for the soul, but it will not be opened for it.) The Prophet then recited, (For them the gates of heaven will not be opened). This is a part of a long Hadith which was also recorded by Abu Dawud, and others.

    (until the Jamal goeth through the needle’s eye.). the Jamal may refers to the male camel. Ibn Mas`ud said it is a male camel from the she camel. In another narration it refers to the spouse of the she camel. Mujahid and `Ikrimah said that Ibn `Abbas used to recite this Ayah this way, "Until the Jummal goes through the eye of the needle'', whereas `Jummal' is a thick rope.

    Thus the painful scene is followed by an emphatic assertion that this will be the end of all those who turn their backs on God’s message and deny His revelations.

    { Lo! they who deny Our revelations and scorn them, for them the gates of heaven will nor be opened not will they enter the Paradise until the Jamal goeth through the needle’s eye. Thus do We requite the guilty. Theirs will be a bed of hell, and over them coverings (of hell). Thus do We requite wrong-doers. Theirs will be a bed of hell, and over them coverings (of hell). Thus do We requite wrong-doers.} [7:40-41]

    Reflect as you wish on this remarkable scene, with a very thick body held opposite to a needle’s eye. When that tiny hole allows the thick body to go through it, then and only then, will the gates of heaven be opened to those arrogant people and their supplications or repentance be accepted. The fact is that the time allowed to them has lapsed. Hence, until such a thick body goes through a needle’s eye they will remain in the fire of hell where they are all gathered, cursing one another and trying to get their punishment doubled. Such is the retribution God has in store for the evildoers.
     
  10. AskTheFamily

    AskTheFamily Junior Member

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    Camel through a Needle a name of a gate, sorry that's hard to believe, that doesn't sound like a name for a gate (sounds too silly in fact for a gate).

    A follow up question, if it's ultra hard to enter heaven for a rich man, why would God punish someone for something that was ultra hard?
     
  11. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    For the record, "king of heaven" is not "Heaven". Heaven in this usage is a euphemism for God. It's not describing a place, but rather God's active reign.

    The point isn't that it's really difficult for the rich to "get into heaven", but that material wealth distracts from being part of God's active work in the world; note that Jesus calls the rich young ruler to "Come, follow Me". He invited the rich young ruler to give up all that he owned to come and participate in what God was doing through Jesus, to come follow Jesus and be part of Jesus' work. The rich young ruler, rather, chose his creature comforts over God's work of establishing His kingdom here.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  12. TamaraLynne

    TamaraLynne Veteran

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    I disagree...but I also agree.....there are different levels of understanding....not only are you right....but there is a different meaning that is spiritual in such a big way that it will bless you soooo big.
     
  13. someguy14

    someguy14 Guest

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    Matthew 17:27
    Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
     
  14. razeontherock

    razeontherock Well-Known Member

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    It is a path, through hewn rock. This is done for protection of the city. The eye of a needle makes perfect sense. You couldn't just go gallavanting in and out, looting or brandishing weapons. The picture is that you need to take inventory of your priorities, via unpacking your camel; i.e. what are you "carrying on your journey" with you
     
  15. hikersong

    hikersong Walkin' and Singin'

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    You've written three posts saying what it's not about Tamara. Are you just trying to build up courage to give your own opinion on it. The worst that can happen is that people will disagree with you. ;)

    For myself, as a young christian, single, and without responsibilities, I took these sort of verses very seriously. In fact I read a book that inspired me greatly called Rich Christians In An Age of Hunger. It didn't seem like rocket science to me. If we all learned to live simply we would all be better off.

    To be honest the nub of that idea is still with me, even if life with all it's responsibilities and experiences has rubbed some of the naive idealism away.

    I personally don't care what the verse means anymore. I think we are quite capable of working these things out for ourselves, and making our own economic arguments, that are relevant for our present world. Though I think the principle of holding onto stuff lightly, whether material possessions or otherwise, is a good one.

    As for who God's going to let into his Kingdom. Well, it ain't going to be me apparently. But then I don't recognise any God-likeness in many of the descriptions of God I'm hearing, so I'm not losing any sleep. :D
     
  16. TamaraLynne

    TamaraLynne Veteran

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    Sorry...please forgive me :blush: I guess I've been feeling somewhat like a broken record. Yes I have had many disagree with me but not in an argumentative way. I was actually reading the bible to understand what picking up our cross meant...and the story of the rich man opened up to me.

    I'll be back later to post the link where I talked about the rich man.
     
  17. TamaraLynne

    TamaraLynne Veteran

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    http://www.christianforums.com/t3760662/
    This is the link about picking up our cross...

    Here is another link that talks a bit about it but more of me applying scripture in a time in my life where I had troubles coming at me from everywhere...wow just reading this link took me back in time. I really was going through alot in life that I did not mention in this link...seems like forever ago

    http://www.christianforums.com/t4597528/
     
  18. GA777

    GA777 Newbie

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    23Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell 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.”

    25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

    26Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”


    So you're going to say that you never read the next few verses?
     
  19. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    The Baha'i teaching is that wealth needn't be a barrier to spiritual advancement, but the importance of being generous and detached is indeed stressed.

    Peace, :)

    Bruce
     
  20. Viren

    Viren Contributor

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    Detachment is the key. Jesus tested the rich young man by asking him to give away his possessions to the poor, but he couldn't let them go.
     
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