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Friday, March 18 2016

Matthew 19: A Camel Through The Eye Of A Needle

"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"

The "chief priests and scribes" were well-familiar with the prophecies of the coming Messiah (see Bethlehem In History And Prophecy and Why Did Isaiah Say The Messiah's Name Is Immanuel?; also What Did The Messiah Read From Isaiah That Day? and The Generations Of The Messiah). When He was born, they even told Herod where to hunt for Him (see Escape From Herod and The Rachel's Children Prophecy).

"2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel." (Matthew 2:1-6 KJV)

Whether or not "the chief priests and scribes" realized that Herod intended to murder the Messiah is debatable, but their deadly opposition to Him after His Ministry began is incontrovertible. They constantly sought to have Him condemned, any way that they could, religiously or politically.

Camels

"19:1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; 19:2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

19:11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matthew 19:1-12 KJV)

The Messiah's example of children's humility was intended to contrast what the "religious authorities" had abandoned for themselves - although some, such as the Pharisee Nicodemus (to whom the Messiah gave the famous "born again" teaching; see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?) and the Pharisee Saul (who later was converted into the apostle Paul; see Paul's Blindness Lesson) did repent in their due time (see also What Kind Of Sinners Does The LORD Forgive?).

"19:13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 19:15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence." (Matthew 19:13-15 KJV)

Many have sought to interpret the Messiah's famous "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," but as plainly-stated, the teaching is about "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandments." Those who love money more than anything, and will do anything to get it, are themselves the "camel" (see the Fact Finder question below).

"19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

19:18 He saith unto him, Which?

Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 19:24 And again I say unto you, 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.

19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." (Matthew 19:16-30 KJV)

Fact Finder: Abraham was a rich man ("13:2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold" Genesis 13:2 KJV) who will be in the Kingdom of God ("13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out" Luke 13:27-28 KJV).

How can that be, in the light of "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"?

See What Does The Bible Say About Lucre? and The Mammon Of Past And Present; also No Class Struggles In Christianity


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This Day In History, March 18

37: The accession of Caligula, the third Roman emperor. The first two, Augustus and Tiberius, are recorded in the Bible (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Israel In History and Prophecy: Roman Judea).

235: Emperor Alexander Severus (official name Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander Augustus) and his mother Julia Mamaea were killed by Roman troops near Moguntiacum (modern Mainz), thereby ending the Severan dynasty.

Roman Britain 978: English King St. Edward the Martyr was murdered at Corfe Castle in a plot by his stepmother who wanted her own son Ethelred made king.

1229: During the Sixth Crusade (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy), Emperor Frederick II crowned himself king of Jerusalem (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

1241: The Battle of Chmielnik; Mongols overran the Polish army in Krakow.

1286: Alexander III, 45, king of Scotland 1249-1286, died. He was the last major ruler of the dynasty of kings descended from Malcolm III Canmore (ruled 1058-1093), who consolidated royal power in Scotland.

1314: Jacques de Molay, the last "Grand Master of the Knights Templar," was burned at the stake.

1438: Albrecht II ("the Bear") was elected King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor. The official title of the "Holy Roman Empire" was actually the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

1584: Ivan IV, the first czar of Russia, died. His cruelty and oppression earned him the nickname Ivan the Terrible.

1673: Lord Berkeley of England sold his half of the colony of New Jersey to the Quakers.

1834: In Dorset, England, 6 laborers were sentenced to 7 years banishment to a penal colony in Australia for forming a trade union. They became known as the Tolpuddle Martyrs.

1850: American Express was founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo.

1913: King George I of Greece was assassinated.

1916: On the Eastern Front during the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the Russians countered the Verdun assault with an attack at Lake Naroch. The Russians lost 100,000 men and the Germans 20,000 (see also A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1921: The Treaty of Riga was signed between the U.S.S.R. and Poland. It fixed the Russian-Polish frontier. It gave Poland large parts of Belorussia and the Ukraine. The treaty was superseded by a Polish-Russian treaty of 1945.

1922: Mahatma Gandhi was sentenced to 6 years in prison for civil disobedience.

1938: Mexico nationalized all foreign-owned oil properties within its borders.

1940: Hitler and Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass in the Alps and agreed that Italy would eventually join the war.

1965: Russian Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov exited his spacecraft Voskhod 2 to become the first human to walk in space.

1965: King Farouk I of Egypt died in exile in Italy.

1967: The oil tanker Torrey Canyon was wrecked off the Cornish coast of England, spilling 919,000 barrels of oil into the sea.

1968: The U.S. Congress repealed the requirement for a gold reserve to back U.S. currency. The U.S. Dollar thereafter became only printed paper with a declared value.

1969: Richard Nixon began the secret bombing of North Vietnamese forces in Cambodia; it lasted 14 months. Nixon kept it a secret for domestic political reasons, the North Vietnamese said nothing because they didn't want the world to know that they were in Cambodia.

1989: A 4,400-year-old mummy was found near the Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt (see also Jacob's Mummy).

1996: The Palestinian Authority (formerly known as the terrorist organization the Palestine Liberation Organization) renamed the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as the "District of Gaza" and the "Northern Counties of Palestine" (see Where Is Palestine? and Jordan's West Bank Invasion).


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