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CAN A RICH MAN ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD?




Someone asked me the above question some time ago quoting from Matthew 19, and I’m going to be sharing the answer I gave to him. It breaks my heart to see how religion has made a lot of ‘Christians’’ embrace poverty all in the name of ‘I don’t want anything that will make me miss the kingdom of God. Wealth is vanity, even the wise king Solomon said so.’’ Guess what? You’re already missing the kingdom of God if you’re in that line of thought. People say stuff and quote scriptures with no idea of what it’s talking about, no background study and pay no attention to context. So what’s in Matthew 19? We see a rich young Jewish man asking Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. Let’s see how Jesus answered him.
‘And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what must I do, that I may have ETERNAL LIFE? (Jesus speaking): “…: but if thou wilt enter INTO LIFE, keep the commandments. The young man saith unto him, all these things have I kept from my youth up: what I yet lack? 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. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great POSSESSIONS. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 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.’’ Matt 19:16:20-24
ETERNAL LIFE AND ENTER INTO LIFE: The pursuit of the rich man was eternal life but Jesus in his answer uses a different word ‘enter into life’’ and at the later replaces it with ‘enter into the kingdom of heaven’’. So if you take a deep look at the context, you’ll notice that ‘Eternal Life, Enter into Life and the Kingdom of God is bound up together; like they mean the same thing.
SO WHEN WAS THIS KINGDOM JESUS TALKED GOING TO COME?
To the Jews Jerusalem was the holy city of God, for in it was the Temple where the Old Covenant system was practiced; which to them was ‘Heaven and Earth’. It was also their belief that the kingdom of God will be established literally in Jerusalem and that the Messiah was to become king and will rule over them in their sophisticated city. Therefore, when Jesus began his ministry, his message was that they repent and change their mind about what they think the kingdom is, that it wasn’t confined to their city. He came to establish the age of the kingdom of God and it was vital that the Old earthly Jerusalem kingdom be destroyed as the destruction will usher in the Age of the Kingdom of God. Jesus had informed his disciples about this and gave the signs to look out for before the destruction took place:
 "And when you shall see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, then you will know that its destruction is close at hand. At that time, those in the city must escape, and those in the countryside must not enter the city.’’ Luke 21:20-21 
The destruction of Jerusalem and its temple happened in AD70 by the Roman Army which then ushered in the Age of the Kingdom of God. So ‘eternal life, enter into life’ as used by Jesus was life after AD70 for that was when the kingdom of God was established.
WHY WAS IT EASIER FOR A CAMEL TO GO THROUGH THE EYE OF A NEEDLE THAN FOR A RICH MAN TO ENTER THE KINGDOM? The ‘Eye of the Needle’’ refers to a narrow passageway into the Jewish city gate which was opened after the main gate was closed at night. This passageway was small enough for a man to pass, but very difficult for the camel loaded with the man’s possessions to go through. In reference to the rich man, it suggests that the choice is not easy, in that his excess possession inflates him to the point where he is unable to go through. Hence the idea here is not that the rich man cannot enter the kingdom of God (which was after AD70, the destruction of Jerusalem), but that it is difficult for him to enter because the rich man had great possession in Jerusalem, and it will therefore be hard for him to hearken unto the words of Jesus, give up his possessions and escape when the Roman army surrounded Jerusalem and would be a victim of the destruction that will before the city.
‘Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.’’ James 5:1-3 KJV
James was here reiterating the words of Jesus unto the rich in their time, warning them about how their riches were corrupt in that it owned them and therefore, it will bring them destruction.
Friends, we are now in the kingdom of God and the only lesson for us here is not that we shouldn’t own wealth but shouldn’t allow wealth own us. It is the love of money that is evil not money in itself.
Happy Holiday!
Grace to you.

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