Sunday, 22 April 2012

The eye of the needle and the camel

It always makes me laugh when people quote Jesus in Matt 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".
I get the image of this camel trying to squeeze into a needle and I would say that it is clearly easier for a rich man to go to heaven than for a camel to accomplish this task, unless he had a Star Trek 'transporter'. So the commentators of the so-called 'hard verses' of Jesus try to explain it by saying that the 'eye of a needle' was the name of the narrow passage in some rocks or that the camel was a piece of rope. And for those that smoke, it could have been 'Joe Camel' for Camel cigarettes. And so it goes.

However, the explanation actually is simple when one takes into account that Jesus was a follower of the Essenes of Qumran in their monastery that was located near the Dead Sea. Even if one did not believe that, a little knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet is all that is necessary. The third letter of the alphabet is (G) gimel which has a pictogram of a camel (See Gimel) and the nineteenth letter (Q) Qoph which has the pictogram of a sewing needle (See Qoph). So here we have a person of grade G (third) achieving the letter Q. That would now be possible, and not absurd!
Thus, Jesus is referring to the requirement of all those who enter into the Essene monastery to give up all riches.

This is the reason that the Essenes were known as 'the poor'. In the first Beautitude, Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". The 'poor in spirit' represents a new class similar to the monastics of Qumran, namely the Gentiles and Jews outside of Jerusalem (the Diaspora) who report to the person with the title of 'Holy Spirit' (in this case Jesus). They would then have the same eternal life in heaven as the members of the monastery.

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