KJV Matthew 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. 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.
This is in fact one of Jesus’ easiest parables to understand. In this parable Jesus told His disciples a rich man will hardly enter the kingdom of Heaven. In other words, it will be very difficult for a rich man to enter into Heaven. Jesus compares this task to a camel passing through the eye of a needle.
While interpreting this parable many people concentrate on the words camel and needle. In this case Jesus used this comparison to illustrate the fact it is nearly impossible. The word hardly is defined as impracticably. Jesus used this example because He knew, Bible parables and prophecy are perfectly consistent. Whenever a statement defies the laws of nature, it must have a spiritual meaning. In this case the impossible statement is meant to call attention to the expression it is compared to. The real key words unlocking the spiritual meaning of this parable is rich man.
It may be difficult for a rich man to enter Heaven, but it is not impossible. Jesus told another parable about a rich man.
Matthew 13:45-46 KJV Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: (46) Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
This is a very easy parable to interpret. The key word is pearl. The spiritual meaning is found in Revelation 21.
Revelation 21:21 KJV And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
In this parable we see a merchant selling all he has to purchase one pearl of great price. The pearl represents the gates to Heaven. In this case we see a merchant with a desire to enter Heaven.
Matthew 19:23 requires an inductive study. This requires studying words that are the same, similar, or related to the words rich man.
Revelation 18:3-5 KJV For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have
committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. (4) And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (5) For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Revelation 18:15 KJV The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
Revelation 18:23-24 KJV (23) And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. (24) And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Revelation 18 provides the required connection between rich and merchant. These people are known as great men of the earth. Others look up to these people with respect. It also begins to show why it is impossible for a rich man to enter Heaven. This group of merchants received their riches through sin and deception. At this point we do not need identify who they were dealing with, or what sins they committed. These details will be revealed in other related texts.
Ezekiel 27:3 KJV And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O Tyrus, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty.
Ezekiel 28:12-18 KJV Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. (13) Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. (14) Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. (15) Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (16) By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. (17) Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. (18) Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
In chapter 27, Ezekiel identifies Tyrus as a merchant of people. This context seems to indicate the physical aspects of Tyrus which was a port city on the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The city was heavily fortified, and consisted of warehouses where goods were stored and traded. The spiritual meaning of the term, merchant of men is further explained in 2 Peter.
In chapter 28, Ezekiel explains exactly what Tyrus represents. Based on the description given there is no doubt Tyrus represents the strong hold of Satan in certain prophecies and parables.
Another interesting detail in uncovered in the definition of Tyrus.
Tyrus H6865: The same as H6864; a rock; Tsor, a place in Palestine: – Tyre, Tyrus.
The word Tyrus means rock. This also carries spiritual implications.
1 Corinthians 10:4 KJV And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
The word Rock is used to spiritually represent Christ. Moses told us of a rock that would not be our Rock. Based on these scriptures it is clear to see, Satan is still trying to be like God. One of the temptations Satan attempted to use on Jesus was the riches of the world. It may not have worked on Jesus, but Satan has found others to fall for his temptation.
2 Peter 2:3 KJV And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
Peter explains the spiritual meaning of merchandise. The lies, deceit, and greed utilized by these merchants, or rich men, ultimately lead to the destruction of souls. When we consider the fact Satan is their leader, there can be no other conclusion. This is one of the deceptions Satan uses to trap people. Nahum explains exactly how closely these people follow Satan.
Nahum 3:16 KJV Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away.
They have aspired to be like Satan. This may not be the same lie Satan used in the Garden of Eden, but he still uses the temptation of becoming like gods.
The original question was, why is it so hard for a rich man to enter into Heaven? Based on the scripture contained in this study it is clear to see, the pursuit of riches brings about lies, deceit, and sin. These temptations are brought about by Satan, the father of lies. Deceitful accumulation of wealth is compared to selling a soul, which is termed as spiritual slavery. Moses clearly stated the penalty for dealing in slavery.
Deuteronomy 24:7 KJV If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.
Based on the spiritual interpretation of a rich man, the merchant, we can clearly understand why it is hardly possible for one to enter in through the gates of Heaven. It is all a spiritual battle lost in the pursuit of money.