by Pastor Mark Downey
Scripture reading: Matthew 19:23-26
There's a lot going on in those four verses besides the virtual impossibility of rich people getting into the Kingdom of God or the fantastic word/picture of a camel going through the eye of a needle... if taken as a literal gloss. This is one of those sermons where you're going to hear the rest of the story. I very seldom engage in speculation, but neither do I offer a half-baked treatment of lukewarm milk that the churches give their flocks as a constant staple. By speculating, I do not mean risking my faith or anyone else by looking deeper into what we can and cannot believe. We all have taken a risk establishing the foundation of Christian Identity in our minds and coming to the conclusion that there is indeed a racial message to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Entertaining the notion that the Bible is exclusive and not inclusive is wrought with danger for both believing and not believing it as the truth. The story of the rich young man greatly disturbed the Disciples. It has not ceased to disturb the devout and sincere modern Christian. There's was two sheep having a conversation and the one sheep asks the other, “Why is Jesus so hard on the rich guy?” And the other sheep said, “Well, he's got so much money, he can't see a way to give it up to follow Jesus.” The first sheep says, “Boy, I wish I had that problem.” And the second sheep says, “Maybe you do.” Maybe that's the point Jesus was making. But, maybe there was something even deeper than the visible tip of the iceberg that the churches see. “Faith is... the evidence of things not seen” Heb. 11:1. Therefore, my prayer for this message is to “Prove all things, hold on to what is good” I Thes. 5:21. And the Gospel is the Good News. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter” Prov. 25:2. So this morning we are in search of an access key. One that will unlock the door. What did Jesus say? “I am the door” John 10:9.
Is money evil? Absolutely not, if we are to believe I Tim. 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have been led astray from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Money is only “filthy lucre” when it is expected and none is due or it is "filthy" when the desire of even just gains is excessive; it ceases to be clean. Usury is one such device that creates money out of thin air as a means of unmerited gain. And that is really what's behind most of the turmoil in geopolitical conflicts today: the survival of debt-usury money. The love of the world is the love of personal gain at the expense of others. There's nothing wrong with getting ahead in life through hard work, but when we take extreme risks for extreme profits, we are tempting the Lord and are gambling the destiny of our posterity with blind faith. The most notorious usurers and money manipulators in the world are jews who have no sense of a future Kingdom of God that doesn't glorify the jew. And I think that's the context that Jesus spoke of when addressing the character of this young man, knowing full well that filthy jews would never inherit the Kingdom, no matter how pious they appeared in following the letter of the Law. I'll explain in a moment how the “eye of a needle” is not just a poetic allegory, but an actual geographical place in ancient times occupied by, none other than, the Edomites. Keep in mind that the Bible gives no such quarter to the assumption that there are good jews and bad jews; all of Esau-Edom are slated for utter destruction as a whole.
Let's look at the encounter of this young rich boy with Jesus. Whether he was an Edomite is not known, but by the severity of Christ seeing right through him, we can see that the boy was influenced by the morals and dogma of judaism. We know nothing of the boy's tone of voice or inflection, but Christ is not the warm and fuzzy Jesus of contemporary churches. “And behold, one having come forth to Him said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" But, He said to him, Why would you speak to Me concerning good? There is only One who is good! But, if you desire to enter into life, keep the commandments” Mt. 19:16-17. These verses are used by those who deny the deity of Christ, without realizing that He is speaking as the Son of God, “the Word made flesh,” rather than the Father, to not only impress upon the lad that no fleshly man is good, compared to the Creator, but to reprimand him for thinking eternal life is only a formula, when it is a gift from God (Romans 6:23). The boy either ignorantly or arrogantly then asked Him which Law would give him more brownie points and Christ then mentions some of the Ten Commandments. And then, as if he were without sin, declares that he scrupulously obeyed all of these things Christ just iterated; some versions include “from my youth up” and thus proclaiming his life as self-righteous and asks Jesus, “What else must I do?” (v. 20). Some commentators give him the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was sincerely trying to earn his salvation with the legalities of outward works of the Law, but with God, He has always looked at the heart of a person to determine their spiritual worth and sincerity. Now there's a bit of irony here, in that Christ Himself was sinless and therefore, there couldn't have been two prophetic Messiahs without spot or blemish. Although, in my recent series exposing Messianic jews, that's exactly what jews think. Mark 10:21 varies from Matthew and Luke by saying, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatsoever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” If Christ loved Him, then the boy was of Jacob-Israel, but could still be under the spell of Esau-Edom, much like our youth today.
What was the reaction of this affluent White boy wanting to be so perfect, but being given the command to dispossess all that he owned? Verse 22 says, “He went away grieving, because he held much property.” This episode is indicative of us all: what shall we do? What do we give and take in this life? The only formula, which is the emphasis Jesus points to, is not the works we may perform, but the enduring mercy God bequeaths to a stiff-necked people like us, who can do good, but can do no good without God. Feeding the poor is just a hurdle; the real contest is being a cheerful giver. In my last sermon, identifying the jewish conspiracy, I quoted jewish author Maurice Samuels who made this peculiar statement, “We Jews, we, the destroyers, will remain the destroyers for ever. Nothing that you do will meet our needs and demands. We will for ever destroy because we need a world of our own, a God-world, which it is not in your nature to build. Beyond all temporary alliances with this or that faction lies the ultimate split in nature and destiny, the enmity between the Game and God.” And my comment was, “The game jews play is a crap shoot, thinking they can deify themselves with impunity, which will be the biggest gamble ever lost.” Well, remember the old game show 'Let's Make a Deal' with host Monty Hall (real name Monte Halpirin, jewish) and people had a choice of picking either door #1, #2 or #3; it might be a brand new Cadillac or a bag of peanut shells. What I'm getting at is that people only had the illusion of free will that they were going to win something.
As I was researching this, the Holy Spirit led me to what is called 'The Monty Hall Problem,' which is a brain teaser in the form of a probability puzzle. If you're old enough to remember the game show, a contestant would pick a door. However, to add to the drama, Monte Hall would open one of the doors that naturally didn't have the car, so that now it was between just two doors and not three and Monty would then ask them if they wanted to change their mind and pick the remaining unopened door. This then begged the question as to whether your odds were better or worse. Is it to your advantage to switch? According to the person who proposed this seeming conundrum, was that the contestant should switch to the other door. Under the standard assumptions, contestants who switch have a 2/3 chance of winning the car, while contestants who stick to their choice have only a 1/3 chance. In 1990, Parade magazine published this intriguing puzzle and immediately got 10,000 letters, including 1,000 opponents with phd's. Even when given explanations, simulations, and formal mathematical proofs, many people still did not accept that switching is the best strategy. Paul Erdos, one of the most prolific mathematicians in history, remained unconvinced until he was shown a computer simulation confirming the predicted result. It's a paradox, because the right thing to do i.e. switching doors, seems to be so counter-intuitive, to the point of absurdity (at least on the surface), but is nevertheless demonstrably true.
Well, what is this “enmity between the Game and God” that Maurice Samuels let slip out? To the jew, “the Game” is their God and a New World Order is one big casino placing your bets on their “God-world.” The enmity is between the self-righteousness of man and the righteousness of Christ. The racial context is clearly explained in Gen. 3:15 “And I [God] will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy offspring and her offspring.” The enmity would therefore be between the congenital evil of an unrighteous people opposed to the righteous race having the power to oppose evil through the righteousness of Christ. The enmity is between the racially pure and mongrels. A mongrel or a mongrel mind is unable to choose the right door, because the enemy calls good evil and evil good; and plays this shell game to find the object... of life. Even though the young rich boy yearned for immortality, he was locked into the game and couldn't just walk away from the world of 'Let's Make a Deal.' He couldn't change his mind even though it would have been a better deal. Repentance is a change of mind and that was the first thing Jesus preached when He began His three year ministry. If we are so locked into the illusion of what we believe to be right, then we will be locked out of what actually is right.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist or a Doctor of Divinity to put on the mind of Christ. But how many people understand what Isaiah was getting at when he said, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord” Isaiah 55:7-9. And with the clear differentiation that we are not God, but we can be godlike or godly. When you surrender 'self' to the Cross, you surrender the illusion of free will. If you think you can buy your way into the Kingdom or some other way to finagle a means of entrance, according to John 10:1, you're a thief and a robber. You're not really accepting God's thinking on the matter. Jesus was speaking to Israelites only when He said, “I am the door of the sheep” (v. 7). No wolves are gonna get through His door. Are we not warned to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing? Still in John 10 we read in verse 19 that the Judean society was divided on all of these provocative things Jesus was saying and the jews reciprocated with slander accusing the Lord of being a madman possessed of demons. I think the same kind of jewish influence is weighing heavily on the minds of congregations today, having the mentality of wolves, rather than sheep. Are churchy Christians willing to change their minds about which door will save them or do they hold on to an ailing apostate church that contradicts Scripture? Are they looking for a Kinsman Redeemer or a multicultural god? Have they received their calling in life whereby they must decide, just as the young rich man had to decide. Unfortunately today most people are grieved at the thought of forsaking the jewish god; they frown upon racism and discrimination and intolerance and yet those principles are found in the Bible and expressed as the Way of God. The early church was called 'the Way' because their thoughts weren't cluttered by the traditions of the elders, the way jews inculcated in the minds of man which direction to go. Wolves tell the sheep the way to the slaughterhouse. The Good Shepherd leads the sheep to green pasture.
This morning (2-5-15) I was watching the news while eating my breakfast and they were carrying Obama's speech at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, in which a barf bag would have come in handy. His god was so homogenized that I don't think any religion would recognize it other than the Masonic Luciferians. Why in the world would this 'Commander in Thief' blast Christianity today for the insanity of the catholic Inquisition in lieu of Islamic atrocities today? You can't equate Sharia law with biblical law, but he smugly does so and in the process is politicizing religion... without one peep about the satanic nature of talmudic law. A lot of people think Obama is a secret Muslim, but he's merely a puppet playing the game of Marxist dialectics, in which the door chosen is God's chosen people [sic] i.e. the antichrist jews. The current White House resident, riding on his high horse of gratuitous media support (like truth teller Brian Williams saying last week that he lied), being historically and militarily challenged (thanks to Affirmative Action) has become nigger rich and has a Messiah complex pontificating the dynamics of religion, which he understands about as much as a chimpanzee.
He had the gall to say, “I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt, not bein' so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and th-that God speaks only to us and doesn't speak to others.” I wouldn't cast my pearls before this swine, but that's exactly what Scripture is about: the enmity between us and them. Most of those attending the National Prayer Breakfast, I would venture to guess, are affluent because they're playing the Game. They have constructed a giant needle, just like the Tower of Babel, so that they can walk through the all-seeing eye. Obama praised the Dali Lama, who was in attendance, and confirms our national sin of sitting at the table, dining with devils. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers [non-Whites]: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement can a temple of God make with idols? For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said: "I will live and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be My people" II Cor. 6:14-16. This is far, far away from the communist religion of Barry Sotero. The God of the Bible is telling us that not everyone will enter the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Barry gave the so called Christians who were there enough egotistical, hypocritical disinformation that they should have walked out on him. But, that might have cost them more than they were willing to give Christ, just like the rich young man. Only these pious fools were so delusional that they had no sense to grieve and maybe that's because most of them were wolves incapable of shame.
My faith is not predicated on doubt, it's daring to read, believe and obey the Word of God and being confident that I have the saving knowledge of grace put in my heart and mind by God Himself, that I have a perfect acceptance that Jesus Christ was right in everything He said and did, and agree to follow Him. That may not conform to the Pharisees in our midst who like to dilute the Word for their own worldly proclivities, but I don't voluntarily comply with the enemies of the true Anointed/Christ. Now there are rich and poor, good and evil, mentioned in the Bible, but there are good and bad of both rich and poor. Just being rich does make you evil nor being poor good. There is an insidious leaven within churchianity called 'prosperity theology' found mostly in the charlatans of televangelism and nobody is getting rich except the fat cats behind the pulpit. Al Sharpton drives a $500,000 Rolls Royce. I saw a Cadillac Escalade the other day and boy was it pimped out with the fancy mag wheels and on the rear of the car was one of those Christian fish symbols; not the 5 inch ones, but about an inch and a half. What would they do if Jesus appeared and told them to sell the pimp-mobile and give it to the poor? It's the same thing with Mt. 19:21. I couldn't help but be reminded of the rich man and Lazarus.
Pastor Sheldon Emry did a wonderful little booklet about these two characters and the parable gives us so many clues as to the identity of the rich man that we can only conclude that Jesus was talking about somebody who was a priest and part of the ruling class. Luke 16:19 describes him “clothed in purple and fine linen, and lived in luxury every day.” In Rev. 18:16 we see that Mystery Babylon is “clothed in fine linen, and purple,” suggesting an end time financial and religious world power. The scribes and Pharisees must have felt a bit self-conscious when Jesus spoke of a “certain rich man.” However, today's elitists flaunt their mansions and cars, and their minions on a smaller scale like the Escalade. The parable makes a critical observation about these elitists; in Luke 16:28 the rich man has five brothers and lo and behold in Gen. 36:1 we read about the generations of Esau, also having 5 offspring, which in OT jargon can sometimes be referred to as 'brethren' i.e. parents and children. Esau intermarried into the line of Canaanites and thereafter was known as Edom, which means red. Jewish communism was dubbed 'reds' by the West. The Edomites are the age long enemies of true Israel, the White race and would work against Christianity century after century. The third witness linking Esau to the rich man is that in both Obadiah 1:18 and Luke 16:24 would have them in a “flame.” But, here's the interesting revelation in Luke 16:24 where the rich man says, “For I am tormented in this flame” and appealed for a little bit of water to cool his tongue.
Pastor Emry interprets this by saying, “We know that water represents the Word of God, and that according to the New Scriptures, if anyone asks for the Word of God, that God will pour out His Spirit upon them and give them understanding of the Word (James 1:5). Now this rich man wanted only a tiny bit of the Word, hardly enough to make a difference. If he was in such a flame, why did he want just a tiny drop of water on his tongue? The Pharisees had the Scriptures at their disposal, but they did not want more than a tiny bit of it. They preferred to follow the “traditions of the elders” (Mark 7:5), while only believing and teaching a tiny portion of Scripture.” The fish symbol on that Escalade was just a tiny decoration to profess a smug and shallow theology. If they lived by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, they would know the difference between the materialism of the world and the Spirit of God. The “merchants of the earth” in John's revelation are identical to the rich young man who could not obey the commands of Jesus Christ and will weep and mourn over the loss of their material possessions (Rev. 18:11). I believe these merchants are under the thumb of the antichrist monopoly, a consortium of jewish, catholic and judeo-Christian businessmen, who are truly a Babylonian mystery. They cannot surrender their illusion of free will to the sovereignty of God's will. They represent the mongrel and mongrel mind.
In verse 26 (of Luke 16), Jesus had Abraham tell the rich man, “And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed.” Sound familiar? I was just talking about “the unbridgeable gulf” in the previous sermon, in which Maurice Samuels declared, “Jew and gentile are two worlds, that between you gentiles and us Jews there lies an unbridgeable gulf.” This clearly points to the fact that jews, the descendents of Esau, represented by the rich man contrasted with Lazarus, will be prohibited from ever entering the Kingdom of Heaven, for deceiving all nations by their sorceries (Rev. 18:23). All Israel might be saved, but entering the Kingdom is a matter of venue and discipleship. Our theme separates a certain class of rich people who are without an access key to open the door, because they cannot detach themselves from the world. It's impossible for any of us to do what only is possible with God (Mt. 19:26). But, we shouldn't construe that to mean that God will shrink a camel or magnify a needle. When Jesus said, “Again I say unto you,” He evidently had mentioned it before i.e. the trust in riches being an impediment to Kingdom life. Christ's words show that it is hard for a rich man to be a good Christian, and to reap the rewards of a promise, one that comes from God, when his life is already full of reward and riches. Mt. 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit [in life] for their's is the kingdom of heaven.” The semantics of our Savior’s words were not to condemn riches, as in themselves damnable; nor yet to deny salvation to all rich persons: our Lord knew that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, David, Solomon, even His uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, were all rich persons, and yet heroes of faith on their way to the Kingdom. He also knew that riches are the gifts of God, good things, not in themselves pernicious. His design was only to show that they are dangerous temptations, enticing our hearts into so great a love of them, and affection to them, as is not consistent with our duties to God. “For whom much has been given, much will be required” Luke 12:48. We shouldn't have a guilt trip put on our fragile souls by an apostate church.
When I lived in California, I became very good friends with a guy that had an incredibly adventurous life whose family was very wealthy. I'll never forget one thing he said to me; he said, “Mark, the more money you have, the more problems you have.” If he's indicative of your typical rich person, he had a lot of stuff... a lot of toys. He had a whole warehouse full of stuff and I was the caretaker of the warehouse. I learned so much in those years about attitude and how life is for living. A few years ago I sold some paintings to a high-end business in Lexington and he said to me, “There's two kinds of rich people here: the old money and the new money. The former are the kindest, most respectable gentry of Southern hospitality you'd ever want to meet; whereas the latter are plastic, narcissistic jerks.” Perhaps the old saying “you can't take it with you” has some merit considering that the width of the gate is wide, allowing for a dangerous path that leads to destruction (Mt. 7:13). We are told to enter in through the narrow gate or is it the eye of the needle? “Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed. Poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed. And then one day he was shooting at some food and up through the ground come a bubbling crude, oil that is, black gold, Texas tea. Well the first thing you know, Jed's a millionaire, Kinfolk said Jed move away from there. Said California is the place you need to be. So they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly, Hills, that is.” Their old jalopy truck had all their worldly possessions including a rocking chair on top where Granny was sitting. And they entered the world of mammon. The moral of this story is that Babylon is not so narrow that it won't squeeze one more depositor into its bank vault. But, if it's security and prosperity you're looking for, you need not look any further than Mt. 6:20-21 which says, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The Clampets did not leave their hearts in the Ozarks. We shouldn't leave our heart in the Bank of America. Part of our divine calling is the time to make some straightforward decisions.
But, wait there's more. “If thou wilt be perfect” (Mt. 19:21); in other words, as we learned in 'The Perfect Sermon,' the perfecting of Israel is the preparation of the heart for living in the Kingdom of God; it's one of Paul's favorite metaphors to 'finish the race,' keeping the faith, carrying the gospel of grace and it's so important that he goes so far to say, “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ” Philip. 3:7. People lose their home in a tornado and all their possessions, but the family is alive; if they are Christians they “Count it all joy” (James 1:2). It will be hard for those who suffer loss to have the right attitude about a God who isn't a sugar-daddy 'name it and claim it' host for a Let's Make A Deal game show. The admonition to sell all you have and give to the poor was a test for that individual, to be a Disciple of Christ! We are to be charitable, to help those who love the Lord, but there is no general decree that we give every thing we have to those who are poverty stricken. If that's what a person thinks, they're being legalistic, and if they follow through leaving their own kith and kin destitute, they're going to get the door with a bag of peanut shells. “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing” I Cor. 13:3.
Bible scholars have been speculating about this “eye of the needle” for some time. It is either easy for a camel to go through this eye of the needle or it isn't. If it's a literal needle then the word-picture is absurd; there is no easy way for that to happen. “Easier” suggests something that takes little effort. The analogy may be proverbial on the surface, hinting at something impossible. That's one level of understanding. But the Word of God is living and feeds the Christian with milk and strong meat. Two explanations have been offered to explain the hyperbole of these words. And I offer a third Christian Identity interpretation that hadn't occurred to me until last week. The first conjecture is that the Disciples didn't write 'camel,' but rather cable or rope. However, no manuscript gives that reading and is supposed by the best scholars of Greek (like Liddell and Scott) to have been invented for the sake of explaining this passage. The second conjecture, I think is a bit more devious and distracting (like the Rapture theory), alleging Christ alluding to smaller gates next to larger gates in ancient cities allowing for foot-passengers and animals to enter. Some say Jesus was referring to a very small gate or doorway in Jerusalem's city wall called the eye of the needle, and to get through it, a camel had to be stripped of it's entire load and pass through unburdened. It's a great sermon illustration, but it's a myth; there is absolutely no scriptural or archaeological evidence that any such gate ever existed. The whole story seems to be a late 19th or early 20th century fabrication, that doesn't take into account that camels cannot walk on their knees.
Years ago I met E. Raymond Capt (an accredited archaeologist and Identity Christian) and that is when I heard at one of his lectures that the entrance to the ancient site of Petra was also known as “the eye of the needle.” Most searches on the internet for making this connection are difficult to find, because of the saturation of jewish disinformation, but nevertheless the appellation can be found and understood why Petra is identified as such. One cannot help but make a connection between Petra and Edomite jews and then make an association with the analogy Christ makes. Christ is not ignorant of the Edomite power structure in Jerusalem nor their history; Christ soundly denounced them; in fact, at the time of Christ, Petra was in the middle of it's glory. Surely He knew about the 'eye of the needle' in Petra and was another deeper level of what He was getting at.
Let's glean from Capt's book 'Petra' for the rest of the story. Petra is situated in the mountains of Seir (from which Scripture has many adverse prophecies), the land of the Edomites. The extraordinary geography of rose red cliffs were forgotten for almost a thousand years, practically invisible from the air and impregnable from the ground. But, due to the utter inaccessibility of Petra's rock formations, the secret of its entrance was kept hidden for centuries. The Valley of Moses enters Petra through a narrow winding forge, running east and west. It's called the “Siq,” which is “the eye of the needle.” It ranges from 10 to 30 feet wide and has side walls over 150 feet high. The pathway into Petra is one and a quarter miles long and at the end it widens into the natural fortress of an amazing city carved out of rock. The Edomites made Petra their capital and became powerful enough to resist the children of Israel from passing through their land, when coming out of Egypt in 1453BC. Do you think Jesus was ignorant of this Israelite history? Or the partial fulfillment of Obadiah 1:3-4, thus saith the Lord, “The pride of thine heart has deceived thee, thou that dwells in the clefts of the rock whose habitation is high; that says in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself... I will bring thee down.” Edom appears to have been considered the richest of the non-Israelite tribes, receiving tribute from provincial governors. It could have been called the 'gem state' as many precious gems were associated with Edom; it was written that Edom was the “source of all the precious commodities of the East.” It's the same covetousness of the merchants of the earth in Rev. 18:12, “The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls” etc.
In Christian Identity we teach the fate of Edom's progression in history as well as Israel's. It 's the key to unlocking the door. In 135-105BC the remnant of Judah, coming out of the Babylonian captivity, under the Maccabees, crushed all Edomite forces and converted them to the new religion of judaism. From that day forward, the word “Jew” could mean a Judahite (an Israelite Judean) or a racial alien Judean (Edomites). But first, let's understand the racial mix of Edom prior to John Hyrcanus and the Maccabees. While the Edomites were moving into Judea after the fall of Jerusalem, another migration was going on. The Nabataeans were moving into the old Edomite strongholds, including Petra. They were a nomadic people having descended from Ishmael and Josephus identifies them being synonymous with the Arabs. The word Arab means 'mixed' and no doubt have left their mark on the whole Mediterranean region of swarthy people of color. They were a mongrel society much like Edom. They've been associated with commercial enterprise and piracy. They grew richer and richer as they traded in more and more types of goods, until finally history could ignore them no longer. Instead of driving out the remaining Edomites, they simply integrated with them, and over time as they gained power, it was the Edomites who were integrating with the Nabataeans. For more than 500 years they were in control of the desert trade routes and carried on the world's trade through their own system of by-passes, which were secured from warlike rivals. The caravan route in Mesopotamia crossed through Petra, forced through the eye of the needle. Richard Kelly Hoskins described this commercialism as the International Trade Cartel and it was just as big a business as the 'Fortune 500' today. “There's nothing new under the sun.” They not only controlled the trade routes, but the sale of those commodities that were then in great demand. This made them one of the wealthiest nations of the time. Considering all the trade passing through Petra, it is not surprising that the city became very rich. As is the case with any large enterprise, the history of Petra was a succession of political intrigues which took place on a wide international stage rather than in Petra itself. Much like today's power brokers headquartered in Washington DC, the City of London and Vatican City. Their tentacles reach out, whereby all nations were deceived by their sorceries. Got measles vaccine?
What could be ascribed to the Nabataeans, who suddenly appeared from the desert in two centuries before and after Christ, regarding it's enigmatic character of monuments and eclectic architecture, has been a matter of much debate among historians. The confusion of influences i.e. Syro-Phoenician, Egyptian, Hellenistic and Roman styles, gives rise to the theory that for a people who never recorded their own history, suggesting materialism over intellectualism, they simply outsourced the myriad of designs and art to others who had more culture and brain power. With their worldly contacts, they also were exposed to first class Western art. They had wealth, but they didn't have smarts or creativity. I think the cultural Marxism in America today is dumbing down and browning up the populace in the same manner. Obama can't make a cogent sentence without his teleprompter. There are over 1000 monuments, tombs and temples found in Petra. The first thing you see exiting the eye of the needle and entering Petra is it's monumental showpiece, El Khasneh Pharaum (Treasury of the Pharaoh). “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” Mt. 19:24. Although narrow, the passages were wide enough for fully loaded camels to pass through. How easy is it to get a credit card these days? How easy is it to get a social security number? They make it easy to be a citizen of Babylon; why make it difficult? It's going to be easy to get your measles shot, but just how easy is it for Christians to rely exclusively on God to deliver them from death and disease? Wait a minute, isn't that what Jesus is promising? The question was: “what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” (Mt. 19:16). Entertain that thought for a minute.
Although surrounded by its many sepulchers, Petra also had a place of diversion and amusement, a vast amphitheater capable of seating 3000 to 4000 people. The theater must have been one of the lavish civic improvements which the Romans inflicted on Petra soon after 106AD. Likewise, we are surrounded today by the living dead, people who are spiritually comatose, church zombies who easily go through the motions of Lets Make a Deal and pick the door to hell. “The Lord says, these people say they are mine. They honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship consists of nothing but man-made ritual” Isaiah 29:13. The eye of the needle was narrow, but not as narrow as the gate Christ beckons His followers. Sin is easy, temptation is made easy and you can even buy an “easy button” and it's red. Think of the millions of people who self-inflicted the Super Bowl on themselves last week. Perhaps I'm the only person who thinks the Game was fixed with Seattle within a few yards from victory and the negro quarterback throws an interception and throws the game. Why? There's only one explanation: money. I dare say the rich got richer.
We are in spiritual warfare, not from mythical gods, but with those who sit in the temple of God (and our body is the temple of God) and substitute themselves as God. God has already decided everything for our good in which way we should go, which means we really don't have free will. We can easily sin and prove the cause and effect of God's Word. The question is: are you going to play the Game and pretend you have a sovereign will equal to or above God? We've been given unmerited favor, grace, whereby in our foolishness in picking door #1 or #2 or #3, we have the option to repent and change our mind to believe Christ saying, “I am the door!” A materially minded man intent upon entering the Kingdom of God is burdened like a camel with the weight of the world on his back. Whose yoke is lighter that brings victory? It is Christ. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" Mt. 11:30.
My purpose has been to lift up my brethren; “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” Gal. 6:2. Jesus said, "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Mt. 11:28. It's just too much for the individual to enter the Kingdom of God for it is the body of Christ, the body of believers who “will become one flock with one shepherd” (John 10:16). Today's interpretation of “the eye of the needle” is but one example of many passages in the New Testament that are veiled in metaphor and symbolism, which if left to superficial renderings, cheat the believer of understanding. Those who pray for a mansion in heaven, but want to keep their summer beach house in Babylon may wind up with an outhouse. Jesus implores His elect, “Come out of her My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” Rev. 18:4. Come out of those filthy rich mega-churches, come out of communion with those who lived deliciously and come out of anything that drags you down to the level of beasts. It's not that we're going to God's abode in the heavens, but that we're entering the government of Christ on earth. You can go through the eye of a needle, or you can do what is right in the eyes of God. “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6. Now you know the rest of the story.