A good portion of the next RS/PH lesson concerns the story where Jesus states that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.
There is a common mythology associated with this story; perhaps you’ve heard it. It goes something like this: there was a gate into Jerusalem called “The Eye of the Needle” and a camel could only enter it on its knees. Therefore, Jesus’ statement means that a rich person can enter heaven only “on his knees,” presumably meaning “with humility.”
This explanation is not true. Consider:
(1) There is no ancient evidence for a gate with this name or even for small gates that wouldn’t permit a camel entrance.
(2) A camel’s anatomy will not allow it to move while kneeling.
(3) Note the reaction to Jesus’ statement: ”And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?” This is not the reaction of people who are thinking, “oh, of course, they can enter if they are kneeling.” This is the reaction of people who are thinking, “no one can enter if that is true!”
So I would hope that this explanation won’t be perpetuated. This is a “hard saying,” one that requires much soul-searching, and we do Jesus’ words a disservice to sweep them away with a facile explanation. I really like the thesis of this Lorenzo Snow lesson, which is that you cannot keep the commandments without God’s aid. This is a very important message, with much relevance to real life. President Snow’s use of this saying from Jesus emphasizes this point, because while a rich man cannot enter heaven on his own, “with God all things are possible.” If we go with the “kneeling camel” reading, then all of a sudden it is possible to enter heaven on your own, without divine aid, so long as you are humble. And that is contrary to Jesus’ words and to President Snow’s use of them.