Matthew 19: 23-24-Answering Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati

Did LORD Jesus Christ have a bias against the rich? Are the rich better than poor?


Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.

"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 needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (19:23, 24.)

C. It appears from this that Christ was a poor man. The rich very likely did not respect him, hence he taught the above; but this teaching is not true, because there are good and bad people among the rich as well as among the poor. A man may be rich or poor, but he always reaps the fruits of his deeds – good or bad – as the case may be.

It is also clear that Christ believed that the kingdom of God was in some particular locality and not everywhere. Such being the case, He cannot be god, since God's kingdom must be everywhere and it is foolish to speak of it as one shall or shall not enter into it. Again, will all the Christians that are rich go to hell and those that are poor enter into heaven?

A little reflection would have made it clear to Jesus Christ that the poor do not possess so many means (to do good) as the rich. If the rich, after due deliberation, spend their wealth in furthering the cause of righteousness, they could attain the highest state, whilst the poor without any means for their improvement would remain in wretched plight.


Answer: As usual, Maharishi again wrenches the verses out of its overall context to impose a meaning which is not found in the text.

Further Maharishi totally ignores the interpretation science that one has to consider at least the parallel passages, if not the whole teaching on a particular subject before making conclusions.

Let us begin to look at the first aspect of the question by reading the entire passage and at least cross checking the parallel passages for the same incident.

Matthew 19:16-26 Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"  So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." He said to Him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, "'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,'  'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' “The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard [it], they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"  But Jesus looked at [them] and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Parallel Passages:

Mark 10: 17-27 “Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.  You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.' “And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth."  Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."  But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, "Who then can be saved?"  But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." 

Luke 18: 18- Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.  You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Honor your father and your mother.'" And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth."  So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."  But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he became VERY sorrowful, He said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!  For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  And those who heard it said, "Who then can be saved?"  But He said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." 

Points to be noted:

(a) Lord Jesus Christ Himself did the expository on what He meant. It meant “those who trust in the riches” and not merely those who posses the property. When speaker himself interprets the message, no one else can dispute the meaning of the message. In fact, LORD Jesus Christ being omniscient knew the heart of this young ruler and that could have been the reason for Him to tell this specific commandment to the ruler.

(b) LORD Jesus Christ was very sorrowful in seeing the reluctance of this young man. In other words, it was out of His compassion to the young ruler that He spok

e this.

(c) Further LORD Jesus Christ Himself qualified that though it is humanly impossible; it is possible for God to save the rich. In other words, LORD Jesus Christ never taught that rich will not enter the Kingdom of God.

Thus when we look at the overall context, these words were spoken out of compassion to the rich.

It was not that LORD Jesus Christ was against the rich. He was definitely against giving priority to being rich or trusting in the richness, or being a servant of money. However, He taught that there is a way to achieve all these things- that is to first seek the Kingdom of God.

LORD Jesus Christ clearly taught:

Matthew 6:24-33 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, [will He] not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'   For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

That brings us to the second aspect of the question- Did LORD Jesus Christ teach that Kingdom of God is at a locality? The answer to the question is both yes and no. It surely has a geographical identity, i.e. the new heaven and the new earth, where the LORD God reigns. However, it is not of this world and now it is a spiritual kingdom.

John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."   

Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Having thus answered the second aspect of the question, let us now turn our attention to the third aspect. Maharishi wrote “A little reflection would have made it clear to Jesus Christ that the poor do not possess so many means (to do good) as the rich. If the rich, after due deliberation, spend their wealth in furthering the cause of righteousness, they could attain the highest state, whilst the poor without any means for their improvement would remain in wretched plight.”

Now the Vedic teaching is exposited in its clearest terms. Vedas is all for the rich and dead against the poor. Surely those who wrote Vedas wanted to appease the rich lest they starve without their support.

Oh, my countrymen realize the oppressive trickster of Vedas – siding with the rich to lure them to their religion and earn some money.

Leave this money minded Vedic religion and come and serve the only True God LORD Jesus Christ.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*