Q. Re: The Eye Of The Needle There was and still exists today in Jerusalem a narrow passage between two walls of the city that is referred to as the eye of the needle. This was an emergency exit/entrance that was the only access at night. On my visit to Jerusalem (I traveled by bus and not by camel) I personally went through it and understood the picture Jesus was portraying clearly. It is a single narrow doorway allowing access to one person at a time and therefore very secure and defensible. A person arriving at the city after dark would do so with his earthly possessions loaded onto the back of a camel. The choice was clear: unload the camel or leave both it and your possessions behind if you want to enter the city. Camels are obstinate beasts and it took a lot of coaxing and pulling and even beating to get them through the narrow passage into the ante-chamber inside the wall.
A. The earliest appearance of the claim that such a gate or passage existed in the walls of Jerusalem dates to the 9th Century AD. Most experts agree that there is no verifiable evidence of such an entrance at any time in Jerusalem’s history.
Having led tours to Israel for 6 consecutive years, I soon learned to differentiate between Biblical truth and the colorful exaggerations of guides trying their best to give the tourists a once in a lifetime experience.
In addition, it’s my understanding that the current city walls and gates were built by the Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Magnificent in the 1500’s.
I’ll stick with my interpretation that the Lord had a real camel and a real needle in mind when He said this.