How do you reconcile Matthew 19v23-24 saying that rich people don't go to Heaven with numerous statements in the Bible that describe wealth as a sign of divine approval and blessedness?
Matthew 19:23-24 says: 23Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell 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." Taking verse 23 literally, it says that it is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of Heaven, not that it is impossible. Verse 24, though, seems like it says that it is impossible, though this is contested by realizing that there was, allegedly, a gate known as "the Eye of a Needle" that was used for smaller animals, but a camel could, with great difficulty, squeeze through it. (There's also the fact that with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26) Reading the passage in context, though, sheds more light on things. A rich young ruler had approached Jesus claiming that he was righteous because he followed all of the Mosaic law. Curiously, Jesus didn't deny that statement. Instead, He challenged the ruler to sell all that he had, then follow Him. The ruler turned away; his wealth was more important than following Christ. Jesus' disciples were confused. Why? Tradition at the time stated precisely what the question implies: that wealth meant blessing, so those who were blessed by God by being wealthy "just had to enter Heaven." Jesus tore it all down, though, with the statement quoted above. Jesus was pointing out that riches are very distracting; few people can be rich and serve God. It can be done, as noted by those people in the Bible who were blessed with great wealth and still served God, but it's too easy for a rich person's priorities to be swerved away from God. The key is in Matthew 19:26, when Jesus said, "with God, all things are possible."