Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Am A Worm

I heard this before and was reminded of it today I  found it so fascinating, I had to share.  May you be blessed by it.  

"That word worm in the Hebrew is the word tola'ath.  It's a word that's used 43 times in the Bible and it's usually translated "scarlet."  One time it's translated "crimson."  For example, "Though your sins be as scarlet," tola'ath, "they shall be as white as snow."

But eight times that same word tola'ath is translated "worm"-"scarlet" and "worm."  What's the connection?  Well, this worm in Psalm 22-"I am a worm and no man"-many scholars believe refer to what is known as a scarlet worm that is common in the Middle East.  It's similar to the cochineal that you find in Latin America.  You may have read about these when these insects are crushed the blood that comes out makes a crimson dye.  It's brilliant color that's used in making red garments and red fabrics.

Well, this scarlet worm, the tola'ath is found in Palestine, in Syria.  It secretes a scarlet fluid that was used in ancient times to make a beautiful scarlet dye.  It was used in things like the curtains in the tabernacle in the Old Testament that were scarlet colored.  These scarlet worms were used to make that scarlet dye.

In the life cycle of this scarlet worm we see what I think is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus.  When the scarlet worm was ready to give birth she would find the trunk of a tree, and she would attach her body securely, permanently to that tree trunk.  Then she would lay her eggs, and the eggs would remain under her body until they hatched.  The mother's body would provide protection for the babies until they were ready to get out and function on their own, and then the mother worm, the scarlet worm would die.

As it died, its body affixed to that tree would burst, and the scarlet fluid inside would flow out and stain her body and her babies and the tree.  I believe we have in that a graphic illustration from the world of nature that points to Christ who said, "I am a worm," tola'ath, "and no man."

As the scarlet worm died whild being attached to a tree, the Son of God was attached to a tree and laid down His life to give us eternal life and to make us children of God.  As the scarlet fluid flowed out from the dying worm and covered her young, so the blood that flowed out from the veins of Christ covers us.  It makes atonement for our sins and clothes us in His righteousness.  As one commentary says, "The glorious garments of our salvation have been procured as a result of Christ's death and suffering.  He became the tola'ath, the worm, crushed in death so we might be robed in glory."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss

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