How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? If even the moon does not shine, And the stars are not pure in His sight, How much less man, who is a maggot, And a son of man, who is a worm?” Job 25:4-6
These are the words of Job’s friend Bildad and they are a response to Job’s lament to go before the Lord and plead his case. Essentially Bildad is saying to Job, “Because all men are unrighteousness, they cannot stand before the throne of God.”
Theologically speaking, Bildad was right. And so were the psalmist and the prophet when they wrote, “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one…we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…” (Psalm 14:2-3; Isaiah 64:6a)
But prophetically speaking, Bildad was wrong, for it is the believer’s good fortune to be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ—those who believe by faith have access to God. What a glorious mystery it is!
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61:10-11
There is however a predictive irony in Bildad’s reply; whether he realized it or not (probably not), he spoke prophetically of Christ Jesus. In the New Testament Jesus makes reference to Himself as the ‘Son of man’ over eighty times and He likens Himself to a worm one time in the Old Testament.
But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. Psalm 22:6
We collectively wonder, “Why would Jesus call Himself a worm?” The answer overwhelms us.
The word worm in Hebrew is towla and it is used to describe both a worm and the color scarlet. They are synonymous because the ‘towla worm’ was the source for the color scarlet; if you wanted scarlet material, you crushed some towlas in a bowl (I suppose) and tossed in the fabric you wanted to dye.
Henry Morris, in the book, “Biblical Basis for Modern Science”, give us this additional information on the towla: ‘When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood.’
“First, the crimson worm climbs on the tree all by itself. Nobody forces it to get on the tree. It willingly searches out the kermes oak which is symbolic of its destiny. Then, by its own choice it climbs on the tree. Please understand that nobody forced Christ on the cross. What He did was of His own choice. He could have called all the angels of Heaven to release Him but He died alone for you and me.
The crimson worm knows when it climbs on the tree that it will not come back down alive. It is going to the tree to birth a family and to do that it must die. Jesus knowing all things still was willing to die on the cross to birth a family.
Once on the tree, the crimson worm then attaches itself to the tree. It makes sure it is secure because the body of the worm will eventually be the shelter for the young, which are born. Remember, it was not nails that held our Savior to the cross. It was love! That same love and broken body of our Lord is the protection for us against all the winds of heresy and unbelief of the ages. The worm will then lay its eggs and shelter them under her body.
During the birthing process, she secretes a crimson fluid or gel. The scarlet fluid covers her entire body and all the eggs she lays. It also leaves a stain on the tree, which will never fade away with the passing of time! (Please excuse me if I stop to shout right here! You may need to pause to join me too!) The blood of Jesus stained Him, the cross and all of us, which are saved! The blood will never lose its power!
After dying to birth the family, something amazing takes place. For a period of three days the worm can be scraped from the tree and the crimson gel can be used to make a dye. That dye was the same which was used in the tabernacle and in the garments of the High Priest.
On the morning of the fourth day, the worm has pulled the head and tail together and is now in the shape of a heart on the tree but it is no longer crimson. It is now a wax, which is white as snow. They can still harvest the wax and use it to make shellac, a preservative of wood. Praise God for the resurrection, which serves as the preservative of the message of the cross.
The crimson worm is also very fragrant when it is crushed. No other life in history has sweetened the pathway of humanity like the crimson worm who was crushed for our sin, Jesus.”
Here’s the bottom line. When Jesus referred to Himself as a worm, He was not coming down on Himself—the reference had doctrinal implications that would abide forever. The allusion was prophetic not poetic, it was momentous not insignificant; it was perfect and not irrelevant.
By the way…Happy Easter
These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson and with my pastor at my home church, Calvary Chapel Coastlands