Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Crimson Worm

The Scriptures are a gold mine.  If you keep searching, you find many nuggets under the surface.

Here is a beautiful example.  Most people agree that Psalm 22 is a depiction of the Messiah to come.  But look at verse 6:

But I am a worm, and no man;
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.

Is Yeshua really being compared to a worm?  Worms in scripture generally have a bad connotation.  But Yehsua was sinless... there has to be more to the story here.

(You can do a word study on worms in the Bible, and you will notice a definite play on words in connection with worms.  While men in their depraved sin nature are symbolized as "maggots" in the scriptures (Hebrew rimmah), Yeshua is symbolized as the rare Crimson grub (tola'ath).  Job 25:6 actually uses both words:  How much less man, who is a maggot, And a son of man, who is a worm?”)

 The word "worm" referred to is unique in Scripture.  The Hebrew word tola'ath is a particular female worm, which is called the "crimson worm."   The Crimson worm is common to the region of old Israel and was used in the dyeing of garments to scarlet.

Only when you study the attributes of this worm can you really understand what the verse is saying.  See if any of this has a ring of familiarity to you...

When the Crimson worm is prepared to reproduce offspring (and she does so only once in her life) she rigidly attaches herself to an oak tree in such a way that she can never be removed without tearing her body completely apart.  The crimson worm willingly climbs on the tree all by itself - nobody forces it to get on the tree. The 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.

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!

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.

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 - Yeshua!

The crushed worm is also used to make medicine. Praise be to the One Who heals our diseases!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases
Psalm 103:2-3

Thursday, February 16, 2012

For Such a Time As This

The spirit of Haman is alive and well today.  One would have to be pretty sheltered to have not heard how Iran would like to wipe Israel off the face of the map, or how they are currently beefing up their nukes to do just that.

Ironically, the main Haman of today, Amadinijad, lives in the very place of Haman in the book of Esther (In biblical times, Iran was Persia.)

The Feast of Purim begins on Wednesday evening, March 7.  Just as Esther called for a three day fast to intervene for her people, I would like to issue an invitation to people who love Israel to consider doing the same.  Our family (the older ones at least) will begin our three day fast at sundown on March 4, and continue until we break our fast for Purim on the night of the 7th.

So who's in?  Will you stand in the gap for Israel by praying and fasting at this critical time?

And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.  For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai:  “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”  Esther 4:13-15

By the way, those triangles on Haman's (oops, I mean Amadinijad's) ears are called Hamantaschen, which means "Haman's pockets," and are traditionally eaten at Purim.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Scripture Picture: Messiah the Son

Right off the bat, Matthew 1:1 says, The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.

What does this mean?  God gives us a messianic picture with each of these titles. 

When God tested Abraham, to see if he was willing to give up his beloved son, He was giving us a prophetic picture of the future sacrifice of His own Son.  Isaac, son of Abraham, is a picture of the Suffering Servant, which was fufilled by Yeshua at His first earthly visitation.

The son of David however - Solomon - gives us a different picture.  Solomon was a glorious king of Israel, ruling his kingdom in peace and wisdom.  Solomon, son of David, gives us a prophetic picture of Yeshua, the Reigning King.

Ancient Hebrew rabbis understood that there was a scriptural picture of the Messiah being a suffering servant as well as a conquering king.  For awhile, it was thought by the ancient sages that there were two Messiahs, because of the very different nature of each one.  Then the thinking became that maybe there was only one Messiah, but that He comes twice.  This thinking does not exist right now in Judaism.  By the time of Yeshua, the Jewish people were oppressed by Rome and they were only looking and hoping for the Conquering King.  This is one of the reasons so many Jewish people missed the visitation of the Suffering Servant.

Look at Luke 4:16-22:
So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.  And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.   And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 

If you go back to the book of Isaiah, you will see that Yeshua stopped reading in the middle of the verse, and did not quote the second half:  And the day of vengeance of our God.  Why did He stop?  Because the day of the Lord's wrath will not happen until He returns to the earth for a second time; no longer the Suffering Servent, but the Conquering King.

(If you keep reading in Luke 4, you will find that eventually the people in His hometown synagogue were so angry with Him that they wanted to throw Him off the cliff!)

I find it quite amazing that in the very first verse of the New Covenant, God gives us a picture of the dual roles of the Messiah.