The Scarlet Worm
There is nothing in the scriptures without a reason. Every word is God breathed.
In Psalm 22, which is sometimes referred to as the Psalm of the Cross, it tells of the suffering and death of Jesus 1000 years before the actual event.
Verse one says “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me”
These words, Jesus cried on the cross.
In verse 6, the Psalm says something very odd. “But I am a worm, and no man” What did He mean?
Usually the word for “worm” in the Bible is “rimmah” which means “maggot” but the Hebrew word used here is “Tola’ath” which means “Crimson Worm” or “Scarlet Worm”. It is interesting that this is the colour of blood.
The crimson worm (Coccus ilicis) is a very interesting creature, more like a grub than a worm.
When it comes time for worm to produce new life, which is only once in the lifetime of this worm. The worm impales itself to a tree. It then makes a hard shell and lays eggs under the protective shell. When the larvae hatch, they stay under the shell. Not only is the worm the protector of the babies but it also provides them with food. The babies feed on the living body of the worm.
As the worm dies, it oozes a crimson or scarlet dye, which not only stains the wood but also the new born young. They are covered with the crimson colour for the rest of their lives.
After 3 days, the worm loses its crimson colour and turns into a white wax that falls to the ground like snow.
So why did Jesus say “I am a worm”.
Well it sounds very much like the Gospel to me.
Just like the crimson worm, Jesus was impaled on a tree and gave His life that we may live.
We were washed in His crimson blood and He took our sin and washed them as white as snow.
We can live because of Him.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are like crimson, they shall be as wool”.
The worm “Coccius ilicis” means Coccius – Scarlet or Crimson. Ilicis apparently mean It is finished.
It is interesting that this worm is used in medicine.
Crimson ( tola’at , Strong's #8438): This word can represent the colour crimson or the worm "coccus ilicis" which, when dried was ground into a powder and used as a dye for the colour crimson. This worm also contains a chemical that is an anti-bacterial agent and was used in the formula for the ashes of the red heifer (Leviticus 14:4) which was used when someone came into contact with a dead body (a host for bacteria).
Lev 14:4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
This information is very interesting, because of the fact that this crimson, this worm, is necessary to make one clean, which I see as symbolic of removing sin, not to mention the many references in the Bible, to Jesus being a healer, in his life, and forever.
Isa 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Now, the life cycle of this insect, is interesting, when her life is near its end, it climbs up a tree - and fastens its body to it. It is its last act in life. It dies there, but its eggs hatch, and because of its death, its offspring are given new life – the worm makes the ultimate sacrifice - its own death, so that others, may live.
John 10:18 "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative.
John 15:12-13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends
Phil 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross.