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SCARLET WORMS…are similar to the Mexican cochineal insect. Most Americans will never observe the scarlet worm, being indigenous to the Middle East. All of us adventurous types have seen and handled many types of worms.  Fishermen use them as bait. Most of us, at one time or another learned to place a slippery critter on a hook! There are Inch worms, red worms, fuzzy ones, ooy gooy types and many more. Most people hold little admiration for any form of worm. As a college fraternity plebe, we were shown a bowl of earthworms, then blindfolded and forced to eat what we thought was in that bowl. The first bite was the hardest thing I can ever remember, to only find they had substituted it for a bowl of wet spaghetti. What a relief!! Reminds me of another but greater act of substitution.

Scarlet means red or carmine color. The scarlet worm is/was used as the substance for dyes. The dried body of the female yields a coloring matter for cloth. All throughout Exodus the construction of the tabernacle included the use of these coloring agents for various elements, especially the curtains. “And every man, with whom was found blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, goats’ hair, red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them.” (Ex 35:23) “All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands, and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.” (v. 25) And in Numbers 4 we see the table of showbread and its elements being covered. “They shall spread over them a scarlet cloth, and cover the same with a covering of badger skins…” (v. 8) All things in the Tabernacle point to Jesus, the Christ and His eternal work for His Father. So, what about these scarlet worms?
Besides the numerous passages, mostly in Exodus, referring to the tabernacle, where tola’ath, with shani, is translated ‘scarlet’, there are eight passages in which it is translated ‘worm’. It can be used as a term for ‘contempt’ or ‘depreciation’. This is the case in Job 25:6, Psalm 22:6 and Isaiah 41:14.
Psalm 22, a Messianic song, was written by David a thousand years before its fulfillment. It is the description of the crucifixion of Christ, or ‘Psalm of the cross’.  In verse 6, Jesus cries out from the cross. “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.” Why would the Son of God describe Himself as a worm? As earlier stated, He refers to this scarlet worm, the one that secretes a crimson fluid. Its life cycle is interesting and very revealing. When the mother worm is ready to give birth to her offsprings, she attaches herself to a tree trunk or post very securely. So much so, she will never leave it again. The babies are born and she provides protection for them with her body until they are ready to depart for life on their own. Then the mother dies and in the process the scarlet fluid stains her body, the babies and the wood. Through her suffering and death, many new worms are born.
Jesus identifies Himself with her. Through His suffering on the cross and His shed blood, many souls are saved and many sons brought into glory with the Father. “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Heb 2:10) He had to die, He had to shed His blood; like her, it simply was the only way to secure life for us by completing the Father’s plan of redemption from sin. Job asked the question:  “How then can man be righteous before God? Or who can be pure who is born of a woman? (Job 25:4) “How much less man, who is a maggot, and a son of man who is a worm.” (v. 6) Job, the answer is in Isaiah.“Fear not you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you,” says the Lord and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.’ (v. 41:4)
And we see at the end of Psalm 22 this testimony. “They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this.” (v. 31) Remember the fraternity initiation substitution? That is but an image of what Jesus did for us. Good Friday means good news! If young worms could speak, they would surely tell other worms of their mother’s suffering and sacrifice for them so they might have life. How much more so should we!!!!
Jesus, our Scarlet Worm, is the only reason we can exclaim to one another…BLESSED EASTER!
Copyright 2011
Bill C. Dotson
Certain information on the scarlet worm taken from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
Scriptures are from New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

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