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    According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the phrase “memo” came into being in the year 1889. It is of course a shortened form of the word “memorandum”, a word that has existed at least since the early 15th Century. In the Oxford English Dictionary, a memorandum is defined as, “A message in the form of a simple note, without the formulas and signature characteristics of a letter, and conventionally bearing the heading “Memorandum”, and the sender’s name; especially such a message as communicated within an organization.”  

    In recent years the phrase, “Didn’t you get the memo?”, has been popularized in such movies  as “Office Space” and “Batman Begins”, and is often used to sarcastically point out another’s  ignorance of important facts.

    In Biblical Typology, Jesus is often portrayed in veiled form by certain Biblical characters such as Joseph or Moses. There are also Biblical Types of Jesus found within the Inanimate World, such as when Jesus is likened unto being a Rock (Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 18:2, I Corinthians 10:4), life giving Bread (Matthew 26:26, John 6:32-35, I Corinthians 11:24), or as living water (John 4:10,14, 7:38, Revelation 7:17).

    From the Animal Kingdom, we also find Jesus sharing similar characteristic to a strong and formidable Lion, “… the Lion of the Tribe of Judah…” (Revelation 5:5), or as a meek and lowly sacrificial Lamb, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). 

    Another member of the Animal Kingdom to which Scripture also likens Jesus to is the lowly Worm. Unfortunately, very seldom is the spiritual significance of Jesus depiction as being like a worm given much attention amongst believers. When thoroughly examined however, Jesus’ representation as being like a worm can arguably be seen to be far more poignant and thought provoking than all the other Biblical Types to be found within God’s Word.  

    So, just in case “You didn’t get the Memo!”, regarding the significance of the “Worm” in Biblical Typology, here goes:


    Just a quick heads up, while most Christians ignore the fact that Scripture likens Jesus as being like a “worm” during the Crucifixion, in so doing they miss out on some of the most important and wondrous aspects of God’s Word.  

    In Psalm 22, David gives us a vivid prophetic description as to the magnitude of Jesus’ sufferings on the Cross which would occur 1,000 years into the future. The narrative reads: 

        “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; 

    it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

        My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou

    hast brought me into the dust of death.

        For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me:

    they pierced my hands and my feet.

        I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

        They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” Psalm 22:14-18

    Immediately preceding this passage in Scripture, we find Jesus equated to being like a “worm” in the same chapter of Scripture:

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

        All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

        He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.” 

    Psalm 22:6-8

    It is of interest to note that David did not use the customary Hebrew word for the common worm in this passage. For this word is “rimmah”. Rather, he used the Hebrew word “tola’ath”, which depicts “a scarlet or crimson worm” (This same differentiation in the original Hebrew language is also made in the Book of Job, where sinful man is referred to as a common worm or “rimmah”, and the Son of Man is represented as “tola’ath”. (Job 25:6). 

    The “tola’ath”, or “towla” worm, is a worm that is crimson or scarlet in color. It is found throughout the Middle East, most predominately within the Nation of Israel. This “crimson worm” possesses some quite interesting and unique characteristics.

     The female crimson worm only lays her eggs one time in her life, at the conclusion of her life cycle. When she is ready to lay her eggs, she climbs up a tree and attaches herself to it. Once her body is joined to the tree, a hard crimson shell forms around her body. She then lays her eggs underneath her body, and the eggs feed off of the living body of the mother over the course of the next 3 days. The mother then excretes a crimson or scarlet covered dye that stains both the tree and the infant worms. This dye is quite powerful, as the baby worms remain crimson colored for their entire lives. On day 4, the tail of the mother pulls up to her head, which forms a heart shaped body that is no longer crimson in color, but is snow white. The mother then dies, her work being finished.

    In Old Testament times, the red dye made from the crimson worm was used to stain the High Priest’s robes and was also likely used to stain the ram’s skins which formed the outer shell of the Tabernacle. This dye is still used in the Middle East to this very day and is referred to as “Royal Red Dye”. The waxy residue left from the mother worm is also used in the making of shellac to preserve wood. The other remaining parts of the deceased mother worm are incorporated into making medicine that is used to regulate the human heart.

    The numerous similarities between the Mother Crimson Worm and with Jesus’ death on the cross are truly amazing:


  1. Just as God the Father designed the Mother Crimson Worm to attach herself to a tree to end her life cycle, so too did He foreordain the same end for His only begotten Son (Acts 2:23).
  2. As the Mother Worm excretes a red dye that marks and covers her offspring, so too does the Blood of Jesus mark us as being His own (Ephesians 2:13), and covers the penalty for our sins, washing them all away (Revelation 1:5).
  3. Just as the Mother Worm’s color changes from red to white upon her death, so to does Jesus’ death on the Cross change our transgressions from red to white, “…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18)
  4. When her life is over, the Mother Worm is no more than a stain left behind on a tree. Likewise, we see that Jesus “made himself of no reputation” (Philippians 2:7) casting aside the Glory of his Divinity to become a mere worm for the sake of the believer.

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” II Corinthians 8:9 

    “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out!”  Romans 11:33 

                                     There you have it folks, you’ve gotten the “Memo”.

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Author Robert

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