The Gospel According to Tola
7/27 Reading Portions: Judges 10:1-11:11; Acts 14; Jeremiah 23; Mark 9
After Abimelech there arose to save Israel Tola... Judges 10:1
After the death of Abimelech, who was the first king in Israel (not over Israel, because he was only king over Shechem), a man of Issachar’s tribe arose as God’s judge to defend Israel. Not much is known of him except for his lineage (Judge 10:1) and the length of his ministry, 23 years (Judge 10:2). What is most curious, however, is his name, Tola. His name means worm.
The worm is prophetic of Israel’s Messiah:
But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. Psalm 22:6
When Jesus hung upon the cross, ravaged and savagely beaten by sinful men and despised by the people He came to save, the Lord Jesus suffered God’s unbridled wrath and holy justice for sins He did not commit. The punishment Christ suffered as God’s own holy Substitute sunk the Lord Jesus to depths far below what any human can ever know or experience.
The worm in Israel had a dark red, earthy color. When these worms were harvested from the tree in which they made their homes, dried, and ground to fine powder, their residue was used to produce dye for garments. So rich and potent was the deep red color of the worm, it only took two worms to produce enough dye to make a scarlet or crimson cloth. In the Old Testament, scarlet and crimson are translated from their Hebrew words, tola’at shney, which means “two worms” (and scarlet, being sometimes from the word shney, meaning ‘two’). When we consider this connection with Christ, God’s wrath, and the crushing of the worms to make crimson, it gives greater insight to the Lord’s sufferings:
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush Him. Isaiah 53:10
…though [your sins] are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18
O, the depth, breadth, length, and height of the cost of our salvation! Too wonderful for comprehension; too marvelous for words! Hallelujah! What a Savior!
The gospel truth of Christ, the Worm,
Who suffered holy wrath,
Bore the punishment to affirm
The sav’d will walk God’s path.
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