‘Fear not you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel, I will help you, says the Lord, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel’ Isaiah 41:14.
Figures of speech explain things so much more clearly and in fewer words than straight out description. To call someone a ‘donkey’ or ‘as thick as a brick’ needs no further explanation. The Bible uses figures of speech numerous times. Worm is one of them. It is used three times. Once it is applied to Humanity by Bildad in his debate with Job (Job 25:6). His characterisation of Humanity is depressing and true. How can it be justified in God sight? How can it be clean, implying moral and spiritual filth for it is a worm whose world is the dirt?
Isaiah the prophet used the term ‘worm’ and applied it to Israel (Isaiah 41:14). According to Isaiah 27:1 this degraded Nation is mentioned alongside a creature called Leviathan. There this monster is being attacked by the Lord in defence of His people. Who or what is it? Though not an animal definitively recognized it is described as ‘the piercing serpent, the crooked serpent and dragon’. Could this be a clue which links it to the Serpent in the Garden of Eden? This creature mentioned in Genesis 3 is unmasked in Revelation 12:9. There the Serpent is also named the Devil, Satan, and Dragon. What the prophets wrote about the Last Days is clarified by the apostle John. Leviathan, alias Satan, had perpetrated numerous physical frontal assaults, spiritual perversions and moral debaucheries upon Israel over centuries. These were to prevent God’s purposes through Israel being accomplished. Whilst effective, all his attempts were thwarted by the Lord God of Hosts. Now, in Revelation, this creature rises up in one last horrific assault to destroy Israel.
Leviathan’s historical attacks caused Israel a loss of nobility, prestige and respect in their Lord’s eyes. It also undermined their witness to the rest of the World. They wanted to be like the Gentile Nations and in many ways that is what they became. They had lost their spiritual and moral uniqueness which was its ‘backbone’ hence the term ‘you worm!’ Yet, God tells them not to fear, He will help them. His ‘battle plan’ is most surprising. Psalm 22 tells us about it and in verse 6, the person mentioned calls Himself a ‘worm.’ The Gospels reveal the identity of this ‘worm’ as Jesus, descendant of King David. The Lion of Judah as He is called became ‘the Worm.’ It would be in the weakness of His identifying with Israel and Humanity Jesus would enter the fray with Leviathan. David’s foresaw the ‘Worm’ as Israel’s substitute under God’s judgement and gladiator against Leviathan’s power. His opponents also included the ‘wild bulls of Bashan (rich and powerful) ‘dogs’ (scavengers, immoral), ravenous lions (godless royalty) and ‘unicorns’ (maybe rhinoceros, Political power).
The battleground was Golgotha (John19:17). The ‘Worm’ took God’s curse upon Israel and bore it. ‘The Worm’ also took Humanity’s Judgement and consumed it. ‘Jesus as ‘the Worm’ won the battle because, though He bore the sin of the World, no sin was found in Him. Though Leviathan still roars and ravages he is defeated and in retreat. His final moments are written in God’s word when it says ‘the Worm’ returns as the Lord of Glory and slays this monster with ‘the sword of His mouth.’