DEBRIDEMENT of the LORD’S BODY
BY: ELWIN R. ROACH
DEBRIDEMENT of TWO BRIDAL VEILS
CUTTING OFF LIMBS and PLUCKING OUT EYES
The first time I heard debridement mentioned was from one of Dr. Kay Fairchild’s messages she ministered at Roy Richmond’s conference in Oklahoma City. She related how a young Jewish lady who had recently been saved and was a part of her fellowship stood and prophesied, saying, “The Lord is debriding His body.”
Most of you, as it was with me, had never heard this word used, and we don’t know if the sister prophesying had ever heard it before she trumpeted it from her lips; nonetheless, it is a very fitting word for this day and the body of Christ.
(1)Debridement is a medical term used to describe removing dead, devitalized, or infected tissue from a patient to expose healthy, living tissue. Four methods are generally used: 1) surgical debridement: cutting away the dead or infected flesh; 2) mechanical debridement: a saline-moistened dressing is allowed to dry overnight and adhere to the dead tissue. When the dressing is removed, the dead tissue is pulled away with it. This can be very painful because the dressing can adhere to the living tissue as well as the dead tissue; 3) chemical debridement: makes use of certain enzymes to dissolve dead tissue. The body can make its own enzyme. As with other debridement techniques, the area first is flushed with saline. Any crust of dead tissue is etched in a cross-hatched pattern to allow the enzyme to penetrate. A topical antibiotic is also applied to prevent introducing infection into the bloodstream; 4) autolytic debridement: takes advantage of the body’s own ability to dissolve dead tissue with enzymes and immune cells that promote wound healing. It is an inappropriate treatment for wounds that have become infected. There is another form of debridement; but we will notice it in a little while.
By understanding a more about this medical term, we can surely see how it relates to the body of Christ and the necessity of its treatment. Namely, He is removing the veil of dead flesh to expose, or unveil the living flesh of His body. It is part of the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ; but this apocalypse can be very trying, to say the least.
DEBRIDEMENT of TWO BRIDAL VEILS
As a type, we can see this procedure in one of Israel‘s customs. This was part of the wedding ceremony when the man de-brided his wife to be. He removed her veil after the consummation to see her the first time. If Jacob had removed Leah’s veil before the consummation, he would have never sealed the marriage. However, it is possible it was removed; but if so, there were no lamps burning and it had to be dark; for he did not know she was Leah until after the consummation. The marriage contract was signed, sealed and delivered by his seed. He, then, had to wait in servitude another seven years for Rachel. (I wonder if he peeked under her veil before the point of no return? I would have!)
There is another debridement in a marriage. Removing this veil is much more intimate. It is a rending of the veil that separates the bride’s holy place from the most Holy. It speaks of pain and bloodshed. It is when the bride’s veil of flesh is rent at the consummation of the marriage. Although painful, the rending of that veil guarding this sacred place makes way for conception to take place and a son (of God) to be born. Thus the necessity of the woman’s debridement.
After the debridement, the groom would announce the consummation to the other members of the wedding party waiting outside the chamber as in John 3:29. These people would pass on the news of the marital union to the wedding guests. Upon receiving this good news the wedding guests would feast and celebrate for seven days. The couple remained in the bridal chamber alone during that time while being tended to by the servants as needed. At the end of those seven days, they would emerge from the bridal chamber with her veil removed so that all could see who his bride/wife was. She had been unveiled/debrided/unbridled and with a son developing inside her most holy place.
Having been de-brided, she was no longer a bride but a wife, and this took place in seclusion behind closed doors. I believe most of us can relate to this; for have we not been in seclusion? Yes, we have. For some of us it has been as a blessing while with others it has not been. But let us rejoice that we are alone and void of the large crowds; for we are in union with our Lord and are being debrided. This is the only way a son can be conceived and born, that is, manifested in our lives.
The other type of debridement I mentioned earlier that we would notice is done with worms, maggots. That is right, my friend–MAGGOTS! Sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? And it is! The process really is disgusting; but it saves limbs and lives better than the other debridement treatments, especially with gangrene and diabetic ulcers (http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/2/446). Some of you may wonder how and when such a treatment could have been used. Not only is it becoming an accepted form of debridement in the medical field; but it was mentioned in the scriptures by one of the prophets (Isaiah 66:24) around 2700 years ago (700 BC). Jesus also made mention of it: “Where their (2) worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Mark 9:44
We might wonder how these two verses suggest worm or maggot debridement? This would especially be a concern for those who still hold to the idea that the worm refers to the soul of man which will supposedly be tormented in unquenchable hellfire forever. But let us put such concerns to rest. These verses are speaking of a great and wonderful thing. Painful? Yes! But truly a wonderful thing for those thereon that the worm does not die.
You see, there has been a lot of dead flesh building up for a long time. It really smells bad; therefore, an army of flesh-eating worms has been sent into action against that dead, stinking flesh. How long has it been festering, dying, and piling up? Quite some time: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2: 17 That was when it started; two types of flesh, that of the body and that of the soul, the carnal body and the carnal mind. And please know that dead flesh will decay. It will rot. It will putrefy as gangrene sets in, and it has to be cut away or consumed by the worm that does not die as long as there is something to consume. Also as there is dead flesh of the man’s soul, it will not starve, but rather, grow bigger and more ravenous. Adam’s dead flesh is a veil that covers the glory of the new man; but that which the unquenchable fire leaves, the worms will debride.
Some are still not at rest with this, so let us look at what Jesus said in Mark 9:46. He was clearly referring to the same judgment fires as those described in Isaiah 66:24, where we read: “They [the righteous] shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses [dead bodies] of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched….” Some believe that the worms and fire are working upon disembodied spirits, but it is upon bodies, dead bodies which is a type of the fleshly, carnal mind and natural man.
The word hell used in Mark 9:43-48 is from the Greek word Gehenna. This is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Hinnom, the name of a valley near Jerusalem where carcasses of animals and criminals were cast which were continuously being consumed by fire. That which the fire did not burn was eaten by the maggots. Gehenna was always being debrided of its dead, decaying flesh; but once there were no more bodies disposed therein, both the worm and fire ceased to be.
Christ uses this valley as an example to teach His disciples the fate that awaits the wicked. Certainly those who heard His words never raised the idea that evil, disembodied souls or spirits would be endlessly suffering. They envisioned dead bodies being devoured by flames and worms, those ever-present, inexhaustible, never retiring agents that consumed combustible things and dead flesh. Fire takes care of wood, hay and stubble while worms take care of the dead flesh. The fact that the fires of Gehenna were ever kept burning, were not quenched, was the surest proof that whatever was cast into them would be entirely consumed. Thus the debridement of Adam’s dead flesh. Frankly, to say that if a fire is ever burning, and whatever is cast into it is ever living, is to go contrary both to the rationale of our senses and to the testimony of Scripture.
Charles Kingsley wrote to Thomas Cooper in 1857 that “The expression, in the end of Isaiah, about the fire unquenched, and the worm not dying, is plainly of the dead corpses of men upon the physical earth, in the valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, where the offal of Jerusalem was burned perpetually…as it is the passage which our Lord quotes, and by it the meaning of His words must be primarily determined: a. The doctrine of endless torment was, as a historical fact, brought back from Babylon by the Rabbis. It was a very ancient primary doctrine of the Magi, an appendage of their fire-kingdom of Ahriman, and may be found in the old Zends [ancient Iranian language], long prior to Christianity; b. St. Paul accepts nothing of it as far as we can tell, never making the least allusion to the doctrine; c. The Apocalypse simply repeats the imagery of Isaiah, and of our Lord; but asserts, distinctly, the non-endlessness of torture, declaring that in the consummation, not only death, but hell, shall be cast into the Lake of Fire; d. The Christian Church has never really held it exclusively, till now. It remained quite an open question till the age of Justinian, 530, and significantly enough, as soon as 200 years before that, endless torment for the heathen became a popular theory, purgatory sprang up synchronously by the side of it, as a relief for the conscience and reason of the Church.
“Fire and Worms, whether physical or spiritual, must in all logical fairness be supposed to do what fire and worms do, viz: destroy decayed and dead matter, and set free its elements….They are beneficial, purifying agents in this life. The conception of fire as an engine of torture, is an unnatural use of that agent and not to be attributed to God without blasphemy….Is it not good news that that fire is unquenchable; that that worn will not die….The parti prêtre [clerical party] tried to kill the worm which was gnawing at their hearts, making them dimly aware that they were wrong, and liars, and that God and His universe were against them, and that they and their system were rotting and must die. They cannot kill God’s worm, Thomas Cooper. You cannot look in the face of many a working continental priest without seeing that the worm is at his heart. You cannot watch their conduct without seeing that it is at the heart of their system. God grant that we here in England—we parsons (dissenting and church) may take warning by them. The fire may be kindled for us. The worm may seize our hearts. God grant that in that day we may have courage to let the fire and the worm do their work—to say to Christ, These too are Thine, and out of Thine infinite love they have come. Thou requirest truth in the inward parts, and I will thank Thee by any means, however bitter which Thou usest to make me true. I want to be an honest man, and a right man! And, oh joy, Thou wantest me to be so also. Oh joy, that though I long cowardly to quench Thy fire, I cannot do it. Purge us, therefore, oh Lord, though it be with fire. Burn up the chaff of vanity and self-indulgence, of hasty prejudices, second-hand dogmas,—husks which do not feed my soul, with which I cannot be content, of which I feel ashamed daily—and if there be any grains of wheat in me, any word or thought or power of action which may be of use as seed for my nation after me, gather it, oh Lord, into Thy garner.
“Yes, Thomas Cooper. Because I believe in a God of Absolute and Unbounded Love, therefore, I believe in a Loving Anger of His, which will and must devour and destroy all which is decayed, monstrous, abortive in His universe, till all enemies shall be put under His feet, to be pardoned, surely, if they confess themselves in the wrong, and open their eyes to the truth. And God shall be All in All. Those last are wide words. It is he who limits them, not I who accept them in their fulness, who denies the verbal inspiration of Scripture.” http://www.gerald-massey.org.uk/cooper/c_misc_4.htm
CUTTING OFF LIMBS and PLUCKING OUT EYES
“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire [with the offenders]. 9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye [void of scandalizing fellowship], rather than having (3) two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” Matthew 18:7-9
Plucking out your eye or cutting off the hand or foot that (4) offends you could sound much like the law of Islam, a law that is a great aversion to most of us. Islam’s views are literal to the letter. They are harsh, exact, unbending, and vengeful, which smacks in the face of everything that our Lord Jesus taught. Therefore, if we take these two verses as being literal, He then smacked Himself in the face when he said it. I cannot bring such an image to my mind.
The scriptures neither teach nor condone self-mutilation. Surely we can see when they are speaking of spiritual things and when they are to be taken literally. For instance, it is not our body parts–eyes, hands, and feet–that offend us. They do not cunningly lay out a plan to trip us up so we stumble and fall into sin. If this were the case, every murderer in this nation would be set free while having his gun and/or hand sentenced to be destroyed or locked in a vault for the duration of the sentence. We don’t have to be told that cutting off a man’s hand changes nothing of his character. He is the same man who will merely hold the gun in his other hand to do the same as he did with his severed hand. The Muslims take their law very literally, and they keep cutting off the thief’s hands, and finally it is the man’s head. It stops the crime; but it doesn’t change the man, culture, or the nation. Therefore, the hands, feet, and eyes of which Jesus spoke were not natural body parts. He was making reference to the natural man, the soulish man within us. It is that man with six thousand years of rotting flesh with all his selfish actions that must be debrided from us, and sometimes the entire member must go, member by member, if necessary.
In part, David Wilkerson said it very well when he wrote: “It is a rebuke against self-effort. It’s all about our helplessness! The Lord is saying, ‘If your hand tries to work out your problem — that is, if you’re taking matters into your own hands — then stop immediately! If your feet run around desperately trying to solve your trouble, then stop running! If your eye looks to something or someone else for help — a man or woman who you think may be the answer to your prayer — then by all means, stop looking and pluck out that type of thinking immediately!”
For an expanded view of this, let us be directed to the anointed pen of another:
“The hand that holds the pen with which I am now writing is not my true hand. The feet that walk the streets of El Paso are not the feet of which Jesus speaks. My eyes which beheld with wonder this morning the beauty of the dawn are not the eyes that offend and should be plucked out. The physical is not the realm where the truth and the power of Jesus’ teaching should be applied. The true body members of those who believe on Christ are the MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST. Someone is quick to retort, ‘Now wait a minute, brother Eby, that doesn’t sound right. Do you mean that if my brother in Christ is a foot, or if my sister is a hand, or if another is an eye, I am to cut that one off, and cast him from me?’ If he offends you — YES!
“Hear my heart. I’m not talking about if your brother hurts your feelings, gossips about you, falsely accuses you, cheats you, mistreats you, or does something you don’t condone. That’s not the issue at all. The issue is offense. If one would trip you, lay a snare for you, cause you to stumble and fall, or turn you aside so that you miss the Kingdom — even if that one is your brother — CUT THAT ONE OFF! It is better for you to lay hold upon the power and glory of the incorruptible life of Christ without that one’s contribution into your life, than to fall short because of his influence and be cast into the fiery, purging, purifying judgment of God. Nothing — not even your brother in Christ — must prevent you from growing up into your sonship or keep you from possessing your inheritance. The stakes are too high. The issue is too critical. If anyone by carnal wisdom, fleshly zeal, false doctrines, powerless traditions, worldly methods, man-made programs and promotions, or religious guile would turn you aside from following the Lamb to mount Zion and fulfilling the high purposes of God in your life — separate that person from you. That is precisely what it means.
“The Lord is not talking about condemning your brethren, assuming a holier-than-thou attitude, exhibiting an ugly spirit toward them, hating them, mistreating them, or damning them. He is talking about raising up a barrier between your forward walk in God and their walk so that you are not turned aside from God’s purpose in you. You see, my beloved, you cannot cut any man or woman off from Christ and it is utterly impossible for anyone to cut you off from Christ. No bishop, board, organizational hierarchy, church or saint can excommunicate anyone from the body of Christ. Ah — they can certainly excommunicate you from an organization or denomination, from a man-made religious system, even from their love and fellowship, but not from Christ.” J. Preston Eby – The Kingdom of God, Part 25.
This is another example of debriding the body of Christ–pluck it out, cut it off. Everything that defiles and would destroy this sacred body, cast it away. Get rid of the offending eye, the offending limbs. It may not be an easy task to free ourselves from some of those things we have grown to love, especially people; but it is essential. If we choose to have our natural hands, feet, and eyes surgically removed when the dire need comes in order to save our lives, we should be able to debride ourselves from scandalizing men and women as well as ugly habits. As Benjamin Franklin wrote to his niece who had lost her father: “A mangled painful limb, which cannot be restored, we willingly cut off. He who plucks out a tooth freely parts from it, since the pain goes with it. And, likewise, in death, a man or woman quits the whole body parts at once with all the pains and possibilities of pains and diseases it was liable to or capable of making him suffer.”
The LORD did much the same when he debrided Abram by separating Lot from his presence. In essence, his right hand that had been offending Abram was cut off and cast away as Lot went into the land of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was then that Abram could arise with eyes lifted up, and he could see from horizon to horizon. It was then that He had purpose and was able to build an altar unto the LORD. He was also able to walk in and possess the land.
“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that (5)Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: 15For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. 16And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. 18Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.” Genesis 13:14-18
Avenues of understanding come after we see that Lot’s name means “a veil,” for veils serve to cover/hide/conceal things whether it is a woman’s face, her most holy place, the Holy of holies in the Temple of God, the human body, or wounded flesh. They all forbid one’s entry or the ability to see beyond the veil, and debridement is the simple term we are using today in order for us to grasp the various ways God is bringing his glorious body into view. Spiritual enlightenment also unveils things; but it seems that trying times often play a very important part of the apocalyptic debridement as well. Therefore, whether by divine impartation, surgical debridement, mechanical debridement, chemical debridement, autolytic debridement, fire or worm debridement–our Lord’s body will be cleansed of all the carnal flesh by which it has been wrapped. So look up dear ones; for your deliverance draweth nigh as the worms crawl in and the worms crawl out. What an apocalypse! Don’t you think?
1. Debridement: French débridement, from débrider to remove adhesions, literally, to unbridle, from Middle French desbrider, debride bridle.
2. worm: Grk. sklx; a grub, maggot or earth worm
3. “What concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 2 Corinthians 6:15
4. offends: Grk. skandalizo: “scandalize”; to entrap, that is, trip up (figuratively stumble…entice to sin, apostasy or displeasure)
5. Lot: H3876 “a veil”
DEBRIDEMENT of the LORD’S BODY [Elwin R. Roach] 1