The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread – Review

Richard Booker. The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread. Rev. Ed. Shippensburg PA: Destiny Image, 2017. E-book.

The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread is a classic. It has sold in the millions and has been a standard for teaching for nearly forty years. This “Expanded Edition” contains two new chapters which may be the most interesting.

The focus of The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread is the theme of blood covenant throughout the Bible culminating in the blood sacrifice of the Messiah Jesus. It begins with Adam, goes to Abraham, and focuses a lot on Moses. We examine the significance of the Passover and the Priesthood. The details of the Tabernacle in particular prophesy the suffering and death of the Messiah.

Booker refers to The Blood Covenant by H. Clay Trumbull a number of times. That is the source for the topic, not only theologically but anthropologically. A few years ago I read the Chinese classic novel The Three Kingdoms. The book begins with what the Chinese call the Peach Orchard Oath. Basically, three men confirm a blood covenant and, as we would say, they become blood brothers. As the story unfolds, we see how seriously the men took their promise to each other. Trumbull noted how the concept of blood covenant is nearly universal among mankind. Booker notes that Trumbull is more scholarly, so his book has made the teaching more accessible to the average person.

The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread perhaps best compares with Malcolm Smith’s The Power of the Blood Covenant. Smith’s work involves more personal application but does not survey the Scripture the way Booker does.

For serious students of both the Bible and the anthropology, the two chapters added to the Expanded Edition make this edition worthwhile. These are less obvious aspects of the blood covenant, but Booker explains them well using both the Scripture and personal examples. Those chapters are about the salt covenant and the threshold covenant. One should perhaps note that the threshold covenant is an important aspect of the Passover story. Jesus, too, called himself the door. (See John 10:9)

The Old Testament does allude to covenants of salt a couple of times, and Booker explains that clearly as well. Most people recognize that blood tastes salty, and salt can be a substitute for blood in certain situations, just as wine (the blood of the grapes, see Genesis 49:11, Deuteronomy 32:14) is viewed that way.

The author spends quite a few pages at the beginning describing his own experiences and perhaps justifying his work. Quite a bit of that in my mind is unnecessary. As the lawyers say, res ipse loquitur, the thing speaks for itself, and it speaks volumes. No apology necessary.

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