Color Symbolism in the Bible

Colors in the Bible

We live in a beautiful world with a magnificent variety of different colors. When we look at a color, it often makes us feel a certain way, which is why many people feel connected to mood rings or other colors that may be associated with their birthstone.

Colors in the Bible can be very symbolic and while we may never notice the significance of certain things being certain colors (such as a priest’s robe or church decoration), they all have a very special meaning attached to them usually derived from scripture.

To delve deeper into this, let’s take a closer look at them starting with the primary colors, which are the three base colors that cannot be created from any other colors, including red, yellow, and blue, so we can see the message that God may be trying to convey to us this day, just as he did to Noah through a rainbow many years ago.

Red

“Red is the color of the blood that He shed…..” A verse from the coloring song, a Bible camp song that myself, as well as many others I’m sure grew up with.

In this song, the color red stands for the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made as a human for the rest of humanity.

It is also symbolic of sacrifice in Exodus when the Hebrews had to slaughter a lamb and paint the top of their door in blood so that the angel of death would pass over them.

Before Jesus died for us on the cross, the old testament way of doing things involved sacrificing the best of your flock to atone for your sins, so in this way red is symbolic of the cleansing of sins even before the ultimate sacrifice.

One translation from the Hebrew word adam means “to be red,” which is in reference to our skin tone. Therefore, we can see that red stands not only for sacrifice in multiple instances, but for our humanity as well and these are connected through Jesus’ coming down to earth as a human and sacrificing himself on the cross.

Ever since that ultimate sacrifice, the color red serves as a symbol that we no longer need to do anything more than ask Him who died for us for forgiveness.

Blue and Purple

Blue and purple are known for representing the heavens and being a healing power.

The reason they are known to represent the heavens is that the sky is blue, and its holiness is further supported by Exodus 24:10 where Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 elders of Israel all see God walk down on a sapphire stone, “…as if it were the body of heaven in its clearness.”

The color blue is also associated with healing powers according to Luke 8:40-48 where a woman with an issue concerning blood touched the hem of the garment of Jesus and she was healed.

Blue is also used in fine clothing in the bible on numerous occasions, often indicating status as either a king or a high-level priest. I have included both blue and purple in this section as they are always used in the same verses and/or context. This may partly be due to the fact that the Hebrew translation of blue is “tekelets,” which also may mean purple (see Ezekiel 26:3).

Yellow

Yellow in most cases is associated with gold, which represents the sovereignty of God.

Solomon built much of his majestic temple with this in mind and overlaid everything in the temple with gold. 1 Peter 1:7 says this: “..the proven genuineness of your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. “

As yellow is also associated with fire, we can also say that it represents the purification process. This makes sense in conjunction with the temple being made of gold, as a temple is meant to be a place of purity.

In the book of Revelations, New Jerusalem is referred to as a city of pure gold (note how gold is again associated with being pure). Deuteronomy 4:24 references fire as being the presence of God or God himself.

This yellow is also often seen shining through the faces of angels and Jesus, not necessarily contrasting, but coinciding and even co-existing. The clouds in the sky would not be white if it were not for the light of the sun reflecting onto them, which may be somewhat symbolic of how Jesus’ robe and the angels’ robes are presented as white, shining through their celestial faces while highlighting the purity of the white on the robe.

Green

Spring will often be what comes to mind when I think of green. As green is the primary color of vegetation, it is considered to represent life, restoration, growth, and new beginnings.

Psalm 1:3 says “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers.”

Growth is often associated with something similar to that of a tree as it’s growth is not only very visible, but in many ways, it is less finite than the physical growth of people and more indicative of the spiritual growth that involves us branching out and connecting with things and people around us; expanding our knowledge and understanding of God, this earth, and its inhabitants.

The traditional Christmas wreath is woven in a circle of greenery as a symbol of eternity, growth and everlasting life, which is very relevant around Christmas time as that is the time when Jesus was born, who is the one who made it possible for us to achieve everlasting life.

Black

As opposed to white, which is all the colors on the spectrum combined, black is the absence of color.

It represents death, darkness, famine, the grave, mourning, and it has generally dismal implications.

The Bible tells us that God is light and when Satan was cast out of heaven, he was cast into the darkness outside of the light of God. Therefore, if we go off of the principle that God is light, then the absence of light would be the absence of God.

The absence of God allows for all types of evil to exist, and hell is also described as the absence of light. It is symbolic of famine because for metamorphosis to occur, plants or trees must have light. The locusts during the plagues of Egypt covered the land in darkness and with that darkness came the destruction of all the vegetation of Egypt.

White

As previously mentioned, white represents light, which in turn represents righteousness because of it’s purity.

It is a great representation for God as it contains all the colors on the spectrum in the same way that God is everything.

Matthew 17:2 describes the appearance of Jesus when he takes Peter, James, and his brother John to the top of a mountain, “…His face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.”

Other verses specifically reference the whiteness of the garments of not only Jesus but of heavenly beings (see Daniel 7:9, Matthew 28:2-3, John 20:12).

The whiteness and the apparent purity of angels helped make it obvious that whoever they were reaching out to or speaking to knew that they were divine beings.

Bronze

“His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs are like bars of iron.”

Job 40:18

Bronze is often used as a metaphor for strength in the bible and Job 40:18 is just one example (see Job 6:12, Isaiah 48:4). It is a strong alloy and was used to make basins for washing. Because of its general feature of strength, it is used in describing a beast in Daniel 7:19, but also to describe the feet of Jesus in Revelations (1:15). It is almost always used in description with iron, which is also a metal alloy known for its strength.

Conclusion

The colors that are prominent in the Bible are still significant in our Christian life today. They are a beautiful part of the world that God created and are an integral part of our Christian traditions.

Colors continue to serve us daily as reminders of who and what Jesus is. When we consider what colors represent in the biblical sense, we can start to see Jesus in everything.

After the great flood, all the colors are represented in a rainbow (Genesis 9:13). The rainbow is a symbol of the covenant that God made with us to never send another flood like that again. The beauty of this message is relayed to us every time we experience a storm now and the beautiful poetry of it is the entire spectrum refracted from the white light, which also represents His glory.

Just like how the light of Jesus works to highlight the whiteness of the robe or like how the light from the sun shines through the fog or aftermath of the flood, Jesus can use his light to shine through us.

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