What is the significance of colors in the Bible?

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The primary colors

There are three primary colors found in nature. These are: red, yellow, and blue. Each of these colors has a specific meaning in the Bible.

Red: “Oudem, ” is the Hebrew word for Red. It means “Red Clay.” It is the root word for mankind. Adam (Genesis 2:7) and Esau’s (Genesis 25:25) names are derived from “oudem.” Red the color of blood, designates life (Genesis 9:4-6). It is the important element of atonement (Isaiah 63:2; Hebrews 9:22). In the OT, the blood sacrifice of an animal meant atonement for one’s sin (Leviticus 17:11; Exodus 12:1-13). In the NT, red represents the blood of Jesus who died on the cross to redeem mankind (Colossians 1:20).

Yellow: “Charuts” is the Hebrew word for Yellow. It refers to the precious metal gold which represents the sovereignty of God. In the OT, the temple of Solomon was overlaid in gold, and also the priest’s utensils (1 Kings 6). In the NT, the wise men gifted Jesus gold at his birth (Matthew 2:11). John tells us that the New Jerusalem will be a city of pure gold (Revelation 21:18). In addition, the color yellow and gold represents God’s presence (Deuteronomy 4:24) and purification by fire (1 Peter 1:7).

Blue: “Tekelet” is the Hebrew word for Blue. It is also found in the Bible to mean purple (Ezekiel 23:6) or violet (Jeremiah 10:9). Blue is a symbol for heaven and the Word of God. Among the Hebrews purple was the YHWH color (Exodus 24:10; Ezekiel 1:26). When Moses was in God’s presence before receiving the Ten Commandments, he described the pavement under His feet as being bright as the blue sky (Exodus 24:10).

“Tekelet” was the color given for priest’s clothing, and their hems (Exodus 28:5-6). Blue and purple, scarlet and gold, were the colors of the fixtures in the tabernacle (Exodus 35 -39). Also, purple, the dress of kings, was linked with royalty and majesty (Judges 8:26; Esther 8:15; Daniel 5:7, 16, 29).

The Secondary colors

Besides the primary colors, the secondary colors that result from the mixing of two primary colors, also had meanings in the Bible:

Green: This is the color of vegetation. It represents life and renewal (Psalm 1.3; 52:8; 92:14).

Amber: It represents the glory of God,  judgment and endurance (Ezekiel 1:4).

Purple: This color signifies royalty, majesty, and priesthood (John 19:2).

White: It points to holiness, light, purity and the righteousness of Christ (Mark 16:5). The Lord is described as light (Daniel 7:9; Revelation 1:14). The priests wore white as examples of holiness (Revelation 19:8). Also, white was a symbol of sanctification (Ecclesiastes 9:8) and triumph (Zechariah 6:3; Revelation 6:2). As the color of light (Matthew 17:2), white covered God’s angels (Matthew 28:3; John 20:12).

Black: It symbolizes sin, darkness, death, catastrophe (Zephaniah 1:15; Jeremiah 14:2; Lamentations 4:8; Micah 3:6), and the omen of evil (Zechariah 6:2; Revelation 6:5).

Silver: This color represents the Word of God, salvation and refining (Psalm 66:10).

Scarlet: It can represent sin (Isaiah 1:18) and it also refers to royalty (Daniel 5:16).

Bronze: This color stands for strength. It was used to build the ten brazen lavers or basins for washing (Exodus 30:18) and the Molten Sea in Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:23-26). And in Revelation, Jesus’ feet are described as being like bronze (Revelation 1:15).

God’s Rainbow

The rainbow, a myriad of colors, surrounds God’s throne in heaven (Revelation 4:3). On earth, it is produced by the refraction and reflection of the sun’s light through the ball-shaped raindrops on which the rays fall.

The rainbow in the Bible stands for God’s covenant with man. After the flood, God promised that the waters will not destroy the world again and He gave the sign of His rainbow to assure humans of that. He said, “I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth” (Genesis 9:15,16).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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