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Is there any significance to colors in the Bible?

colors Bible audio

While it is a mistake to ascribe some kind of spiritual/mystical message to every mention of a color in the Bible, there are definitely patterns of symbolism attached to the colors in the Bible. The different colors crop up again and again in Scripture, and we can learn certain things from the patterns we see.

For one thing, like today, the color green was the emblem of freshness, vigor, and prosperity (Psalm 52:8, 92:14). White carries a direct symbolism because light is white. White denotes purity or holiness. The priests wore white as servants of the Holy One and as examples in holiness. Garments of salvation are certainly garments of light (Revelation 19:8), and the Lord Himself is described in terms of light and whiteness (Daniel 7:9; Revelation 1:14). White was also the sign of sanctification (Ecclesiastes 9:8) and triumph (Zechariah 6:3; Revelation 6:2). As the color of light (Matthew 17:2), white was the symbol of glory and majesty as reflected by angelic beings (Matthew 28:3; John 20:12).

Black, as the opposite of white or light, denotes mourning, affliction, calamity, famine, death (Jeremiah 14:2; Lamentations 4:8; Micah 3:6), and the omen of evil (Zechariah 6:2; Revelation 6:5). Red is the color of fire, and therefore of life; the blood is red because life is a fiery process. But red, as contrasted with white, is the color of selfish, covetous, passionate life. Sin is called red inasmuch as it is a burning heat that consumes man (Isaiah 1:18). Red (crimson), as representing blood, designates the life principle of man and beast (Genesis 9:4-6) and the essential element of atonement (Isaiah 63:2; Hebrews 9:22).

Purple, blue, or hyacinth point to heaven and is a symbol of revelation. Among the Hebrews purple was the YHWH color, the symbol of the revealed God (Exodus 24:10; Ezekiel 1:26). Blue and purple, along with scarlet and gold, were colors of the priestly garments and fixtures in the tabernacle as described in Exodus chapters 35 through 39. Purple, the dress of kings, was associated with royalty and majesty (Judges 8:26; Esther 8:15; Daniel 5:7, 16, 29).

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This page last updated: January 4, 2022