It is the visible spectrum of light, however, that is the part of the everyday vocabulary of most people. The seven colors of the rainbow paint our world with beauty. The shades and combinations of the seven basic colors yield thousands of colors to thrill and characterize our world. The question we must ask is, "If God created seven colors, what do they mean?" To get that answer, the scripture must be examined.
So, from the beginning light was production which manifested the glory of the Creator. The light divided the darkness, but the light could not be divided. The light had a visible spectrum which consisted of seven colors. Each one of those colors was a part of the production of the light. The seven colors represent a complete category as deduced from the meaning of the number, seven, from the seven days of re-creation.
The light that was created on the first day was both visible and invisible. We know that the spectrum of light contains seven distinct colors along with thousands of shades. The colors of the rainbow as shown to Noah are the entire Visible Light Spectrum. There is also an invisible part of the spectrum of light, which is not to be covered in this article. Colors of visible light are found in the scripture.
The Colors in Nature are the colors of the objects and scenes in nature. The colors include the color of objects, such as wood, apples, oranges, and rocks, as well as scenes, such as the sky, the ocean, the corn field. So when a scene is described in the Bible, colors may be obvious even though they are not specified. Why are these colors mentioned as a separate category from the Visible Light Spectrum? It isn't because light is not the way we see them, but rather that nature combines colors in various ways that are not the pure colors of the rainbow. Pigments and compounds may be mixed together in various ways to produce colors that are difficult to classify as one of the colors of the rainbow.
The Artificial Colors are man-made. They are the paints and dyes of the ancient world. The Egyptians and Phoenicians discovered all kinds of ingenious ways of making dyes to color fabrics. Blue, purple, and crimson were among the famous dyes. The Assyrians used paint (especially vermilion) in their art.
Symbolic colors are colors which portray things that themselves have symbolic meaning. For example, silver and gold paint may actually portray silver and gold. Silver metal symbolizes judgment, and gold metal symbolizes Deity. But what do silver and gold paint symbolize? Should silver be called a tint of white or shade of gray and gold be called a type of yellow? The symbolism of the object, like silver or gold, usually takes precedence over its color. However, the color of a green apple may not be something to overlook. And the gall of bitterness is yellow, but bitterness is from the gall and not its color.
Color Patterns are yet another factor for consideration.
The Pattern of a color may change the meaning significantly. For
example a spotted (or blemished) garment is not pure. A spot represents
an impurity (Ephesians 5:27; 1 Timothy 6:14; 1 Peter 1:19; 2 Peter 3:14).
A wrinkle may represent human good, but it is another example of an impurity.
of horizontal bands represent multiplication. Those who expose
faults in others may multiply, or magnify, the perceived faults.
Shimei did this to David (2 Sam. 16:7) as David was receiving installment
discipline from God during the Absalom rebellion. Vertical stripes
may represent slicing, e.g. slicing cheese or carving meat. Some
of the common patterns include:
|Chaff||Deterioration and dead works||Exodus 15:7; Psalm 1:4; Malachi 4:1; Matthew 3:12; 1 Cor. 3:12|
|Chain||Bondage and slavery||2 Chronicles 33:11; Psalm 107:10; Ecclesiastes 7:26|
|Cross, or X||Crucifixion, or capital punishment||Luke 9:23; Acts 5:30; Ephesians 5:25; Philippians 2:8; 1 Peter 2:24|
|Diagonal||Plow, Wedge||Pushing aside|
|Fork||Separation in the path, or division||Genesis 32:7; 49:27; 1 Kings 16:21; Isaiah 34:17; 1 Cor. 7:33-34|
|Horizontal Bands||Multiplication||Exposure of flaws, faults; witness (Shimei, 2 Sam. 16:7)|
|Hour Glass||Refining, sifting||Refine (Jer 6:29; Rev 3:18); Sift (Luk 22:31; 1 Cor 5:5; 1 Tim 1:20)|
|Island||Isolation or separation||Isaiah 49:1; Acts 28:1; Revelation 1:9|
|Pentagram, 5-pointed star||Giant, e.g. Baal||2 Sa. 21:20-22; Isa. 14:12-13; Rev. 12:4|
|Pit||Intensified discipline, the grave, sin unto death||Job 9:31; 33:18, 22-24, 28-30; Gen. 37:23-24; Psa. 7:15; 40:2; Prov. 23:27; Isa. 36:6; Jer. 18:22; 2 Pet. 2:4|
|Plaid, Mesh, Net||Judgment; a trap||Net (Psalm 9:15; 10:9; 25:15; 31:4; 57:6; Ex 12:4; Job 19:5), Sieve (Isa. 30:28; Am. 9:9), Sifting (Luke 22:31)|
|Ring, Circle||A covenant||Gen. 41:42; Esther 8:8; Dan. 6:17; Luke 15:22|
|Spot, blemish||Impurity, defilement, guilt, suffering||Lev. 13:2, 4, 19, 23-28, 38-39; 14:56-57; Job 31:7; Eph. 5:27; 1 Tim. 6:14; Ja. 1:27; 1 Pet. 1:19; 2 Pet. 3:14|
|Square||Solid foundation, Tabernacle furniture was square or rectangular||Exodus 27:1; 28:15-16; 30:1-2; 37:25; 38:1; 39:8-9; Rev. 21:16|
|Star||Great and sudden brilliance||Rev. 2:28; 22:16, 2 Pet. 1:19; Nu. 24:17; Matt. 2:2|
|Triangle||Fire triangle; fire testing; metabolization; corporate production; sexual love/fire.||Brazen Altar, Ex. 27:1-5; John the Baptist, John 5:35; gold, silver, precious stones, 1 Cor. 3:12-13; sexual heat 7:9|
|Trident||Fruit bearing (good or bad)||Good Psa. 1:3; Prov. 11:30; Jn 15:1-8; Bad Prov. 1:30-31; Jer. 6:19; 12:1-2; 32:19; Matt. 7:17-19|
|Vertical Stripes||Slice off, cleave||Carving meat (Isaiah 9:20)|
|Wrinkle||Human Good||Eph. 5:27|
In the Tabernacle of the Exodus generation, white was the color of the surrounding wall of linen. The eight-foot high wall of linen kept the people out, separated the Tabernacle from the world, and controlled the perimeter to afford only one port of access, the Gate. The curtain of the Gate was made of "blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen (white)" (Exodus 27:16). Isaiah defines the meaning of this white:
White is used to describe to the color of ripened grain in contrast to green before the ripening.
Something else that is pure and can never be adulterated is God's love. I Corinthians 13 is a description of love which clearly reveals this. The command for a husband to love his wife in Ephesians 5:25-26 also demonstrates that love must be pure.
WHITE means Pure (Isa. 1:18); sanctification (John 4:35, 1 Cor. 6:11; Eph 5:26); love (Eph. 5:25; 1 Cor. 13).
Darkness (which obviously has the characteristic color, black) refers to Satan's Cosmic System, cosmos diabolicus, the world. The world is separated from the light (John 1:5). Rejection of the light, thinking like a Gentile unbeliever, is described as darkness in the understanding (Eph. 4:18). The world system is characterized by the love of money (monetary reversionism), which will be judged symbolically by one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse (the rider on the black horse) (Rev. 6:5).
BLACK means Death (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13; Job 3:3-11); the world (John 1:5; Rev. 6:5).
|Red||Suffering, sin, worry, fear, blood|
|Orange||Separation, Evil, Human Good, Apostasy, Root|
|Yellow||Life, Strength (Capacity) for Life, Light, Glory|
|Green||Happiness; Blessing, Plants, Fruit, Extravagance, Reversionism|
|Blue||Righteousness of God; Hardness of Heart, Self-Righteousness, Legalism|
|Indigo||Covered, Hidden, Secret|
|Violet||Justice, Judgment, Royalty, Jealousy|
|White||Sanctification, Love, Pure|
|Black||Death, Darkness, World,|
The chart of the Basic Meaning of Colors is a
simplified reference for the most common meaning of colors in everyday
life. A more detailed table follows with Bible references.
Even more detailed meanings of colors will be presented for the topics
in the Table of Contents.
|Red||Blood (Ex 27:16; Heb 9:13-14, 22); Sacrifice (Eph 5:2)||Redemption (1 Pet 1:18)|
|Sin (Isa 1:18)||Adam, Earth (elements), Suffering, Fear|
|Orange||Separation (Isa. 48:4 (iron neck); Ezek. 24:6 (rust); Psa. 2:9; Rev. 19:15)||Root (1 Cor 3:11)|
|Evil, Human Good||Evil/Dead Works; Apostasy, Root (Heb 12:15)|
|Yellow||Life (man) (Gen 2:7), Eternal Life (Jn 1:4); Glory (Gen 1:4; Num 14:10; Heb 1:3), Light (Job 33:30; Jn 1:9)||Strength (Capacity) for Life, Day|
|Weakness (2 Cor 12:10;1 Pet 1:24), Fading (Isa 17:4; 2 Cor 3:7, 11)||Jaundice, Gall of bitterness|
|Green||Garden of Eden, Plants (Gen 1:11-13, 2:8, 15), Fruit, Production||Environment, Happiness; Blessing|
|Extravagance (Psa 37:35; Rev 18:3, 7, 9)||Lawlessness, lasciviousness (Jer 2:20)|
|Blue||Heaven (Jn 6:31, 33, 38), Righteousness of God (Ex 27:16)||Heavenly Son of God, water|
|Legalism||Hardness of Heart, Self-Righteousness, cold, bruised|
|Indigo||Covering (Gen. 7:19; Lev. 17:13; Psa. 32:1, 147:8), Clothes||Hidden, Private, Secret, Propitiation, Atonement|
|Violet||Royalty (Ex. 27:16; Esth. 8:15; Matt. 21:5-11)||Justice, Judgment|
|Jealous Ambition (Isa. 14:14; Ezek. 28:2, 6, 9)||Jealousy|
|White||Pure (Isa. 1:18, 61:10; 1 Cor 6:11; Eph 5:25-26; 1 Cor. 13:1-13)||Sanctification, Love|
|Leprosy (Ex 4:6; Nu 12:10)||Infection|
|Black||Death, Darkness (2 Pet. 2:17; Jude 13 )||Night|
|World, Cosmic System (Jn. 1:5; Rev. 6:5)||Burned, Deeds of Darkness, Diseased|
The red dye that was used in the Tabernacle, called "scarlet" (Exodus
25:4), Hebrew tola`ath, was crimson. The real color was crimson
even though it is translated, scarlet, in the NASB.
The root meaning of the Hebrew word is worm. It was used in various forms in Hebrew with meanings such as shining worm, glow worm1, worm of brightness. It referred to the insect, Coccus ilicis, qirmiz in Arabic, from which the English word crimson is derived. The female insect, which feeds on the holm oak, laid eggs which contained a red substance from whence the dye was made. The Greek name for the insect was kokkos, meaning berry because it was pea like and resembled a berry.2
Robes of crimson were worn by the wealthy (2 Samuel 1:24; Proverbs 31:21; Jeremiah 4:30; Lamentations 4:5; Revelation 17:4). The Greeks and Romans used this color for military cloaks. The cloak that the soldiers put on Jesus was crimson according to Matthew 27:28 and probably was one of the military cloaks. Although Mark and John call it purple, this is not a contradiction since in the language of the people purple dye also produced the crimson color.
The crimson robe on Christ before His crucifixion calls attention to another meaning of the color. Red means suffering. The purple-red of crimson refers also to judgment - i.e. the justice of God. The Lord Jesus Christ suffered the justice of God on our behalf.
Red in the human body is not only the color of blood but also indicative of a health problem where it means suffering, inflamed, anger, or a raw wound (Exodus 21:25; Isaiah 1:6; 30:27).
However, yellow in the human body is not a sign of strength. Yellow teeth may represent the first stage of decay. Yellow in the body may also represent jaundice and bitterness (Job 16:13; Acts 8:23)
Blue in the human body, such as a bluish color
of the flesh, may mean cold or bruised (Exodus
21:25; Job 9:17; Isaiah 30:26).
The color, blue, used in the Tabernacle was called in Hebrew, tekeleth (Exodus 25:4). The color is deep, dark blue. It is described as "purple of a dark blue shade, approaching black."1 According to Josephus (Ant. 3.7.7) and Philo this color blue symbolized the sky. This is the color that is translated violet in Esther 1:6 because of its violet tint. The color was worn by princes and nobles (Ezekiel 23:6). The idols of Babylon were clothed in "violet (tekeleth) and purple" (Jeremiah 10:9). Also the tassels on the corners of the Hebrew garments were to be this blue color to remind them of the importance of obeying the commandments of the Law (Numbers 15:39-40) whereby they were sanctified, set apart, from the world. The blue tassels were reminders of the promises of Bible Doctrine and symbolized the heavenly calling (from identification with the blue sky).
From the association of purple with royalty, there are derived meanings for the color. Royalty has ruling power and is the source of justice. Jesus Christ as the ruler of Israel in the Millennium will rule with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27; 12:5; 19:11-16). He will bring swift judgment upon the nations of the earth like smashing a clay pot with a rod of iron. Thus, purple refers to justice.
For those who would seek to ascend the throne of royalty by their own ambition, the color purple also signifies jealousy. Jealous ambition was the original sin of Satan, who said, "I will be like the Most High" (Isa. 14:14). Jealous ambition seeks ruling power, which is the prerogative of God. Thus, purple is also the color for jealousy.
The color purple used in the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:4) was made from purple dye. The word in Hebrew is 'argaman. The color was true purple of a dark red color.1 The dye was made from the tiny mollusk, Murex trunculus, by the Phoenicians (Ezekiel 27:7, 16). The dye was so expensive that only royalty and the wealthy could afford garments colored with it (Esther 8:15; Daniel 5:7; Luke 16:19; Revelation 17:4).2
The purple in the Gate of the Tabernacle (Ex. 27:16) represented Jesus Christ, the Royal Messiah. But this Royal Messiah would first have to suffer the justice of God on behalf of mankind. Thus, inherent in the color purple was the justice of God. Jesus Christ satisfied the justice of God and thereby became the mediator between God and mankind. After He had satisfied the justice of God, He arose victorious and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. He will return at the Second Advent to conquer the nations who are the enemies of Israel, and He will rule in the Millennium with an iron rod (which symbolizes his swift justice).
Royal Messiah (Mediator)
As the Lamb without spot and without blemish, Jesus Christ was perfect (pure, sanctified) humanity - equal with man. Jesus Christ, the Sanctified Servant, was portrayed in the Gospel of Mark. He was the second Adam, and uniquely qualified to be our Redeemer and pay for the sins of the world. Christ, our Redeemer, was portrayed as the Suffering Son of Man in Luke. As the Son of God, Jesus Christ was equal with God. He possessed deity. In the Gospel of John He was portrayed as the Son of God who came down from Heaven. As the Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ brought the two parties in conflict, God and man, together. He paid for man's sins as the Redeemer and thus reconciled man to God. He satisfied all the requirements of Righteousness and Justice of God as the Mediator. God the Father was propitiated by the work of Christ on the cross on behalf of all mankind. Just as the smoke went up from the animal sacrifice as a sweet smell to God and signified divine acceptance, the White color in the gate also signified the propitiation of God the Father with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. When the work of the cross was finished, the Lord Jesus Christ was resurrected and seated at the right hand of the Throne of God. He will return in the Second Advent as the Royal Messiah (Gospel of Matthew) to rule the nations in the Millennium in fulfillment of the New Covenant to Israel.
The believer who executes the Spiritual Life will also produce Divine Good through God's Grace (2 Cor 9:8; Eph 2:10; 2 Tim 2:21). There is no single color for Divine Good. The colors are clues for understanding scenes of life. Through Divine Viewpoint the believer will be able to put the clues together to understand the true meaning of these scenes of life. Human viewpoint will not see the truth. Since colors can have good and bad meanings, the Holy Spirit will have to reveal which meaning to apply. The believer who learns the meanings of the colors and accepts the help of the Holy Spirit, will be able to understand the scenes of life. He will be able to recognize the Spiritual issues in order to make the appropriate application of Bible Doctrine to deal with the situation.
The rainbow also symbolizes all of the aspects of the sanctification process, as illustrated by the colors of re-creation, the Cross, and Salvation. God is Holy, and those who come into His presence must also be holy, which means sanctified.
Light is one of the keys to divine revelation. Where there is light, there is God; but the true interpretation of that light is only possible by means of faith. Faith perception must precede faith-application. Colors can only be understood by means of accurate application of doctrine to experience. Those who attempt to understand the meaning of colors apart from grace will not succeed. For those who "walk in the light," colors emphasize and highlight divine good production.
As the believer walks in the light, the Plan of God provides an encapsulated environment. The believer on the stage of life is surrounded by the production of the Plan of God. Everything on the stage of life is color coded, numerically coded, and the production of the Protocol Plan of God by means of the work of the Holy Spirit. The stage of life is guarded by angels. Nothing enters or exits without the approval of the Director of Human History, the Lord Jesus Christ. When evil enters the stage, it enters under the Justice of God, which means it is separated (e.g. into Cosmic, Ecumenical, and Political elements) and color coded appropriately.
Every scene of Life has meaning in the fulfillment of the Plan of God in the life of the believer. Everything is integrated in each scene to communicate the meaning clearly to the believer who has divine viewpoint from Bible Doctrine circulating in the stream of consciousness. God is not the author of confusion. And the colors in the scenes are always consistent with the definition from the Word of God. Of course, colors alone are only a small part of the meaning; but when combined with all the other component parts, they add a vivid artistic portrayal of the production of the Plan of God in the life of the believer.
Author: Larry Wood