On Wings of Eagles - Colors

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On Wings of Eagles - Colors

Welcome to On Wings of Eagles. We hope you enjoy this study on the seven colors of the spectrum and their meanings in Scripture. With God all things are possible. Within is a message to enhance your Christian walk.

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On Wings of Eagles - Colors

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar like eagles; they will run but not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

Colors in Scripture

Creation began with light. The seven colors of the rainbow radiate the glory of Divine Production. Every color of the spectrum of visible light is pregnant with revelation of the splendor of the Lord Jesus Christ, the effulgence of deity, and Creator of all things.

The Scripture Speaks

Definitions of divine truth must come from the Word of God. Only scripture is the legitimate source for revelation of the meaning of Creation. If we want to understand the meaning of colors or anything else in creation, we must consult the infallible Word of God. The Canon of Scripture (the Bible) is the source of definition of colors. The meaning of each color is defined by the Word of God.

Purpose of Colors in Scripture

On the first day of the Re-Creation of the Earth to get it ready for man in the Appeal Trial of Satan, light was the first thing created. That light divided the darkness. The light was both real and symbolic. The real nature of light had physical properties. The academic discipline of physics has discovered many of the characteristics of that created light. The light has been found to have a visible and an invisible spectrum. Quantum mechanics even deals with the fundamental components of the particle structure of light energy; so that this light is perceived as a basic building block of atoms. So light is the basis for all physical creation.

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.

Light Production

Our first clue of the meaning of colors is found in the first reference to light in the scripture.

God decreed, "Light be coming into existence, and there was light." (Gen. 1:3)

The first thing God created was light. This light was physical light with both a visible and an invisible spectrum. This light was the basic building block of all physical creation. In the next verse, "God saw the light and proclaimed it as good." This means that light is divine good production - something that God did that had intrinsic value. God's production has intrinsic value, and we call it divine good. The light also divided the darkness; so here is a contrast between light and darkness. They are distinct, separate, not the same. Light stands out as divine good production.

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.

Types of Colors

Colors in scripture fall into various categories. These include:

  • Visible Light Spectrum
  • Artificial Colors
  • Patterns

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 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.

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.

Multiples 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:

Light and Darkness

White Light

Visible light is clear, transparent. It is the medium for sight. Even though it contains seven colors, a light beam appears white. The color white is produced by an object that reflects all the light that hits it. The reflected light is the same as the incoming light - i.e. none of the seven colors of light are absorbed. We consider white a color. It is the composite of all the colors of light.

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:

Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.

Thus, white means pure. White is contrasted with red, the color of sins. White is the result of purification of sins which happens for the believer at the moment of salvation based upon the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid for the sins. The purity of salvation is represented as white clothing (Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29; Rev. 7:14, 19:14). The white clothing of salvation is symbolized by a robe of righteousness in Isaiah 61:10. The righteousness of God is pure.

White is used to describe to the color of ripened grain in contrast to green before the ripening.

"Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. (John 4:35, NAS)

The grain that has reached maturity, ripe, and ready to be harvested. Here the Lord Jesus Christ is using an agricultural analogy to unbelievers who are currently positive but have yet to hear the gospel. When they hear the gospel, they will be evangelized and sanctified. So, the Lord who knows their heart sees them as if they were already saved; and they will be shortly. White in this verse represents positional sanctification, although it is yet future. Although positional sanctification is the issue here, the grain had reached maturity and the ripening process is analogous to experiential sanctification. This is also an example of how the words for the color, white, in the scripture have a broad range of meanings just as they do today (e.g. white wine).

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.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her and purify her by the washing of water by the word,

White in the body may symbolize purity, such as the whites of the eyes and the teeth. However, white in the body is generally not good. It represents infection, welt, bloodless, and therefore lifeless (Exodus 4:6; Leviticus 13:18-20; Job 7:5).

WHITE means Pure (Isa. 1:18); God's righteousness (Isa. 61:10); sanctification (John 4:35); love (Eph. 5:25-26; 1 Cor. 13).

Darkness - Black

Since darkness is contrasted with light in Genesis 1:4, there is obviously symbolic meaning attached to darkness. Black darkness is used to described the second death, the final judgment of the cosmic evangelist (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13). Black darkness is associated with death of a baby (Job 3:3-11). And it is the darkness of skin that is burned (SOS 1:5-6) or diseased (Job 30:30). Thus, black refers to death.

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).



Meaning (Good/Bad)
Derived Meanings
Isa. 1:18; Ex. 27:16
Adam, Earth (Elements), Suffering
Human Good
Separation Evil
Isa. 48:4 (iron neck); Ezek. 24:6 (rust); Psa. 2:9; Rev. 19:15
Dead Works
Glory, Divine Good
Gen. 1:4, 31; Heb. 1:3
Life (man)
Strength (Capacity) for Life
Jaundice, gall of bitterness
Garden of Eden
Gen. 1:11-13, 2:8, 15
Environment, Happiness
Jn 6:33, 38; Ex. 27:16
Heavenly Son of God
Hardness of Heart
Cold, bruised
Gen. 7:19; Lev. 17:13;
Psa. 32:1, 147:8
Hidden, Private
Jealous Ambition
Ex. 27:16; Esth. 8:15; Matt. 21:5-11
Isa. 14:14; Ezek. 28:2, 6, 9
Isa. 1:18, 61:10;
Eph. 5:25-26; 1 Cor. 13
2 Pet. 2:17; Jude 13
Jn. 1:5; Rev. 6:5


Red refers to the blood of Christ in the curtain over the Gate of the Tabernacle. The blood represented Redemption, the payment for the sins of the world. Red signifies sin (Isa. 1:18). Adam was made from clay, which was red. The name, Adam, is derived from that meaning. Adam was the source of sin in the human race.

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 worm,1 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).


Pink is a mixture of white and red. It is the color of healthy flesh. Flesh in the Bible symbolizes the Old Sin Nature because the 23 chromosomes inherited from Adam reside there. Thus, pink also represents lust.


Orange as the second color of the rainbow represents separation per the meaning of the number 2, for divine division, or separation. The word for the color, orange, does not appear in scripture per se; but it is obviously there in the rainbow and in materials that are mentioned. For example, iron ore and rust as well as iron, which was undoubtedly rusty, are all mentioned. Pottery is often orange in color. Smashing pottery with a rod of iron represents judgment upon human good (rejection of divine good) and evil (Psa. 2:9; Rev. 2:27, 12:5, 19:15). The feet of pottery mixed with iron on the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Dan. 2:42-43) represent the weakness of man (human good) in the face of divine judgment. All these things are associated with negative volition and the resulting dead works.

Orange refers to God's separation and to man's human good and evil, both of which were rejected on the cross.


Brown means dying, decaying, atrophy (Job 13:28; Habakkuk 3:16; 2 Corinthians 4:16). It is one of the colors for dead works as represented by wood, hay, and straw.


Yellow is the color of glory, which is the glow or shining of something that is releasing energy. There was a glow associated with the Shekinah Glory in the Tabernacle and the Golden Lampstand. The production of good works requires the release of energy. The radiance of light production is represented by yellow. Since human life radiates a glory, then yellow is also a color for life. The strength, or capacity, of life is also represented by yellow.

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)


The color, green, refers to man's perfect environment of the Garden of Eden. Green is the color of plant life, which covers the earth in abundant luxury. It is associated with healthy plant life, and, therefore, with happiness. However, plants may be good plants or weeds. The spreading everywhere as uncultivated weeds is the basis for applying green to lawlessness.


Blue is the color of the sky. It reminds us of heaven and refers to Jesus Christ as the Son of God who came down from Heaven as portrayed by the Gospel of John. So long as divine righteousness is associated with Heaven, that is proper; but when the created being (mankind) represents himself as divine righteousness that is a sin. When a human presents himself as God, then that is the sin of self-righteousness (making oneself God), which is also represented by the color, blue. Rejection of God is called hardening the heart, which is another derived meaning that goes along with making oneself God.

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).

Violet - Purple - Blue Spectrum

The color, blue, used in the Tabernacle was called in Hebrew, te keleth (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).


Indigo is one of the colors of the rainbow, which appeared after the flood had covered the earth. It refers to being covered. It is a dark, background color. It is the color of pin feathers, which are covered. It is the color the veins which are covered by the skin and carry blood back to the heart that is full of impurities. The veins cover the impure blood. The color, indigo, does not appear per se in scripture.


Violet is a color of the Visible Light Spectrum, but the only colors in scripture are Artificial Colors, which are made from dyes. They color purple in scripture was made from dye. The purple dye may have tints that run toward blue or red. The red purple is sometimes translated, violet. The color purple in scripture is the symbol for royalty. Kings dressed in robes of purple. The Lord Jesus Christ, future king of Israel, is portrayed as the Royal Messiah in the curtain over the Gate of the Tabernacle as well as the Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 21:5-11).

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 also is 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).

Tabernacle Gate

God Propitiated

Righteous Servant
Heavenly Son of God

Royal Messiah (Mediator)


Mankind Reconciled

As the Lamb without spot and without blemish, Jesus Christ was perfect humanity - equal with man. Jesus Christ, the Righteous 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.

Faith Application

Divine Good Production

Colors are part of creation. They are also part of the Plan of God. When the meanings of the colors are understood, then faith-application will take on new meaning. The stage of life will be portrayed in living color. Of course, the stage lights can only been seen by the believer who is walking in the light (1 John 1:7). This is only possible by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18; 1 John 1:9).

Warning Against Legalism

The only production that counts in this life is from grace. Attempts to whitewash the devil's world are legalistic. Our Lord Jesus Christ referred to such people as whitewashed tombstones:

Matthew 23:27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness."

The one who attempts to paint his own world or judge the works of others is engaged in legalism.

Meaning of the Rainbow

After the flood God placed a rainbow in the sky to symbolize the Noahic Covenant that He made with mankind. He promised never again to destroy all flesh by water (Gen. 9:15). The significance of the rainbow following the deluge is that it symbolized the end of judgment. It still means the same thing today.

Joseph's Long-Sleeved Coat

Joseph's "coat of many colors" is not found in the original Hebrew but comes from the Septuagint and Vulgate, which are not as accurate. The Hebrew kethoneth passim (Genesis 37:3, 23; 2 Samuel 13:18) was a long coat with sleeves. "This was an upper coat reaching to the wrists and ankles, such as nobelmen and kings' daughters wore." 1


The root meanings of the colors of the rainbow in scripture is the basis for recognizing the beauty of God's grace production. 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.


[1.] C. F. Keil and F. Delitzch (James Martin, Translator), Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. I, ISBN 0-8028-8035-5 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co.), 1978.

[2.] Merrill Unger, R. K. Harrison ed. The New Unger's Bible Dictionary, (Chicago: Moody Press, Chicago, IL 60610), 1988.

Last Revision: March 1, 2002

Author: Larry Wood

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