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Colours in the Bible

.....and their meaning...

Red

 

The colour red in scripture is translated from several Hebrew words:

'adam' meaning dyed red, red or ruddy. To grow red or to emit (show) redness. 'adom' meaning red or ruddy (of man, horse, heifer, garment, water, lentils)

'admoniy' and 'admowniy' meaning red, ruddy for example of Esau as infant, we read "And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau." Genesis 25:25

'cuwph' meaning red, reed, rush, water plant, for example "Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way." Num 21:4

The Greek words 'purrhos' meaning  having the colour of fire, or red; 'purinos' meaning  fiery or shining like fire; 'eruthros' meaning red or the Red Sea

The Greek word 'purrhazo' means to be red or become glowing, for example "and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times." Matthew 16:3

So little did Esau value the promises of God and his birthright that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of what probably was red lentil stew: "And Esau said to Jacob, "Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary." Therefore his name was called Edom." Genesis 25:30 (Edom can also mean of red)

 

Further information

  Red can be associated with trouble and punishment, 'chamar' means red, to be troubled, be in turmoil, foam up or ferment. An example can be found in the Psalms: "For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, And the wine is red; It is fully mixed, and He pours it out; Surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth Drain and drink down." Psalm 75:8

Red is also associated with judgement and warfare: "The shields of his mighty men are made red, The valiant men are in scarlet. The chariots come with flaming torches In the day of his preparation, And the spears are brandished." Nahum 2:3 (see also Isaiah 62:1-6; Zechariah 1:8; 6:2; Revelation 6:1; 9:7)

Red is the colour of the dragon in Revelation that represents and symbolises the sinful and evil human governments and powers that crucified the Lord Jesus and continue to persecute the righteous: "another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads... the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne." Revelation 12:3-5

Related Symbols: Human nature and Sin

We read in scripture that the name of the first man was 'Adam' who was created from the dust of the earth. From Adam came Eve created to be the companion of Adam. Because she came out of Adam, Eve shared his nature.

Through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, sin and as a result death came into the world. Red is thus associated with and can symbolise human nature and sin.

 

  "And the LORD God formed man (Adam) of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." Genesis 2:7

"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place." Genesis 2:21

"Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it':" Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life." Genesis 3:17

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

 
God provided a saviour, a new Adam, through whom salvation would come. The faithful are created metaphorically speaking out of His side and will be created in His image and of His nature  when Jesus returns.   "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive....
....and so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life–giving spirit." 1Corinthians 15:45
 

Related Symbols: Wine

Red wine is symbolic in scripture of doctrine and wisdom, for example:   "She (wisdom) has slaughtered her meat, She has mixed her wine, She has also furnished her table... ..."Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed." Proverbs 9:2&5 (See also Ecclesiastes 9:7; Isaiah 55:; Mark 2:22 )

Adulterated wine represents false teaching and doctrine see Isaiah 1:22; 28:7; 29:9-11

The cup of red wine is symbolic of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ   "In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 1Corinthians 11:25

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