The Colors of Red, Scarlet and Crimson - painting by Sara Joseph
The Bible is full of color, not only descriptive scenes, most of which we can imagine in beautiful colors, but also descriptions of how the different colors were used. On this holy week when we observe the last days of Yeshua’s ministry; the Palm Sunday procession, the cleansing of the Temple, the Upper Room, the Garden, the Trial, the Cross, and the Tomb scenes, I am reminded of the color red for the blood of Yeshua that was shed for you and me and the rest of the world.
In doing some research on the colors of the Bible, I came across a wonderful website hosted by Sara Joseph, an artist, poet, and writer. The painting above was painted by Sara who gave me express permission to use it in this devotional. I would highly recommend visiting her website www.christian-artist-resource.com. Sara also gave me permission to use a devotional she wrote on the colors of red, scarlet, & crimson. Part of her devotional is below in “quotes”. You can read the rest of it on her website where she goes into more explanation of the colors of the Bible, can view her paintings and read her poetry.
“Let us first examine red, scarlet and crimson, some of the more provocative colors in the Bible. While all three are sometimes used in the same sentence in the Old Testament, there seems to be a subtle hierarchy. Red is common, earthy and ruddy. Red was the color used to describe Esau and David; both vibrant, earthy men known for their impulsive appetites. Ram skins were dyed red and used as a covering for the tabernacle.(Ex 39:34.) A red heifer was required as a sacrifice for cleansing and purification. (Num 19:2) Red, as a color in the Bible, seems to be the organic hue of this world – a color reflected in dusty earth and burning fires. It is the color that is employed to represent the use of the material world, to atone for the destructive fires of human sin.
The other two colors in the Bible, scarlet and crimson, on the other hand, seem to be associated with finer, more expensive things – the elegant woven, embroidered linen and royal robes. Its deeper, richer hues are synonymous with luxury. These two colors in the Bible, described the sumptuously ornamented robes of the priesthood, tabernacle hangings… Scarlet and crimson, are always used to describe objects of great labor, skill and cost.
On studying the colors in the Bible, it appears as if when God refers to the cost of sin, scarlet and crimson are the colors of choice.
" Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."Isaiah 1:18 KJV How consistent that our sin, which cost us our fellowship with the Father, and an existence far below what He intended for us, should be expressed in the costly scarlet and crimson!
The authors of the various books of the Bible, could not have fully comprehended the specific significance of color usage, or the unfolding plan of salvation.
Yet they used the precise names of these colors, in context, with the exactitude of an expert artist. That is rather mind boggling, isn’t it? Unless another Author was the mastermind!
Most precious of all, is the color used in the verse below describing the price that Jesus paid for each of us!
“And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.” Matt 27:28
As an artist, I know that you are conscious of harmonious color. When we paint, we make conscious color choices, sensitive to every nuance and variance in the colors. While sometimes intuitive, it is often the result of a good measure of training.
The use of colors in the Bible reflects an unusual and astute knowledge of the subtleties of color. Knowing the diversity of authorship, (some of them as humble as shepherds and nomads) and the grand scope of the time that elapsed between the lifetimes of these authors, something becomes stunningly apparent.
The indelible imprint of a divine Author becomes undeniable. Like a master artist, the Holy Spirit repeats these colors in the Bible with precision, over thousands of years, never using all the reds haphazardly, or interchangeably. His meticulous artistry is apparent in this incredible book called the Bible, upon which we base our faith.”
As we observe Holy Week, let us remember all God gave up to save us from our sins. Thank you Yeshua for Your ultimate life-giving sacrifice and for giving all who believe in Your death and resurrection, the hope of Everlasting/Eternal life with You. Thank You!!!
Submitted by Ruth Rehm
Permission for use by Sara Joseph; www.christian-artist-resource.com