Summary: A brief study into the four main colors God instructed Moses to use inside the tabernacle in the wilderness.

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November 24, 2001


Exodus 39:1-5,8,22-25


God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle in the wilderness. He gave specific instructions for the tabernacle and for the clothing the priests were to wear. The clothing was to be of predominantly gold, blue, purple and scarlet. Why these four colors? A study into each color reveals that even as the children of Israel were wandering through the wilderness God already had a plan of redemption planned out through Jesus Christ.

I. Gold – Purification

A. Revelation 21:18 – The New Jerusalem will be made of pure gold, like unto clear glass.

B. Revelation 21:21 – The streets will be pure gold, as transparent glass.

1. Clear or transparent glass means there are absolutely no impurities. The gold has gone through a purification process.

2. Purification is accomplished by heating up the gold and skimming the dross, or impurities, from the top as it floats up.

a. Requires heat

b. Requires time

c. Requires a hand to scrape the dross

C. I Peter 1:18-23 – Purification of Christians is necessary

1. I Peter 4:12,13

a. Requires heat – “…think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you…”

b. Requires time

c. Requires a hand to scrape the dross – God himself

II. Blue – Chastisement and Correction

A. Proverbs 20:30

The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly. KJV

“Blows and wounds cleanse away evil and purgings cleanse the inmost being.” NIV

1. Blue represents the color of the skin after a wound.

2. The wounds and stripes represent chastisement.

a. Hebrews 12:4-6

3. Cleansing away evil and the inward parts of the belly represent correction.

a. Proverbs 22:15

B. Isaiah 53:4,5 – Jesus Christ was bruised for us

1. He was wounded for our transgressions: a moral revolt, wickedness, sin, or the penalty of sin.

2. He was bruised for our iniquities: a depraved action, perverseness, sin.

3. The chastisement of our peace was upon him: NIV states, “the punishment that brought us peace was upon him.”

4. By his stripes we are healed. A literal interpretation could be: “Through the blueness of his wounds we have been made whole.”

III. Purple – Costliness

A. Millions of mollusks were harvested in the Mediterranean and some even driven to extinction to obtain the color purple. A small white vein in the head of a mollusk was delicately extracted and the blood inside would eventually be refined to a deep purple color used for dying materials. The drawback was that it took 8,500 shellfish to produce only 1 ounce of the dye. Because of this, the color was very expensive and only the super rich, such as kings, could afford it. That is why it is referred to as a royal color.

B. It cost Jesus a lot to come to earth

1. John 17:4,5 – the luxury of heaven

2. Philippians 2:7 – a body that was incorruptible

3. Matthew 27:46 – separation from God

4. Matthew 27:50 – his very life

IV. Scarlet – Cleansing

A. Leviticus 14:1-7 – Cleansing a leper

1. Priest goes outside of the camp.

2. The sacrifice, two birds, possibly sparrows, is taken.

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