The Spiritual Significance Of Colors In Scripture (The Color White) – Part 1

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The Color White – Part 1

As with every word we have covered, this word ‘white’ also has both a positive and a negative application. Why is that? It is because of what we learned in our last study:

Psa 139:12  Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

It is because all these words are the words of Christ, and what have we learned of Christ?

Exo 13:21  And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

How does this ‘cloud’ appear to those who do not know Christ?

Exo 14:19  And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
Exo 14:20  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

God’s Word is “a cloud and darkness to them.” The natural man cannot receive the things of the spirit, because they are foolishness to him.

1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

“They are foolishness to him” means that God’s spiritual Words are “a cloud and darkness” to the natural man, and at the same time, they “give light by night to these” to whom God is revealing Himself.

Christ, the cloud, separates His people from Egypt. ‘Egypt’ is the natural man. That separation is accomplished by blinding Egypt while giving light to His own people. While those with whom God is working can see that Christ creates both light and darkness, they can also understand that it is He who creates both good and evil. This is contradictory to the natural man. The natural man cannot see how “sins as red as crimson” can be “washed white in the blood of the Lamb”; how one can “find his life by losing it”; how one can only see by acknowledging his blindness, and can only avoid judgment by being judged. The natural man cannot understand how it is possible to avoid the lake of fire by going through that same consuming fire here and now, and the natural man cannot see how we all avoid the wrath of God by enduring “God’s wrath on the children of disobedience” and “fulfilling the seven plagues of the seven angels.” Yet we are told:

Rev 1:3  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

The natural man cannot see that God’s elect must “live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

Mat 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Including these words which have proceeded out of the mouth of God:

Rev 15:8  And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

To the natural man it is contradictory to say that God is the creator of both good and evil. It is contradictory to say that Christ is a cloud which is both light and darkness, but that is why every word of the Word of God has both a negative and a positive application. It is because Christ is the cloud which separates his people from the people of Egypt, the natural man from the man who is “spiritually minded”. It is because Christ is His Word, and that word is “a cloud and darkness to them, but it gives light by night to these: so that the one comes not near the other all the night.”

How the Natural Man sees the Color White

The natural man sees white only as a type of light and righteousness. He cannot see white as a type of his deceived and diseased condition. Here is the only way ‘white is perceived in the eyes of the natural man:

Mat 17:2  And [Christ] was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Mar 9:3  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

Ecc 9:8  Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

Isa 1:18  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.

These four verses will serve to express how most of us think of the color ‘white’. We think of white as snow, wool and the light of the Truth. One more verse will serve to demonstrate how this word is used in its positive sense:

Rev 19:8  And to her [Christ’s bride] was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

The Spiritually Negative Application of the Color White

This is not how ‘snow’ and ‘white’ are always used in God’s Word:

Exo 4:6  And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.

Babylon Appears as White and as Light

Christ appears as “white as the light.”

Mat 17:2  And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

Babylon also appears as an angel of light:

2Co 11:13  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
2Co 11:14  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
2Co 11:15  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

So Satan, too, is ‘white as light”, but it is the ‘white’ of the incurable disease of leprosy. It is incurable because “flesh… cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1Co 15:50). Flesh must be relinquished in order to enter the kingdom of God.

Many of the verses in the early parts of God’s Word connect the color ‘white’ to the disease of leprosy. We will bring this out later, but let’s begin where the Bible begins and see where ‘white’ first appears. White first appears in the King James Version of the Bible in ‘Babylon’ with all of its white sheep. By ‘Babylon’ I mean in Haran, where Jacob had gone on the other side of the flood, the river Euphrates, fleeing from his brother and looking for a wife. Jacob has served his father-in-law for two of his daughters and was now ready to go back to the land of Canaan:

Gen 30:25  And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country.
Gen 30:26  Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.
Gen 30:27  And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.
Gen 30:28  And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.
Gen 30:29  And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me.
Gen 30:30  For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?
Gen 30:31  And he said, What shall I give thee? And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock:
Gen 30:32  I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and [of such] shall be my hire.
Gen 30:33  So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me.
Gen 30:34  And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word.
Gen 30:35  And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstraked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons.
Gen 30:36  And he set three days’ journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks.
Gen 30:37  And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods.

In this story Jacob typifies Christ and those in Christ. Christ’s flocks have “some white in them,” but they are “speckled and spotted”, and none of the sheep belonging to Jacob are all white. All of the sheep are brown or speckled. Laban knew that sheep were generally white by nature, just as we are all leprous by nature. Laban actually believed that he had made a tremendous deal and that Jacob would probably get just a very small fraction of the increase of the flocks. However, this is all a parable about what is taking place within each of us. What God is showing us is that we are anything but white in any spiritual sense. At the same time, we are being brought to see that the white flocks of Laban and Babylon are nothing more than the “snow white” of spiritual leprosy. Laban never crosses the Euphrates River to go into the Promised Land, and yet it is very interesting that the Hebrew word for ‘white’ is ‘laban.’

The reason I said that “according to the King James Version” the word ‘white’ first appears in the story of Jacob’s time spent in the area of Haran is that, in reality, the word ‘white’ actually first appears in the Hebrew back in Genesis in the story of the building of the Tower of Babylon. It appears in the Hebrew word translated ‘brick’ as in the bricks used to build the Tower of Babel. The Hebrew root for this word translated ‘brick’ comes from the primitive root for the Hebrew word for white. It is:

Gen 11:3  And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick [Hebrew: 3843 lebenah] for stone, and slime had they for morter.

So the tower of Babel was apparently built of white brick, but it is the whiteness of leprosy. Here is another Old Testament story which happened to them and is written for our admonition, which shows the connection between the color white and the incurable disease of leprosy:

2Ki 5:1  Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, [but he was] a leper.
2Ki 5:2  And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife.
2Ki 5:3  And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
2Ki 5:4  And [one] went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that [is] of the land of Israel.
2Ki 5:5  And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand [pieces] of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
2Ki 5:6  And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have [therewith] sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
2Ki 5:7  And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, [Am] I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me. [Leprosy was considered a death sentence.]
2Ki 5:8  And it was [so], when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
2Ki 5:9  So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.
2Ki 5:10  And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
2Ki 5:11  But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
2Ki 5:12  [Are] not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
2Ki 5:13  And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, [if] the prophet had bid thee [do some] great thing, wouldest thou not have done [it]? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?
2Ki 5:14  Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean [1Co 1:1-7, 1Co 3:1-4].
2Ki 5:15  And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that [there is] no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
2Ki 5:16  But he said, [As] the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take [it]; but he refused. [Abraham took nothing for delivering the king of Sodom, and John tells us to “take nothing of the Gentiles” [Gen 14:23, 3Jn 1:7].
2Ki 5:17  And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD.
2Ki 5:18  In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, [that] when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.
2Ki 5:19  And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.
2Ki 5:20  But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, [as] the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.
2Ki 5:21  So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw [him] running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, [Is] all well?
2Ki 5:22  And he said, All [is] well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.
2Ki 5:23  And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid [them] upon two of his servants; and they bare [them] before him.
2Ki 5:24  And when he came to the tower, he took [them] from their hand, and bestowed [them] in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.
2Ki 5:25  But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence [comest thou], Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.
2Ki 5:26  And he said unto him, Went not mine heart [with thee], when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? [Is it] a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
2Ki 5:27  The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow. [Leprosy never leaves the carnal-minded and those whose thoughts and affections are on the things of this earth.]

Col 3:1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Col 3:2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

The word ‘white’ appears in sixteen different verses of Leviticus 13, all in relation to the connection between the color ‘white’ and the signs of leprosy in either the color of the flesh or the color of the hair upon the flesh. White flesh and white hair upon the flesh are both signs of the incurable disease of leprosy, and leprosy is a physical type of the spiritual condition of the carnal mind.

Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Rom 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Here are a few of the sixteen verses which describe the whiteness of leprosy, representing the spiritual type of “the body of this death.”

Lev 13:3  And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and [when] the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight [be] deeper than the skin of his flesh, it [is] a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean.

Lev 13:10  And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the rising be white in the skin, and it have turned the hair white, and there be quick raw flesh in the rising;
Lev 13:11  It is an old leprosy in the skin of his flesh, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean, and shall not shut him up: for he is unclean.

He is ‘white’, but “he is unclean.” He is a “whited sepulchre”.

Mat 23:27  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

If this verse means the local Babylonian minister to you and you have never yet come to see that this is, was, and will be dying daily within you, then you are still in Babylon. As with all the other seeming contradictions of the things of the spirit, the only way to “come out of Babylon” is to admit that “dying daily” is “coming out of Babylon… daily.”

We have mentioned both the positive and negative, the light and the darkness of this color white, but we have dealt mostly with the negative application this week. Next week we will deal with the spiritually positive application of the color white in the word of God. What we should be coming to see is that, just as God could create a crooked serpent and a tree of knowledge of good and evil and pronounce it all “very good”, even so ought we to begin to understand these verses of scripture:

Psa 139:12  Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Ecc 3:11  He hath made every [thing] beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

[Here is the link to the next study in this series.]

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