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Colours in the Bible

.....and their meaning...

Green

 

 
The colour green in scripture comes from several Hebrew words:

'yereq' meaning green or green thing; 'yaraq' meaning green herbs, vegetables or garden greens; 'lach' meaning green or moist, fresh or new in the sense of plants ; 'abiyb' meaning green ears of corn; 'ra‘anan' meaning green and flourishing; 'eb' meaning fresh green or green shoots; 'ratob' meaning green, moist juicy fresh; ' yarowq' meaning green thing.

The Greek word 'chloros' means green or yellowish pale and the word 'hugros' means green and full of sap.

These words translated as green have a connection with green flourishing plant life of one species or another. Green plants are also  associated with the provision of food. In the beginning at the time of creation God said:

"..to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food" Gen 1:30

Heads of grain were part of the offering of the firstfruits of a harvest to God:

"If you offer a grain offering of your firstfruits to the LORD, you shall offer for the grain offering of your firstfruits green heads of grain roasted on the fire, grain beaten from full heads." Lev 2:14

 

Further information

  Trees both green and dry are often used in scripture to represent nations, "And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it." Ezek 17:24

Trees can also symbolise nations that are to be punished by God:  "Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree and every dry tree in you; the blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be scorched by it." Ezekiel 20:47

Green trees were also connected with idol worship and the turning away from God:  "For they also built for themselves high places, sacred pillars, and wooden images on every high hill and under every green tree. 1Kings 14:23

Spending time in nature can be very restful and bring tranquillity and peace of mind, thus David writes of God, "He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake." Psalm 23:2-3 Thus we see a link in the Bible between green pasture and the spiritually restorative nature of God's word.

Jesus likened himself to green wood full of the sap of God's word saying of His crucifixion and suffering: "For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" Luke 23:31

Related Symbols: fruitfulness

God looks for healthy spiritual growth in His children. He has provided all that is needed to produce healthy spiritual growth and fruit.   "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit."
 
 
  "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self–control." Galatians 5:22-23
 

Related Symbols: grass and trees

The fragility of human life is described as mankind being like the grass of the field which grows up quickly, flourishing for a time, but soon withering and dying again.

Human life is equally as brief as the transient nature of the summer grass. But those who trust in God will flourish and grow.

"Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the reeds flourish without water? While it is yet green and not cut down, It withers before any other plant. So are the paths of all who forget God; And the hope of the hypocrite shall perish." Job 8:11-13
"But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever." Psalm 52:8
 

Perhaps one of the most remarkable and wonderful symbols associated with the colour green is that of everlasting life, the reward of the righteous. Jesus encouraged his disciples not to labour for food that perished, but to work for the food that leads to everlasting life (John 6:27). Jesus also spoke of the seed of the Word, being sown and growing in those who have an honest heart to yield a spiritual crop (Luke 8:11-15). The reward of the righteous will be to experience a rebirth; dying and being 'sown' in the grave and then being raised at Jesus return to new life once again. Just like the new growth sprouting from the sown seed (1Cor 15:35-44)

"For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit." Jeremiah 17:8

"Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds." Numbers 17:8

"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season: his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (An evergreen tree) Psalm 1:3.

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