The historical prominence of Blue
Blue has been one of the most sought after colors since time immemorial. Its rarity can be easily determined by the fact that it is not a naturally occurring pigment.
Blue dye is claimed by Biblical commentaries to have originated from a shellfish found in the Mediterranean Sea. The importance of blue symbolism with respect to Christianity can be understood by a historical episode. The Catholic Church in 431 AD decided to color code the saints, and the Virgin Mary was assigned the color blue.
Blue has been viewed as a symbol of innocence and trust ever since. It was then adopted as the uniform color by the militaries to denote trustworthiness and authority.
Blue is also a symbol of royalty and regalia, noble birth and kingship.
In medieval paintings of the European Renaissance, blue symbolism was uniquely used for Virgin Mary and to attract viewers to the same. ‘Lapis lazuli’, the blue semi-precious stone, was used by the medieval artists to make the pigment ultramarine (or ‘true blue’), the most expensive of all pigments. The Madone des Harpies required the robes of the Virgin Mary to be painted with ultramarine. The cost of authentic ultramarine used to be more than that of gold.
The shade of blue associated with the Virgin Mary came to be known as Marian Blue. In the Byzantine Empire, artists used azurite, a less expensive mineral to paint Madonna’s robes that contrasted the gold leaf background. Several shades of blue were used by the artists. In the mosaics of the Byzantine churches, light blue depicted the skies, whereas a darker, almost purple shade of blue was used for the robes of Mary and Jesus.
Not only has blue symbolism been important in the artistic aspects, but it also has been of exceptional prominence in the spiritual and religious context.
Blue Symbolism in The Holy Bible
In Christianity, colors have symbolic significance. They represent Jesus’ miracles in our daily lives. Both Old and New Testaments make symbolic use of colors to reflect meanings or spiritual truths. Through their symbolism, colors give us hints about God and His plans for Salvation.
The color blue is of supreme importance and is highly revered in Christianity. It is mentioned nearly fifty times in the Bible in association with God and divinity. It represents the Almighty God on His throne.
Blue in the Bible connotes the Heavens. When Moses and the 70 elders of Israel went to worship God on Mount Sinai, they witnessed a glimpse of Heaven. It was after this episode that Moses received the 10 commandments.
A beautiful description of the stature of blue is given in the scriptures. In Exodus 24:10, the elders saw the God of Israel, under whose feet there was Heaven resembling a pavement of a sapphire stone.
The God of Israel, Jesus, is depicted as standing on a pavement of sapphires. These gemstones are a rare and beautiful shade of blue. The Blue Heavens paved with sapphires denote the prominence of the color in the Bible. God, when creating Lucifer, had placed a sapphire on him (Ezekiel 28:13). Sapphires will also be used to adorn one of the twelve foundations of New Jerusalem that The Almighty shall create, according to Revelation 21:19.
These references enhance the significance of blue symbolism in Christianity. Perhaps, no other color is given such importance and reverence in the Bible as the color blue. The Heavens, the Sky, the robes of Virgin Mary, and the halo of the angels are adorned by blue symbolism in the Holy Bible.
A darker, more royal shade of blue was used to represent the wealthy class, riches and regalia:
In Esther 1:6 a verse mentions that a garden had hangings of white and blue linen, fastened with cords of white linen and purple material to silver rings on marble pillars.
This verse indicates that blue symbolism was used to highlight those of royal and noble stature.
Blue ribbons and tassels aligned the hem of the robes of the priestly class. High Priests wore blue sapphires on their ‘breastplates of judgement’. Hence, it also denoted priesthood and piety. It represented the Holy Spirit and godly living.
Blue also symbolizes physical punishment (such as blue-hued bruises) which seeks to cleanse the evil from the body. It also may be symbolic of the inner sense of sin. The Proverbs 20:30, KJV say that the blueness of a wound cleanses away evil, and so do the stripes on the inward parts of the belly.
In contemporary western ideology, blue symbolizes masculinity. However, in the bygone era, it was a color native to femininity, denoting purity and daintiness. The striking red, also the color of Jesus’ robes, denoted masculinity. With the passage of time, the colors swapped their gender roles. Nowadays, blue symbolizes male whereas red or pink symbolizes female.
Blue is the color of oceans, skies and the Heavens which have a massive extent and are at a great distance from the mortals. The energy of blue transcends towards the unknown and far off places. Blue is a call to infinity and is symbolic of extraterrestrial particles. The blue skies symbolize the omnipresence of the Almighty.
Spiritually, blue implies the Healing Power of the Almighty. The New Testament makes mention of a bleeding woman being healed by touching the blue fringe of Jesus’ robe. It is also mentioned in the Mosaic Law, that God instructed the Jews to put blue tassels on each corner of their garments. This symbolized the Healing power of blue.
In the Biblical context, blue also represents the Word of God. Blue, alongside Red and Yellow, forms the trinity of primary colors. These three symbolize the Holy Trinity. Blue, in the Holy Trinity, represents Knowledge of Divinity. When it harmonizes with the Red and the Yellow, peace and spiritual balance is attained.
The trinity of primary colors combine to form the secondary colors of the rainbow, which is the sign of covenant between the Almighty and man. As the third primary color, blue symbolizes the Healing Power of God.
In Biblical references, Michael, the leader of all holy angels, is in charge of the blue angel light ray. He is courageous and possesses great strength. The blue angel light ray of Michael symbolizes strength, protection, and faith in victory of good over evil. It protects the people and prevents them from sinning.
The relevance of sub-shades of blue
Indigo – Indigo fervently amplifies and turns the energy of blue inwards to the divinity in the man. Indigo bridges the gap between the finite and the infinite. It is the key to the gates of mysticism. Blue energy is fast but indigo energy is faster and at cosmic speeds. Indigo represents wisdom and provides psychic abilities.
Purple – The Hebrew term for ‘blue’ is sometimes translated as ‘purple’ or ‘violet’. Blue dyes were inferior to royal purple, but were still popular and expensive. In ancient times, the rarity of purple gave it immense prestige. It was the most expensive dye as described in the Bible. Roman Emperors and Catholic Bishops wore purple. Phrases containing purple color used to refer to somebody of royal lineage. For example, Constantine VII, The Byzantine Emperor, was given a title which meant ‘born of the purple room’.
Purple is also the official color of the season of Advent, although blue is also used.
The two primary colors, blue and red combine to form violet, the color of majesty. The color red denotes Jesus’ blood, His mortal life and His earthly work (red or scarlet refers to ‘earthly’). Blue denotes Jesus’ Heavenly abode (blue symbolism means ‘Heaven’ in Bible). Purple signifies that, after receiving forgiveness through Jesus’ blood, man shall leave the earth to go back to Him.
Violet is the color of spiritual mastery. In the rainbow, it is the highest expression of light, being at the opposite end of the color spectrum to red. Violet gives stabilization to the energy of red since it is a combination of both red and blue.
In Biblical terms, Violet forms when the martyrdom of Jesus, denoted by red, merges with the blue of The Heavens or the purity of the Virgin Mary. It symbolizes healing and a high spiritual state. Bluish purple brings idealism and ignites the imagination.
Turquoise – The color turquoise represents the Holy River of God and the New Jerusalem. In spiritual terms, it also symbolizes God’s healing and sanctification.
Blue color as a pillar of Christian Culture
Blue symbolism is of great importance in the Christian faith. It has a special place in history due to its omnipresence in the Bible as well as in ancient and medieval culture. Blue symbolism in the choicest of religious connotations reaffirms its irreplaceable role in molding the Christian culture. Blue is not merely a color but pervades all customs, traditions, places of heritage, choice of clothes and perhaps all important symbols of Christianity.