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Black is the darkest color in the Bible, as it lacks brightness or a hue. But what does the color black in the Bible represent?
When we think of the meaning of the color black in the Bible, we usually associate it with darkness and suffering. And though that much is true, the color black isn’t entirely negative. Yes, black is the darkest color mentioned in the Bible, but that shouldn’t be a reason to scare us or stay away from it. Let’s learn more about the overview of black and its symbolism in the Bible.
What is the Importance of Black in the Bible?
Although it looks like the color black has a negative connotation in the Bible, there are times when God uses darkness as a way to reach out to us. Exodus 20:21 tells us that Moses approached the darkness where God was when his people remained at a distance. In Deuteronomy 5:22, God’s voice reigns loud and clear, even in darkness, for all to hear. So, the color black isn’t entirely negative but may help God draw us closer to Him.
What Does the Color Black Mean in the Bible?
Overview of Black in the Bible
Black is the darkest color in the Bible. It absorbs light and lacks any brightness or hue. According to Psalm 104:2 and 1 John 1:5, God is light, and when He created the world, it was filled with His light. When Lucifer committed spiritual suicide, he became the first representation of the color black.
The color black appears less than twenty times in the Bible. It is usually associated with the results of sin, such as death, disease, famine, and sorrow. However, the word black or darkness is also used to describe objects such as hair (Matthew 5:36), marble, skin (Job 30:30), and the sun and moon together (Joel 2:10). So, in reality, black isn’t entirely used negatively in the Bible.
What is the Symbolism of Black in the Bible
Lucifer or Satan
Before Lucifer fell from heaven due to sin (Luke 10:18), he was called an angel of light. But when Lucifer chose to sin, he became darkness and no longer exists in God’s light. His fall from heaven was a consequence of his disobedience (Isaiah 45:7). 1 Thessalonians 5:5 also says that we do not belong to the darkness or the night but are children of light and the day.
God created Adam in light and perfection, in His image and liking. The Holy Spirit led and guided him in everything he did. Yet when Adam disobeyed God’s one rule in the Garden of Eden, darkness overcame him, and so did death. Since that day, we have all been born in the darkness of sin (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23).
Suffering and Death
The color black represented most of the suffering and death that happened in the Bible, such as mourning (Job 30:28, Jeremiah 14:2), famine, the judgment of sin (Revelations 6:5), and death (Job 10:21-22). There were also a handful of times when black horses represented famine and sorrow.
Black also represents deceitfulness, as seen in Job 6:14-16, where Job’s friends withheld kindness from him. Job’s friends accuse him of doing evil because they have no idea why he is suffering. Instead of helping him, they point the blame for his suffering on Job himself.
The color black also represents God’s judgment and punishment of sins in the Bible. Aside from famine and sorrow, black horses also meant God’s judgment being carried out (Zechariah 6:2,6; Revelation 6:5). Aside from us humans, God also punished angels when they sinned by casting them into hell and keeping them there until it was their time for judgment (2 Peter 2:4).
Though it may seem that black has a negative connotation in the Bible, there are also instances where God used blackness or darkness to conceal Himself so that he could watch over His people. Numerous samples of this happening are found in Exodus 20:21, Deuteronomy 5:22, and Psalm 97:2.
Are there Black People Mentioned in the Bible?
Almost all of the events that took place in the Bible are in the Middle East and Israel. From that, we can assume that most of the people mentioned in the Bible are Semitic and would have had light to dark brown complexion. We can also assume that neither white nor black people are familiar with these regions, but they aren’t absent.
Some of Noah’s descendants, through his son Ham, were black. Cush, Ham’s son, means “black” in Hebrew. It is used 58 times in the King James version and is the Bible’s most common term for people or lands. Genesis 10:6-20 suggests that Ham’s descendants were in North and Central Africa and some parts of Southern Asia.
Cush’s son, Nimrod, founded a civilization in Mesopotamia, according to Genesis 10. The earliest inhabitants of Ur, where Abraham was from, were blacks. In Genesis 14, Abraham brought his family into areas in Canaan and Egypt that black people inhabited.
In the New Testament, we see a story of an Ethiopian eunuch who came from a black region and was one of the first Gentiles to be baptized. Many scholars also believe Simon of Cyrene from Matthew 27:32 is of black descent. And lastly, the Book of Revelations proclaims that Jesus has redeemed people from every tribe, language, people, and nation. It doesn’t explicitly state all the ethnic groups, but the generalization makes it clear all people and ethnicities were included in the final gathering of God’s people.
Other Representations of the Color Black
The Bible condemns occult practices like witchcraft, soothsaying, channeling the dead, sorcery, astrology, and the like. The “darkness” of these practices is considered the works of the flesh or black magic.
First, black magic doesn’t come from God; therefore, it cannot accomplish the will of the Lord. Secondly, black magic encourages hate and seeking revenge on our enemies, a complete 180 to God’s commandment to love our enemies. And lastly, by subjecting ourselves to using black magic, we are making ourselves vulnerable and under the influence of the enemy.
Many Old Testament passages condemn black magic and its many forms; some examples can be seen in Micah 3:7, Leviticus 19:26, and Deuteronomy 18:14. The Bible also made it clear that those who practiced black magic were warned and were punishable by death (Exodus 22:18).
According to NASA, a black hole is a place where the pull of gravity is so strong that even light cannot get out, and it usually happens when a star is dying. Because light cannot escape, we usually cannot see black holes and can only be viewed using space telescopes with special tools.
In a sense, Satan is like a spiritual version of a black hole. Since he was struck down from heaven, God has taken the light given to him and turned it into darkness. And once we allow him access to our hearts, he does the same by taking the light and turning it into the dark.
Bible Verses About Black
“Dark am I, yet lovely, daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my vineyard I had to neglect.”
“Therefore, the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back.”
“If the sore is unchanged so far as the priest can see, and if black hair has grown in it, the affected person is healed. They are clean, and the priest shall pronounce them clean.”
“When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.”
“I asked the angel speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?” The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.”
The color black has negative and positive connotations in the Bible. It can mean death, suffering, judgment, punishment, and Satan. It also references hair and skin color, the sky, the sun, and the moon coming together. Yet, despite its negative connotation, God is also present in the darkness. The darkness would not keep us from Him if we didn’t let it. There are numerous examples where people find God’s presence in the dark.
So even when we are experiencing struggles and suffering, we can allow our circumstances to draw us nearer to Him. In the blackness of our surroundings, God’s light shines the brightest. Let His light guide us and show us His incredible power and grace.
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