THE COLORS OF HEAVEN based on Rev.21:9-21
By Glenn Pease
Mr. Jones was having her living room painted, and she was explaining to the unsympathetic painter just what she wanted. "I want a light green blue, which will be sort of a cross between a darker blue and a light bluey blue", she said. The painter replied, "Lady, there ain't no such color. What you are describing is nothing but a pigment of your imagination." Colors may exist in our minds that do no exist in reality. But God is an artist who invites us to use our imagination to try and conceive of the beautiful colors of heaven.
You can go into most any jewelry store and see many of the gems that are seen here in the walls of the Holy City. The colors are very bright and beautiful. I bought Lavonne a pink ice ring recently, and when the sun hits it just right, it startles me with it's beauty. In the shade it is just a dull piece of matter, but in the sunlight it is a sparkling piece of beauty. This is the picture we get of heaven, and the New Jerusalem. It is transparent like glass, and there is brilliant light bouncing off millions of jewels. The beauty of this scene is beyond our grasp. Man would need all the jewels of the world just to copy a fraction of the jeweled wall described here. Dr. Criswell, who was for many years the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, tries to describe the color of heaven, in these words-
What a proliferation of color! What
incomparable, brilliant iridescence it
possesses! It looks like frozen light
in diamonds, sapphire, ruby, emerald
and pearl. It looks as if God were
mingling together the azure blue of
the sky, the surf of the sea, the
rainbow of autumnal glory, and
the fire of an august sunset.
There is no eloquence adequate to describe the color of heaven. Probably, the best we can do is to compare the experience of the 18 year old boy who was born blind, but who by surgery was made to see for the first time at age 18. One year later, reporters asked him what the most wonderful thing about seeing was, and he replied, "Color." He said he never dreamed that color was so beautiful. He had always thought of it as being like our conception of black and white with contrasts and highlights. He said the beauties of the various colored flowers fascinated him beyond all human imagination. He said everything in this world was more beautiful than he ever dreamed.
So it will be for us in heaven. It will be like the blind seeing for the first time. The colors will be brighter and more beautiful than the brightest rainbow we have ever seen in time. We will say, as did the Queen of Sheba, when she saw the glory of Solomon's empire, the half was not told me. We will say, more than likely, the hundredth or the thousandth, was not told me. But, since God has revealed some of the glory of the colors of heaven, we should do our best to try and see it as He wants us to see it.
The first thing we want to observe is the color of the people. Heaven is the ultimate in the melting pot of colors. This is implied in the gates of the New Jerusalem that face in every direction. People from every direction are welcome to enter these ever open gates, and this implies universality. But we do not need to depend upon symbolism. In Rev.7:9 we read, "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb." It is not a matter of speculation or inference, it is a Biblical fact, stated clearly, that every color of skin will be a part of the eternal kingdom of God. Colors are not just temporary and incidental accidents of time, they are part of the color scheme of God's eternal city. The song, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight, is right, and not a poetic fiction. Any color that you try to imagine is not in heaven, is a pigment of your imagination.
A church hired an artist to paint them a picture of Jesus with little children. When he finished it, he felt it was his best work ever. He could almost hear them singing, "Glory! glory! glory be to God on high." He was so pleased that he called the committee from the church to come and see it the next day. That night he had a dream, and saw himself walking into his studio and finding a stranger with his thumb through his artists palette painting on his picture. He rushed over and cried for him to stop for he was spoiling his work. The stranger said, "No, you have spoiled it. You have 5 colors on your palette, but you have used only one on the faces of the children. I have used the other 4 colors, for these little ones have come from many lands in answer to my call." "What call?" he asked. The stranger responded, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Then the artist knew it was the Lord, and he suddenly awoke. He rushed to the studio, and saw all the faces were still white. It was only a dream. But he knew it was a dream with a message. He took his palette and began to paint with all the colors. When the committee came to see it they loved the picture. It was just what they wanted, something that represented the whole family of God. It takes all colors to do that. No one will feel they are the wrong color in heaven for heaven is the color of God's people, which means, it is all colors. This truth inspired me to write the poem, Heaven Is The Color You Are.
WHAT COLOR IS HEAVEN YOU ASK
TO ANSWERS A COMPLEXING TASK.
THE REASON IS SIMPLY QUITE PLAIN
IT WILL EVERY COLOR CONTAIN.
THE RAINBOW OF COLOR THAT'S THERE
MAKES HEAVEN A PLACE OF SUCH FLAIR,
OUR EYES WILL FOREVER ENJOY
A VISUAL FEAST THAT WILL NOT CLOY.
THE COLOR OF GOD WE WILL SEE
IS WHAT ANY COLOR CAN BE,
FOR ALL COLORS COMBINE IN WHITE,
AND GOD'S NATURE IS, GOD IS LIGHT.
GOD IS LIGHT AND THUS HE IS WHITE,
WHICH IS EVERY COLOR IN SIGHT.
THE ANSWER IS VERY CLEAR THEN,
HEAVEN'S COLORS COVER ALL MEN.
WE SING RED, YELLOW, BLACK AND WHITE
THAT ALL ARE PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT,
SO NO ONE ON COLOR NEEDS SPAR,
HEAVEN IS THE COLOR YOU ARE.
HEAVEN IS THE COLOR YOU ARE
THE MOST COLORFUL PLACE BY FAR,
FOR THERE EVERY COLORS A STAR
HEAVEN IS THE COLOR YOU ARE.
Keep in mind, the New Jerusalem is a symbol of the people of God--The Bride of the Lamb. The 12 tribes and the 12 apostles represent the O.T. and the N.T. people of God. That is why the 24 elders are considered as a symbol of the total people of God. I looked up the 24th element in the building blocks of the universe, and I discovered it is chromium. What is of interest is this is called the color element. It comes from the Greek word for color because it is the element which gives color to the jewels we so much treasure, and which are a part of the color of heaven. The emerald, for example, is green because of this 24th element. The ruby is red because of it, and the sapphire is usually blue because of it.
The basic compounds of many gems are colorless. It is the chromium that gives them their color. Many of the paints you buy are red, green, yellow, and orange because of chromium. Almost every color possible is determined by the quantity of chromium that is mixed with other elements. If God follows the natural laws He has formed for time, in eternity, the 24th element will go on forever being the source of color and beauty in our heavenly environment.
If 24 is the color element, not by accident or coincidence, but by the design of God, then we can see the possibility of the Bride of Christ being the source of color for much of the beauty we will see in heaven. The people of God will represent, not just the red and yellow, black and white, but every imaginable color, and millions we can't imagine. One thing is for sure, heaven will be the most colorful place we will ever be. The light of God will bring out every color the mind of God can conceive. It is always light, and never night, and this means never ending color and beauty. Spurgeon wrote,
"Light is the cause of beauty. That is obvious to you all, Take the light away,
and there is no beauty anywhere. The fairest woman charms
the eye no more than a heap of ashes when the sun has de-
parted. Your garden may be gay with many colored flowers,
but when the sun goes down you cannot know them from the grass which borders them. You look upon the trees, all fair with the verdure of summer, but when the sun goes down they are all hung in black. Without light no radiance flashes from
the sapphire, no peaceful ray proceedeth from the pearl. There
is naught of beauty left when light is gone. Light is the mother
of beauty. In such sense the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb
are the light of heaven; that is to say, all the beauty of the
saints above comes from God incarnate."
I love the prayer poem written by Harold Kohn, which he calls, The God Who Loves To Color.
In whose colors
of sunrise and sunset,
golden day and black night,
Yellow wildflower and red garden rose,
Rich, brown soil and white mantle of snow
Where we have rejoiced
in all the glorious hues
of Thy world
Father of us all,
If we have dared despise
The pigments of skin
Thou hast honored
with Thy creative care,
Thy loving touch,
and with the indwelling
All Thy colored ones, O Father.
Rejoice in the beauty
Let us altogether,
The God who loves to color
Let's face it, heaven will be a place of incredible color, with people of all color ,and gems of color, and a rainbow of color, and a God who loves to color. Infinite color is what we are trying to grasp here. The practical implications of this are that we as Christians are to be people who love color. We have gotten away from the black only Bibles, and the black only at funerals, but few have written so boldly of their color-filled hope as Gertrude Knevels.
Shall I wear morning for my soldier dead-
I, a believer? --give me red;
Or give me royal purple for the King
at whose high court my love is visiting;
Dress me in green for growth, for life made new;
For skies his dear feet march, dress me in blue;
In white for his white soul; robe me in gold
For all the pride that his new rank shall hold;
In earth's dim gardens bloom no hue too bright
To dress me for my love who walks in light.
Here is a woman who takes the colors of heaven seriously, and wants to bear a clear witness to her faith in the God of all colors. My godly aunt had it arranged, so that at her funeral, many colored balloons were released, and we watched them soar up into the sky. It was a symbol of her conviction that we should be joyful, and even in a mood of celebration, when we enter God's presence, and when a loved one does so. Color is a part of celebration.
The reason man could not be content with black and white television is because it is not natural. Real life is in color, for God made color a basic part of His creation, and no scene is complete without color. Because man is made in the image of God, he can never be satisfied without color. Charles Goff in, A Better Hope, quotes Criswell who said, "God must like color. For example, do you ever see the sunset in the evening when the clouds are burning with fire and there is gold, crimson, orange, blue, all the riot of the rainbow in the sky? Is there a man who ever lived who could tell us any earthly, utilitarian use for a sunset? Do you hug them, can you plow them, can you water with them? What good are the colors of the sunset? Just this, that God loves color and things beautiful. So ii is with His holy city. Beyond imagination is the flooding of color in that incomparable city. All of these stones named here are exquisite with color."
T. DeWitt Telmage, the great preacher in the early part of the century, said in one of his sermons, "I think heaven must have a material splendor as well as a spiritual grandeur. Oh, what grandeur....when that divine hand which plunges the sea into blue, and foliage into green, and sets the sunset on fire, shall gather all the beautiful colors of earth around His throne."
J. Vernon McGee in his famous Through The Bible series says, "The New Jerusalem is a city of light and a city of color. God is light and He is there. All of this color will be coming out and flooding God's universe." He sees the light of God creating more colors than we find in time. He writes, "The light shining from within through the Jasper stone, acting as a prism, would give every color and shade of color in the rainbow--colors that you and I have not even thought of yet."
In a book of children's prayers, I read this one from Eugene--"Dear God, I didn't think orange went very good with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday. That was cool." The ultimate in cool will be the Niagara of color that will pour into our eyes in the New Jerusalem.
We could go on quoting the hopes and visions of the saints, but the question is, does this colorful hope of heaven have any practical value for us time, beside the thrill of anticipation? The answer is yes! God made color to play a more important role in life than we realize. Color plays a major role in your physical, mental, spiritual health. Studies show that people who live in a drab world, devoid of pretty colors, get depressed with life. People flock out to see the country side in the fall, because it is uplifting, and gives one a feeling of optimism and well being. The bright colors are a form of therapy that brings encouragement. Man is learning that he can be healthier by changing the colors of his surroundings.
The British airways had a high number of passengers suffering from air sickness. They changed the color inside from yellow to sky blue, and there was an immediate improvement. The colors in your environment affect you for good or bad. Color makes everything more fun, enjoyable, and romantic. Color is one of God's best gifts for the joy of life.
Al Koran has a chapter on the magic of color. He writes from a secular perspective, but if you listen to what he is saying, you can see what a powerful impact the colors of heaven will have on our eternal health and happiness. He writes,
"Do you wear colored shoes? Have you a colored um-
brella, pair of gloves, or coat? Do you cook in colored sauce-
pans, drink from colored glasses, wash with a colored sponge,
and dry yourself with a colored towel? Do you sleep between
colored sheets? Are your nightclothes bright, and your slip-
pers gay? Is your car and your traveling case a color that
cheers? There are thousands of people wanting to be a men-
tal magician, but few of them turn to color. Your day should
be full of fascinating colors, your favorite color predominate-
ing. Have you seen the sun shining through colored glass
ornaments? It is beautiful. Colored glass attracts the light
with a brilliance undreamed of, and these colors help to
bring magic into your life."
One of the reasons Christmas is such a joyful time of the year is because it is the most colorful time of the year. A merry Christmas is greatly aided by the lovely colors everywhere. The New Jerusalem will be lit up like a perpetual ice palace, with sparkling jewels reflecting the light of the Lamb, and with color greater than any Christmas display we have ever seen. Color and joy are linked in time and eternity.
Color has an effect on our emotions. We say he is seeing red, to convey his anger, or he is feeling blue, to convey his depression, or he is feeling green with envy, or purple with rage. He may be feeling in the pink, or be in black depression. If he does you a kindness, that is white of him. If he refuses to take a chance, you think he is yellow. Color is a part of the psychology of life. Faber Birren, the color expert, in his book, Color In Your World, writes, "My profession is color, I use research to measure human preferences in color trends in consumer goods. I decorate factories, offices, schools, hospitals, stores, not merely to make them more attractive, but also to achieve practical ends--to increase production, lower accident rates, aid convalescence, relieve psychological and physical fatigue, and of course to promote business."
Studies show red light increases blood pressure, respiration rate, and muscular tension. Blue light, on the other hand, will retard them. Red will arouse, and blue will calm. The person who wants to have a wild time will want to be surrounded by red. The one who wants to relax will prefer a blue setting.
Mary Crowley, the first woman to be on the board of the Billy Graham association, and the founder of the multimillion dollar business, Home Interiors, wrote in, Women Who Win, "God instilled in every human being the hunger for stimulation, excitement, and romance. That's why He created the world in color! He could have made it in black and white, and it would have functioned just as well, but God knew that this aesthetic creature called man would need color and beauty to inspire and excite him. What wonderful things God has given us for pure enjoyment!"
The first words of God in the Bible are, "Let there be light." That was also the beginning of color. Creation began in a blaze of color, and the consummation of God's plan will also be an everlasting blaze of color. Those who do not receive Jesus as their Savior will have a colorless eternity of darkness. Where there is no light, there is no color, and hell is darkness. Those who do take Christ as Savior will dwell in eternal light and color that never ends. In Jesus there is the promise of everlasting joy and happiness in the color of heaven.