What Does The Color Gold Represent When Used In The Bible?

by Dr. Michael L. Williams · Print Print · Email Email

In today’s turbulent financial times, it is commonplace to hear ads on the radio or television advertising gold that is available for investing as a safe harbor against inflation. In an economic free market, the more that gold costs per ounce in currency, the less the valuable the currency is worth. With this in mind, many consider gold to be a stable investment no matter what the economy. Unfortunately for investors, the Bible teaches that gold is no safe harbor when it comes to economic security. Likewise, Biblical teaching on gold goes much farther than just the idea of gold being a precious metal. With this in mind, we will look at what does the color gold represent in the Bible.

What Does The Color Gold Represent When Used In The Bible

What is gold?

The answer to this question may seem obvious. It is a precious metal that has fascinated people since the beginning of time. In chemistry it is represented by the symbol “Au” from the Latin word Aurum and many have tried to use chemistry to change lead into gold without success. In Greek mythology, a story of King Midas who had the ability to turn everything he touched to gold gave rise to the phrase, “The Midas Touch,” used to describe someone who has a gift for making money as well as the byline of an auto repair chain that allegedly restores your vehicle to perfect condition with just a touch by one of its mechanics. The list is quite extensive of the many other aspects of how gold and the color gold is used to represent many things.

What does the Bible say about gold?

In addition to the obvious, the Bible uses gold to represent many things. Of particular note is the use of gold to pave the streets of heaven as follows: “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass” (Revelation 21:21). The interesting thing about this passage is the description of it looking like transparent glass. Many years ago I spent a year in Korea while serving in the U.S. Army. I went to a jeweler one day to have something made in gold. The Jeweler took large heavy scissors and cut a chunk of gold about an inch square from a small sheet of gold. He placed the gold in a clamshell and fired up a small torch and aimed it at the gold. It was not long before the gold melted into a liquid. As it did, it began to glow and appear somewhat transparent. As he continued to heat it, the dross (impurities) was burned off and would flew away as sparks. When it reached a certain point, he turned off the torch and the glow faded until it was back to the gold color of the original and shaped like a small pebble.

Whenever I read Revelation 21:18-21, I think about that molten gold that glowed, but yet had a transparent appearance to it, which is unlike most other metals. From this, we get many catch phrases that are used to represent certain things: Gold standard, gold disk, good as gold, and golden opportunity amongst other things. With this in mind, it is easy to see how gold can be representative of so many things in the Bible as follows:

  1. The value of God’s Word, wisdom, and judgement: Job 28; Psalms 19:7-11; Psalms 119:127-128; Proverbs 3:13-14
  2. The pure foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ: 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Revelation 3:18
  3. The sanctification or purifying of one’s faith: Job 23:8-12; Psalms 66:10; Zechariah 13:9; Isaiah 48:10; Malachi 3:1-3; 1 Peter 1:3-9
  4. The value of a person to God: 1 Peter 1:18-19
  5. The object of man’s idolatry: Exodus 20:23; Psalms 115:1-8; Psalms 135:15-18; Daniel 5:4; Revelation 9:20
  6. The object of wasteful desires of men: Ecclesiastes 2:8-11; 1 Timothy 6:6-12
  7. The representation of the Babylonian Empire and King Nebuchadnezzar: Isaiah 14:3-4; Daniel 3:1; Daniel 2:1-38
  8. The impurities (dross) in gold represent the impure in heart: Ezekiel 22:19
  9. The deeds motivated by the love of God and love of our neighbor: 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
  10. The gold accumulated by man is worthless in eternity: Zechariah 14:14; Ezekiel 16-19; Revelation 18:9-16

Conclusion

Gold is a metal that has economic and metallic value. The physical properties of gold are unique to an extent that man uses the idea of gold to represent many things. Likewise, God uses gold in the Bible as a representation of many concepts and truths. Gold has no eternal value.

Here is another Bible study for you: What is Sanctification?

Resources – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie September 10, 2015 at 7:23 am

thank you

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Linda Fisher October 27, 2018 at 7:04 pm

I was searching as to the significance of what colours meant in the bible. I found this site to be most useful.
Thank you.

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