Color of the Ages

Daily Pompt: Purple

Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) ruled England and Ireland from 1558 until her death. The childless queen was the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.  She also forbad anyone around her to wear purple, except the royal family.  Not that many would, or could, since the cost of purple fabric was so outrageously expensive, only rulers were wealthy enough to afford it.  What became modern-day Lebanon was, in the ancient world, the Phoenician city of Tyre, where the dye used to make purple was traded like gold or silver.  When Paul the apostle arrived in Philippi, in Acts 16:13-15, his first meeting was with women washing clothes at the riverside.  There Paul met a woman, “a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God.”  This woman was from Thyatira, and quite wealthy from her business selling purple cloth. Her wealth afforded her a large dwelling, so she invited Paul and his traveling party to come stay in her home. However, this is not the most ancient use of this purple dye.

When God was instructing Moses in the wilderness to build a tabernacle, the instructions included this command:  Moreover, from the blue and purple and scarlet material, they made finely woven garments for ministering in the holy place as well as the holy garments which were for Aaron, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. [Exodus 39:1]

Where did this purple material come from?  The simple answer is from Egyptian royalty.  Since only the extremely wealthy could afford the purple material to make royal robes, this cloth is associated with the ruling classes of Rome, Egypt and Persia.  As such, this color also became associated with spiritual holiness because in most of these ancient cultures the emperors or kings were thought of as gods or descendants of a god.

When God-Jehovah assigned Moses the task of leading the Hebrew people out of bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt, there was a time of challenge between the gods of Egypt and the God of Moses, the true and living God.  Finally in the last battle for authenticity, God gave the Hebrew people instructions for their last night in captivity.  They would take a lamb without blemish into their homes and treat it like a family member.  Then, on a specific night, they would kill this lamb, collect the blood and splash it over the header to their front door.  Then they would eat the lamb according to specific instructions from God.  If they followed these simple commands, God’s Holy Death Angel would passover their house and not harm them.  For every door header that didn’t have this blood, God’s Holy Death Angel would take the firstborn from that family in death.  It was only after Pharaoh’s firstborn was taken in this way that he allowed the Hebrew people to leave and follow Moses into the wilderness.  Still not the end of the story…

Where did all the stuff for building this Tabernacle come from?  Exodus 12:33-36

The Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, “We will all be dead.” So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders. Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

Did you see it?

Now fast forward back to Jerusalem in the New Testament circa 33 A.D., and the day following Passover.  Jesus has been arrested, hustled back and forth between Caiaphas and Pilate, where Pilate attempts to placate the Jewish leaders by having Jesus beaten.

Mark 15:16-18
The soldiers took Him away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium), and they called together the whole Roman cohort. They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; and they began to acclaim Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 

Here the Creator of the color purple, is mocked by His highest creation, in derision calling Him a king, when in their hearts they believed no such thing.

There was a small mollusk found only in the Tyre region of the Mediterranean Sea where this purple dye was found.  It is said that more than 9,000 mollusks were needed to create just one gram of Tyrian purple dye.  Expensive beyond measure.  Some would say, priceless.

But what of the grace shown by the Son of Man, who without resistance or reticence would yield to such brutality as Jesus suffered, to pay our debt of Sin?  At what cost our salvation? The death of Jesus.  Rightly He wore the color purple, yet men today still mock Him, and unyieldingly use His name in vain.  Regal and royal, the color still remains a constant reminder to me, of a King who loves me personally.  Loves me so much, He gave His life for mine.

Purple is the color of the Ages.  It is Priceless.

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