Dream symbols: The colour white – and what it means

Biblical symbolism of the colour white in dreams, what that means in practice, with real dream examples.

Have you ever wondered what the colour white means as a dream symbol?

In this article we will take inspiration from the bible to investigate the spiritual meaning of the colour white in dreams, and what that means for us in practical terms.

We will explore its meaning in positive and negative contexts, with some real dream examples too!

I approach dream interpretation from a biblical perspective. My belief is that our dreams can come from God, and understanding them is best understood within the context of an ongoing relationship with Him.

The symbolic nature of dreams

Firstly, if you have just come across this post and are new to dream interpretation, it is worth mentioning that dreams are symbolic in nature. You might find it helpful to read Understand your dreams: A bible-based introduction to dream language and my 3-step dream interpretation method to give you a foundation.

Secondly, remember that dreams are personal, so the meanings that I suggest may not apply to your specific dream. But please feel free to use my ideas as a springboard to thinking and praying about dreams yourself. Don’t take my ideas as gospel, but rather let them help you start to think metaphorically.

White rose, white car, polar bear in snow, white dress on beach

Introducing the colour white

White has been used in throughout history in art, and is the bedrock of modern decorating schemes. It is the colour of snow, of wedding dresses. It is often associated in culture with goodness, peace and purity.

But white does have some negative meanings too. In fact, having reviewed my dream journal to find all the ones where white is mentioned, I have discovered that I mostly dream about the colour in a negative context!

As with any dream symbol, each colour can potentially have both positive and negative meanings. The context, feeling and atmosphere of a dream will give us clues to help determine whether to interpret it in a positive or negative way.

Positive context: White as light

When we think about the symbolism of white, it is often really the concept of light that we mean rather than the colour itself. When white light shines through a prism, the light is refracted and all the colours of the rainbow are revealed. Therefore white light is actually ALL of the colours combined.

In the bible, white is often associated with God, because of the concept of God being light and the light that is seen around His throne and presence. Also, God is the source of everything, so it makes sense that in Him is contained every colour under the rainbow.

Picture of light shining through a prism, with text: Positive meaning of white as light, the Spirit of God

Bible verses about white as God’s light

  • Daniel 7:9, NASB “I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames”
  • Matthew 17:2, NASB And He [Jesus] was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
  • Matthew 28:3, NASB And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
  • 1 John 1:5, NASB This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

We can see from these that God sometimes appears as white light, or shining. He is sometimes depicted as wearing white clothes, or having white hair.

People dressed in white in dreams

Other people from God are also described in this way. For example angels are described as wearing white (John 20:12); as are the 24 elders in heaven (Revelation 4:4), followers of Jesus (Revelation 3:5), the heavenly armies (Revelation 19:14), the men in white linen (Acts 1:10) and the multitude of people in heaven (Revelation 7:9).

So white in dreams can represent God Himself (e.g. the Holy Spirit) or something / someone that is from God.

White in dreams can represent God Himself , or something that is from God.

In practice, this means that if you dream of something positive in a dream that is white, it generally means that it is good and that God is in it. If you see a white light or a person dressed in white it could be God Himself! Or it could be an angel from God, or a person who loves God.

Picture of white candle with text: God is light and in HIm there is no darkness at all, 1 John 1:5

Other positive meanings of white

White is also associated with purity, holiness and righteousness.

  • Psalm 51:7, NASB Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; Cleanse me, and I will be whiter than snow.
  • Isaiah 1:18, NASB Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall become as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.
  • Revelation 7:14, NASB These are the ones who…have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

All of these carry the sense of being washed white, and having dirt (or sin) removed. The bible tells us that Jesus died to save us from our sin, and to make us clean and holy.

Of course God Himself is pure and holy, so it makes sense that He would appear in white too.

So if we dream we are wearing, or being given, white clothes, it could carry a sense of being cleansed or forgiven, or being set apart in some way for God’s purposes. Sometimes repentance is involved too, depending on the context and the rest of the dream.

Examples of white in a positive context in dreams

DREAMINTERPRETATIONEXPLANATION
In January I dreamed that our bathroom had been redecorated with white tiles and it looked very niceDuring the upcoming year I would undergo a period of repentance with good changes resulting in my life!A bathroom often represents repentance, because we go there to get clean and get rid of unwanted stuff!
I was in a room where people were arguing, then Jesus walked in. I just saw the white light come in and the room was immediately calm.Jesus was going to intervene and bring peace into an area of my life that was causing me distress. This was an encouragement to hold on until He did.I believe that this really was Jesus. I knew in the dream that it was him walking in, but all I saw was the bright light surrounding him.
A big white dog came into our garden. I rushed up and gave it a hug. It was lovely. We instantly had a great connection.God was about to bring a new friend into my life. This person would be a follower of Jesus like me, and we would have an instant connection.A dog usually represents a friend, so to me this white dog represented a fellow Christian who would be a blessing. This did happen!

Negative context: White as a religion

Sometimes white appears in a negative context. We can tell this from the context of the dream. It could feel unpleasant, or we might think it is a horrible shade of white, off-white, dirty white, or a pale appearance. Or maybe the object has the potential to hurt us, like a white snake.

In a negative context, white can represent religion or religious spirits. What we mean by this is something that is an imitation of the real thing: i.e. a counterfeit.

In practical terms this could be doing things for appearances sake, or to try and please God (i.e. religious activity). This is different from true faith, which flows out of a real living relationship with God.

Religion: The practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith. Dictionary.com

It could be alerting us to something that looks good, but is not really from God, or in our best interests.

It could even be a religious spirit, which is a spiritual being that pretends to be God, or an angel that appears to be from God, but actually is not.

Picture of for tree in snow, with text: Negative meaning, a religious spirit or counterfeit

Bible verses about white as religion

  • Ezekiel 22:28, NASB And her prophets have coated with whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘This is what the Lord God says,’ when the Lord has not spoken.
  • Matthew 23:27, NASB [Jesus said to the religious leaders] “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”
  • 2 Corinthians 11:14, NASB No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

If you are suddenly feeling worried about being deceived, don’t be! I usually find that we can sense from the context and atmosphere of the dream whether the element is good or bad; check out my examples further on.

In fact, I think dreams are one of the best tools we have to help us discern these things and identify areas of our lives where we are unknowingly deceived! The dream could be there to alert us, so we can take action!

The main thing is to always be alert, and never accept things without question. Always consider the possibility of positive or negative meanings. In time you will get better at discerning, but we all have to learn and mature through practice.

For example, I once had a religious spirit appear in a dream pretending to be Jesus. You can read the dream, and find out how I knew it wasn’t from God, in this article: Meeting a Jesus who laughs.

Examples of white in a negative context in dreams

DREAMINTERPRETATIONEXPLANATION
Some evil figures in white robes were chasing me. I kept spraying them in the face to destroy them, but the last one I didn’t because it was someone I knew.At the time of dreaming I had been dealing with some wrong religious mindsets I had. This dream was alerting me that I’d ignored one because I was sure it was true, but it wasn’t.See how the figures seemed evil and were chasing me. This indicated that it was a negative context. I did subsequently discover what the issue was and deal with it.
As I was walking along I saw a big white statue with lots of people around it. I turned right instead to walk towards my destination. I would soon have to leave behind a religious idol that I had unknowingly embraced, and take a different path.The statue was the clue that this was about an idol. This was the same year that I dreamed about the false Jesus. Turning right meant that the time for change was right now!
I had eaten some white berries from a bush in my childhood back garden. They turned out to be poisonous, but I didn’t want to admit to my husband that I had eaten them.There was something I had believed about God since childhood that was untrue, and unhealthy for me. The dream was letting me know that I was in denial about it. The berries had the potential to harm me, indicating a negative context. This dream led me to pray, and once I realised what it was about, I repented and changed my thinking.

More meanings of white

Objects that are normally white: If you dream of ice, snow, wedding dresses or other naturally white objects, it’s worth asking yourself the following question: Is it in the dream because it is white (i.e. is white the main point), or is it is there for another reason and it just happens to be white?

Snow can appear in a dream because it is white, to indicate purity and blessing, or alternatively a religious atmosphere. But snow can appear for all sorts of other reasons too, such has difficult journey conditions, enjoying skiing / sledging, or feeling snowed under.

Ice can also appear in dreams to represent a harsh environment such as the Arctic; maybe representing a religious atmosphere – similar to snow.

A white wedding dress might be in a dream because it is white (the bible talks about a pure and spotless bride), but it might be there to represent the wedding aspect of intimacy with God and covenant relationship.

Picture of snowy hill and trees with text: Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean: Cleanse me and I wil be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

Conclusion

In a positive context, white can mean light, holiness, righteousness, purity and God’s Spirit. It usually means that the white person / object is good and from God.

In a negative context it can represent religion or a religious spirit; something with the appearance of being good – but actually isn’t; a counterfeit of the truth.

Here are a few closing thoughts:

  • The colour white in a dream could represent any number of things. The above ideas should give you a good starting point. 
  • I believe that only God can tell us what the colour means in a specific dream, so I recommend asking Him!
  • Consider the atmosphere and context of the dream to see whether the colour is being used in a positive or negative sense.
  • In additional to the meanings that I have shared, remember that it could mean something personal or culturally significant to you, that isn’t mentioned here.

And finally… enjoy those white dreams! If this article has helped you interpret a dream, leave a comment below!

I hope you have found this article helpful. If you want to know more, do subscribe to my emails below to receive regular dream interpretation tips.

The purpose of this blog is to provide solid biblical foundations for interpreting dreams, change mindsets in the church, and encourage others to make their own dream journey with God. I am primarily a writer and bible teacher – who loves dreams, and I hope you will be inspired to learn to interpret your own dreams.

It is not currently my aim to routinely engage in dream interpretations or provide training, except through writing blog posts. You can read my most up to date position on interpreting dreams here:
Requests for dream interpretations.

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