Biblical symbolism of the colour purple in dreams, what that means in practice, with some real dream examples.
Have you ever wondered what purple means as a dream symbol?
In this article we will take inspiration from the bible to investigate the spiritual meaning of silver 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.
Introducing the colour purple!
Purple is one of my favourite colours. It combines warm, stimulating red with cool, calming blue to a perfect balance. There are many shades, varying from a romantic lavender or lilac to a majestic deep purple.
Traditionally purple is associated with wealth and royalty. The darker shades have an opulent, elegant feel, and sometimes it has a mystical quality. It has been associated with the priesthood and spirituality, and is occasionally used as a sign of mourning.
As with any dream symbol, purple can potentially have both positive and negative meanings. The context, feeling and atmosphere of a dream will give us clues to help us determine whether to interpret it in a positive or negative way. So let’s unpack what it could mean!
More about positive and negative contextx…
Symbolism of purple in the bible
The bible is a great resource for dream interpretation as it contains so much symbolic language. I carried out a search for the word purple in the bible.
A purple dye
Purple was one of the rarest and most expensive dyes to obtain (similar to scarlet and blue in that respect). All of those colours would have also been associated with royalty and prosperity for that reason.
This particularly applies to the colour purple. Purple traditionally represents nobility, royalty, wealth and authority. There are many examples of this in the bible:
- Esther 8:15, NASB Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king… with a large crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple.
- Daniel 5:7, NASB “Anyone who can read this inscription and explain its interpretation to me shall be clothed with purple and have a necklace of gold around his neck, and have authority as third ruler in the kingdom.”
- Luke 16:19, NASB “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, enjoying himself in splendor every day.
Purple in the biblical tabernacle
Many of the biblical references to purple relate to the Old Testament tabernacle, in conjunction with scarlet and blue. It was used in the construction of the tabernacle itself, and in the clothing of the high priest.
- Exodus 26:1, NASB “Moreover, you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and violet, purple, and scarlet material; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skilled embroiderer.
- Exodus 28:6, NASB They shall also make the ephod [priest’s garment] of gold, of violet, purple, and scarlet material…
The tabernacle was a tent where the priests of Israel could meet with God. So, we can see that purple was linked closely to the presence of God. The priests and Israelites got their authority from God’s presence – and so do we.
The Israelites got their authority from God’s presence – and so do we!
I wrote more about the tabernacle in my article on the colour blue.
Positive meaning of purple: Authority
In a positive context, purple represents authority. But what does that mean?
I firmly believe through personal experience that dreams come from God, so the colour purple as a dream symbols is actually about spiritual authority. But that spiritual authority outworks practically – in our natural, everyday lives. Whether you believe in God or not. The practical implication is the same.
Purple in dreams is actually about spiritual authority
By spiritual authority we mean God-given authority, or heavenly authority. As God and Creator, the ultimate authority for the universe rests with Him!
As Christians, we understand that Jesus is the ultimate authority on the earth because of what He accomplished on the cross. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Our authority comes from Him.
- Philippians 2:8-10, NASB He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. For this reason also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
Authority is linked to destiny and identity
The concept of spiritual authority assumes that each of us has a destiny; that there are things that were agreed for us to do before we were born and are written in our hearts; these things are designed to give us purpose and fulfilment in life – as well as making a positive impact on the world we live in.
Some people call this the heavenly book written about our life, and others call it our destiny scroll. It’s the same thing: Our heavenly mandate!
- Psalm 139:16, NIV All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
- Ephesians 2:10, NIV For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We are automatically authorized by heaven to do the things that are written in our scroll of destiny. Therefore, purple is like an indicator – letting us know whether we are doing what we are meant to do at any given time!
Purple lets us know that we are doing what we are mean to do
Linked to that, each of us has gifts and roles that we are authorized by heaven to carry out at different stages of our life. For example, the bible lists church roles such as pastors, prophets, teachers, and administrators. But our role could be anything from a job or business responsibility, to being a parent. We might call this a mantle. So in that context, wearing purple (e.g. a purple coat) would indicate we are we are wearing the right mantle.
Wearing purple can indicate that we are wearing the right mantle
When we know who we are and what we are meant to be doing, then all of heaven will back us up (i.e. on earth as it is in heaven).
Authority comes from knowing God
If authority comes from God, then it follows that we need to be in a relationship with God and hear from Him accurately if we want to have authority! We need to hear from God about His plans for our own lives so we can do the right thing – and all of heaven will back us up! In other words, our plans will succeed.
When we have heavenly authority our plans will succeed
Take the example of prayer.
We can pray for something as much as we like; we can shout, make declarations, and plead with God endlessly. But if we are out of tune with God’s will in that area it won’t make the slightest difference! In other words, we don’t have authority and nothing will happen. I think it is much better to seek God about the situation and ask Him what He’s planning to do. Then just quietly agree with that – and it will happen – because we do have authority.
This is where the secret power of dreams comes in! I know of no other heavenly tool that can help us identify so specifically and personally whether we have God’s authority to do something – or help us understand God’s heart in a situation so we can pray accordingly!
Positive examples of purple in dreams
Here are some examples of how God has affirmed to me over the past few years about what I am meant to be doing. This has mainly been about this blog and writing, as this is what I have heavenly authority to do in this season of my life. The specifics of the meanings have come with hindsight, but still I understood the general message at the time.
|I was in a room and saw purple swirls forming in the air. Purple gemstones were also appearing. I was told by an angel I needed to go on a two-hour journey to the coast.||I needed to go on a two-year time of preparation, and then I would discover something in my destiny, i.e. that I had authority to do. (Two years later I started writing about dreams).||Two hours were two years. Purple swirls/gems turned out to be spiritual treasures from my dreams that I would write about. The coast/sea represented the internet.|
|I was on my bed with my iPad. Then I came out of the front door and saw lots of tall purple flowers lined up in order along the front of the house.||With hindsight: The many years I had spent with God learning to interpret dreams would give me the authority to write about them in the future. (I started my blog one year later).||Bed/flowers both represent intimacy with God. The bed and iPad were dreams. Front represents the future. Tall flowers indicated a long time.|
|I saw a box of capos (I use them for leading worship with my guitar) and wanted to get a brown one for my teacher friend. I could only see purple ones though!||This was encouraging me that I DO have God’s authority to teach and should use it to glorify Him. (I now teach through writing – although I was in denial at the time).||Brown is man’s idea – and back then I thought writing was just my own silly idea. BUT this dream revealed that I DO have God’s authority to write after all!|
Negative meaning of purple: False authority
If purple represents authority, then the counterfeit is false authority.
We can tell whether purple is being used in a negative way because of the context in the dream. Maybe it is an unpleasant or cloudy shade of purple; maybe the dream is dark or feels oppressive, or the purple object has the potential to hurt you.
In the bible, John had a vision of a woman dressed in fine purple: She symbolised a city. The people there thought they had God’s approval because of their wealth, influence, and success, but this vision was telling them that they didn’t; their success would be short-lived.
- Revelation 18:16, NASB ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls.
What this means in practice
Dreaming of negative purple means that you don’t have God’s authority in a certain area, and the dream is alerting you to this!
We might dream this because:
- Something is not our job or responsibility
- We are trying to be someone we are not
- We need to gain more experience in an area before we can have authority
- We are out of tune with God’s will in an area
This could seem demoralising to hear this, but it is actually very helpful! We can waste countless hours trying to do something that is not our calling, so being alerted to this fact can save us a huge amount of needless frustration.
Occasionally it could be a warning that we are stepping out of line, or that we are in danger of doing so. Maybe we are lording it over others or taking advantage of our position. Or maybe we think we are representing God in some way, but actually we are not.
God always brings hope. So a dream like that brings with it the grace to change and make better choices. Again, it is very helpful to know if this is our situation – because we could be deceiving ourselves.
If you want to know what God thinks of false leaders who use their position for their own gain – check out Ezekiel 34! It is quite sobering reading.
Negative examples of purple in dreams
I have plenty examples of negative purple in my dreams! I have spent post of my life adjusting my idea of who I am and discovering what I am called to do.
|I dreamed I went to my bathroom to comb my hair, but then there were huge mauve bugs and beetles coming out of my hair everywhere!||God was about to take me through a process of identifying lots of false ideas about my purpose and destiny. (This did happen later that year).||Hair can represent our thinking. The bugs were a horrible mauve colour – confirming the negative context (plus you don’t want bugs in your hair!!).|
|I dreamed I was helping at a group, but it was very hard work. I was wearing full length mauve tracksuit trousers, but underneath I only had shorts on.||I had been crying out to God to help me do something I was finding difficult. The dream gave insight that I was not ready for it yet; He had not asked me to do it! To be honest this was a relief.||The shorts underneath indicated I had only been walking in this area for a short time – so I didn’t have the authority that comes from experience.|
|I dreamed I wanted to go in a shop to buy purple earrings. They looked real but I suspected they were tacky plastic. My brother didn’t want to go in.||I was feeling frustrated because my prayer wasn’t being answered. The dream alerted me that I had not heard from Him correctly, which is why my prayers were not carrying authority.||Earrings are often about hearing God. My brother represented Jesus’ opinion. I was asking God for something that was not His desire for me: useful to know!|
In a positive context purple usually represents spiritual authority – which comes from God. This means that in the area that the dream is about:
- We are in tune with God and are representing Him correctly
- We know who we are and are doing what we are meant to do – at the right time.
- We have God’s blessing and backup.
In a negative sense blue generally symbolises false authority – i.e. the opposite of the above.
Here are a few closing thoughts:
- The colour purple 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 you could try 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 addition 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, of course, dreams themselves are a great way to hear from God; to help ensure you are always living within your God-given authority, and to alert you when correction is necessary!
Dreams are a great guide for living within your God-given authority
And finally… have fun interpreting those purple dreams! If this article has helped you interpret a dream, leave a comment below!
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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. 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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