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The magic of the color red


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye…” (Proverbs 7:1-2, the Holy Bible).

THE MAGIC OF THE COLOR RED: Filipinos have been wearing yellow ribbons to proclaim their support for one particular class of politicians since 1986, and understandably so because yellow ribbons symbolized the warm welcome of many of us for a politician who insisted on returning to the Philippines despite the evident threat against his life.

This fascination with yellow ribbons was all the more heightened by the fact that a song was even popularized by an American singing group known as Tony Orlando and the Dawns, which song was aptly entitled “Tie A Yellow Ribbon”.

But then, in my readings of the Bible, I noticed that the color red is a favored color among God’s people, and, in at least two occasions narrated by the Holy Book, the color red was the source of salvation from death and destruction not only among the Israelites or God’s people, but even among the non-believers.

MOSES AND THE BLOOD-RED PAINTINGS: The first occasion where the color red got highlighted in the Bible happened when God struck down and killed all the first-borns of Egypt, after the Pharaoh refused to allow the Israelites led by Moses and Aaron to leave the country so they could worship God.

God told Moses and Aaron that every Israelite should splash the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses with the blood—naturally colored red—of lambs they were to slaughter as offering to God, to enable them to avoid their first-borns being killed.

In Exodus 12:7, 12-13 of the Bible, we find these directives of God directly given by Him to the Israelites: “Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs…

“… On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt…”

RAHAB AND THE RED RIBBON: The second occasion involving the use of color red in the Bible is found in the Book of Joshua, specifically in its Chapter 2. The story here revolved around Rahab, the prostitute, who helped the two spies sent by Joshua to Jericho. The spies were to see the condition of Jericho and its army.

Rahab helped the spies escape from the soldiers of Jericho and, in return, she and her family were saved from death and destruction when Joshua and the Israelites invaded Jericho. The signal that Israelites used to spare Rahab and her family from the invading Israelite forces was a red cord or ribbon tied in the window of her house. Maybe, the use of the color red in both of these occasions was merely coincidental, but then, who would really know?

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