What is Prophetic Art?
To provide a Biblical response to this question, we first need to take a brief look at creativity and prophecy in the Bible.
Our Father is a creative God and declares that from the very beginning, see Genesis 1.
The first verb in the Bible is bara: to create.
The rainbow in Genesis 9:17 is a visual sign from God to all people that He wouldn’t flood the world again.
The first person to be filled with the Holy Spirit was not a priest, prophet, king, leader, or even a worship leader, but an artist / craftsman by the name of Bezalel. In Exodus 31:1-5 God told Moses that He had filled Bezalel with the Holy Spirit to enable him to design and work with all types of materials including gold, stones, wood, etc in order to build the tabernacle.
God by His nature is creative and has made us in hIs image (Genesis 1:26), so we too are creative as God wants to create with us, because creativity is in our genes.
Gift of Prophecy
Prophecy is a message from God, which is given by a person who is filled by the Holy Spirit, that expresses the heart, mind and will of Father. The Holy Spirit, through prophecy, reveals or unveils an insight from God that could not be known by natural means.
Prophecy is not restricted to words but can include the visual. In 1 Corinthians 14:1-3 Paul tells us that we are all to eagerly seek the gift of prophecy: “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.” (ESV).
1 Corinthians 14:31 confirms that we can all prophesy, and again v 39 reminds us to desire to prophesy. So all Christians can have and use the gift of prophecy for upbuilding, encouragement and consolation. Therefore, the gift of prophecy is to bring out the best in people. So a good check on the gift of prophecy is found in 1 Corinthians 13:2, it always needs to demonstrate the love of God.
This is different from the office of a prophet.
This is one of the aims of our prophetic art workshops, that people meet with God as their loving Father.
Using the gift of prophecy should fulfil what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV)
How does God speak?
The best way to answer this is to look at the main ways God spoke to people in the Bible. There are so many ways and times, which is a book in itself. There are many good books available on this very subject.
Here are some of the ways God speaks to us His people:
Dreams, Visions, Trances and picture impressions
e.g. Acts 9:4 – Saul, later to be Paul, hears God speaking to him on the road to Damascus.
Supernatural visitations and angels
As God is still the same He continues to speak in these and other ways to us today. The advantage we have as Christians is that the Holy Spirit is always with us wanting to speak into our lives and situations every minute of the day.
Prophecy expressed through Art and Creative ways
Let’s put “creativity” and “prophecy” together – Art is a creative activity, so prophetic art is a joining together of the creative and the prophetic. Bringing creative / visual expressions and prophecy together is nothing new, as the Bible is full of examples of God doing just that.
If you are used to operating in the gift of prophecy then you will be familiar with receiving prophetic revelation in the form of pictures or visions, but usually these will only be spoken out. Prophetic art reproduces these pictures, visions or concepts in an art form, rather than just describing them in words. Sometimes these pictures will include words but primarily they are pictures.
Prophetic art can be created in a large variety of ways, using for example : Paintings, drawings, creative crafts, photography, etc. Primarily we are involved in using prophetic art through drawing, painting or photography.
We have now led many prophetic art workshops and have found that artistic ability is not that important, as this is not just for those who consider themselves artists. While it is useful to have artistic ability, its about being in the presence of Father and reflecting what He shows you for someone else or a group of people. Naturally it is good to practice and strive to improve your artistic ability but not essential for using art in prophecy.
We have seen how simple pictures when given by the Holy Spirit will have a dramatic life changing impact, as God impacts that persons life for their good and brings them closer to Him.
Testing Prophetic art
Just like any prophecy, prophetic art must always be tested and weighed to ensure it builds up, encourages or consoles and is in line with the word of God (the Bible).
We are reminded in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (ESV)
Therefore, prophetic art should always be in line with:
The word of God (Bible)
The character of God
The inner witness from the Holy Spirit
Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things...