What Is Prophetic Art? Some Biblical Examples

This week I continue the series on prophetic art, as I ask the question, ‘What is prophetic art?’ and review the Biblical foundations and guidelines for it.

Ministered to Through Prophetic Art

A painting by Jennifer Koch displayed in our church foyer depicts large pottery vessels, standing in the pouring rain and filled to overflowing with water. [1]

At times when I was dry and exhausted, the painting served as a reminder that the answer to my need lay in a fresh infilling of Holy Spirit—and that I could be positioned to receive that infilling from God on a continual basis.

Introducing Prophetic Art: Creativity in Biblical Prophecy

A prophecy is a message from God—given through a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit—that conveys the heart, mind, will, and intent of the Father.

A prophecy can be spoken, sung, or written, but a prophecy is not restricted to words.

In the Bible, prophecy took many forms. For example, it was given:

  • Through verbal announcement
  • In writing—much of scripture is recorded prophecy
  • By way of songs and poems (many of the Psalms are prophetic in nature)
  • It was also enacted, as God used the lives and actions of the prophets to speak to His people (the story of Hosea, for example)

See more examples here.

The prophet Ezekiel drew a picture of the city of Jerusalem on a clay tablet and enacted a siege against it. (Ezek 4:1-2) He carried out prophetic drama under the instruction and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Other prophets gave prophetic signs, such as Isaiah’s shifting of the sun’s shadow. (2 Kings 20:9)

It seems that there is no limit to the creativity of the Holy Spirit in conveying a message from God to people.

What is Prophetic Art?

Much of prophecy in scripture, such as the books of Ezekiel and Revelation—was given through vision. The prophet Jeremiah saw pictures, like snapshots. (Jer 1:11-14)

Many of us who operate in the gift of prophecy are also familiar with receiving prophetic revelation in the form of pictures or visions.

The word ‘revelation’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘unveiling.’ In other words, the Holy Spirit has revealed (unveiled) an insight from God that could not be known by natural means.

A prophetic artist reproduces that picture, vision, or concept in art form.

It takes more than skill or talent to be a prophetic artist. The prophetic artist is someone who has a spiritual gift of prophecy, and who is also gifted and called by God to minister through art.

As with all prophecy, intimacy with God is of primary importance—as is love for people.  (1 Cor 13)

The variety of ways that prophetic art can be created is endless, including sculpting, pottery, drawing, carving, painting, crafts, photography, and graphic design.

Prophetic art can be symbolic, or metaphorical, such as Jenny’s painting of the pots. This symbolism can be Biblical, but can also be something that is understood culturally. Prophetic art can also be a literal rendering of something. Prophetic may include a word or words, as with the artwork depicted above— ‘Courage,’ by David McCracken.[2]

A well-known prophetic symbol in the Bible was crafted in bronze.

Instructed by God, Moses crafted the image of a snake on a pole. When God’s people, having repented of their sin, looked at the image of the serpent, they were physically healed. (Num 21)

The raised image of the serpent that brought healing was also prophetic—representing Christ’s work on the cross. (John 3:14)

Interpreting Prophetic Art

The artist can use words (verbal or written) to explain the message in the art.

However, the message of prophetic art is often conveyed directly by the Holy Spirit—as He anoints and directs the understanding of the person viewing the art.

No verbal or written explanation was necessary, for example, for the Holy Spirit to convey the meaning of the pottery vessels in Jenny’s painting to my heart. Inspired by the Spirit, I recognized the Biblical symbolism and applied it to my situation.

Like much prophecy, prophetic art can be confirmation of something that God has already revealed to us.

How to Weigh up Prophetic Art

‘Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.’ (1 Thess 5:19-22)

As with all prophecy, prophetic art is subject to Biblical guidelines.

It is vitally important that the prophetic artist is connected to a Christian community (local church). As the Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 12-14, New Testament prophecy operates in the context of church life where there is the contribution of other gifts, as well as leadership and accountability.

The revelation (the art itself), as well as the interpretation (the meaning applied to the artwork—whether by the artist or the viewer), should be weighed up. [1]

Prophetic art should not contain any elements that are inappropriate or could be misconstrued.

All prophecy should be assessed in light of:

  1. What the Bible says
  2. The nature and character of God
  3. The accountability of Christian leadership
  4. The inner witness of the Holy Spirit


[1] Jennifer Koch is the founder of Melbourne-based Patmos Arts and a gifted prophetic painter. I will be sharing more of Jenny’s story over the next couple of weeks. You can find her website and view more of Jenny’s artwork at: https://www.gallery247.com.au/jennifer-koch

[2] David McCracken has used a combination of painting and wood-burning to produce this prophetic artwork. The picture of the stag jumping out from the thicket—risking all to leap from a place of safety into wide-open spaces—speaks volumes more than the words alone.

[3] For more information about weighing up a prophecy, see the following posts:

How To Exercise Your Prophetic Gift Part 3: How Can You Tell Your Revelation Is From God

4 Things You Can Do With Your Personal Prophecy

Other Posts in the Prophetic Art Series:
The Practice Of Prophetic Art
Journey Of A Prophetic Artist
Prophetic Art That Reflects The Heart Of God

© Helen Calder 2011
Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries Family

20 thoughts on “What Is Prophetic Art? Some Biblical Examples”

  1. Barbara Savage

    TIME magazine, some years ago, highlighted the work of a quilter, whose large works were commissioned and prominently displayed in America. I forgot her name. But I can’t forget that the article said that the quilter prayed over each one as she made it. There were no obvious patterns of figures like jars of clay, or stag; there were no scripture verses or words, yet people observing these quilts felt something special. People were blessed by looking at them! Prayer-infused art!

  2. Barbara, that is truly wonderful, and how true!

    I do believe that not only art, but everything that we do when bathed in prayer will carry God’s Presence and blessing on it.

  3. Yvonne Buchanan

    Thanks for your web page. I have been prophetically painting for the last 2 years. It started when I was in church one Sunday morning and I had a clear vision of our pastoral care giver as he did communion that morning. He had been ministering on Hebrews 12:1-2 about Jesus enduring the cross, despising the shame and sitting down at the right of the Throne of God. I saw him (our pastoral care giver), in my vision, dressed in running gear, not as the elderly man that he is, but as a strong younger man running in a street marathon and the words of the scripture scrolling behind him as he ran. I decided that I needed to paint this picture for him as an encouragement to continue to run the race that God has set before him. I see my paintings as a visual instrument of encouragement to the body of Christ, so that when trials come, hopefully they can look at the painting and take courage that God is with them, guiding them through their difficulties and helping them to reach their potential, because he sees and cares.

    1. Hi Yvonne, thank you for your note, and I love the description of the prophetic painting you have shared.
      What a wonderful gift of encouragement! This is such a great example of what I have shared about prophetic art.
      I pray that anointing and favour will continue to flow both on and through your gift and that many will receive encouragement from God through your painting and art.

  4. I love how God works. I was inspired to search for “prophetic art” finding nothing on several searches, I then remembered I was going to read on a link from one of your June blog posts about prophecy OT and NT, I read that and laughed because I saw the posts on prophetic art!! I have pictures I believe I am to finish that are along this line and dreams about my art and writing and my “father” is in them giving me instruction! Too funny!! Thank you again for a solid post. I needed the word about “getting under church leadership” we struggle to get there because my youngest has autism, although my church tries to release me to go I still have weight keeping me from there. Please pray with me to break this off my family and I in Jesus name.

    1. Hi Sam, thanks for leaving the note on the blog, I’m so glad you connected up and found the articles on prophetic art!
      It’s interesting you should mention your situation. Just a couple of days ago at church we heard a beautiful testimony from a couple whose little girl was diagnosed with autism at a young age. It was very difficult for them and they stopped going to church because of the struggle. Eventually things were hard in so many areas, (including job and finances, I think) they decided to come back to church and had an encounter with God. As they made the commitment to get back into church community, things started to change for them and recently a doctor reversed the autism diagnosis for their daughter. Our Father is a miracle-working God, and I mention this because the testimony is fresh in my mind and pray it will bring an encouragement to you. I also pray that you will have a significant breakthrough in your life and family and anointing on your ministry and prophetic art. Bless you.

  5. Thanks for your articles – I’m encouraged to continue with what the Holy Spirit is leading me to do, even though there is so little outer response. Bridging is uncomfortable but I know the language having spent many years engaging in New Age philosophies etc. Thank you for your ministry – sometimes lonely, God always finds a way to uplift. I’m glad I was led to follow you. God bless you and your husband. Love, anna

    1. Hi Anna, it is great to hear from you. May you be blessed and encouraged in your journey with the Holy Spirit and His Word.
      🙂 Helen

  6. I have a question.
    Can a piece of prophetic art take more than one session of sitting down with it to complete?
    Or is it just a one time sit down project?
    I have visions and feel called to enter into prophetic art. But I feel that I am supposed to sit with a canvas and a vision I had weeks ago to give to someone that the vision really spoke to.
    I don’t believe I can get this done in one attempt though as I’m a single mum and it’s a deep picture.
    I’ve never done this before so I don’t know anything.
    My pastor and other church members are encouraging me to step out but I’m nervous about my artistic ability- or lack of!

    1. Hi Elizabeth, yes I certainly believe that prophetic art (just like prophetic writing) can be crafted over a period of time!
      The urge you have is a gift from God.
      Some artists do some fast, single session work, but not all prophetic art is done that way.
      I encourage you to try it, what an encouraging and powerful gift. Just be yourself, your own pace, but do step out and don’t hold back. Listen to the encouragement and give it a go!

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