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. 
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 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)
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.
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 recognised 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 into 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. 
Prophetic art should not contain any elements that are inappropriate, or could be misconstrued.
All prophecy should be assessed in light of:
- What the Bible says
- The nature and character of God
- The accountability of Christian leadership
- The inner witness of the Holy Spirit
 Jennifer Koch is 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: www.jenniferkoch.webs.com
 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.
 For more information about weighing up prophecy, see the following posts:
© Helen Calder 2011
Enliven Ministries: in the David McCracken Ministries Family