What Is Prophetic Art?
This article was written and published by Matt Tommey on 11/03/2011 at http://www.theworshipstudio.org/what-is-prophetic-art/.
Artists are the life-givers in culture. We are a pivotal intersection point where the Kingdom of Heaven meets culture. It is there that we have the unique opportunity, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to translate the Kingdom of Heaven into a language that bypasses words and goes directly into the human spirit. When we collaborate with the Holy Spirit in this dance of Kingdom creativity, His power, His Life and His Light merge with our faith, creative thoughts, imaginations, desires and skill into art that carries the literal presence and power of God. It is in this context that our art, no matter the creative medium becomes prophetic.
To better understand the Biblical foundation for prophetic art and its power to release the Kingdom of God, let me introduce a couple of applicable scriptures:
- Revelation 19:10 “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.”
- I Corinthians 14:3 “But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.”
Additionally, prophecy has been defined as “revealing by divine inspiration, to reveal the will or message of God, to illuminate or bring revelation to a situation.” Paul teaches that prophecy is one of the central spiritual gifts that we should all ‘earnestly desire’ (I Corinthians 14:1) and should be used to bring strength, encouragement and comfort to those we interact with in life.
Preparing a Table
Every time you create a piece of art, you get the unique opportunity to allow the Father to flow through you by the Holy Spirit to touch the life of the one who is interacting with your work. This process releases the testimony of Jesus through your art – who Jesus is, what he’s done, His presence, Glory, power, grace, mercy and healing – it literally releases the Spirit of Prophecy or the Breath (Wind) of God imparting life to the one interacting with your creative expression. Because the Holy Spirit can work through anything at anytime with any person, your artwork becomes the place where Heaven meets earth – a table of sorts – where the Father waits to interact with people that interact with your art. It’s there that a divine conversation often begins.
Tables have been used throughout history as a metaphorical invitation to engage with God in both a communal and individual way. Biblically, we see the Golden Table and Table of Shewbread in the Temple and Tabernacle, representing the Presence of God and the Bread of Life, Jesus to the people. As ones who are called to release the Kingdom of God through our creative expression – objects, media etc – who follow in Jesus’ footsteps and do greater works than he did, we have an opportunity to “prepare a table” before those who interact with our work on behalf of our King in the presence of their ‘enemies’ – that is, whatever it is that seeks to attack, defile or destroy them. As people interact with our creative work in whatever media, a conversation of sorts begins where the God of the Universe begins to speak to the heart of the viewer. It is in that moment that our art becomes a conduit for the power and presence of God to impact the life of another in a way that is both powerful and subtle. Suddenly, the viewer becomes enraptured in a divine conversation with the one who Created them, all because an artist chose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in their creative expression.
Straight to the Heart
Have you ever tried to share the Gospel with someone that just wasn’t ready to hear it, for whatever reason? Maybe baggage from the past, fear or even misunderstanding keeps them from receiving the free gift of God through Jesus. On the other hand, you may see that same person listen to a song, watch a movie or see a painting that has a profound effect on them emotionally and spiritually, causing them to make a life change, deal with a difficult issue or even have a change of heart. Why? Because art was specifically designed by the Father to bypass common barriers like intellect, fear and self-protection going right to the core of a person’s spirit. Obviously this can be used by the enemy as well, but when your art is infused with the power and presence of God, it can literally be a conduit to heal emotions, transform hearts and even shift culture.
Creating by Faith
In Christ by faith we have become new creations that transform the world around us through collaborating with the Holy Spirit in our creative expression. Not only are we new creations but we can create new artistic creations that do the same thing; transform the world around us through the redemptive nature of God in and through us. These objects are literally like transmitters in the Spirit that become intersection points where heaven meets earth, drawing and radiating the very presence of God. (For more information on how this actually takes place from a scientific perspective, please read appendix 3 by David Van Koevering in my book “Unlocking the Heart of the Artist.”
Conduits for the Spirit
There’s a very clear pattern set Biblically for the creation of objects and media by Godly artists and craftsmen that transmit the power and presence of God to their generation. Since the very beginnings of history, creative expression by God’s people has always been a conduit that He uses for healing, restoration and transformation. Consider for a moment these examples:
- Noah crafting an ark and bringing protection & restoration to God’s people.
- Moses’ staff representing the authority and power of God as he touched the water of the Red Sea and used it as a sign and wonder for Pharaoh.
- Bezalel and Oholiab led a team of artisans to build the Tabernacle of Moses which became prophetic picture to their generation of God’s ways and how he desired to be worshiped.
- David was summoned to play the harp before Saul and consequently drove out evil spirits.
- The Ark of the Covenant was a wooden box overlayed with gold crafted by artisans to house the very presence of God for generations of people.
- Asaph, Jeduthan, Heman and Kenaniah in the Tabernacle of David worked with the King and led hundreds of musicians, poets and other creatives to worship before the Lord through new songs, poems and other creative forms.
- Jesus took a simple ball of mud and turned it into an eyeball causing new sight to a person.
- Paul imparted the healing presence of God into cloths and aprons and people were healed
Jesus said we’d do greater works than he did. He said we were co-labors/co-heirs with Him. We’re supposed to do it like he did, only do what we see the Father doing. If he could heal the sick, raise the dead, preach the kingdom and proclaim liberty to the captives, then so can we. Your art in the Kingdom has no choice but to be prophetic when it’s mixed with faith, creativity and the Wind of the Spirit.
Matt Tommey is the Founder / Executive Director of The Worship Studio and a professional basketry artist. He is also a musician and author of the book “Unlocking the Heart of the Artist: Fulfilling Your Creative Calling as an Artist in the Kingdom”. You can see Matt’s basketry work at http://www.matttommey.com and purchase his book here.