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Christian Prophetic Art
"My sheep hear My voice" John 10:27.
"See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." Isaiah 42:9
I don't normally plan to prophesy through art. It just happens, although I have made some small illustrations, like the tumbleweed, to capture some dreams or visions I've had.
Question: What is the difference between Christian art and prophetic art? Art that is being called prophetic today was called Christian in the past. I think there should be a difference just as there is between prophesying and worshiping, evangelizing and teaching. Music makes some distinctions. We have worship songs, teaching songs, marching songs, children's songs ...
The apostle Paul encourages us to desire the gift of prophecy, and all can prophesy, but in the context of love. There are many kinds of prophecy. Knowing the future is only one type. Therefore there are bound to be many forms of prophetic art as well. Although different, perhaps they all have one thing in common. Perhaps they attempt to communicate or impart something from God, or the Holy Spirit uses them like a mouthpiece. However God can speak through anything. This doesn't mean that everything He speaks through is prophetic.
Here are a few I've made. It's not the complete range, just a sample. I am still chewing over what I should call prophetic and what is not. Some I have made and later, sometimes years later, the Lord has spoken through them or revealed it's prophetic nature.
One of the purposes of prophecy is so we can seek God for solutions to possible troubles. Jesus stilled a storm and if we know one is coming He has the power to still it. Do we have the heart to pray for it or do we want our prophecy to come to pass?
Maybe one form of prophetic art is like preaching or sharing a scripture the Holy Spirit reminds us of. It can be a form of unpicking the word God gives for the moment, such as a scripture, in order to share what God is saying. When I became a Christian I wanted my art to reflect what I believed, so in 1971 when my English teacher commissioned me to make her an art work, I talked it over with God and a suitable scripture verse leapt into my immagination: "The heavens declare the beauty of God. The firmament proclaims His handiwork." I immediately knew how to paint it. I meditated on the words as I painted it.
Maybe this acrylic I did in 1971 was prophetic art. It was the word of God to me before I knew it. A foretelling of the future. The following year I dreamt of fires starting here and there, and believed God was saying to me that if I obeyed Him, Holy Spirit fire would catch here and there and many people would come to know Jesus. The flower in this image is growing in the fire.
In the 1980's I had a vision in which I was riding in a king's chariot and the ground beneath me was dry and barren. The Lord said to me that even though the ground was dry and barren, I would ride like a king. A single flower growing in a hard place keeps popping up in my photos and art. "Something Beautiful for God" (below) and "Loved Never Forgotten" have this theme. In 2011, I took the photo of the red poppy in Israel at the Pool of Bethesda and God encouraged me through it when I saw the groups of dead poppies that had also lived on the edge, in a dry and rocky place. Others had gone before me, living on the edge. Although it starts out as only a personal prophecy (God speaking to me), as we share the bread God gives us, it becomes food for others too. The prophet Ezekiel had to eat the words of the scroll, and the words God gives a preacher are often meant for the preacher too (Ezekiel 3:3).
Perhaps another type is made in response to the encouragement we get from the Holy Spirit for our present situation. In 1974 someone had, with kind intensions, told me my art wasn't Christian as it didn’t show the flawed nature of life. I was very upset and went for a walk to be alone with God. Sitting down among a pile of cut logs, I poured out my heart to Him. I didn’t really understand what the person meant. Through my tears I suddenly noticed a golden flower. It was fragile and beautiful, such a contrast growing up among the rotting cut logs and old roots of trees. I knew the Holy Spirit was pointing it out to me. I felt like that fragile wild flower and could almost believe I was something beautiful for God. Almost. It was too wonderful for me to contemplate such an idea at that time. I decided not to worry about what Christian art was or wasn’t. I would make something beautiful for God in the style I was using at the time. Being light in the darkness is a similar concept. Don't be anxious, just bloom where you're placed, is another. Over the years God has often shown me images in nature that are similar, and my life has been like that: blooming in difficult situations. Some I've photographed and called prophetic photography.
Another type of prophetic art could be art that the Holy Spirit consistently uses to impart something. In 1974 I was asked to do an artwork as part of a harvest festival. We gathered and I created the art work on site finishing it just in time for the Sunday service. The Anglican minister placed it on the altar and continued to do so each year. He told me when people walked past it, they all felt like raising their hands in worship.
Is this prophetic art or worship leading?
In 2000 I moved to Australia and made this sketch (right). At the time I didn't know it was a prophetic one, fortelling the future, but in 2001 there was a tsunami and in 2002 there was a volcanic erruption in Nyiragongo. I'd never seen a Tsunami before making the sketch. Some years later when I looked at this sketch again, it looked like what I'd seen on TV: the water was a picture of calm, then a sudden giant wave appeared and water was sucked out to sea leaving the sand, like it is in my sketch. A volcano is more obvious. People know where they are ahead of time. This was the beginning of a more obvious kind of prophetic art for me; fortelling the future.
The Lord spoke to me about going to a land He'd show me. I had two dreams about this place and it was covered in trees. In 2000, we moved to Australia, and I asked the Lord if this was the land.
I loved the bark peeling off the eucalyptus trees and made poems and art about it, including the one above ( I was going to redo it to fix the background and leaves at the top, but didn't). I didn't know it was prophetic at the time. To me, it showed the land of my physical birth (NZ) peeling off like bark and the land of my spirtual birth (AU) growing up.
In 2012 my husband wanted to retire to the Gold Coast and I saw trees on the Gold Coast like the trees God had shown me, so we moved to Mount Nathan. We sarted going to a church in Nerang. The Holy Spirit then let me know God had planted me here and I knew I was in the right area.
In 2018, because I heard in a dream the word, "Map. I hardly ever see one now," I asked God what it meant and researched it, discovering the concept of spiritual mapping. Consequently, I looked up the history of Nerang and the Gold Coast. I was amazed. A few nights before, I'd dreamed some of what had happened in Nerang's history.
I also discovered the original name for Nerang. It is Birribi meaning spirals of dead bark hanging from eucalypts, like the painting I'd done and photos I'd taken and poems I'd written when I first came to Australia.
I also dreamed about the land rising up, and discovered the land here rose up according to a dreamtime legend. The art work I did in 2000 has the aboriginal symbolism for this area.
So, although I didn't know it at the time, the Lord had been showing the land, the place where He wanted us to go to, just like He said He would.
In 2009 God spoke to me about making art through this verse: "and by the hand of prophets use likenesses" (Hosea 12:13) I had already started doing this. I thought art was like a parable and I was following Jesus and the prophet's example.
On December 2005, after believing a disaster was just around the corner. I was anxious and uploaded this artwork to my renderosity gallery. It wasn't the best of art works, but I hoped whoever needed to see it would. I made the background in a 3D modelling software called terregen and used a photo of road kill that had disturbed me. This fortelling came to pass in 2006 immediately after I stopped being anxious about it and submitted myself into Jesus' care. It was a good lesson. Instead of being anxious I should have been praying that God would protect us or stop any disaster from happening. Read more
I created poems and art works about billowing waves and earthquakes as I knew New Zealand was going to have a big one. I visited a pastor in New Zealand to talk about it. She said the prophets in New Zealand were all saying the same thing, only they were saying it would happen in the North Island. I knew one was coming to the South Isalnd. I believed it was the Holy Spirit who had let me know it would not reach Palmerston North, where some of my family lived. What was I to do? Who should I tell? I emailed my brother as he was about to buy a place near the known tectonic plates at the top of the South Island. Later I emailed him again explaining that I was just worried about a big earthquake coming. I prayed for the known tectonic plates and that God would protect my family members who lived near them.
I believed God was speaking to me about floods, so I prophesied in poems and art. When I thought the time was near, I was again rostered to lead the prayers in church so I prayed that God would divert the flood from the city, another weird prayer for our church. But a flood came soon after to the Brisbane area.
I created this to illustrate a section of Hebrew I was translating "And God hurled a storm" (Jonah 1:4). and my lecturer asked for it on cards, so I made it into a card. We promptly had some strong storms and floods.
In Isaiah 44:26 it says God confirms the words of His servants, so I don't like to declare some things. In the past I prayed that God would have mercy and intervene to divert it. Now I will declare that Jesus is able to still the storms. Let it be still. He is able to stop earthquakes and divert stars from falling to earth.
Prophetic Art from dreams and visions
In the early 1970's I had a dream about a large red rock like Ayers rock. Water came pouring down like rain over it. The water was filled with the most amazing moving patterns, like nothing I'd seen before. The rain seemed to be alive. I wanted to paint it, but didn't know how to interpret the moving patterns, so I put it on hold. Later I discovered that Jesus poured forth living waters and knew that was what I'd seen.
"For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13). "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants" (Isaiah 44:3).
In 1978 I had a dream about a shell (I wish I could remember it all now). I believed the dream was from God, so when my husband came home with a shell for me, I was very surprized and delighted. He didn't know about the dream.That weekend I asked my husband if he would do the cooking so I could make art. He did. I began a series on the theme of broken shells. I thought they would show the flawed and cracked nature of life and thus satisfy the criteria I'd been given for Christian art. I made two art works based on the dream and thought my life was like the broken shells. I had become so busy I'd stopped reading the Bible and talking to God throughout the day. I was missing Him, and didn't know it. I'd thought a husband would fill the lonliness hole, but I discovered only communication with God could.
In April of 2011 I had a vision in church of a tumbleweed blowing in the wind, in a desert like place. Someone else believed there was some-one in the room who was having trouble letting go. I wondered if it was me. I had prayed about leaving teaching but was holding on. Our minister believed the message was for me and everyone thought the tumbleweed was me too.When I got home I found out that a tumbleweed "uprooted" or rather left it's roots behind and went where the wind took it. It scattered seed as it tumbled. It sounded just like an image that had been growing inside me. It sounded like what the Holy Spirit had told me in the late 70's. I would be travelling and speaking one on one with the people I met. This came to pass. I did go travelling and scattered the seed of God's word as I went. We did uproot and move the following year as well.
9/10/16 In church suddenly as I silently read the words of the scripture readings on the screen, they began to move, to flow like a paintbrush, a back and down, forward and down motion like the movement I make when painting petals on a rose flower. An image of a flower beaming up at the sun filled my vision. As it beamed everything became whiter in kind of sparkly light that was alive. Then suddenly the flower and the light seemed to be one burst of joy.
15/10/16 I painted this picture that captures a little of the vision. It was all in white, but that's hard to paint. The petals when fully open in the light, curved downwards more than what I've painted them here.
1/5/18 In a dream I saw black grapes in a thicket bush. A few nights later I had two dreams about sharks. In one dream I saw the underbelly of a shark. I could see it clearly in a wall of sea water near where I was on the beach. I knew when the tide came in the shark would be right on us. The other dream was about a shark, snapping at the tail of a sheep dog, who had rushed in between it and the ones it was sent to protect, to herd them out of the water. The guard dog looked a bit odd as it tried to do its job of herding and protecting. It was a sheep dog with long wet hair sticking out everyhere. It was frantically trying to get people to move quickly out of the water, but they were like lumps with no arms or legs or heads. They just floated in the direction of the beach.
A false prophet is like the shark. You will know them by their fruit.
"Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit ... Matthew 7:16
Prophetic Art from Bible Prophecies
Taken from Isaiah 35:1 "The wilderness shall be glad and the solitary place shall rejoice and the wilderness shall blossom as the rose."
"Let the rivers clap their hands" can be bought as a greeting card
I created an art work called "Let the rivers clap their hands" for the Belconnen Arts Network (BeAN) Annual Art exhibition called "Show of Hands." Soon after this, Peter and I went to visit our youngest daughter. She had moved onto a farm cottage beside a river. It was a lovely spot. We walked down the bank where the river should have been but there were only a few ponds here and there. It was disappointing and I felt deeply concerned when I heard how the river had been dammed and water syphoned off. Roseanne had to buy her water in flagons and many of the homes that relied on the water from the river were now up for sale at bargain prices. Peter and I followed the river home, and as I continued to feel disturbed, I prayed earnestly that God would fill the river again. About two weeks later it rained so much the river did indeed clap its hands. It even overflowed the banks, taking out part of the road. My art work had proved to be a prophetic work and God had given me more than what I asked for.
My husband and I went to Mitchell in the ACT but the shop we wanted to go to was shut. I wanted to take some photos of a cockatoo I saw in a cage outside a pet shop, but Peter didn't want to stop. The following weekend we went again. Again my husband didn’t want to stop at the pet shop. This time however, the place we were going to was shut again. It was eleven o’clock and we discovered the shop didn’t open until eleven thirty. We had half an hour to waste so Peter drove us back to the pet shop.
I took some photos of the cockatoo and another bird in their cages and then the owner came over and opened the door. I asked him if he would open the door for the cockatoo as well so I could get some close ups and he did. The bird was used to its cage so it didn’t fly away. I got some good shots and even some beak shots. God had given me the very thing that was in my heart again.
As we drove past the pet shop on our way home I saw a wild cockatoo on the ground near the cage, so I used these photos in an art work for the upcoming 2008 Belconnen Arts Network (BeAN) Annual Art exhibition called "Wild."
I used a photo of a stream I had seen on the way to Wee Jasper. It was feathered very much like the yellow cockatoo head feathers. I perched the cockatoos on the picture border and made the stream come out beyond the border of the picture, like a wild stream breaking away from the normal river flow. Freedom is like that, but the effects of being caged or "going with the flow" can take some time to overcome. The fear of freedom, of "no constraints" can hold a person back from experiencing the greatest adventures.
In 2010 I looked back at "Wild Feathered Stream," and felt concerned. The stream overflowed its borders andthoughts of storms and floods kept coming into my mind. I knew Australia was going to have a bad one. I prayed that God would divert the flood from the city. December 2010 to January 2011 Brisbane did have a bad one and I believed that was it.
Other Prohetic Art
I made this preliminary art sketch for a competition in 2006 but changed it many times before entering it. In 2015 as I was looking at it I believed it was the word that would help my sister who was wanting directions. I sent it to her as she was a musical pilgrim, walking around Europe. Years before and years after making this image, I had encouraged her to get ready to go, as it was in her heart to do so and God had woken me in the night with a scripture verse about pilgrimage. In 2015 I sent her the image and told her she might not know the end destination, but as she went she would be directed as to the next step.
Everything we see can tell us something about God and our relationship with Him.