"We will soon see artists create paintings that will come straight from the throne room of God. By looking at them, people will receive an impartation of deep prophetic vision and a Heavenly perspective."
A well-known artist recently stated that "the future of art is perversion." That is the devil's prophecy, and no doubt the devil's intent. When one looks at the direction art has taken in recent times from fine art, to modern art, to cinematic art, to music, it seems that this has been coming true. However, art belongs to God, and He is going to take art back. Art is a basic form of prophecy, and there is a beauty and anointing about to come upon a host of holy artists whose prophetic art will burn away the fog that is now over it, just like the sun burns away the fog in the morning.
The Power of Art
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Even among ancient cultures, art was a form of communication used to convey a message that would actually help set the course of that culture. You can tell where a culture is headed by its art. Art prophesies for good or for evil. It was no coincidence that the Nazis were so devoted to art, and that Hitler always fashioned himself as an artist. It was the music of Wagner that was used to mesmerize the people and help fuel the Nazi frenzy toward its diabolical and tragic purposes. The music we listen to sows into our souls and can set the course of our lives for good or evil.
Art has also been a basic form of worship. Art is a powerful media that can lead to the worship of something or someone. Art can have the power to capture the attention, imagination, and hearts of people. It has actually been more effective in directing the nations than armies or weapons.
In recent decades, lawlessness has gripped almost every form of art, igniting a most obnoxious and perverted race, and plummeting art and artists deeper and deeper into darkness. Art has followed step by step the fall into confusion, meaninglessness, and darkness of soul that philosophy has fallen to. That will always be the result of worshiping anything or anyone rather than the one true God. But just as art and philosophy have descended, ascension of both will come. Artists who worship the one true God, who keep their souls purified by the singleness of purpose to glorify the Lord, will be given a greater power. They will become like prisms that refract the light of Heaven and give color and meaning to the world. As deep as art has plummeted into darkness, the light that is coming will be even greater. Beauty, meaning, and the elevation of all that is good will soon be seen in an extraordinary army of artists.
One of the most obvious characteristics of God that we can see through His creation is that He loves creativity and diversity. He loves them so much that He even made every snowflake unique. There are no two trees alike, no two leaves alike, and no two people alike. He made every one of us unique. His creation is art in its most profound form. We do not worship the creation, but the Creator. We must never worship art, but the One who gave it to us. He gave us art to lift our hearts and release thanksgiving, because we "enter His gates with thanksgiving" (see Psalm 100:4). All of the awe and wonder of His creation was intended to draw us closer to Him. Art was not intended to point to the creation, but to use the creation to point to Him.
In Matthew 13:39, the Lord said, "...the harvest is the end of the age...." In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, He also commanded that the wheat and the tares be allowed to grow up together, so both would come to maturity at the same time. We do not need to go about trying to find the tares and root them out, because much of the time we would mistake the wheat for the tares and destroy the wheat. Both must be allowed to grow together, but when they are both mature, their nature will be obvious.
This is the time when everything that has been sown in man, the good and the evil, the light and the darkness, will come to full maturity. It is obvious that the darkness is coming to maturity in every art form, but soon we will see the light coming to maturity in every art form. Even so, light will be victorious and overshadow the darkness because light is more powerful. When we open our shades at night, darkness does not come into the room, but the light that is in the house shines out into the darkness. Light is stronger than darkness, and we are about to see light begin to overpower the darkness that is in art. Because we are approaching the end of the age, the time of full maturity, the light that is about to be released through the arts will be unprecedented.
This does not mean that the light about to be released through art is going to be more popular than the darkness. Remember, when the Light Himself came to earth and walked among us, men "loved darkness more than the light" (see John 3:19). Even so, the Lord was merciful beyond comprehension to send us His Son, and He is going to give His greatest light during the times of greatest darkness so all will have the chance to see it and turn to it. He loves all men and desires for them to be saved. He will not force them, but He will give them an opportunity to see His light. It is not our job to make men see the light or want the light, but it is our job simply to walk in the light and reveal it.
The Holy Spirit and Art
In the Bible, artists were the first people to be filled with the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, we often find quotes saying that the Spirit of God came on someone, such as we see in II Chronicles 15:1, "Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded," or in II Chronicles 24:20, "Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest...." However, it was Bezalel who was the first person in the Bible about whom it was said that he was "filled with the Spirit," which we see in Exodus 31:1-5:
Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, "to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, "and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship."
Bezalel means "under the shadow, protection of God." Isn't it interesting that the first person in the Bible about whom it was said that they were "filled with the Spirit" was an artisan, and not a priest, a king, or a prophet? This should give us a definite sense of the importance that the Lord gave to art in His dwelling place, the tabernacle, which was the prophetic model for His Church, "the tabernacle not made with hands" (see Hebrews 9:11). If there was ever a building that exceeded this one for artistic excellence, it would have to be His other dwelling place in the Old Testament, the temple that Solomon built for Him. This should declare loudly the importance that He gives to art in His Church, His present dwelling place.
In Exodus 28:3, we see that the artists working with Bezalel were also filled with the Holy Spirit, "So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest." Here we also see that the Lord wanted an artist to make the priest's garments. How would this apply to us? It seems that there is a special revelation of the Lord that can come through art which touches His basic nature as the Creator. This is why those who know Him and are changed into His image, by seeing Him, should also be creative. Creativity is His basic nature. Therefore, Christians should be the most creative people on the earth, and art that is inspired by the Holy Spirit should be worn by the priests of the Lord like a garment.
We should also consider that artists, who are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and who will earnestly follow Him as Bezalel, do have a similar role like prophets and priests to reveal Him to the people. To reveal the Lord is the most basic purpose for art, and not only is it the highest form of art, but it is the only true fulfillment that an artist will ever have. Anything else will only lead to a base reduction or perversion of the gift.
The Church was the great custodian of art throughout much of the Church age, and most of the great works of art were commissioned by the Church. As the Church, at times, drifted from her pure devotion to the Lord, the art commissioned by the Church also drifted.
When the Protestant Reformation began, there was a great reaction to much of the Church's art that was believed to be used as idolatry, so many of the Protestant movements rejected art altogether in worship. This led to the construction of very plain and colorless buildings for the Church's meeting places, which was also a good reflection of the Church services, and therefore became a reflection of the way many perceived God to be. This is one of the great tragedies of Church history, which misrepresented God, possibly, as much as that which was considered idolatry. God is the most wonderful, interesting, colorful, and creative Being there is, or will ever be. Those who are becoming like Him will be so as well. Just as His priests under the Old Covenant were clothed with great beauty and artistic design, so will His New Covenant Church which has "a better covenant" (see Hebrews 7:22).
There is a movement in the Church today to recover art in worship, and it is not unexpected that it is taking place chiefly among those baptized in the Holy Spirit, or who claim to be and at least seek to be "Spirit-filled." Those who are truly filled with His Spirit will not be able to contain the creativity that is a basic nature of the Spirit for very long. It will pour out of them. Again, those who truly know the Creator will be the most creative people on the planet.
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However, it is crucial that artists are deeply committed to worshiping the Lord with their art rather than worshiping art itself. There is a ditch on either side of the path of life, with lawlessness on one side and legalism on the other. In art, this is usually manifested in idolatry on one side, which is a form of lawlessness, and a tragically inhibiting legalism on the other side. Learning to navigate between these extremes is difficult, but the tension between them can help keep us in the proper balance where the path of life is, keeping life in our art.
It is noteworthy that the Hebrew verb mashach, which means "to anoint," is defined as "to smear with oil, or paint" (Strong's OT #4886). There is a filling of the Spirit, and there is an anointing or painting of the Spirit. We should have the nature of the Spirit in our hearts, and this should be reflected on us too. We know the meaning of this in relation to the anointing that we must have for ministry, but think about it in relation to art in how we are clothed, as this was a high purpose for art in the Old Testament--to clothe the priests.
We know from the Parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22, that the Lord Himself will be offended if we are not properly attired for the occasion. To dress properly for a wedding is a basic way that we show respect for the bride and groom and their families. The same would be true for a funeral, or other occasions such as meeting with a dignitary, leader, or anyone that we respect. To be careless with how we dress for an occasion is to show that we "care less" about it.
It is easy to recognize a person who dresses just to attract attention to themselves. Such are obvious, and though they may have dressed attractively, self-centeredness is never really attractive except in a carnal way. However, if a person dresses well, thinking about those with whom they will meet, there is a dignity and respect with him or her that is not self-centered. Art is the same. Do we want our art to get the attention, or do we want it to point to something or someone greater? There is nobility in God-centered art that will be profoundly attractive, but not in a self-centered way.
If God has called us to do something, He will obviously give us the talent to do it. We want to do all that we do with excellence, but excellence of character is the foundation of excellence in our work. The greatest excellence of character is the love of God. Out of loving God, all true nobility flows, as well as all true light.
The Spirit Prophesies
We see in both Joel 2 and Acts 2 that when the Spirit is poured out, there will be prophecy. As stated, art has been a primary media for prophecy, both for good and evil. By its very nature, art usually predicts and points ahead to trends that cultures take, and then art also becomes a primary media for interpreting the trends. It is for this reason that the Church should especially be devoted to the arts, as it is called to be the light of the world, pointing to the way and illuminating it. When the Church follows the Spirit and becomes what she is called to be, we can expect prophetic Christians to begin to lead in every field of art.
One of the calls some artists will have will be to bring the Church to a higher level of the prophetic. Since the time that God gave the Holy Spirit to Bezalel to fill him with special ability, wisdom, and craftsmanship, we do not see the Lord doing this again to that extent. The highest art was for the highest purpose, building God's dwelling place. The greatest and highest art will always be that which is done for God, not men. Men may enjoy it and be lifted by it--this is also pleasing to the Lord, who wants to draw and reconcile all men to Himself. Even so, when we produce art for men, it will never be as high as the art that is done as worship for God.
Understanding the Power
A movie can be "G" rated but have a power to seduce and release a spirit of lust even more than an "R" rated movie. It is not so much what is shown as the power behind it. We must have a discernment that goes beyond human ratings. However, just as dark art has the power to impart darkness and oppression, Holy Spirit-anointed art is going to have the power to set people free. There are artists being raised up whose gifts of healing and deliverance will be projected through their art. People will just look at it, or hear the song, and get healed or set free.
There is likewise art that will soon be released that will powerfully impart vision and purpose to people, even calling some to their ministry and releasing spiritual gifts. One of the famous cases of this in history is how the young Count Zinzendorf beheld a classic painting of the Savior, and it stirred in him a devotion to the Lord that ultimately led to the birth of modern missions.
We will soon see artists create paintings that will come straight from the throne room of God. By looking at them, people will receive an impartation of deep prophetic vision and a Heavenly perspective. In the same way, people with other creative gifts, such as music or writing, will receive this greater anointing, and through their creative gifts, the whole Church will be drawn to the throne room of God from which it came. There will be songs that call the righteous to the righteous cause, and help set their lives on fire for God. There will be paintings that simply grip the souls of those who see them so that they give their lives to the service of our King.
God, through Moses, gave Bezalel instructions on how to build His dwelling place. Bezalel knew clearly what colors to use and where to use them. He received architectural plans and was instructed on how to create the lamp stand, the altar, the laver, and all of the other furniture and coverings to be placed there. He was instructed on how to weave colors and images into the tent walls and curtains, and how to create holy garments for the priests. Until the tent was built, only Moses, Bezalel, and the artists working with Bezalel could see it in their spirits, but once the tent was built, everybody could see it. However, not everybody could see it to the same extent. The deeper they were allowed to enter the temple, the more they could see.
Today, we all have access to the deepest part of the temple. There will be divinely anointed artisans who will see the deep things of the Spirit and be able to convey them in a form that compels many others to seek the deep things of God. The art will not be the deep things of God, but it will help lead to them.
As we are told in I Corinthians 2:10, "For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God." Those who truly follow the Spirit will not be shallow. If we truly are "Spirit-filled," we will always be seeking to know God deeper. We will not be content to just see His acts, but we will want to know His ways. We can likewise expect art to go deeper as the artist goes deeper. They will penetrate the depths of God and men, releasing the living waters that come from "the innermost being." Art is always a means and never an end in itself. We know we are on the path of life when life is flowing from us. All true life is to know God and His Son. Is that where our art is leading?
The Lord obviously wants to share His creativity with His people. It is the basic nature of the New Covenant that we do not have to be perfect to come into the Lord's presence, but that we get perfected by coming into His presence. The closer we are to Him, the more clean and pure we shall be, and so will our art.
Those who have seen His glory will not be impressed by the greatest human glory. Those who have seen His creativity will not be impressed by the greatest human creativity. For this reason, the closer we get to Him, the less our art should be influenced by human art or human trends, but will reflect Heavenly trends that will often be in direct contrast to the nature of fallen human creativity. For this reason, one of the saddest statements of the present condition of the Church is when she follows the world's trends in such things as art and music. The world should be following the Church, and the closer we get to God, the more we can be sure that the art and the music will be clean and pure.
The Lord is seeking clean vessels to release His creativity. Many artists in the Church are in bondage because they have very worldly ideas and desires, similar to artists in the world--namely, wrong ideas of success, selfish ambitions, jealousy, and pride. Art and artists have always been under attack by the enemy because the enemy knows what a powerful vessel they can be for good or evil. Many artists are outcasts, discriminated against, and have a hard time making a living, while others are exalted like gods. However, the Lord promises that He will bring low those who exalt themselves, and exalt those who humble themselves. All exaltation by men is brief, shallow, and leads ultimately to a terrible emptiness. This is why almost everyone who reaches a pinnacle in a field of art, or almost anything else, falls to a deep depression.
When we attain a pinnacle by our own selfish ambition, it is never what we expect. When the Lord takes us to the heights, it is different. We begin to breathe the atmosphere of Heaven, and glories beyond human imagination begin to be discerned in their nature of being ever-expanding and ever-increasing, just like the universe He created. One aspect of Heaven is a continual marvel and wonder at what God has done, and the unfathomable privilege of being able to participate with Him in it. Compared to God, even the greatest human genius or art will be like a molecule standing before the sun. The fact that the sun cares about and loves the little molecule, even treating it as a partner, causes an ever-increasing love of the little molecule for the sun.
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Artistic expression is an expression of creativity. Creativity is spiritual and has a power and influence that can be greater than is apparent. Therefore, the enemy tries to influence artists and use them for his purpose. Art has been used for a lot of evil, but it will be redeemed and fully restored, like all of the gifts that the Lord gave to man so that man could better relate to Him. As the Lord Jesus states in Luke 3:4-5, which He quoted from the Prophet Isaiah:
"The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. 'Every ravine will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be brought low; the crooked will become straight, and the rough roads smooth....'"
We are again in the times of Elijah, preparing the way for the coming of the Lord. This is how we are building the highway that He will come on--we THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE ARTS level the mountains, bring up the low places, and make the crooked straight. The mountains here are strongholds and the low places are the oppressed. In relation to the arts, the crooked is the self-worship, humanism, and perversions that have taken over the arts. Some are now arising with divinely powerful weapons to bring down the strongholds and tools for building the highway. These will see the glory of the Lord come down on what they have been used to build. It will be worth the struggle. It is a noble cause--the "good fight" of faith that will take much faith, but the victory is sure for those who remain faithful. The arts belong to the Lord, and He is raising His army now to retake them.
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