Does imagination have a role in prophecy?

Apr13002With just the smallest glance at some of the prophetic writings of scripture (such as Ezekiel’s primary vision of the wheels within wheels), the question easily arises as to the role of the imagination in prophecy. The question is a necessary one because of the implications that it brings;

1. If the imagination is involved in the role of the prophetic, then hard questions need to be asked about the source of such ‘imaginings’ and to what extent divine inspiration affects, or moderates it.

2. If the imagination has no role what are the implications for the creative arts, music and other present-day writings that are engaged as valid forms of prophetic ministry and communication?

It has been said that the prophetic must be imaginative because it is urgently out beyond the ordinary and reasonable. The task of prophetic ministry in the days of Israel was to nurture, nourish and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the culture around them. It carried with it a fervent anticipation of the newness that God has promised and would surely give.

Society by itself, even today (in its unconscious state of weakness), is unable to grasp by itself the revelation that God is actually the answer to all of its problems. The Church today, as God’s alternative society, is called to express this through its ongoing mission of preaching the gospel.

The key issue about the role of the imagination in prophecy is not its role in prophecy, but its role in the communicating what God has chosen to show. Such revelation is completely the work and initiative of God.

The Grand Design of God’s Will and purposes are never revealed as a result of human imagination, revelation comes only from God and imagination is a valid tool to help communicate the expression, idea or intention that God has revealed, after He has revealed it.

The implications for the creative arts and music as valid forms of prophetic ministry and communication are ones that have to be seriously considered because of the inability of some to discern, understand or acknowledge what is being communicated.

Not everyone understands the art forms, or understands what is meant to be said by someone waving a flag or banner in an annoying way, just inches away from their face!

The more serious thinker will be asking the question about how artistic work, dance, flag and banner waving can ever submit to the biblical scrutiny of ‘being weighed’ against scripture by other prophets, unless of course they were also artists!

More questions have been raised than answered, but they are worth musing over.  Imagination has its part for certain, but only ever proceeds from the inspiration of revelation, it is never revelation of  itself.

Which means there may always be better ways of communicating it than the way that we sometimes use!

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4 thoughts on “Does imagination have a role in prophecy?

  1. Wooooow, Halleluiah. I was so blessed. Thank you for posting this article, and I ask you to pray for my immagination more so I can communicate the heart of the father in a pure way.

    God bless you in Jesus name.
    Tony Francis

  2. I would suggest that the delineation between what you are deeming “imagination” and divine revelation is slim (at best). Divine revelation, as found in the prophetic gifts, oftentimes are flashed across our minds in the area where most people call the imagination. The difference is not where in our mind we receive the revelation or idea, but the source of the revelation.

    Good article

    1. Thanks Jeff – I agree with what you are saying, however my contention is that revelation comes to your spirit, not to your imagination? Otherwise it could be said that ‘some’ strange prophecies are but peoples own imagination, and anything too wild and exciting would come under the same suspicion? I am with you in this though, just trying to draw a line… ~ Jon

  3. Jon-
    How much did you pay buy chun??? 😛

    Seriously tho, it can be quite tricky sometimes discernng between our imagination and our spirit when the Holy Sprit speaks in a revelatory manner- how much of me and how much of God?
    hence the need for words to be balanced.
    For me, I can be captured by an image or word planted that grasps images from my memory, throws in a little of imagination for emphasis, asks me to write the stuff down to then weigh and have weighed…and then maybe spoken out. this seems to be a harmonios use of the trinty given to us by our creator of mind, body and spirit- 3 in one reflecting our Lord!
    verily… 🙄

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