Revelation in Art

How can the Book of Revelation be expressed in art? Find out with guest Pat Marvenko Smith along with hosts Tim Moore and Nathan Jones on the television program, Christ in Prophecy!

Air Date: July 6, 2024

Video References

Revelation Illustrated with Pat Marvenko Smith


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Tim Moore: Welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Nathan and I are glad you’ve joined us today. If you followed Lamb & Lion Ministries for any time, you know that our mission is to proclaim the soon return of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Within that clear focus, you might say that one of the guiding Bible verses for our ministry, and our Christ in Prophecy television program is Revelation 19:10. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Nathan Jones: Much of what we have presented through the years has involved teaching from Bible prophecy, a topic that strikes fear in too many hearts, but is at the heart of God’s Word. We believe that God has spoken in order that we can understand His master plan. In ages past, prophecies were often forward-looking, and they foretold coming events and the Messiah to come. Well now many of the prophecies we read in the Bible have been fulfilled either in human history, and in the person of Jesus Christ. But other prophecies are still forward-looking, because they have not yet been fulfilled.

Tim Moore: Obviously, the next major prophecy we anticipate is the Rapture of the Church. When Jesus appears in the sky to gather His bride and take us to the place He has prepared for us in His Father’s house. Other prophecies may be fulfilled before the Rapture occurs, such as the various wars of the end times, but no prophecy must be fulfilled before Jesus gathers church-age saints.

Nathan Jones: Following the Rapture, the world will undergo a period of tremendous tribulation. Then we’re told that Jesus will come again to the earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom. Much of what will happen during the Tribulation, at the Second Coming, and in the Millennial Kingdom, and eternal state, are described in Revelation.

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Part 1

Tim Moore: Nathan and I have studied God’s prophetic word for years. The descriptions John and the other writers recorded stoke our excitement and build our anticipation. But we realize that many people are visual learners. That is why the church used to communicate the Gospel in a series of pictures. It is why we utilize PowerPoint, and videos when we speak, and it is why we incorporate beautiful pictures and graphics on our television program, and in our acclaimed “Lamplighter” magazine. One of our favorite contemporary artists is a lady who is inspired to record the scenes from Revelation in a series of paintings. Pat Marvenko Smith set out to convey in pictures what John recorded in words, and she was marvelously successful. We have featured her artwork in various Lamb & Lion Ministries venues for years. Today we have the great pleasure of connecting with Pat through the miracle of modern technology. Pat, thank you for joining us on Christ in Prophecy.

Pat Marvenko Smith: Well, I’m happy to be here with you, well here with you, and they’re with you.

Tim Moore: Here through the miracle of technology. Well, I can assure you that I did not overstate our appreciation of your gift, and of your willingness to use it to glorify the Lord and really to edify and educate Christians all over the world. You’ve shared your gift of art with us, and through Lamb & Lion Ministries for many years. So Pat, thank you for being very faithful to the vision and the inspiration the Holy Spirit has laid on your heart.

Pat Marvenko Smith: Well, thank you. Well, it was the Holy Spirit that led me to do all the artwork. I had given my life to the Lord many years ago, but I wanted to also dedicate my talents to Him. And just right after I did that, I was asked to teach this Sunday school class of teenagers. And my, and I thought, you know, at our church, and I’d been a Christian for many years, so I said, okay, well, I will teach it. And the first thing they wanted to me to teach on was Revelation. And I was, you know, naive about it, but I said, “Okay.” I mean, I had studied it myself, but I mean, I had had been in classes myself, but never taught it. So I thought all I have to do is get the books, get the visual teaching materials, because as I read it, I could clearly see all the art, all the images so clearly in there in the Scriptures. And so I thought, well, I’ll go get the visual teaching with charts, and that will help me, and make me feel more comfortable teaching. I couldn’t find any. And that was way back when we went to, bookstores to find things, there was nothing online back then. And there was nothing in the bookstores, nothing in libraries, nothing that I could really relate to. There were some line drawings by a few people, but they didn’t express what I was seeing when I read that Scripture it was all in full color. So at that point I just thought, well, oh, I’ll just do it for my Sunday school class. And so that’s what I did.

Tim Moore: I think that’s a great testimony of faithfulness. I will tell you that even within my family, I’m considered to be a bit of a handyman, and when necessarily crafty. But I’ve always wished that I could paint like you. You know, Winston Churchill, and President George W. Bush, when they retired, both of them painted. And so I think many people have an aspiration, but few have the gift that you do. How did you discover your gift for being able to paint?

Pat Marvenko Smith: I think, I always knew that I had an artistic gift ever since I was little, and I was always drawing and painting, and my mother always told the story about finding me under her kitchen table with the crayons, drawing on the back underside of the table. But all along though, my parents encouraged my talent. They recognized that early on, encouraged it, which was so important for me to get started and continue and just boost my confidence in what the Lord had given me. And so that’s, but I’ve always knew, I mean, I’ve always been drawing, painting. My parents signed me up for an oil painting class when I was six years old, I still have a couple of those paintings. And so I’ve always felt like, you know, I’ve always recognized it maybe, and loved doing what I do.

Nathan Jones: Well, Pat, if you had to draw and paint all these paintings for your Revelation class, how many paintings was that, and what was your first?

Pat Marvenko Smith: Well, I did just a few of them first, Nathan. What I would do is do a sketch first, and I would bring that into the class, because some of these took weeks to do. So I’d bring the sketch in. For instance, the four horsemen. I brought in a sketch of the first horseman and then it ended up being one picture. But I’d bring in a sketch, pencil sketch of the first horseman, and the class were like, oh, okay, and then we can wait till next week to see what’s happening. And then, well, at that point they didn’t quite realize what would be happening. But then the next week it would be the next one, and it would all be in pencil. And then eventually because it took a while to get through this teaching, so it worked out good. And then I would start adding the color. And then it was like at the end we had a full color illustration of four horsemen. So, you know, and the students just loved it. So, it was very fulfilling.

Tim Moore: You know, I think some of your paintings, well really all of your paintings are very true to Scripture, but some of them bring to my mind a perception that brings to life the black and white of Scripture in a way that even my imagination had not been able to fill out. So have you ever found that it was difficult for you to envision some of the paintings that you came up with? Or did they just burst on your imagination, your gifted mind, as you would read God’s Word and say, I know how to put this into a visual to present what’s being described by John?

Pat Marvenko Smith: First of all, I have to say this, that before I would start any of these illustrations, well, before I started teaching, of course this class, I read over the Scriptures several times. And to do the artwork, I would read over that particular portion of, for instance, the emerald throne scene, I would read over it again and again like several times, and throughout I would pray for God’s guidance. I would pray that His Holy Spirit would let me see what He wanted me to see. So to answer your question, probably 85% of the visions described came to me very clearly as I would read the Scripture and ask for God to lead me. And so I would see what it was He wanted me to do. And I just prayed, let me do what you want me to do. Show me what you want me to illustrate. And it would come to me.

Some of them were much harder, like the beast out of the sea, from chapter 13. Well, he had seven heads and 10 horns. And how do you get 10 horns on seven heads because I’m drawing literally. And we know there’s a lot of symbolism in that, but literally, I was trying to draw this beast. And so that was very difficult. The other one was the Trumpet Judgements, when the locusts come out of the abyss, and it’s like, it’s describing them as locusts, and I’m like, oh my goodness, what do they look like with tails that sting? Because as far as I know, locust don’t sting, but these do. And then there were the things that you hear about like, oh, well this really means helicopters with guns and all like that. And so I had to separate all that out. I wanted to illustrate exactly what the Scripture was saying, and literally. So I made them look like locusts. So there were little decisions like that I had to make. And the other one was the Sixth Seal when the sky is rolled back like a scroll. When you think about it, if the sky was rolled back like the scroll, what would you see? So I had to think about how to illustrate that. So there were decisions like that that were very difficult. And so I just prayed for God’s guidance, and a little by little it would come. And so that’s basically, you know, what I would do.

Nathan Jones: Wow. Well that you can capture something that’s beyond our human understanding and connect people to the book of Revelation, to the throne of God in particular, and that’s why for me, my favorite picture that you did is “The Throne Room of God,” and with the Seraphim in the front, do you have a favorite?

Pat Marvenko Smith: Well that is one of my favorites. The other one is “King of Kings, the Lord of Lords,” chapter 19:11-16, where Christ is coming back on the white horse. Also, I love “War in Heaven.” Michael defeats the dragon, and he’s throwing the dragon out of heaven and his third of the angels, demons at that point. So that one was difficult. I mean they were very difficult, but it was also one of my favorites.

Tim Moore: And I can tell you, Pat, as you’re describing these, we will put these on the screen for our viewers to see, because we will reference not only your wonderful book that is available, but we’ll provide some of these very pictures so that the pictures themselves are conveying exactly what you’re describing.

Pat Marvenko Smith: Oh, thank you. A note about the, well I have to mention this about the emerald throne scene, Nathan, since you asked about that one. At the point when I was illustrating that, I needed to, this is like really was proof to me that God was leading me. And at this point I was looking for source material for wings, like for feathers. And because the beasts, the four beasts, are covered with wings. And so I wanted to do them like feathers, you know. So I went to the library, because that’s all the source I could find. And I was looking for books with, you know, with birds with wings, and things so I could make sure the wings were authentically looking like wings. So as I was at the library at that point, back then, they had recordings that you could take out, you know, you could take out of the library. And so I found “Handel’s Messiah,” which I never really heard all the way through. But I thought, you know, I really listen to music while I’m illustrating. Which really helps if you’re doing something like that, or doing anything actually. But anyway, so I took the recording home and I’m working on this illustration of the emerald throne scene. At the point when I was working on the angels, the little faces of all the thousands and hundreds of thousands of angels singing, I’m going like just sitting there, not paying too much attention, the music’s playing “Handel’s Messiah.” And I hear in the “Handel’s Messiah,” the exact scripture that I’m illustrating, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise,” from chapter five. And at that point, I just got chills, I knew, I thought, wow Lord, you just led me to the very thing to inspire me. Isn’t that a neat story of how God works?

Tim Moore: Certainly is. And I agree with you, music and art, they just, sometimes they evoke not only an emotional response, but again taking our limited vision. And some of us don’t have the gift of imagination or visioning that you do, and it takes it to a higher level. I agree with Nathan, you know, for many years now, Pat, your artwork has graced so many of the materials that we produce here at Lamb & Lion, because we are proclaiming the soon return of Jesus Christ, and all that John is describing in Revelation, that’s our mission statement. And you’ve been kind enough to allow us to share your wonderful work with people around the world. Can you share some of the other unexpected impacts that your work has had? I’m sure you’ve heard from countless numbers of people thanking you for sharing your gifts so graciously with so very, very many.

Pat Marvenko Smith: Yes, I have unexpected, good and bad. I just want to mention this, that was very unexpected. I was totally clueless that when I did the artwork, it was fine, I did 40 illustrations total. And when I did the artwork, it was fine, and not too much happened. But whenever I started to put it into some form that would be shared with more people, because people were contacting me, we need it for our Bible studies or whatever. And I was demonically attacked. Seriously, there were things that happened, and I recorded in my book, because I think it’s something that’s important to know that when you do something like this, Satan realizes that this is going to be a visual representation of his final demise, his final downfall, he didn’t want people to see it, so that was unexpected.

But the other unexpected things that started happening were wonderful, well I was asked to be on a program in Canada called “100 Huntley Street.” That was in I think 1982 or ’83. And all I had was the original artwork. And when I went on that program and I came home from being in the program, I received hundreds and hundreds of letters, which was, I was shocked. And people were saying, we need this in our Bible study, and I had nothing, I just had the originals. And that was that point that I thought there’s God speaking through those people. And we were able to put it into visual art prints and then slides way back then, 35 millimeter slides, and now we have them in digital forms and things like that. But that was a shock. That was like probably one of the biggest shocks. And also I got a call after we had the video produced, we have a video also, I got a call from someone from California, from Calvary Chapel out there, and they were saying that they showed that video to their congregation, I don’t know how many thousand people, they’re really large. And they said like about 2,000 people went forward to accept the Lord without even any preaching, they just showed “Revelation Illustrated.” And I was shocked and blessed with that. And the other thing is the requests from all over the world we get now, and in the beginning it was a real shock because I started getting the, when we had the video, we got calls from Switzerland, and France, and Belgium, people who wanted to have it, who wanted it done in French and German. And I forget what there’s like probably like six different languages that it has been done in. And that was like a real surprise and wonderful because, now it’s shared all over.

Nathan Jones: I can’t think of a Bible prophecy conference I haven’t gone to where at least one presenter hasn’t shown part of your art to try to demonstrate what they’re trying to teach. So I feel like as a speaker, well as we go to speak, and we try to relay the impossible to an audience and visually they can connect through your art, which is so wonderful. Besides the series you did on Revelation, have you done other series from the Bible?

Pat Marvenko Smith: I have not done another series, but I’ve done a lot of different artwork. I’ve done “The Parable,” “The 10 Virgins,” depicted that from Matthew 25, and also “The Tabernacle.” I did it as the sun was setting and so the pillar of fire is coming down the Tabernacle, and that was from Exodus. I also did Ezekiel’s vision from chapter 1 and 10 from Ezekiel. I’ve done one called “The Covenant” with God and Abraham between the sacrifices. And then “The Rapture,” and that one was quite challenging, because there’s a lot of detail in that. I did that actually for an ABC News productions, which there was another surprise. They called me, and they were doing a program on the Rapture, and they knew I did Revelation somehow, and they asked if I would do that, a picture on the Rapture. And I said, “Sure.” I was excited about it and they said, “We’ll fly you to New York with the artwork.” And I said, “Okay.” And what happened was then they said, here’s the kicker, we need it in two weeks.

Tim Moore: Oh boy.

Pat Marvenko Smith: And if you’ve ever seen my picture of The Rapture, I did it in two weeks. But there’s thousands of people in this picture, you know, details.

Nathan Jones: How, from a technical standpoint, for those budding artists who are watching today, how long does it take? Do you use oil or acrylic, and how large a canvas do you use to get the level of detail that you have? So length, type of paint, and then scale of the painting?

Pat Marvenko Smith: It depends on the detail on how, if there’s a lot of detail in it, I would do it large. Like for instance, “The Rapture” is probably maybe 30×24 or something like that. And I do it on illustration board and I use airbrushed acrylics a lot and some watercolor. But then some of them are, they’re small, like the “Open Door in Heaven,” it’s a very simple illustration of the open door in Heaven, and it’s only about 8×10 inches. So it just depends. And when I was doing it I had no clue that we should do anything with it. If I had a clue I would’ve done them all, you know, as the same size or a uniform size, because it makes it easier when you’re doing digital shots of them.

Nathan Jones: Have you, as the years have gone on and you’ve developed your art and skill, have you seen your art change over time, or do you pretty much have this set type of style that defines you?

Pat Marvenko Smith: I kind of have a style because it depends on the materials you’re using, and I really love using airbrush. But lately I’ve been doing more watercolor, and then I combine that with airbrush. Like for instance, I’m doing a lot of children’s books now and when I do that, I do the watercolor because it’s just a little more, what you call a friendly kind of art for children’s books.

Nathan Jones: Well, it’s a softer kind of look, I’m sure.

Pat Marvenko Smith: Softer, yeah.

Tim Moore: You know, so children’s books. Pat, how would someone, we have always advocated your artwork to anyone we come in contact with, through our various publications, but how could someone stay in touch with you, and really your ministry, your gift, and be able to access all the various art resources, whether it’s the “Revelation Illustrated” book that we love, whether it’s your Revelation artwork, or your other offerings that you have today, how could they be in touch with you?

Pat Marvenko Smith: Well, there’s two ways. We have a website. And if they can go on the website, it’s And they can go on there, all our materials are on there under the products list. They can order online or they can call us and I can give my 800 numbers, 1-800-327-7330, that’s for our office. And they can order, they can order by phone. They can actually, I’ll show this, it’s a catalog. I don’t know if you can see it, but we can send that catalog to them, and it has all the artwork in it so that they can order, and not only the artwork, but we also have art prints, we have the video, the digital images for use and PowerPoint, and that sort of thing.

Tim Moore: Well, besides children’s books, is there any new projects that you’re excited about that you’re want to get started on?

Pat Marvenko Smith: I don’t have anything I’m working on right at this moment. I have a couple clients who have written children’s books and they are going to get back to me. Oh, and by the way, if you asked about children’s books, we do have a link on there it’s under, I think it’s under licensing and commissioning new art. And there’s a link that if you go to that page, it gives you all your information on how to contact me personally to do artwork for you, any kind of artwork, and/or to license our artwork a lot to different publishers and things.

Tim Moore: Fantastic. You know, I will tell you this, I mentioned already, I wish I had the gift of painting. I have an artistic, I guess motivation, even though the Lord hasn’t given me that gift as He has you, but as an engineer by training, I’ve always been fascinated that even in one of the high points of American engineering, the space program. And as a pilot as well, I love the testimony of one of the Apollo astronauts who said, “When NASA sent men into space into the moon, they chose pilots and engineers.” But this astronaut said, “NASA should have sent at least one artist because although the pilot, engineers, could describe what they’d seen in technical terms,” he said, “I don’t think we captured with our gift, the beauty and just the awe of what we saw in space and on the moon, and an artist could have conveyed that to the American people and to the world much more effectively.” So again, I’m so very grateful that you have been faithful. Nathan and I can describe, obviously the Word of God is sufficient unto itself. But for most people who are visual learners, you’ve really helped expand their understanding and their appreciation, even when our own imagination kind of leaves us wanting more, and you’ve provided the more.

Pat Marvenko Smith: That was my goal, thank you, and I praise God for that.

Tim Moore: Well, Nathan, any other thoughts or questions on your part?

Nathan Jones: Again, I just want to thank you for many years of visual aids that have helped us speakers convey that which is divine. And so the Lord has given you a gift, and you’ve used it mightily for Him. And I’m just so excited that you’ve been able to allow us over the years to use your art, under license of course, to share our message, what’s in our heart that Jesus is coming soon. So I guess that’s the question, are you excited the Lord’s coming back soon?

Pat Marvenko Smith: Absolutely. Absolutely, and all that you see in those pictures is just a glimpse, it’s nothing compared to the reality of Heaven. And a few days before my mom had passed away, we sat on the couch together and she held my hand and she said, “I’m not afraid of dying,” and I said, “I know,” because she was a wonderful Christian. And I said, “Let’s talk about Heaven.” And we did. And I she said, “Oh, I remember your picture.” I said, “Well, that’s nowhere near what it’s going be like. It’s going to be so much better! That’s just a picture. Can you imagine what Heaven is really going to be like?”

Tim Moore: I think that’s a beautiful word. You know, Nathan here is a fellow native Pennsylvanian, so it’s good to know you both lived there for a while, at least. But good things are coming out of Pennsylvania. If you ever make it to the Dallas area, please stop in and visit us personally. But even as a gifted artist, you make a great point we cannot completely envision or describe, or even in art depict all the glories that await us. Mind of man has not yet comprehended what He has in store for those who have put their trust in Him. So until He comes for us, we pray great blessing on your work, Pat, as you are faithful to serve Him, and to use that gift so wonderfully.

Pat Marvenko Smith: Thank you.


Tim Moore: Folks, we are obviously blown away by the artistic ability of Pat Marvenko Smith. Just as I am by Michelangelo and Raphael, and other great artists from the past. But the truth is that although few of us have her ability to capture on canvas great beauty and truth, all of us have a gift given by God so that we can use to glorify Him. Some of you are great writers and poets, some have beautiful voices, or musical talent. Others have a gift for making personal connections with other people and empathizing with them regardless of the circumstance. Some are gifted in preaching and teaching the Gospel, while others have a miraculous ability to serve people who are old, young, or in between.

Nathan Jones: The point is that if we all had Pat Marvenko Smith’s gift, the church would be underserved in other critical areas. No matter who you are, when you put your trust in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit grants you a gift to edify the church and glorify the Lord. Now, some of you are thinking, but I don’t know what my gift is, and perhaps you’ve not discovered it yet. But I’d encourage you to engage with the local church, and be intentional about seeking out fellow believers. That is the best environment to discover and hone and utilize your gift.

Tim Moore: How glorious it is that our Lord saw fit to knit us together, calling us the body of Christ, and pointing out that no member of the body is more important than another. Some members may draw more attention just as a nose is more prominent than an elbow, but without elbows, our mobility would be severely restricted. In fact, we could never even scratch our own nose. So the God who created noses and elbows has blessed us all by sprinkling gifts among all his children. We’ll be back next week with another episode of “Christ in Prophecy.” Until then, pray that the Lord would reveal your special gift, and provide opportunities for you to employ it for His kingdom. And whether you’re an elbow or a nose, let’s determine together to stay alert as we await our soon returning King, Godspeed.

End of Program

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