The Renaissance is Coming
by Scott MacLeod
Much to my surprise, the hotel that had been the setting of the Snakes in the Lobby vision changed its name. Its name became "The Renaissance." A member of our team looked up the meaning of the word Renaissance, and was amazed to find it defined as "the rebirth, renewal or revival of the arts and literature." The Lord is even writing it on the skyline of Nashville, this city known as Music City U.S.A.: The Renaissance Is Coming!
Change is coming; great change and reform are coming to the church and to the world. Part of that change is the rebirth that is coming to the arts. Creativity will be a powerful vehicle for reaching our culture and the world with the message of Jesus Christ.
Looking back historically to the time known as the Renaissance in the 14th and 15th centuries, this was an era emerging from a thousand-year period of stagnancy called "the Dark Ages."
The Renaissance was a time of great renewal, revival of creativity, enlightened thinking and literature--all motivated by a "pursuit of eloquence." The Greek and Roman classics became a model for eloquence in all areas of life. From these ancient cultures the Renaissance scholars found new inspiration and instruction, and many positive changes occurred which we still benefit from today. This "happy century" greatly transformed government, education and Christian theology, and conceived some of the highest forms of art and music that man has ever known.
While the focus of the Renaissance was on restoring culture, humanity itself became the center of attention. If we took all that the first Renaissance produced and boiled it down into one word, it would be "humanism," which is ultimately self-centeredness. Humanism today has flooded much of our modern culture and has gone on to deny the relevance or even the existence of God.
The Lord began to speak to me saying, "I Am the Creator, the Originator of all things, and I am going to use My creativity to proclaim My holy message to the whole earth." He said that the Renaissance which is coming this time will not be inspired out of a "pursuit of eloquence" but out of a "pursuit of obedience" to Him. It will not produce self-centeredness, but God-centeredness. The new Renaissance will not bring glory to man, but to God. "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD" (Hab. 2:14).
As I was praying about this soon-coming Renaissance, I began to see a tremendous vision in the spirit that charged me with great excitement and fear. I saw a massive tidal wave on the rise. As it moved to shore, it built quickly in size and momentum. I knew instantly that this tidal wave spoke of a mighty movement of God. It looked both dangerous and exciting. It was much larger than anything I had ever seen or imagined, and I knew there has never been anything like it before. I was sure that when this wave hit the shore nothing would remain the same--everything would be changed.
I asked the Lord what this was and what it meant, and He said, "This is the moving of my Spirit that is coming upon the whole earth."
"Men will fear the name of the LORD, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along" (Isa. 59:19). The breath of the Lord speaks of His Spirit, which move like a mighty flood.
"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams; your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD" (Joel 2:28,29,31).
I then saw people in the water with surfboards. Some were wading in shallow waters and others were standing on the beach, but I knew only those who were in the deep waters would be able to catch this wave. The waters spoke of the Holy Spirit. Then I saw that the surfboards of those who were waiting in the deep waters had the word "obedience" written on them in bright red. Many people did not have boards. I knew that they would certainly be overcome by what was approaching. Some were waiting in the waters with all different kinds of surfboards, but they did not have "obedience" written on them. I knew that their hopes of riding this wave would also be futile. It would take great faith to ride this wave, because at first glance many would want to run in fear for cover. One would have to be willing to risk it all (have true faith) to ride this wave. In reality, those who shrink back in fear are in much greater danger, for the safest place would be in riding the powerful crest of the wave.
True Worship, Humility and Brokenness
Just as no surfer would dream of going into the rugged waters of the surf with his hands full, neither can anyone hope to ride this wave with idols in hand. Only true worshipers of God will be able to keep their balance and stay on top of what is coming. We must have no idols before Him! The Lord God must have first place and first love in our lives. A Webster definition of worship is "extreme devotion and intense love." To worship the Lord means to love Him! Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." Our obedience is the evidence of true love and devotion (our worship) to God.
I knew when this wave started to break it would be all about positioning. If we were in the right position we would catch the ride of our lives, and if we were not, the wave would be devastating. I asked the Lord where we must be when the wave hits. He said that we must be in a position of "humility and brokenness." I knew then that to be in the water (the Spirit), even with our board of obedience, would still not be enough to catch the ride. It would only produce self-righteousness (the worst form of pride) if we were not found in the position of true humility and brokenness, for God only exalts the humble. In order to catch and not be crushed by the power of what is coming, we must be broken of our will and ways, be humble in heart, and committed to radical obedience to the Lord.
"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14). This wave will flood the earth with the Lord's glory and the knowledge of Himself. It will be a wake-up call first to the church, which is the Lord's mercy. This will not be the final judgment; even though many self-built houses will collapse, this is the Lord's mercy giving people time to repent and rebuild--His way. Jesus said, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matt. 7:24). This wave of the Spirit will test the quality of each man's work. Some houses will collapse; some will stand. Whatever is left standing after the impact, God will use to flood the earth with His glory.
God is going to use divine creativity to spread His holy message, the gospel. This will be poured out through His purified vessels, His people. There is a tremendous anointing that is coming, not only on music, but also on all forms of art. From Genesis to Revelation we see God moving in creative ways. Creativity is what He ordained and what He enjoys--just as when Solomon was building the temple for the Lord, and it was adorned with the most beautiful visual arts. "Send me, therefore, a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in the art of engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with my skilled craftsmen" (2 Chr. 2:7).
Divine Creativity Is Coming!
After enduring a stagnant "dark age" of creativity where the best creative work we have done has mostly been cheap imitation of the world, divine creativity is coming back into the Lord's temple, His people. Music and art are primary ways of communicating with our culture. This is the "sound and sight" generation, and art is a language of symbols, sounds and images which can transcend the limitations of the intellect and reach to the heart. Modern thinking can be rigid with opinions and can cause division and factions and suppress the truth. A verbal or even written message can be rejected or dismissed quickly because of our reasoning or prejudice. But art is not so quickly dismissed. One song or painting can mean a myriad of different things to different people.
Music and art speak as a "language of the spirit" that can penetrate where other forms of communication cannot. A creative expression takes time to be absorbed into any intellectual conclusion, and before the head has time to figure it out the heart can already be moved. I personally have seen the Spirit use music to melt the hardest of hearts--in prisons, clubs, the inner city, and in churches. It allows us to "feel" God's love and presence. We can taste and see that God is good. Many times, before the listeners fully understand or even know what to believe, they have experienced a touch from the Lord. The anointed arts are truly one of the most powerful evangelism tools the Lord has given us. Creativity that is born of the Spirit will give birth to spirit. Jesus said in John 3:6, "Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."
The music, dance and creativity of God's people will carry the message of the gospel and the very presence of God to the ends of the earth, for the Lord "inhabits the praises of his people." The Lord loves music. He has chosen it as our way to approach Him. He didn't say to come into His presence with teaching or preaching but to "Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs...Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name" (Ps. 100). We are told many times in His Word to "praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp" (Ps. 149:3). In Psalm 32:7 we see that the Lord Himself even sings over His people: "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."
We are told that the Lord goes into battle and inflicts punishment on the nations to the sound of music. "The voice of the LORD will shatter Assyria; with his scepter he will strike them down. Every stroke the LORD lays on them with his punishing rod will be to the music of tambourines and harps, as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm" (Isa. 30:31,32).
In Isaiah 42:10,13 we see the Lord Himself will rise to make war and triumph over His enemies at the sound of praise song that reaches to the ends of earth! "Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth...The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies."
Satan has constantly used music, media and arts to bombard our world with an onslaught of his hideously polluted messages. We have seen the moral fabric of our nation be eroded away mostly by messages and ideas that have been first introduced and ushered in by the creative arts. It is now time for a mighty counterattack!
The creative worshipers are the first army that will be sent out for this last battle. Even now a massive army throughout the world is being purified and prepared and is about to be released into the highways and byways of our cultures. They will be sent forth not in the ways of the world, but in the humility and brokenness of Christ. The Lord will soon ignite and inhabit all forms of creativity. His people will begin to prophesy through song and dance, to evangelize through film and video, to teach and proclaim the truth through drama and painting, sculptures, multimedia, literature, etc. It will come as a tidal wave like we have never seen before. But this time it will not be celebration of the arts, eloquence, or of mankind, but of Jesus--our exalted Lord and eternal King. For those who are committed to the "pursuit of obedience," and who above all things will make it their "goal to please Him" (2 Cor. 5:9), they are truly in for the ride of their lives!
The rebirth, renewal and revival of the arts is on its way--inspired this time not by ancient culture, but by the God of all the ages and the God of all creativity.
The Renaissance is coming! Let's catch this wave for His glory!