by LAURA GATMAITAN PEREZ
I got in touch with Pat Marvenko Smith in 2009, hoping to do an article on this remarkable artist. However, no secular publication was interested in publishing an article on the Book of Revelation. It would take two more years before this could be published. By God’s grace, here it is, for our readers – an exclusive feature on the artist of the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible.
It is hard to imagine what the apostle John saw in a vision that concerns the final events namely: the rise of the Antichrist as a world dictator, the Beast, 666, a period of tribulation, the rapture (faithful Christians who have died will be resurrected, rise from their graves and be caught up in the clouds with Jesus), the battle of Armageddon, the millennium kingdom of Jesus being established on earth, final punishment of Satan, unbelievers being cast into everlasting fire, and finally – God creating a new heaven and new earth.
The Book of Revelation is not for the faint of heart. Many devout Christians have struggled to visualize and understand the vision described by John while he was on Patmos island. The Book was written when Christians were being persecuted by the Roman Empire. And yet, God has assured us of His special blessings if we read this last book in the Bible.
“Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” – Revelation 1:3
The greatest teachers and experts on the Book of Revelation say that Pat Marvenko Smith’s artworks are the most complete and accurate among the materials that are available on the subject. Pat said she was inspired by God.
See her illustrations on: http://www.revelationillustrated.com
Pat Marvenko Smith, who traces her roots to Ukraine, very kindly responded to my email. She took up Fine Arts at the Carnegie Institute of Technology which is now called Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.
She starts each day with a prayer of thanks to God for the gift of a new day, asking Him to help her be a blessing wherever she is and whoever she encounters.
Q. What led you to this special ministry?
A. I grew up living one country block from the church. My mom was active there from the time I was born. So I guess you could say I was raised in the church. I accepted the Lord at 13, went forward during an altar call and was baptized. But when I graduated from high school and started working while going to college, I began to fall away from my faith. I was married in 1968 to my high school sweetheart Joel Smith, and in 1975 we were blessed with twin boys. When the boys were about 4, I came to the realization that I needed to become a better role model for them. To do this, I felt that I needed to renew my faith in Jesus. One Sunday in 1980, I went forward at church and rededicated my life to the Lord. I also dedicated my talents to Him. Up till this time, I had been doing secular art jobs professionally as a freelance illustrator. I did fashion illustration for local department stores, and various illustration jobs for a couple of ad agencies in Pittsburgh. But I prayed that God would lead me to use my artistic talents for His glory. I had no idea how He would be able to use an artist.
Q. Do you believe that Jesus will come before the tribulation, in the middle of the tribulation or towards the end of the tribulation?
A. I actually do not have a view on this personally. I just know that Jesus will return but I do not obsess or argue over when. Many people who are deep into Bible prophecy actually argue over this, and I think that is terrible. Every time I teach it, I give all the different views plus the scriptures that support each. I let the students decide.
Q. If you notice, the rapture was not described in the Book of Revelation but was rather mentioned by Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians. According to some churches, everyone who was not caught up with Jesus in the clouds will die and only Satan and his demons will be left behind. What is your view on this?
A. Right. And so many people ask me why I have not included the illustration of the Rapture (which I have done separately for ABC News Productions) in my “Revelation Illustrated” series. I tell them it’s because I have included only the scenes that are described in Revelation. Although some scholars feel that the reference John makes in Rev. 4:1-2, that tells of him being taken up into the door in heaven, is referring to the Rapture. I don’t think this is quite clearly describing the Rapture of all the saints, but of course it is a possibility. I just feel that if this were true, it would have been described in greater detail by John. I do not believe that Satan and his demons will be left behind on the earth. They will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20 & Rev. 20:10).
Q. Some preachers say that the 1,000-year rule of Christ or the millennium will be in heaven; others say it will take place on earth. What do you think?
A. I believe it will be on earth.
Q. Your illustration of the New Jerusalem with 12 gates has left out the angel on each gate. Why is this?
A. On illustration #33 it is because the picture is shown from such a distance and the city 4-square is so huge that you would not be able to see the angels at that distance. On #34, I was concentrating on showing the foundations. On #35, you are already inside the city 4-square. If you look very closely, you can see the angel with John, in the lower right corner on the street of gold.
Q. Some say that what John saw in his vision should not be taken literally. Why do you think he was given such mind-boggling images instead of just explaining to him in plain words the characters who will show up and what will take place?
A. My theory on this is that God wanted John to remember every detail and write it down later. I can’t imagine how he could actually be writing at the same time he was receiving the awesome visions, and while he was being transported, and falling at the feet of angels, etc. So, God who created our brains knew that the best way for humans to remember something was by using both sides of their brain. Thus the message was given with the visions. This is exactly the reason why it is so important for us to learn about the book of Revelation in same way! Hear it as well as see it, through the use of artwork. Then we will remember more of what we learn. I truly believe that this is also why God inspired me to do this art and put it into visual teaching materials.
Editor’s note: Find out in the next issue what she went through as she started to do the illustrations of the Book of Revelation.