Who are the Cherubims? Part 2

In our last article, we began to explore the idea of mature sonship, and how this theme relates to the cherubim creatures first mentioned in Genesis 3:24.  I want to spend some time today elaborating on what these particular creatures were “keeping” in the Garden of Eden. We determined that these creatures were put in Eden to protect the way to the Tree of Life and not so much to keep man away. God’s  judgement alone was enough to keep Adam away from the Tree of Life.  We know that the Tree of Life is accessible again to the overcomer in Christ (Revelation 2:7).  So in essence, we can ascertain that these cherubim were to keep the way to the Tree of Life until one who was worthy to pass by the flaming swords arrived.  This one is Jesus Christ, the New Testament “atonement cover” or “mercy seat”. We have provided several scriptures that reasonably conclude that Jesus is the fulfillment of the old testament mercy seat(Romans 3:25,Hebrews 9:5).  The book of Hebrews goes through much trouble to illustrate this.  Lastly, we looked at Exodus 25:17-22 and determined that the cherubim were in the mercy seat, of the mercy seat, of one piece with the mercy seat, and that these cherubims look toward atonement cover. The atonement cover was the place where the high priest sprinkled blood on the Day of Atonement(Leviticus 16:14). These creatures are constantly looking at the sacrifice on the mercy seat. This is a picture of every believer looking towards the blood of Jesus. His death becomes our death. We become one with the death and the blood of  Jesus, We have a right to follow Jesus past the sword of judgement. So its scriptural to conclude that believers are of Christ as cherubims are of the mercy seat.

                                   CHERUBIMS ARE IN THE VEIL

Let’s look at some other pieces of scripture to help broaden our understanding of these cherubim creatures. Exodus 26 describes the veil(curtain) in the Tabernacle that separated the Holy Place from the Holiest of Holies as being embroidered with cherubims, “Make the Tabernacle from ten curtains of finely woven linen. Decorate the curtains with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim”(Exodus 26:1).It’s imperative that we observe the symbolism illustrated here. The veil represents a barrier between God and man. This barrier was first established in the garden with the postings of cherubs with the flaming swords(Genesis 3:24). So passing the veil is the same as passing the cherubims with the flaming swords. The High Priest was the only person that was allowed to pass the veil once a year (Hebrews 9:7). So in essence, man was allowed back into Eden once a year. This was only a temporary solution until one (Jesus) who would  come that was worthy to pass by the veil (cherubims) permanently(Matthew 27:51). When Jesus entered into Heaven with his own blood he was really re-entering Eden. Here’s a logical biblical deduction: HEAVEN NEVER WENT ANYWHERE. Heaven in the book of Revelation 21:1 is in the same place it was in Genesis. The location of Heaven has never changed. Our ability to discern Heaven around us and in us only changed after the fall of man. There is coming a time when we will be able to perceive Heaven in its totality. Not only will man be fully redeemed but all of creation will be restored to its original glory(Romans 8:22).

                            CHERUBIMS ARE THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES

Now we come to a point where we can really begin to see how cherubims differ from angels. The best description we have of these creatures come to us from the book of Ezekiel. The book begins with a vision given to Ezekiel at the river, Chebar. In the vision he sees four living beings,”And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness” (Ezekiel 1:5). He goes on to describes these “creatures”:

6but each of them had four faces and four wings. 7Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. 8Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings, 9and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved. 10Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. 11Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out upward; each had two wings, one touching the wing of another creature on either side, and two wings covering its body. (Ezekiel 1:6-11)

The next several verses depict their activities.

12Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. 13The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. 14The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning. 15As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. 16This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. 17As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not turn aboutd as the creatures went. 18Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.19When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. 20Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels (Ezekiel 1:12-21).Ezekiel identifies these four living creatures in Ezekiel 10:15″ And the cherubim mounted up. These were the living creatures that I saw by the Chebar canal.” Now, there many different shades of symbolism and meaning in this text but there are several points I want to make that I feel are pertinent to this study.The first is that each creature had four faces. These four faces represent the four classes of creation. This link can be verified in two places in the book of Genesis. “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth(Genesis 1:26).”

 You also see this again after the flood.

8Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9“I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth. 12And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come”.(Genesis 9:8-12)

So the Cherubims are also a picture of restored humanity. In the beginning Adam was the anointed chief over all of creation and this is our future, hope, and glory in Christ Jesus.

In the next article, we will look at some other characteristics of cherubims and how they relate to God’s glory. We will also, Lord willing, begin to look at a non traditional view of the anointed cherub.

Peace, JJ

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