The                                              
Christian Pilgrim

 

51. Cherubim



These are angelic beings placed at the east of the garden of Eden, together with a flaming sword, to stop men entering again after the fall.

Genesis 3:24 - "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."


Images were made of two of them to cover the mercy seat:

Exodus 25:18-22 - "And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel."


The ark is said to dwell between them (although really it is underneath):

1 Samuel 4:4 - "So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God."

2 Samuel 6:2 - "And David arose, and went with all the people that were with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims."


God is said to dwell between them:

Psalm 80:1 - "O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth."

Psalm 99:1 - "The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved."

Isaiah 37:16 - "O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth."


God is said to ride on a cherub when He comes to help men:

1 Samuel 22:10,11 - "He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind."

Psalm 18:10 - "And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind."


They are said to be UNDER the glory of God, as opposed to "Seraphim" which are above (Isaiah 6:2):

Ezekiel 1:26 - "And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne"

Ezekiel 10:1 - "Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne."

Ezekiel 11:22 - "Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above."


Only four in number are ever spoken of, but images of many were entwined in the coverings of the tabernacle and temple:

Exodus 26:1 - "Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them."

1 Kings 6:35 - "And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work."


They are described in detail in Ezekiel's visions in chapters 1 and 10. The creatures seen in chapter 1 are expressly defined as "Cherubim" in 10:15.

They had four wings ("Seraphim" had six) and four faces. In Ezekiel 1 we are told they are the faces of a man, lion, eagle and ox. In Ezekiel 10 we are told they are the faces of a man, lion, eagle, and a cherub (not ox). Does this mean the face of a cherub is like that of an ox? But they had four faces!

Ezekiel 1:10 - "As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle."

Ezekiel 10:14 - "And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle."


The King of Tyre (as a type of fallen man) is referred to as "the anointed cherub that covereth":

Ezekiel 28:12-19 - "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire."