What Are Cherubim

by Tony Warren

Cherub: cher'ub, n. [Hebrew, k@ruwb], (phonic ker-oob') [Keruv]. -- of uncertain derivation. Origin possibly metathesis of the letters for chariot; the figure of a winged creature symbolizing messengers of celestial origin; a figure of the guardian of the tree of life in Biblical Eden; a place in Babylon. pl. Cherubim. Also see, Seraphim.

    The Hebrew word that is translated Cherubim is the plural form of [keruwb] or Cherub. What Are Cherubim? The Cherub is a symbolic figure that is found in scripture signifying certain aspects of the image or likeness of God. Though the Cherubim are often thought of as angels in some circles, it is more properly a symbol representing the messenger or agent of God. Contrary to popular mythology, Cherubim are not angels, nor enigmatic demigods, and certainly not the beautifully winged and scantily clad chubby children of tradition. Despite what we've so often seen in pictures and illustrations, the fact is that you will never read in scripture of an angel or messenger of God with wings. These well known portraits of Cherubim are not the product of sound exegesis, but rather of an active imagination, conjecture, and legend.

But the question remains, what are the Cherubim and Seraphim illustrated in Scripture? In reality they are symbolic word pictures that represent certain characteristics of the personage of God. They reveal to us in cryptic imagery particular characteristic truths illustrated with objects, figures and creatures. The many diverse attributes of the Cherubim are representative of some aspect of the image and Glory of the Lord God Himself. In other words, it is a pictorial similitude, or portrait of many of His divine inherent characteristics.

In this study we propose to demonstrate what Cherubim are. I believe that the figures of the Cherub and Seraph depict the divine economy of God as Father, Son, Holy Spirit, judge, sacrifice, and efficacy of the Covenant body. In this enigmatic symbolic likeness, we see the glory of God represented in His consuming fire, dwelling place, divine chariots of transportation, the Eagle, light, sword of the Spirit, guardian Messenger, man or Adam, and the energy by which all that is good exists. These truths can only be made clear through our walk in the light of scripture and revelation by the Spirit.

Psalms 119:105

The light of scripture should always guide our path in understanding. First, let us consider the Chariots that are often associated with these Cherubim. When we see Cherubim equated with the chariot of battle, or as inhabiting the stones of fire, this is symbolic imagery that is meant to illustrate the Glory of God in spiritual warfare, and the just stones of fire associate His righteous wrath. Chariots in scripture were mainly employed in battles or wars and (along with horses) conveyed the image of "strength in battle." They were the advantage in any battle that separated the haves from the have-nots, and what every military man would covet for his army.

Deuteronomy 20:1

1st Kings 20:25

Horsemen and chariots in scripture usually are images depicting an army of strength prepared for battle (Deuteronomy 11:4; Judges 4:7; 1st Samuel 8:12, 13:5; 1st Kings 9:12; Ezekiel 39:20). And God incorporates this imagery of the "strength of battle" into the Cherubim to illustrate that He is the strong Warrior that goes forth conquering and to conquer, and has the fires of divine judgment. Fire symbolizes judgment (Jeremiah 49:2; Zechariah 9:4; Luke 3:17; Revelation 18:8; 21:8) and Chariots the strength of conflict.

Some other symbols within the Cherubim economy show the Glory of God in his depiction as a Man, Savior, Strength, Wrath, Protector, Light, Sacrifice, Justice, Temple, Avenger, Consuming Fire and Judge of all the earth. When we study these images carefully, we discern the Spiritual truths depicted in all these images are manifested and revealed by the illumination of the Bible itself. Because the Bible is its own interpreter and will often define its own terms.

When you ask what are Cherubim, you will find that each place where the Cherubim or Seraphim are found, it illustrating one or more of these characteristics to the Glory of God. In the book of Isaiah Cherubim are seen to portray the dwelling place of God. In Ezekiel they can be seen portraying the ultimate chariot wherein is revealed God's Glory in His strength of battle. Just as chariots are used to portray strength of battle of the messengers of God. In the book of Genesis they portray God in His Glory as the guardian protector of the Tree of Life. Our comparing scripture with scripture, and symbolism with symbolism, is the key to understanding all this imagery correctly. Even as the book of Revelation portrays Cherubim (the four living creatures in the midst of the throne in heaven) as reigning with His Church in all His Glory. Whether the Cherubim appear with two faces, or four faces, with flaming sword, or with coals of fire, it is all to signify some spiritual characteristic that demonstrates the Glory of God.

The Seraph is another Hebrew word used in scripture to identify the symbolic creation that signifies the likeness and Glory of God. These symbolic creatures are synonymous with the Cherubim. Seraph [saraph] in Hebrew means "consuming fire" or to "cause to burn." And Seraphim is the plural of Saraph. This is quite consistent with the Cherubim who are also associated intimately with consuming fire, as they are spoken of as those who walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire, having hot coals of fire burning beneath them. Both the Cherubim and the Seraphim are images that are expressive of the divine righteousness and judgment revealed to the Glory of God. It is to God's glory that has the requirement of man that he may only have access to the tree of Life,m and ultimately God, through this same fire of His judgment. And Christ being the only Saviour, it can only be through the sacrifice (represented by the image of the Ox) that this can be accomplished. These truths are depicted in these symbols of the Cherubim and Seraphim.

In the appearance of these creatures (depending upon the context), God primarily gives us three pictures:

  1. The Cherubim is pictured showing the Glory of God in His being the presence and terror of an all consuming fire (Genesis 3:24; Ezekiel 10:2), the Warrior of battle and Judge of all the earth.
  2. The Cherubim is pictured showing the Glory of God in the divine characteristic symbolisms of the living creatures (Isaiah 6:2-6) with diverse faces representative of strength, sacrifice, atonement, and refuge (Ezekiel 1:4-28, 10:3-22; Revelation 4:6-8).
  3. The Cherubim is pictured showing the Glory of God in illustrations depicting His purposes seen in the Cherubim furnishings which were a part of the Temple (Exodus 25:18-22; 1st Kings 6:23-35; 2nd Chronicles 3:7-14; Hebrews 9:5) and intimately identifies with the Church.
But all these illustrations of the Cherubim have one thing in common. They all are symbols representing some aspect of God's glory, triumph and purpose. So when we ask what are Cherubim, it is probably best if we start to answer the question by looking at the Cherubim from the beginning. The very first time that we see Cherubim mentioned in scripture, they are stationed East of the Garden of Eden with flaming sword. Here they were a token or sign of the presence of God's judgment denying access to life after the fall. The flaming sword was a "figure" of God's sword of justice, which is His word. It was illustrating that man would come under judgment if he would attempt to eat of the tree of life and live forever, for he had become unworthy by his sin. i.e., it would only be through Christ that one might gain access to the Tree of Life.

Genesis 3:22-24

Turning every way indicates there was "no avenue, no way possible" that anyone could access the tree except passing through judgment of God's word, which is like a flaming sword. Man created in the image of God, but sin removed him from that personal communion. He was driven out of the glorious place of rest, and the flaming sword (representing God's word Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23) was placed at the entrance preventing him from re-entering and obtaining life. This signified that because of Adam's fall into sin, man could not enter into the Paradise of the Lord's place of rest because of God's word. One of the most amazing things about searching out the revelation of scripture is that absolutely everything in the Bible ultimately ends up pointing to the Glory of Christ. These cherubim barring entrance to the Tree oif Life are no exception (Genesis 3:24), as they paint this glorious portrait of the purpose of God. Because of sin, no man may come near God because of His perfect holiness. God's word denies him access to life. Thus in order for man to eat of the Tree and live, there had to be a Savior that would reestablish man in the image of God, wherein he was originally created (Genesis 1:26; 5:1). To once again be without sin is the only way that man would enter into God's place of rest and not be condemned. Being cast out, he could not eat of the tree of life and live forever, because he would fall under God's flaming sword of judgment. The sword of course represents the word of God (for example as it protrudes from the mouth of Christ -Revelation 19:15), and the fire of it represents its judgment (Jeremiah 5:14; John 12:48). The lesson revealed in the Garden of Eden is that man had sinned, and was now unworthy to enter Paradise and eat of the tree of life and live forever. So between the Paradise of everlasting life and sinful man, stood the flaming sword in the likeness of the glory of God as justice.

Jeremiah 23:29

It is God who stands with His word as a flaming sword that no man (because of sin) may enter the Paradise and live forever. It is His word that is as a flaming sword guarding the way, that assures this. Revelation 2:7 In being conformed to the image of God in Christ Jesus, we are restored to sinlessness where we are again able to enter the Paradise of God. Adam and Eve were cast out of the paradise of God because the wages of sin is death. And the symbolism here is that man is then denied the privilege to eat and live forever. Adam's sin being imputed to all mankind means that we also cannot eat of Christ (the Tree of life) that we might forever. Not 'unless' we go through the Cherubim's flaming sword, endure the judgment of the wrath of God for our sins. These are all symbolic illustrations. And it is only in Christ, the substitute sacrifice, that anyone is able to do this.

Fire or burning in scripture typically represents either light or the judgment of the Lord. In this event of God placing Cherubim in the Garden, God is 'signifying' that the tree of Life is forbidden to man because of his sin. So that God's flaming Sword in the hand of the Cherub would fall upon any man who attempted to enter that Paradise unworthily. The flaming sword turning to guard every way, symbolizes God's omnipresence and omniscience where no one can come from any direction without going through this fire. It would turn to meet every comer from every possible avenue. So except man go through the flaming sword, He cannot eat of the tree of Life. For God's word is a fire that will judge (Jeremiah 5:14; 23:29). Nevertheless, for the elect, it is also a fire that through Christ will cleanse in the efficacy of His death and resurrection on our behalf.

John 15:3-4

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, but the efficacy is by the death and resurrection of Christ, wherein we are brought into conformity to His image. In other words, without Christ going through the judgment of God as a substitute for our sin, we shall not enter Paradise (signified by the Cherubim with flaming swords at the entrance) to eat of the tree and receive everlasting Life. We must pass through the fires of God's judgment for sin in order to be made clean and worthy of Life. For all must stand before the judgment throne of God. And it will either be in Christ to receive of His first resurrection, or it will be in the resurrection at the last day unto our just deserts.

Zechariah 13:9

The symbolism in the imagery here is of the contamination or impurity of sin. This is equated with a foundry where raw metals of gold and silver full of impurities are purged of them in the process of refining in the fire. Only then can they be looked upon as truly precious. Likewise, we must be purged of our sin or impurity through the fire. Through our death and resurrection with Christ, the elect in effect go through the fire of the God's flaming sword that we may be made clean and precious in His sight. Then we have access to enter Spiritual Paradise and eat of the tree of life. This is the process wherein we are baptized (cleansed) in the fire, through Christ's death and resurrection.

Luke 3:16

Christ baptized or washed us with fire by taking upon Himself the fiery judgment of God, which we deserved. The Cherubim with flaming sword that guards the tree of life, symbolized that judgment of God. When Christ overcame the death that we rightly deserved, and was raised up without corruption, we were risen with Him without that corruption. We were in effect made pure by the refiner's fire, overcoming only because Christ has overcome that we may eat of the tree.

Revelation 2:7

How can we overcome the flaming sword to access the tree of Life? Only in Christ's overcoming/prevailing for us. Christ said that though we have tribulation this world, we have peace in Him because "He had overcome" the world (John 16:33). Likewise, those who died with Him have overcome death through Him, that the promise from the beginning of everlasting life by the tree, might be fulfilled. Without Him, the flaming sword that turns every way unto judgment of death (brought by Adam), awaits us.

1st Corinthians 15:20-22

The evidence of our going through the judgment of the Cherubim, is that by our having gone through the refiner's fire, and being born again from the dead, we then have access to this Tree of Life in the Paradise of God. Because we are a new creation, born of God so that they will have an earnest desire to keep His Commandments. This is also why the Cherubim overshadowed the Ark of the Covenant that held the Ten Commandments. These ten laws were a synopsis of the entire law of God, which can only be kept by the efficacy in the mercy seat of Christ that laid between the Cherubim. As pillars of fire these Cherub bracket Christ's Mercy seat, and overshadow the Ark that held the commandments.

Revelation 22:13-14

Those who are in Christ, are those who by God's sovereign Grace are blessed to keep God's commandments, and thus have right to the tree of life. Those whom (in Christ) have gone through the Cherubim's flaming sword that protects the way, and have come through it unscathed. Indeed, by Christ having purchased us through His blood, we have divine right [exousia] or authority to eat of it. This is the spiritual signification of the Cherubim in Genesis. And it is the illustration of the two Cherubim on either side of the Mercy seat of Christ. They are still guarding the tree of Life that no one unworthy may enter and live. That should go a long way in answering the question of what are Cherubim.

We also read of Cherubim after God delivered the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. The Lord went before them by day in the pillar of a cloud to lead them, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light. Both the Pillar of Fire, and the Pillar of a Cloud, were representative manifestations of God to the children of Israel during their sojourning in the desert. God is not literally fire, or literally a cloud, but He revealed himself in these natural forms to signify His presence and his help to them. It is God in His Glory who would both lead them, and lighten their way that they may see.

Exodus 13:21-22

Nehemiah 9:19 The cloud is often used symbolically to represent the Glory of the Lord's presence. In this instance this cloud represents the Glory in the Lord's mercy on His people. The light signifying Hois righteousness, which no man can ever approach, and which is a guide to us.

1st Timothy 6:15-16

God has a glory and light that no man has ever seen and lived. Again, this is why His glory and light are seen illustrated in this type imagery. Like the visible presence of God in the pillar of a cloud and fire, it illustrates God's glory. This unbearable light is sometimes referred to as the "Shekinah Glory." Throughout the Bible we see fire represented both as a source of guiding light and as the wrath of God that no one can withstand. The fire of God is both a guide, and judgment.

Deuteronomy 4:24

Other examples of this can be seen as God manifested Himself before man in the burning bush (Exodus 3:2) that was not consumed, or when Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire (Exodus 19:18). This is a token of the presence of God. Likewise, when the fire is seen in the images of Cherubim, it illustrates light and judgment. Indeed it was in the wilderness that God first commanded that the children of Israel build this symbolic representation, and place it at each end of the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant (box with the commandments inside) that laid inside the tabernacle represent the law of God dwelling in His Temple. We may have the law of God within our hearts only because Christ is the tabernacle dwelling within us that fulfilled the law for us. Thus the commandments that were placed inside the ark prefigure God's laws that He has put within us through Christ (Psalms 40:8; Proverbs 3:1; Isaiah 51:7) our Temple. This symbolism is all over the Ark in Cherubim whose wings overshadowed it from either side.

Numbers 7:89

The Lord dwelling between the two Cherubim illustrate Christ upon the mercy seat, guarded by the Cherubim. Even as the Tree of Life (Which represents Christ) was. The mercy in Christ is the only way by which anyone can keep the law within the Ark of the Tabernacle of God.

Exodus 25:21

It is in our hearts that we are to put the testimony of the law that God gives us. The Ark of the Covenant wherein we have the law of God is the new heart that God has given us in the body of Christ.

Psalms 119:10-11

If we have God's word hid within us, we have Christ within us. This is the ark of testimony within us, God communing with us within our heart (Ezekiel 18:31, 36:26), the law secured by His mercy seat. A new heart wherein He puts a new Spirit of obedience to it, by the Covenant of Grace.

Ezekiel 11:19-20

Ezekiel 36:26 The Ark of the Covenant 'represents' that new heart in Christ, who is our tabernacle. This is where God dwells with His people in this Covenant relationship. The lid or mercy seat on the Covenant Ark, signified Christ's sacrifice that secures this relationship. The Cherubim are that representation of the visible glory of God as He dwells with Israel and leads them. For these Cherubim are "figures" depicting not only His glorious guarding, judgment and sacrifice, but also protecting, dwelling, and the light of His shepherding.

Psalms 80:1

This Shepherd is the Lord who leads Israel, and His dwelling with the Cherubim (which are the symbols representing the Glory of God, which will go with Israel wherever they go), are illustrations of this Glorious personal relationship of God with His people. God said that He would dwell with these Cherubim (the visible image of the glory of God) to illustrate His personal relationship with those hearts that are secured by the mercy seat of Christ. Christ being the only mediator between God and man (1st Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 12:24). The hearts made lawful, signified by God's divine presence with the Covenant Ark of the law, which rested between the Cherubim.

1st Samuel 4:4

2nd Kings 19:15 Psalms 99:1 Isaiah 37:15-16 These symbolic creatures are prefigured as judges and protectors of His dwelling place in the Holy Temple. They signify that God Himself would dwell with man in the Temple, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The creation of these figures over the Ark represented His Glorious covering, condescension, judgment, righteousness, and the sovereign mercy by which He would bring the true children of Israel through His judgment fire. They were commissioned to be made as symbols of these truths.

Exodus 25:18-22

The faces of these Cherubim were to be turned one toward another, illustrating their communion or unity as one (the individual faces all symbolize some attribute of Christ, as we'll see), and their faces are toward the mercy seat, illustrating Christ's favor. God promised to meet with His people there. This can only signify that this is done by the propitiation of Christ. i.e., The Lord will not hide His face from those under the blood of the Covenant. He will be their help and their shield, by efficacy of the blood, He is the Redeemer.

Psalms 84:8-9

The faces of the Cherub are toward the mercy seat because that is where God says that he would dwell with His people and meet with them. The law of God (illustrated by the ten commandments) was under the mercy seat (lid) of the Ark of the Covenant, and this is why God said in Exodus 25:22,

"..I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two Cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel."

God communes with them from the two Cherubim, the Shekina or visible glory of God. It is by the blood of Christ that we have been given a new heart to receive the testimony of the Covenant. When the high Priest went into the Holy of Holiest behind the veil and communed with God, he made atonement for the sins of the people by blood upon this mercy seat, which the Cherubim overshadowed. These ceremonial laws were a figure of our access to God through our precious Redeemer.

Leviticus 16:15-16

The blood was sprinkled upon and before the mercy seat to make atonement. The mercy seat (lid) signified the atoning sacrifice of Christ, which is the shield that secures whatever is within the Ark of the Covenant. It is this mercy seat which is the strength of the believer, and it is because of His atonement that His word is secured within our heart. And this is signified by the ark of the Covenant or Promise. The Covenant with God's people is made strong by the sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 9:17), and the blood on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant signified that shield of faith.

Psalms 28:7

The wings of the Cherubim, which were overshadowing the Mercy seat, also signified that shield. It is a spiritual pictures of the Lord's help to His people. As the covering Cherub, it is by Him that we are protected from all harm. All these images paint a cryptic spiritual picture or illustration of the Glory of the Lord in His salvation program for His people Israel. Christ purging us of our sins in death, taking our judgment upon Himself glorifies His Holy name.

Psalms 79:9

Again, we can see the example where King Solomon made two Cherubim of olive wood for the Holy of Holiest of the Temple (1 Kings 6:23). They covered the ark with their wings, the image an example so we know that it is by the Grace of God that there is covering, mercy, and atonement for His people. It is by appointment of God that the Cherubim are guarding the ark, and overshadowing those who are under mercy. In securing the path of the righteous, the Cherubim secure all those in Christ.

1st Kings 8:6-7

The fact that a creature would shield the ark and the Mercy seat can only symbolize God's protection, refuge, and care over the mercy seat, and the children of Israel who meet with Him there in Christ.

The Cherubim are also often seen in visions, such as those by Isaiah (6:2-6), Ezekiel (1:5-16; 10:1-21), and John (Revelation 4:6-9). They are always seen in connection with the glorious presence or God, the judgment of God, or the throne or dwelling place of God. They were revealed to illustrate God's presence in His Covenant relationship with His people.

Exodus 37:7-9

These Cherubim were overlaid with gold as a figure to represent the Glory of God (Gold, being Precious, or that which is of great value). The mercy seat or lid of the Ark itself was made of solid Gold, whereby we are given exceeding great and "precious" promises. It is called mercy because it symbolized God's unmerited favor and leniency, which would come upon those who are under the Covenant shield of Christ. It was here that the blood was to be sprinkled. As stated before, I believe that the Ark holding the law is representing that which is the vehicle of our salvation. That wherein we receive our New hearts in Christ, and illustrates our cleansing by the sprinkling of blood upon it.

Hebrews 10:22

Spiritually, Saints were washed clean by this sprinkling of blood, represented in the New Testament spiritual cleansing seen in water. The Cherubim are equated in every way with the person and work of Christ, but so is the mercy seat that it overshadows. The faces of the Cherubim looking toward the mercy seat reveal the image of God is not hid from the elect who are saved by that propitiation for their sins. That is also why the New Testament references Cherubim in the description of the furnishings of the holy of holiest. The furnishings to prefigure Christ, our propitiation.

Hebrews 9:4-5

Hebrews 9:20-21 Romans 3:24-25 The Greek word [hilasterion] translated "Mercy Seat," and the word translated propitiation, are the exact same words. That's because the sacrifice of Christ was prefigured by that image of a mercy seat. In it is revealed the redemptive work of Christ in making our hearts clean, that we might obtain mercy in He who is the express image of God (Hebrews 1:2-3). The Cherubim of the Tabernacle inside the Holy of Holiest, signified the care and protection of the person of Christ, wherein we are sprinkled clean in His shed blood. It is His shed blood on the mercy seat that secured the only way to the Holiest God.

Hebrews 10:19-20

Indeed, signifying this, the symbolism of the Cherubim was interwoven into the veil of the tabernacle itself to prefigured the fact that Christ's flesh was that only way for His people to meet in favor with God.

Exodus 26:1

The veil we saw was signifying Christ's flesh, and we see that the Cherubim were interwoven into it.

The wings of the Cherubim illustrate what wings have always illustrated. When we think of what the wings of birds are for, one aspect is that we see that they allow birds to traverse the air to get to places quickly. God used doves descending to illustrate the Holy Spirit traversing through the air. Another aspect is that wings can be a help, as they allow birds to escape danger. A third aspect is that they are covers to shield young birds from the heat of the sun, dry from the rain or to keep them warm in the cold. In short, the wings of a bird are their mode of transport and their protector. Wings in scripture are used to symbolize these same characteristics. God uses wings to as images signifying His protection over us as they cover us so that we are safe and secure. For example, as the aspect of His help and security, God used the illustration of bearing the children of Israel up on Eagles wings, protecting them on their wilderness journey.

Deuteronomy 32:10-12

God is using the exact same analogy of a bird and how she protects her children with her wings. And this is the same symbolism of the Cherubim spreading abroad her wings covering the Ark of the Covenant. Believers are the offspring of God, the first born Children by the blood of Christ. The wings of the Cherubim signify that the Covenant with Israel means mercy to these offspring because the shed blood of Christ covers their sins. They will never die or lose their Salvation by falling away, for it is God Himself who has His wings outspread over them. Thus, the tables of the commandments in the Ark of the Covenant will not return void. The children are not dried up by the heat, nor drowned by the rain, nor blown away in the wind. It is God who will watch over the Covenant children. The covering of the Mercy Seat by wings is to illustrate that the children of Israel are protected by the overshadowing wings of God. A 'shadow' is a place of protection from the harmful effects of the heat. And heat is a figure of both the judgment of God, and that which, the enemies of God bring upon His children.

Psalms 17:7-9

Psalms 36:7 God doesn't have wings, but this is the similitude or imagery that He puts forth to demonstrate to us the glory of His protecting the Covenant children. By Christ going through the fires of God, a sacrifice for us, we obtain mercy and are overshadowed by God's wings. His dwelling place is now our place, our kingdom refuge or mountain retreat wherein we might find rest. He is our shelter from that which would destroy or hurt us.

Psalms 57:1

This is the symbolism of the wings overshadowing the Mercy Seat. The love and mercy of God is demonstrated in the imagery of the seat or lid securing the law of God. It is upon this seat which Christ's blood made us dead to the law, that we are seen to have a pure heart.

Isaiah 4:5-6

The same cloud and smoke and flaming fire which God went in and used to symbolize His guarding the children of Israel when He brought them out of the land of Egypt, is the very same symbolism of the Cherubim with flaming swords that guarded the way of the tree of Life. The very same Cherubim that stand at each side of the Mercy seat, face toward each other, as guards overshadowing it.

Isaiah 32:2

These are symbolic pictures that are representing the Lord. He is the man who is a hiding place from the wind (psalms 32:7; psalms 119:114) and our shield. He is the true Holy Tabernacle, He is the Rock that casts a shadow in a weary land, and He is the image of the anointed Cherub that covers (more on this later) and that protects us from the judgment of God. Only the wings of the Lord almighty Himself can overshadow the mercy seat of the Covenant. Only God Himself could be in such a lofty position over the sacrifice seat. And only the Lord God almighty Himself could prevent the wicked from eating from the tree of Life. Only the Lord can be revealed to man in the Glory of the Cherubim. He is this image of the spiritual chariot, the visible vehicle of battle to the Glory of God. There is hiding in His wings, and fire at His feet "because" He is God. See how this Glory of God is revealed also in the book of Habakkuk.

Habakkuk 3:3-5

This is the image, similitude, or likeness of the Glory of God. It's not a literal picture of God, it is a "figure" symbolizing characteristics of God. His glory covers the heavens and He has horns coming out of His hands and fire from His feet is imagery. God doesn't have literal horns coming out of his hands, nor does He walk on pillars of literal fire. The horns of scripture symbolize "Power" and the fire symbolizes "judgment." We have to come to an understanding of God's use of symbolism and cryptic imagery. By comparing scripture with scripture, that God be His own interpreter, is how we finally understand what the Cherubim with coals of fire at their feet are, and what their wings, their faces, their wheels, and clouds truly symbolize.

2nd Samuel 22:11

Psalms 18:9-10 The heavens didn't literally take a dip, nor does God literally ride upon the backs of angels, or use a literal chariot in the sky (with wings no less) to get around, but the wings of the Cherub is imagery depicting His ability as Spirit of God to go anywhere. That is also what His being seen upon the wings of the wind signifies. i.e., wind doesn't have wings. This is a 'spiritual' picture illustrating a spiritual chariot of the air with wings that are a token of the Glory of God in Cherubim.

1st Chronicles 28:18

What need is there for Cherubim to have chariots? It should be self evident that this is God speaking in symbolic language. The chariot of the Cherubim here portrays the conveyance of God in battle. It signifies the Glory of God as He comes as the "vehicle" of warfare, judgment, and recompense to men. The very same image we see of Cherubim, or chariot of fire, which took Elijah up to heaven. This was visually God's "likeness" illustrating His Glory.

2nd Kings 2:11-12

This whirlwind, chariot of fire, and horses of fire, all represented some aspect of God in His taking Elijah home. Our heavenly Father is the Cherubim of Israel, the strength of battle, and the power unto taking us up to be with Him in Paradise.

At this point we should take a closer look at some of the symbolism of chariots in scripture. In the Lord's first advent, chariots illustrated the judgment He received on our behalf.

Psalms 68:17-20

This is set in the context of Christ's victory at the cross when He brought Salvation, commanding thousands of thousands of chariots in defeat of the dragon and his "messengers," (see Revelation 12 study) that he might dwell with them and give gifts unto men. One of the commentaries of this chapter is found in Ephesians chapter four:

Ephesians 4:7-8

This passage directs us back to the chariots of Psalms 68:17-20 demonstrating its fulfillment in Christ's ascension on High, that we might have the gift of salvation. Chariots signified the judgment of God in His victory over death. Likewise:

Zechariah 6:1-3

The very same symbolism of strength of battle (warfare) in Zechariah, as we see demonstrated in Revelation chapter six, in the judgment of God as He sends forth the 'four horsemen.' The chariot with the Horses are portraits of this wrath of God, this judgment as they go forth to spiritual battle. Again, the Lord spoke of His coming in the same way in the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 66:15-16

This is the image of the flaming sword, and the chariot of God. It is an image of God Himself as He is undefeatable in battle, and will plead with all flesh. Again, when God talks about the day of the Lord coming, He uses the very same symbolism of warfare of chariots, and of flames of fire.

Joel 2:2-5

This is the 'symbolism' depicting the judgment of God upon His Congregation, which was once as the Garden of Eden, and as His Holy Mountain. An army coming to destroy them with "Chariots of fire." Note how God depicts the false Christ from the bottomless pit "which He has loosed," so similarly to this symbolism in the book of Joel.

Revelation 9:7-9

This is symbolism of the false Christ, the great deception of Satan that comes upon the congregation 'as judgment of God.' They are likened unto men, women, lions, wings, chariots, and horses prepared unto battle. These things are no coincidence. This is symbolism of the false body of Christ (as opposed to the true, symbolized by the Cherubim), set loose by God, who alone has the key to the bottomless Pit. Likewise the chariot symbolism in Zechariah's vision is of the coming of the Lord as a man of battle, in wrath against his enemies.

And so we see clearly that the Chariot symbolizes strength of battle. When used in representations of God, it pictures His conveyance and strength of war, and often as His chariot of wrath or judgment. All His children shall 'spiritually' be conveyed into heaven on chariots of fire (as Elijah did), which is the imagery of the glory of God Himself. When Christ appears at the Second Advent, He will appear on the clouds of Glory.

And so when we see these Cherubim over the Ark, it is an illustration of the relationship of God to those whom He has made His children, and whom He has elected to be delivered into the kingdom of heaven, and who will never see death. He will fight for them against their enemies. The ark is a figure of this promise (Covenant) that He has with His people. When we see the image of the chariot, it depicts God's strength of battle. When we see the Cherubim's face as man, it depicts God as the substitute. When we see the Cherubim face as an ox it depicts God as the sacrifice. In other words, they all show some particular aspect or characteristic of the Glory of God.

2nd Chronicles 5:7

God is illustrating His intimate and personal relationship with His children. Just as He illustrated when He left the Glory of heaven to take upon Himself the form of a man, that He might save them. The vehicle of the Glory of God in battle is seen in these images of Cherubim, as they are seen as spiritual chariots with wheels. We can also see this illustrated in Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 9:1-3

The Glory of God was gone up from the Cherub to the threshold of the House of God, for judgment was nigh. Here the House of God is illustrating the Congregation, His dwelling-place. But God is now signifying its judgment. And note Ezekiel makes it known that it is judgment that cannot take place until all God's servants are secured by a mark that they will not be hurt. Continuing on, we read:

Ezekiel 9:4-6

There is abomination in the city of God, and in the congregation of God, and those who are faithful to cry out to God because of these transgressions. These faithful are sealed or secured by being marked in their forehead that they will not come under this judgment of God. And we can see God illustrate this same marking in the foreheads before bringing judgment, in the prophecy of the book of Revelation. Likewise there, His judgment couldn't happen until after all His elect were marked in their foreheads.

Revelation 7:2-3

The point here, in connection with Ezekiel chapter 9, is that the Glory of God had gone up from the Cherubim forestalling judgment of the Lord. They had to be marked before the coals of fire from the feet of the Cherubim could destroy the wicked. This is a signification of believers being sealed with the Holy Spirit. They first had to be marked this way as saved, and only then could the judgment of God come in the form of fire from the Cherubim.

Keep in mind that Ezekiel, Isaiah and John the Revelator, are seeing visions. Visions are images, figures, and symbolic representations of things. In determining the meaning of visions, we must examine the imagery and come to conclusions based upon what the imagery represents in the rest of scripture, harmonizing that with its context. For example, in the symbolism of John seeing the seven candlesticks of revelation 2-3. We don't just say they represent movie stars, we search out what they represent in scripture, and thus understand Candlesticks/Lampstands symbolize Churches, because they are commissioned to bring the light to the world. In this case Revelation chapter 1:20 tells us point blank they represent Churches, but in most cases we must search it out throughout the Bible to come to the correct conclusion. Likewise, the visions of the four living creatures (KJV translated beasts) is symbolism which must be searched out in order to come to the 'true' meaning in the imagery of these Cherubim. They are described as a tetrad in Revelation.

Revelation 4:6-8

These four beasts (living creatures) with wings are Cherubim, or symbolic representation of the Glory of God in His divine attributes. The face of a lion is an image depicting God's strength, the face of a calf depicts His sacrifice, the face of a man depicts God as He was manifested in the flesh, and the face of the flying Eagle, His judgment/protection over us. All these symbols in the Cherubim point directly to the Glory of God.

Revelation 5:5

Christ, as the strong Lion has fought the battle against Satan and has prevailed [nikao], or subdued him in battle by His superior strength (Jeremiah 31:11; Luke 11:22). No one was found worthy to open the book illustrated in Revelation, until Christ (represented as the 'Lion of Juda,') came with the strength to conquer or overcome Satan that man receive the revelation. Likewise, when we read of the four living creatures in Ezekiel, these characteristics of God are highlighted signifying His Glory. The prophet Ezekiel also describes the Cherubim as a tetrad of living creatures, each having four diverse faces.

Ezekiel 1:10-11

But when we read of this symbolism again in Ezekiel chapter 10, we note that the sacrifice bullock [showr] or Ox, is now identified as the face of a Cherub. So by reading chapter 10 of Ezekiel, God makes in clear that the face of the sacrifice is used inter-changeably with face of the Cherub. Why? Because they both are images representing the Glory of God in the Sacrifice, Christ. Revelation chapter 4 calls it the face of a calf, which again is the Cherub, the sacrifice (Luke 15:23). Moreover, this entire image in Ezekiel is called the Cherubim. And so this in itself illustrates clearly that it represents the image of the Lord God, as He is the strength, sacrifice, propitiation, and refuge for those under the blood of the covenant. And its wings being the vehicle, conveyed this living Word of God.

Ezekiel 10:1-6

Here this creature is called the Cherubim, and what He does represents the judgment, mercy and Glory of almighty God. We see this item is made up of compound figures, and is not an image of God. Rather these conpound figures are representative images that illustrate certain attributes and properties of these animals in God's glorious salvation plan for man in Christ. The wings of the Cherubim are said to be as the voice of almighty God Himself. This is because the wings of this creature, like its wheel within a wheel, are representing the freedom to move in any direction (God's omnipresence) in propitiation. The wheels symbolize the conveyance or vehicle of the Spirit of God, and nothing stops them. These symbolic wheels join the Cherubim with the earth. This fire between the wheels of the Cherubim symbolize the judgment of God, which is given to plague the wicked--but only after the servants who cry because of the abominations, are marked for mercy. Ezekiel is a marvelous vision in symbolism, which paints a picture of the Glory of God in relationship to His people and judgment.

Ezekiel 10:14-16

Ezekiel confirms this is the very same image that He saw in Ezekiel chapter 1 by the river Chebar (Ezekiel 1:1,3,10). And it is the Cherubim. But note that God has changed the 'imagery' here to show us "other" characteristics of the Glory of God. The very fact that Ezekiel saw the Cherubim in his visions 'vividly as symbolic images' prove that they are indeed not angels as so many believe, but figures illustrating the aspects or characteristics of God Himself. It would be blasphemous to picture angels as the Sacrifice.

Another clue is that the coals of fire taken from between the wheels of the Cherubim also illustrate the consuming fire of judgment from God. And the wheels again symbolize His conveyance. That they turn not, and have eyes, symbolize His omniscience (all seeing) that the purpose of God is straight and true, turning not to the left hand nor the right. He is just and righteous in His judgments, He sees all, and does not turn away from His divine purpose and will. All things point to the inescapable conclusion that these living creatures could not be angels, as everything about them are signs of the "likeness or image" of the Glory of God Himself.

Ezekiel 1:13

The image or likeness of God is as fire, not angels. Angels are Messengers, ministering spirits, not an all consuming fire. There were burning coals of fire before the altar of the Lord to symbolize His judgment upon our sacrifice, Christ. He is the sacrifice judged for our sins, and yet, being God, was not consumed so that we were not consumed. And the coals of fire beneath the Cherubim's wheels likewise symbolize judgment. The Cherubim when they appear as lamps symbolize that the Glory of God is as light to the world. As is also demonstrated in Habakkuk that we considered earlier:

Habakkuk 3:4-6

Their appearance was like burning coals of fire at the feet or wheels of the Cherubim, and their appearance was like Lamps. God declares He is the lamp of fire. Here in Habakkuk we can see clearly this is the image of the Glory of God as the light, and as coals of fire at His feet. Ezekiel puts it this way--that out of the fire of these creatures, went forth lightning.

Ezekiel 1:14

In all of scripture, angels are never described as appearing as lightning, nor that they moved as lightning, nor that they look like lightning. This is symbolism that is reserved for characteristics of God. As lightning strikes in the east and shines to the west, so shall the revelation of the coming of the Lord be.

Matthew 24:27

Matthew 28:3 The Lord is as the appearance of lightning. We can also understand this is we wisely consider the symbolism of the Lord in both the visions of Daniel and Revelation.

Daniel 10:5-6

Revelation 1:13-15 In revelation, this image was a symbol of God dwelling in the midst of the Churches, just as the Cherubim were a symbol of God dwelling in the midst of the Temple in the Old Testament. It was not an angel, it was the likeness (image) of the Glory of the Lord our God. And in fact, we do not even have to speculate what the Cherubim are, because God himself tells us this "unambiguously." That is to say, if we will receive it.

Ezekiel 1:28

The bow is a token or symbol of a Covenant between God and His people (Genesis 9:13-15). And God, speaking of these Cherubim, point blank tells us, it was the likeness [demuwth], or similitude, the very image of the Glory of God. How much clearer can it get? God says point blank, this Cherubim was the appearance of an image of the Glory of God. It was not an angel, it was not God (no man can see God and live) made by man, but it was the likeness or similitude of the Glory of God.

It is imagery that is a token (sign), just as all the furniture which was in the Holy Temple were for tokens which represented some aspect of God. For example, candlesticks representing light, or the Altar representing sacrifice, curtains represented Christ's flesh, etc. Because no man can truly see God in all His Glory. Therefore, we see here a 'likeness' of Him in symbolic imagery representing His Glory.

John 1:18

1st Timothy 6:16 Exodus 24:16 And the picture of Cherubim illustrate this Glory of the Lord in images that man can understand. Because as men, this is the only way that we can see the divine nature of God, and live. We see by the images pictured in the word of God, made manifest by His Spirit within us. No man can see God at any time, but by the Spirit of Christ, He has declared him to us in parables and symbolic representations.

Exodus 33:19-22

We cannot see the true face of God and live, therefore God shows His face in the imagery of the face of a Calf, and Man, and Eagle, and Lion. God hid His face from Moses as He passed by so that he only saw the tiny edge of the Glory of God. And yet Moses face still shone so bright from this that the Children of Israel were afraid of Him. So God gives us these visions of compound figures showing a 'likeness' or image revealing His attributes because, by the Spirit, it is the only way we can learn who God is and what He represents. We are finite, God is infinite. God inspired these prophets to describe Him in symbolic terms, picturing a likeness that we would understand through His Spirit. We understand that Gold is precious, we understand the protection of eagle's wings, we understand the futility of trying to get past a flaming sword which turns every which way, we understand how burning coals of fire can be the torment of judgment, and how the life of the blood of an Ox or calf signifies a blood sacrifice for our sins. This symbolism is for us and our finite understanding of the Glory of God.

When Ezekiel saw the Cherubim and realized that He was looking at the very image of the Glory of God, he did what any faithful Christian who fears God would do. He fell on His face. And that is when He heard the voice of God, not the voice of angels. And so from the preponderance of Biblical evidence, we can see that these Cherubim are representations of God. And really, symbolism in scripture is not something that is new. God has incorporated this in His Holy word from the very beginning. We only need to study the scriptures with an earnest desire to be obedient to it, and the truth of it will ultimately shine through.

There are those who claim that if these Cherubim are images of the Likeness of the Glory of God, then God's command to build the Cherubim was a violation of His own command (2nd commandment) to man not to make an image of Him. But this is decidedly not an Image of God. And it is not a violation of God's 2nd commandment anymore than His telling His people Israel to build the Holy Temple a violation of that commandment make an image of Him. Because the Temple building was not an image of Christ anymore than the Cherubim are. It was an building "representing" some aspect of the Glory of God in His dwelling with them, just as the building of the Cherubim are. I.e., the Temple built by Israel was not an image of God, it was a sort of allewgory of God as a house, and fulfilled in Christ. I could draw an image of a Temple today with no fear of violating God's second commandment. Because a Temple made of bricks is not an image of Christ. Likewise, the Cherubim are not an image of God (God doesn't have wings or diverse animal heads, etc.), it is a building representing God's glory in the redemption of man, and looked forward to Christ as all the law concerning all the tabernacle furniture did.

Hebrews 10:1

All the furniture of the tabernacle was not the very image of God, but it did represent some aspect or attribute of the Lord in His salvation process. The Lampstands (candlesticks) represented His light, the sacrifices His shed blood, the fire His judgment, the Temple His building, the animal sacrifice the shed blood of Christ, the Manna God's word, the Ark God's salvation vehicle, and on and on. Tthey are all images revealing some aspect of the glory of God in His redemptive plan. It's not an attempt to make a picture/image of God, because the holy scriptures give us absolutely no physical description of either God the Father or Christ. So in truth, we don't have a single piece of descriptive information to help us even begin a true picture, so that any picture anyone conjures up is inherently a lie! Likewise, the imagery revealing Christ in Revelation chapter one, is "NOT" a physical picture of God, it is a spiritual portrait in diverse imagery.

Revelation 1:13-16

That is not a picture of God. It is cryptic imagery where God is showing us many of the diverse attributes of His Glory in the salvation of man. White signifying purity, wool signifying He is the Lamb, gold signifying His valuable or precious nature, fire signifying His divine judgment, and so on and so forth. God isn't saying "This is what I look like," He is saying it is the Glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out the matter (proverbs 25:2).

Revelation 3:22

It is not "he who hath eyes, look at what God really looks like." God is obviously not a wheel, not an Ox, doesn't have wings, isn't wearing a Breastplate, doesn't have a sword protruding from His mouth, Fire isn't flowing beneath His feet, etc., etc. But these things represent certain things that reveal to us His Glory and divine nature. And the fact is, likeness or image of a wheel, an Ox, wings, coals of Fire, a Lion, etc., are certainly not representative of Angels. Why would an Angel by represented by an Ox or the face of a Lion--Biblically speaking. Comparing scripture with scripture, who is actually seen in scripture as the true (antitype) of all these figures? Do not interpretations belong to God (Genesis 40:8), or do they belong to man's imagination? Are Cherubim and Seraphim Biblically representative of Angels, Chubby little children with wings, or types of the Glory of God in Christ?

Isaiah 55:8-9

God is a Spirit being, He doesn't think like the world, nor define images as Webster's dictionary or modern mythology does. These images are not literal pictures of God, they are spiritual pictures, shadows, tokens pointing to some aspect of God that will ultimately bring Him glory. The very fact that the Bible is silent on God's actual appearance, giving absolutely no physical description at any time, clearly demonstrates the seriousness of God's divine care in making sure conscientious Christians hold to the second commandment.

In closing, I would be remiss in this study if I did not also touch on a chapter concerning, "what are Cherubim," that has been of great controversy. It is the passage where theologians originally got the whole idea of Cherubim being angels in the first place. The source of confusion is the mention of the Cherub in Ezekiel 28:14. The passage in question quite clearly declares that the person it is speaking about as the covering Cherub is the king of Tyrus, not an angel. Nevertheless, certainly we can understand their logic, if not their entrenchment. They "assume" that because the reference here says the king was in the Garden of Eden, it has to refer to Satan as a fallen angel. And from this they surmise that God is using the king as a type of Satan. However, without Biblical warrant, we cannot make such a leap of faith in interpretation. The rule of thumb applies that "assumption is the mother of error." He was called the anointed cherub because he was representative man, created in the likeness of God in Adam, and has fallen to sin and lost all semblance of the image of God. Clearly, the King of Tyrus waws not in the Garden of Eden, nor perfect in beauty as Adam was, but he is representative of mankind and his degradation.

Ezekiel 28:12-16

At first glance it is easy to see how one could make such a mistake about the king representing a fallen angel. However, rather than "reading into this text" an angel, the king of Tyrus is quite clearly a man being castigated by God for being created in the image of God to be righteous, but who has turned from God in his sin and thus come under judgment. So rather than represent a fallen angel, this represents FALLEN MAN. It illustrates original man in Adam, created good (Genesis 1:26-27) in the image/likeness of God before the fall. Man, as he was created without sin, but who has fallen in Adam, losing the glory of the likeness of God he was created with. Thus because of his fall and our inheritance of his spirit of bondage to disobedience, we are all subject to death. But thanks to our God, that full glory of God's image can be restored in Christ Jesus. Thus He is often referred to as the second Adam.

1st Corinthians 15:20-22

Now we can see the spiritual darkness begin to clear as we can see more of the picture. We were 'all' created in the image of God in Adam. The sin of Adam separated man from that image of God. And in the process, it separated all of us in generations to follow from that likeness. It was man who was perfect in the mountain (Kingdom) of God. But sin was found in us, and we all died in Adam (1st Corinthians 15:20-22) and are come under judgment as surely as King Tyrus had. And except we are restored to the image of God that 'man' had in the garden, we remain fallen and subject to the wrath of God. The king of Tyrus is man directly from the loins of Adam, who can only be restored to the image of God, in the second Adam, which is Christ.

Romans 8:29

It should be self-evident that (according to scripture) it was man (Adam) and not angels who were in the Garden of Eden where every precious stone was his covering. It was Adam who was the anointed Cherub that covereth upon the Holy mountain of God because He was the very image/likeness of the Glory of God. It was Adam who walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire (in the presence of God) in that Garden. In point of fact, the very name "Tyrus" means a stone. So it's quite obvious to me what is being illustrated here. It was in Adam that man was in the image of God and perfect in all his ways in the garden from the day that he was created, until iniquity was found in him (the fall). And the fall of the king of Tyrus in his sinfulness "personifies" this fall from God's image by Adam. God is illustrating to fallen man that we qualify by attempting to be like God in eating of the tree of knowledge without wisdom. Man qualifies for "all" that we read in Ezekiel 28:12-16. But Angels do not qualify. We interpret scripture by scripture, not by popular assumptions. And not once do we read of angels in the Garden of Eden. Not once do we read of angels falling in the Garden of Eden. Not once do we read of angels being corrupted because of knowledge. Not once do we read of angels defiling their sanctuaries by the multitude of their iniquities. On the contrary, we read of man in the garden, man was perfect there from the time he was created, and man is the one who fell there. And let's not forget, did not God say these very things of Adam?

Genesis 3:22

It is man who was corrupted because of knowledge, not angels. He sought to be as God by his disobedience in eating of the tree of knowledge, and it was this that caused his fall in the day he transgressed. Satan in the Garden of Eden didn't have every precious stone his covering, but Adam was made glorious, precious in the sight of the Lord. Satan was not set the anointed Cherub that covereth upon the holy mountain of God, but scripture says Adam (man) was created in the very image of God so that this definition is consistent. In point of fact, everything in the Garden of Eden, including the serpent, was 'under dominion of Adam,' (Genesis 1:26-28;3:1) as He was perfect. Adam was the very likeness or image of God. ..as a Cherub.

Genesis 1:26-27

Letting the scripture be its own interpreter, we must ask where is it written in scripture that Satan was created in the image of God (as a Cherub) in the Garden of Eden? We don't read that of Satan, but we do read that of man. Scripture does not say that Satan was perfect in the day He was created until his fall, but God created Adam (man) perfect, without sin, with free access to the tree of life until the day of his fall. In all of scripture, there is no one (besides Christ, the God man) whom God declares was created perfect, except Adam. This in itself should illustrate to us that the king of Tyrus "personifies" man who had everything, and lost it in the fall. In fact the very language, "perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created," clearly harkens back to the creation of Adam.

Genesis 5:1-2

So again, it all points to the King of Tyrus as a representation of fallen Man, not of an angel nor Satan. Adam walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire and had no reason to hide from God before the fall. All these things which God speaks of concerning the King of Tyrus, applies to Adam before the fall. He was the very image of God (cherub) from the day that he was created, till iniquity was found in him. And by the multitude of his iniquity is there violence, and he has sinned, and therefore will God cast him as profane out of His Mountain. When God says, "Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus," it is a lamentation for man, not for Satan, nor for fallen angels. When God says, "I will destroy thee, O covering Cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire," it speaks of the judgment of man, and how He is come under the wrath of God.

And so the support for the Cherub being an angel is not really as sound as many people might think. The symbolic image of the Cherubim, that John, Isaiah and Ezekiel saw, were a pictorial figure of the glory of God. And the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat, and Lord, dwelling with the Cherubim, illustrated that the tabernacle of God is with men, and that He would dwell with them, and they would be his people, and He their God. It's the personal relationship of the Creator, to His people.

2nd Kings 19:15

Psalms 99:1-2 Cherubim are the watchers and guardians over the Holiness and person of the Lord. It is their spiritual responsibility to be the fiery judge of anything that is unholy that should come into God's presence (Gen. 3:24). And who could there possibly be as guardian over God, but God. Is there anyone higher, stronger, or who could protect the way of the tree of Life better than God? Does God need angels to watch over Him? This was the likeness or image of the Glory of God, just as it is written. And it illustrates God's terribleness, His Kingship over all that Creation, and His personal relationship with His people. The Lord is not making His habitation in the Mercy Seat dwelling with angels overshadowing Him, He dwells in the Glory of God, in the very Image of God, because He and the Father are one. If anything, He overshadows the messengers of God, not vice-versa.

And because the elect are returned to the image of Christ, Cherubim will also have the connotation of illustrating a certain representation of redeemed humanity in the body of Christ. Through Christ we see our fellowship, our companionship with God is through this work of Christ. We again have that Garden of Eden communion through the Lord Jesus Christ, when we are conformed to God's perfect image (Romans 8:29). We may not be able to understand perfectly this symbolism of the Cherubim relationship, but the image of God is there for all to see.

2nd Corinthians 3:18

What Are Cherubim? The Cherubim are symbolic imagery of the Glory of God Himself, and are intimately related to man. God is said to ride upon the Cherubim, because it is symbolic of the vehicle whereby man is both judged and restored to the Glory of God. The symbolic figure of His strength of battle, as it appears a chariot and horses of fire, all paint a very enlightening portrait. His feet walk among the stones of fire to illustrate that the Glory of God is seen in coals of fire as a furnace, signifying His wrath and judgment. But the Cherubim not only illustrate a representation of His judgments upon man, but also of His communion, sacrifice, love, mercy, protection and care for the believer. For the Cherubim "are" the appearance of the very likeness of the Glory of the LORD (Ezekiel 1:28). A glory that can be seen of man, and the key is in the symbolism so prevalent in its illustration.

    May the Lord who is gracious above all grant us the wisdom to discern His most holy Word, and to understand the symbolism that He has made manifest, for our encouragement.


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Copyright ©2004 Tony Warren
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