In this blog we are going to focus on one particular group of angels and the misconceptions about them. Cherubs. And give you fair warning, I have a lot to say on this matter so this segment with be longer than the previous two.
The first misconception is that a cherub is a baby faced, childlike angel.
This is so far from the truth. This depiction of a cherub came about through art. But this is more of a description of putti not a cherub. Cherubim which is the plural of cherub, is actually quiet fierce looking. With 4 heads, one of a human, one of a lion, one of an eagle and one of an ox. They have 2 pairs of wings (4 wings in total). Human bodies but the legs of an ox, one pair of wings they cover their bodies and the other pair are stretched above there heads.
I would recommend reading Ezekiel 1: 5-14.
Cherubim are also depicted as wheels this comes from a continuation of that reading Ezekiel 1:15-end. This also mentions them appearing as thrones this is because it is upon a cherubim throne that the Lord sits in heaven.
This next misconception about cherubim is that they are pleasant and sweet creatures, I think this came about so that their personality would match the image most people where used to seeing, so if they ‘look’ sweet and innocent they must behave that way to. As stated above they actually look quite frightening and their personalities match this.
A couple of passages I suggest reading would be Genesis 3:24.
So the aspect of guardianship was involved with the first mention of cherubim. They were said to have been put there that they might keep the way of the garden. The word keep is defined as to guard or protect in the Bible. And the fact that these creatures were placed in this position of protection after man fell into sin is also very notable. And we must keep these thoughts in mind when we read other references to the Cherubim in the Bible in order to determine what messages God is saying to us in the mere mention of them in the various settings we find them involved with. These creatures are seen in the most strange settings. And without comparing the various references to them, and their various involvements in each of the associated settings, it will be rather difficult to determine the reason for their presence. We do know, by common sense itself, that God does nothing without purpose and meaning. And since the Bible is the Word from God which has been given to man for the purpose of leading man to salvation, there is an aspect of our salvation with which these cherubim are involved. Otherwise they would never have played a part in anything in God’s Word. And this makes perfect sense, too, for the first mention of these beings involved the scene where Adam lost place in fellowship with God in the Garden, making it necessary for God to redeem mankind to Himself again. The whole reason we have God’s Word to us today is that we must be saved due to Adam’s transgression!
Cherubim are celestial assassins the mercy seat for example is made up of 2 cherubs each with one set of wings covering their body but with the other they reach towards each other. The mercy seat is a sign of the lethal power of God and the cherubs are their to act as punishers. Each year the mercy seat was sprinkled with blood from an animal sacrifice to appease God and the Cherubs. This no longer happens as the Blood of Christ was enough to appease them.
Like I said, Fierce creatures. But there are certain things about the cherubim that make me think that they are the most closely connected to humans, and that they are the most prevalent connection between the human and the spiritual, it is cherubs that guard places on earth where the veil is thin (as in the places where one can feel the spiritual presence more fully, a place where Gods presence is breaking through more poignantly) and also there appearance gives this impression also as if we take Genesis 2:20 which says ‘And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.’ Adam named specifically the cattle, beasts and fowl. Now cattle refers to domesticated animals, whereas beasts refers to undomesticated animals. And a lion is a beast. Oxen are cattle. And, of course, eagles are fowl. So Adam already had an intimate connection with the cherubim before he even fell, since three of the four faces of these cherubim represented the very four classes of animals which Adam named! And since the fourth face was of man, himself, we see the intimate connection most plainly!
Next if we take Genesis 9:9-10, God made a covenant with Noah, a man, and the fowl, cattle and beasts! Every major event that affected creation moved God to indicate something special about these four classes of creatures. For whatever reason He excluded fish and creeping things, we may not altogether understand. However, we can see something special with these four classes. And that is enough to link together some thoughts.
If we take the four Gospels: The gospel according to Matthew commonly uses the symbol of a winged man as representation. The Gospel according to Mark uses the Symbol of a winged Lion. The Gospel according to Luke uses a Winged Ox and the Gospel according to John uses an Eagle. It is the same four classes of animal.
We have seen the appearance of the Cherubim as witnessed by the prophet Ezekiel as each having the four faces of a lion, an ox, an eagle and a man. These same faces are seen on what John the Divine called four beasts in his book of Revelation.
Rev 4:6 ‘And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.’
Rev 4:7 ‘And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.’
Beast in this passage is translated from the Greek word ‘zoon’, meaning a live thing. Ezekiel called the Cherubim living creatures in his first chapter.
Ezek 1:5 ‘Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.’
Therefore we clearly see that the beasts of Revelation are the Cherubim of the Old Testament. The aspect of guardianship is also seen in Revelation, for these beasts stand around the throne of God in heaven, just as the cherubim were seen about the ark of the covenant and its mercy seat, or mercy throne.