The most iconic part of the Ark of the Covenant are the two cherubim that form the Mercy Seat. How I wish the writer of Hebrews had taken the time to discuss the “cherubim of Glory”. It might have settled many things. Instead, we got the fertile minds of medieval pundits and Hollywood. The medieval pundits did do a better job than Hollywood. Another interesting source that I “flew” through in this study was the mystic Jewish believers. They have been studying angels for a few more years than we have. All of these are interesting, but don’t lose sight that it is the Father we worship and not angels.
Hebrews 9:5 – In this little verse the writer uses three words that are special. The Mounce Interlinear shows they are used here and nowhere else in the New Testament.
- Cherubim is used 1x. Strong: G5502 For some reason Strong states these only have two wings, I am not sure why.
- Shadowing or overshadow is used 1x. Strong: G2683
- Mercyseat is used twice in the New Testament. (Romans 3:25) Strong:G2435
It seems in not discussing them, he still said a lot about their importance. Even though “cherubim” is used only once, the word angel is used almost 180 times in the New Testament (that depends on your translation).
Ezekiel – This is the book to read if you want to study cherubim. Since I started this; there are no cherubim in his visions that have just two wings. It is more likely that the two on the Ark were only stretching out just two of their wings. (I have seen pictures where the artist has given the cherubim two wings stretched out and two covering the lower body.) I have a feeling that our concept of angel anatomy is off, why does it have to resemble human bilateral symmetry? There are things that the cherubim in these visions do that may be reflected in other visions by different writers. Two that I noticed are touching wings and forming a “chariot” that God uses to soar with or in.
Genesis 3:24 – The cherubs here are guarding (another repeating function) “the Way to the Tree of Life” along with an amazing sword. The movements of this sword sound similar to the wheels in Ezekiel. The mystic Jews consider the wheels a type of angel. Merkabah mysticism – Wikipedia This article is intense.
Back to the Ark – I am saying this again, when Moses oversaw the construction of the Ark, he was reproducing what he had seen in Heaven. Exodus 25:18 is the command to produce the cherubim, not the detailed blueprint. David also received instructions and details from God that he left for Solomon. Ezekiel saw the throne room of God and was given instructions about the Temple and land allotments. The Father wants us focused on Him, not His furniture or buildings. I believe that is why we don’t have detailed blueprints and pictures. Yes, they do offer messages and cast important shadows.
The “earthbound mobile” version of God’s throne room is where Moses and the High Priest were to meet with God and intercede for the people. This is seen in 2 Kings 19:15 where Hezekiah prayed to God who is enthroned “between” the cherubim. This phrase is repeated several times in Scripture and may have been coined by David or Samuel. How you see the cherubim, standing or sitting, and with their wings touching to form a bench or a chair, I believe this represents a throne where God “sits” to meet with us.
From David, we get another interesting picture and job of the cherubim. We also see this behavior in Ezekiel. The cherubs who are touching each other form a structure for Him to travel on. 1 Chronicles 28:18 (NIV) refers to a chariot (see 1 Kings 6:23) and 2 Samuel 22:11 and Psalm 18:10 talk about Him flying. This seems to agree with Ezekiel 1 and 11 which talks about cherubim and wheels moving. That must be awesome!
Other Cherub Things
- Solomon and Ezekiel’s temples have cherubim as decorations on the walls and curtains. I find it interesting that the guardians and helpers are artwork “standing guard” over holy places.
- Not all of them look the same as far as faces and wings are concerned.
- The symbols for the four Gospel writers are the same as the faces of the four living creatures in Ezekiel 1. These angelic beings are seen again in Revelations. What are the Symbols of the Four Evangelists? (catholicexchange.com)
The medieval pundits were right in the fact that there are different angelic beings, that seem to have specific duties. I always find it interesting that a taxonomy of heavenly beings has been created, even though we have never seen them in person. God help us.
More Study – Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel all lived at the same time. Each was given specific duties, places of ministry, and words and visions. Compare and contrast their angelic visions with their callings. (When you write your book let me do a forward for you:)
How many angels did God have with Him when He visited Abraham? How does this compare to the Ark and its cherubim?