Cherubim- God’s Secret Service Force
God created the angels. They worship and serve their Creator. The fallen angels follow their commander, Satan. These will also ultimately bow to revere their Creator.
At least 34 books of the Bible teach the existence of angels. The Scriptures use the word ‘angel’ at least 275 times.
Angels are a higher order of creation than man. The Scripture commands men not to worship angels. The eternal God is the only acceptable One to worship. God created the angels before He created the world. He created them all holy and without sin. They are subject to the authority of Jesus Christ. They execute the purposes of Jesus Christ. Angels even ministered to Jesus during His earthly life.
The angels are of different orders. God also made various kinds of angels. Michael is the archangel. Gabriel is angel in Scripture charged with delivering God’s message to humans. There are guardian angels. God created seraphim, who worship God. Angels minister to believers, to the nations, and even to unbelievers by announcing impending acts of God’s judgment and executing His commands. Angels have great power, and God created them for an eternal existence. God created a myriad of angels.
This article will discuss the angels God made to guard His holiness. They are named cherubim. We shall see these angels also guard the precious sacrifice of blood for the covering of man’s sin.
The Bible describes that God created Lucifer as His “anointed cherub who covers.” He was the most beautiful of God’s created beings until sin was found in him. Lucifer, the ‘Light Bearer’ became Satan, ‘the Adversary.’
“You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub from the midst of the stones of fire” (Ezek. 28: 14-16).
The ‘stones of fire’ likely refer to the other cherubim God had created. God left others of these angelic warriors to prevent entrance into the Garden of Eden.
So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3: 24).
This is the first Scripture to mention the cherubim. This is a plural word. The singular angel is called a cherub. Cartoons and fairy tales of mythology portray a cherub as a fat baby angel with rosy cheeks and wings who floats on clouds. That picture is far from the reality, as we shall soon see. The above verse portrays the cherubim with a flaming sword guarding against access to the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life confers eternal life in a sinless state. God has set it apart from man as holy, and the cherubim make certain God’s will is carried out.
“The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake!” (Psalm 99: 1).
“He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers” (Psalm 104: 4).
And of the angels He says, “Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire” (Hebrews 1: 7).
“and He rode on a cherub and flew; and He appeared on the wings of the wind” (2Sam. 22: 11).
God rides on and above the cherubim. His very throne rests upon them. The Holy Scriptures portray the cherubim as God’s angelic ‘ministers of fire’ and ‘messengers of the winds.’ They defensively protect God and aggressively fend off any incursion into His territory.
The prophet Ezekiel contributes the majority of what we know about cherubim. Ezekiel’s image describes the cherubim as fearsome, powerful beings. They guard God’s Holy presence from sin and corruption. The Bible often portrays them around the throne of God. The cherubim have four faces on four sides of their heads. They can travel in any direction without having to turn. The word Cherub originates from a Hebrew term ‘to guard’ which fits their role. Far from fairytales of cute, cuddly creatures, the cherubim are the mighty and powerful guardians of God.
As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire. Within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form. Each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight and their feet were like a calf’s hoof, and they gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides were human hands. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, their wings touched one another; their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight forward. As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above; each had two touching another being, and two covering their bodies. And each went straight forward; wherever the spirit was about to go, they would go, without turning as they went. In the midst of the living beings there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches darting back and forth among the living beings. The fire was bright, and lightning was flashing from the fire. And the living beings ran to and fro like bolts of lightning. Now as I looked at the living beings, behold, there was one wheel on the earth beside the living beings, for each of the four of them. The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was like sparkling beryl, and all four of them had the same form, their appearance and workmanship being as if one wheel were within another. Whenever they moved, they moved in any of their four directions without turning as they moved. As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about. Whenever the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. And whenever the living beings rose from the earth, the wheels rose also. Whenever the spirit was about to go, they would go in that direction. And the wheels rose close beside them, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. Whenever those went, these went; and whenever those stood still, these stood still. And whenever those rose from the earth, the wheels rose close beside them; for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. Now over the heads of the living beings there was something like an expanse like the awesome gleam of crystal, spread out over their heads. Under the expanse their wings were stretched out strait, one toward the other; each one also had two wings covering its body on the one side and on the other. I also heard the sound of their wings like the sound of abundant waters as they went, like the voice of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army camp; whenever they stood still, they dropped their wings. And there came a voice from above the expanse that was over their heads. Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking (Ezekiel 1: 4-28).
Then I looked, and behold, in the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne appeared above them. And He spoke to the man clothed in linen and said, “Enter between the whirling wheels under the cherubim and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” And he entered in my sight. Now the cherubim were standing on the right side of the temple when the man entered, and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord went up from cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord. Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks. It came about when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, “Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim,” he entered and stood beside a wheel. Then the cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire which was between the cherubim, took some and put it into the hands of the one clothed in linen, who took it and went out. The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man’s hand under their wings. Then I looked, and behold, four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like the gleam of a Tarshish stone. As for their appearance, all four of them had the same likeness, as if one wheel were within another wheel. When they moved, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went; but they followed in the direction which they faced, without turning as they went. Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. And each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. Then the cherubim rose up. They are the living beings that I saw by the river Chebar. Now when the cherubim moved, the wheels would go beside them; also when the cherubim lifted up their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels would not turn from beside them. When the cherubim stood still, they wheels would stand still; and when they rose up, the wheels would rise with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in them. Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them. These are the living beings that I saw beneath the God of Israel by the river Chebar; so I knew that they were cherubim. Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and beneath their wings was the form of human hands (Ezek. 10: 1-21).
The backs, hands, wings and wheels of the cherubim are covered with eyes (10:12). Nothing escapes the sight of these powerful creatures. The four faces of the cherubim resemble a cherub, a man, a lion, and an eagle (10:14). The cherub face was given the face of an ox in the earlier scripture of chapter 1. Perhaps the faces can manifest different appearances according to God’s will. Each cherub possesses four wings, two of which cover their bodies, and two extend upward. They travel on “a wheel within a wheel” (Ezekiel 1:16) and move in any direction like a flash of lightning. Their appearance is brilliant like fire and their wings sound like a great waterfall. The cherubim appear to have the form of a man’s hand under their wings (Ezek. 1:8; 10: 7-8, 21).
The imagery of Revelation 4: 6-9 also appears to describe cherubim. Here, the cherubim serve the purpose of magnifying the holiness and power of God. This is true in other Biblical Scriptures, as well. In addition to singing God’s praises, they also serve as a visible portrayal of God’s majesty and glory and His abiding presence with His people.
Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of the them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” (Rev. 4: 5-8).
The Apostle John apprehended the “four living creatures” nearly identical to Ezekiel’s image of cherubim 600 years earlier. These four living creatures are likely cherubim. The only difference between the visions is John visualized each creature with six wings, while Ezekiel’s vision depicts only four. The wings are portrayed “full of eyes around and within,” suggesting that nothing escapes their gaze. Each creature has four faces: a lion (symbolizing power and strength) a calf (portraying humble service rendered to God), a man (depicting a rational being), and an eagle (suggesting services swiftly executed).
God gave Moses directions for constructing the Tabernacle and its contents during the time He led the exodus of Israelites from Egypt into the desert. The most important item of the Tabernacle was the Ark of the Covenant, covered by the mercy seat and cherubim. God directed it would reside in the Holy of Holies where His presence and glory dwelled.
“You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends. The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you. There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel” (Exodus 25: 18-22).
It is most interesting the cherubim and the mercy seat were made as one piece. It suggests the very close relationship of the Mercy Seat with God and also with His cherubim. In other verses, this entire piece was overlaid with hammered gold.
And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim (2Sam. 6: 2).
“Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth!” (Psalm 80: 1).
This refers to the previous Scripture in Exodus 25, describing the Mercy Seat overlying the Ark of the Covenant. Cherubim sit above the ark, facing one another—guarding the Mercy Seat (the propitiatory). Gold cherubim on the mercy seat signified the Holiness and royalty of God.
And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubim: so He spoke to him (Numbers 7:89).
The word for ‘Mercy Seat’ is propitiatory. A propitiation is a payment that satisfies God. The High Priest applied blood sacrifices yearly to the Mercy Seat to atone for his sins and those of the Jewish nation. Jesus lifeblood is the only payment that fully satisfies God for the sins of mankind. The Mercy seat represents Jesus Christ. Jesus is the propitiation for our sins.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed” (Rom. 3: 23-25)
Therefore, He (Jesus) had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Heb. 2:17).
For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself (Heb. 7: 26-27).
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (1John 2:2).
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His SON to be the propitiation for our sins (1John 4:10).
God created angelic beings, cherubim, as His agents of security. They guard the things most important to God—His holiness and His mercy. The Scriptures in Ezekiel portray that no sin or imperfection can get anywhere near God’s throne due to the constant vigilance of the cherubim and their fiery presence. The Genesis record reveals God placed cherubim on the east side of the Garden of Eden to prevent the entrance of sinful men. He charged the cherubim to prevent any access to the Tree of Life, which bestows the gift of eternal life to God’s chosen. Eternity in God’s presence is a gift only God can grant. He freely extends this gift to all who come with their sins to the Mercy Seat. The only atonement for these sins is the faithful acceptance of the blood sacrifice of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the sole ‘propitiation’ for our sins. His blood sacrifice fully satisfies God’s requirement for justice, but it must be appropriated by faith. The Scriptures above also portray God’s angelic security agents guarding access to the Mercy Seat. No human can access God’s mercy except by the ‘blood of Jesus.’ No other sacrifice will suffice. The cherubim make certain God’s mercy is only conferred through the ‘blood of the Lamb’- Jesus. The ‘blood of the Lamb’ opens the fountains of God’s mercy. His mercy confers access to the ‘Tree of Life,’ and an eternal heavenly existence with God and all his celestial beings.
 Col. 1: 16; 2: 18; Rev. 19: 10; Heb.1:3-4, 6; Rev. 22: 9
 Job 38: 6-7
 Jude 6
 Eph. 1: 21; Col. 1: 16; 2: 10; 1Pet 3: 22; Heb. 1: 6-7, 14
 Mt. 13: 41; 24: 31
 Matt. 4: 11; Matt. 26: 53; Matt. 28: 2; Luke 22: 43; John 1: 51
 Isa. 6: 2; Rom. 8: 38; 1Cor15: 24; Col. 1: 16; 1Thess. 4: 16; 1Pet. 3: 22; Jude 9; Rev. 12: 7
 Jude 9
 Heb. 1: 14 (for all people); Matt. 18: 10 (for children)
 Isa. 6: 1-3
 Heb 1: 14; Acts 12: 7; Dan. 9; Luke 16: 22; Acts 27: 23-24; 1Cor. 4: 9; 1Tim. 5: 21
 Dan. 12: 1; Dan. 10: 21; Rev. 8, 9, 16
 Gen. 19: 13; Rev. 14: 6-7, Acts 12: 23
 2Peter 2: 11
 Luke 20: 36
 Heb. 12: 22