by Kristen C. Strocchia
“After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24
Cherubim. One of the fascinatingly mysterious creations for man to try to comprehend. The cherubim are angelic beings created by God and first charged–in human history–with guarding the way to the tree of life with the aid of a flaming sword.
For anyone whose never seen a cherubim before, Ezekiel 10 and Revelation 4 describe what the they look like. First of all, Ezekiel tells us that they have four faces: man, lion, eagle and cherub [Ezekiel, but calf in Revelation]. Now they are often represented with one face on each side of their head, probably because Ezekiel says that they can go in any direction they face and that they never turn their head. These angelic creatures also have six wings: four to cover themselves with and two with which they fly. And their whole body–four heads, six wings and human hands underneath the wings–is covered in eyes. In Ezekiel, the cherubim are accompanied by four wheels that look like wheels intersected by wheels which are also covered in eyes and that move in sync with the cherubim.
Surprising that no movie producer has tried to portray cherubim. Doesn’t this sound like the epitome of a creature from a mythology? In fact, the Sphinx and mythological creatures that are part-human-part-animal [i.e. centaurs and satyrs] or two animals mixed together [i.e. griffins and manticores] were Satan’s knock-offs of God’s original cherubim. Satan likes to take God’s truth and create his own version of it to lead people astray. And it doesn’t matter to him when his lies fall into mythology, because unfortunately, when people doubt Satan’s knock-off lies, they also doubt the original truth of God from which it was drawn.
In Ezekiel 10, the cherubim were the rear guard, ushering out the presence of the Lord from among the Israelites. In Revelation 4, the cherubim surround the throne of God, lifting Him up in praise. “Day and night they never stop saying, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Which sets off a chain reaction in heaven, because then the twenty-four elders around the throne fall down and worship God as Creator as well.
But isn’t it interesting that the Cherubim are heavenly creatures that look like four of God’s earthly creations combined? And isn’t it interesting that these creatures continually recognize God’s holiness, sovereignty and eternality? Because when sin entered the world, God’s created man stopped revering those very things. The sin in our hearts cannot tolerate a holy God. [If you don’t believe me, just listen to how the media talks about Christians and the Bible.] The sin in our hearts refuses to be subject to anyone other than self. And the sin in our heart would keep us from eternity.
God set a cherubim guard at the tree of life, because the cherubim faithfully recognize His holiness alone. They didn’t fall for Satan’s lie in heaven, and they wouldn’t be deceived by sinful man. God. Is. Holy. Period. *Drops the mic.*
What does it mean that God is Holy? How then should you and I live our lives?