Through man, nature, otherwise blind and dead, is able to appreciate and to express the Creator?s glory. The doctrine of the cherubim embraces the following points:
1. The cherubim are not personal beings, but are artificial, temporary, symbolic figures.
2. While they are not themselves personal existences, they are symbols of personal existence. They are symbols of human nature, not of divine or angelic perfections. ( <020105>Exodus 1:5 ? ?they had the likeness of man?; <660509> Revelation 5:9 ? A. V. ? ?thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood? ? so read a , B and Tregelles, the Eng. and Am. Revised Version, however, follow A and Tischendorf, and omit the word ?us?).
3. They are emblems of human nature, not in its present stage of development but possessed of all its original perfections. For this reason the most perfect animal forms ? the king like courage of the lion, the patient service of the ox, the soaring insight of the eagle ? are combined with that of man (Ez.1 and 10; <660406>Revelation 4:6-8).
4. These cherubic forms represent, not merely material or earthly perfections but human nature spiritualized and sanctified. They are ?living creatures? and their life is a holy life of obedience to the divine will
( <260112>Ezekiel 1:12 ? ?whither the spirit was to go, they went?).
5. They symbolize a human nature exalted to be the dwelling place of God. Hence the inner curtains of the tabernacle were in-woven with cherubic figures and God?s glory was manifested on the mercy seat between the cherubim ( <263706>Ezekiel 37:6-9). While the flaming sword at the gates of Eden was the symbol of justice, the cherubim were symbols of mercy ? keeping the ?way of the free of life for man, until by sacrifice and renewal Paradise should be regained ( <010324>Genesis 3:24).
In corroboration of this general view, note that angels and cherubim never go together and that in the closing visions of the book of Revelation these symbolic forms are seen no longer. When redeemed humanity has entered heaven, the figures, which typified that humanity, having served their purpose, finally disappear. For fuller elaboration, see A. H. Strong, The Nature and Purpose of the Cherubim, in Philosophy and Religion, 391- 399:Fairbairn, Typology, 1:185-208; Elliott, Hor« Apocalyptic«, 1:87; Bibliotheca Sacra, 1876:32-51; Bib. Com., 1:49-52 ? ?The winged lions, eagles, and bulls, that guard the entrances of the palace of Nineveh are worshipers rather than divinities.? It has lately been shown that the
Was this article helpful?