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Ezekiel 10

Cherubim

Ezekiel 10 describes a vivid and complex imagery of cherubim, wheels, and divine manifestations. The scene depicts celestial beings with multiple faces (cherub, man, lion, and eagle), wings, and wheels. The wheels, described as having the appearance of a beryl stone and a wheel within a wheel, are intricately linked with the movements of the cherubim. The beings are full of eyes, indicating perception and awareness, and they move in unison, guided by the spirit of the living creature within them.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/W_1927-0409-1

Cherub

A cherub (/ˈtʃɛrəb/;[1] pl: cherubim; Hebrew: כְּרוּב kərūḇ, pl. כְּרוּבִים kərūḇīm, likely borrowed from a derived form of Akkadian: 𒅗𒊏𒁍 karabu “to bless” such as 𒅗𒊑𒁍 karibu, “one who blesses”, a name for the Lamassu) is one of the unearthly beings who directly attend to God, according to Abrahamic religions. The numerous depictions of cherubim assign to them many different roles, such as protecting the entrance of the Garden of Eden.

The status of the cherubim as constituting a sort-of vehicle for Yahweh is present in Ezekiel’s visions, the Books of Samuel, the parallel passages in the later Books of Chronicles,[13] and passages in the early Psalms: for example, “and he rode upon a cherub and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.”

The first book of Adam and Eve

And again, when Adam was by the gate of the garden, and saw the cherub with a sword of flashing fire in his hand, and the cherub grew angry and frowned at him, both Adam and Eve became afraid of him, and thought he meant to put them to death. So they fell on their faces, trembled with fear.

The first book of Adam and Eve link

Chapter LIV – Adam and Eve go exploring.

1 Then Adam and Eve stood up in the cave and prayed the whole of that night until the morning dawned. And when the sun was risen they both went out of the cave; their heads were wandering from heaviness of sorrow and they didn’t know where they were going.

2 And they walked in that condition to the southern border of the garden. And they began to go up that border until they came to the eastern border beyond which there was no more land.

3 And the cherub who guarded the garden was standing at the western gate, and guarding it against Adam and Eve, lest they should suddenly come into the garden. And the cherub turned around, as if to put them to death; according to the commandment God had given him.

4 When Adam and Eve came to the eastern border of the garden—thinking in their hearts that the cherub was not watching—as they were standing by the gate as if wishing to go in, suddenly came the cherub with a flashing sword of fire in his hand; and when he saw them, he went forth to kill them. For he was afraid that God would destroy him if they went into the garden without His order.

5 And the sword of the cherub seemed to shoot flames a distance away from it. But when he raised it over Adam and Eve, the flame of the sword did not flash forth.

6 Therefore the cherub thought that God was favorable to them, and was bringing them back into the garden. And the cherub stood wondering.

7 He could not go up to Heaven to determine God’s order regarding their getting into the garden; he therefore continued to stand by them, unable as he was to part from them; for he was afraid that if they should enter the garden without permission, God would destroy him.

8 When Adam and Eve saw the cherub coming towards them with a flaming sword of fire in his hand, they fell on their faces from fear, and were as dead.

9 At that time the heavens and the earth shook; and another cherubim came down from heaven to the cherub who guarded the garden, and saw him amazed and silent.

10 Then, again, other angels came down close to the place where Adam and Eve were. They were divided between joy and sorrow.

11 They were glad, because they thought that God was favorable to Adam, and wished him to return to the garden; and wished to restore him to the gladness he once enjoyed.

12 But they sorrowed over Adam, because he was fallen like a dead man, he and Eve; and they said in their thoughts, “Adam has not died in this place; but God has put him to death, for his having come to this place, and wishing to get into the garden without His permission.”The first book of Adam and Eve

Other mentions of cherubim


So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. And Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

Samuel 4:4

And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we should send it to its place.

1 Samuel 6:2

He rode upon a cherub, and flew;
And He was seen upon the wings of the wind.

2 Samuel 22:11

And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, to Kirjath Jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God the Lord, who dwells between the cherubim, where His name is proclaimed.

1 Chronicles 13:6

And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. 20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. 21 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. 22 And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.

Exodus 25:18–22

“O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth.

Isaiah 37:16

Eichler’s interpretation in contrast to common translations for many years that rendered it as “who sits upon the cherubim”. This has implications for the understanding of whether the ark of the covenant in the Temple was literally YHWH’s throne or simply an indicator of YHWH’s immanence.

A midrash states that when Pharaoh pursued Israel at the Red Sea, God took a cherub from the wheels of His throne and flew to the spot, for God inspects the heavenly worlds while sitting on a cherub.

Functions

  • Transporting the throne of God by the river Chebar
  • Guarding the Garden of Eden
  • Descending to Earth from heaven in order to rescue the speaker

Description

These faces peer out from the center of an array of four wings;

these wings are joined to each other, two of these are stretched upward, and the other two cover their bodies.

Under their wings are human hands; their legs are described as straight, and their feet like those of a calf, shining like polished brass.

Between the creatures glowing coals that moved between them could be seen, their fire “went up and down”, and lightning burst forth from it.

The cherubs also moved like flashes of lightning.

King James Version

1 And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne

2 Then He spoke to the man clothed with linen, and said, “Go in among the wheels, under the cherub, fill your hands with coals of fire from among the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.” And he went in as I watched.

3 Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and paused over the threshold of the temple; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory. 

5 And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard even in the outer court, like the voice of Almighty God when He speaks.

6 Then it happened, when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, “Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim,” that he went in and stood beside the wheels. 

7 And the cherub stretched out his hand from among the cherubim to the fire that was among the cherubim and took some of it and put it into the hands of the man clothed with linen, who took it and went out. 

The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man’s hand under their wings.

9 And when I looked, there were four wheels by the cherubim, one wheel by one cherub and another wheel by each other cherub; the wheels appeared to have the color of a beryl stone

10 As for their appearance, all four looked alike—as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel

11 When they went, they went toward any of their four directions; they did not turn aside when they went, but followed in the direction the head was facing. They did not turn aside when they went. 

12 And their whole body, with their back, their hands, their wings, and the wheels that the four had, were full of eyes all around

13 As for the wheels, they were called in my hearing, “Wheel.”

14 Each one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, the second face the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle

15 And the cherubim were lifted up. This was the living creature I saw by the River Chebar. 

16 When the cherubim went, the wheels went beside them; and when the cherubim lifted their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also did not turn from beside them. 

17 When [f]the cherubim stood still, the wheels stood still, and when [g]one was lifted up, [h]the other lifted itself up, for the spirit of the living creature was in them.

18 Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the [i]temple and stood over the cherubim. 

19 And the cherubim lifted their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight. When they went out, the wheels were beside them; and they stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.

20 This is the living creature I saw under the God of Israel by the River Chebar, and I knew they were cherubim. 

21 Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings

22 And the likeness of their faces was the same as the faces which I had seen by the River Chebar, their appearance and their persons. They each went straightforward.