Cherûbîm, aka: Cherubim; 3 Definition(s)
The symbolical figure so called was a composite creature-form which finds a parallel in the religious insignia of Assyria, Egypt and Persia, e.g. the sphinx, the winged bulls and lions of Nineveh, etc. A cherub guarded paradise. ( Genesis 3:24 ) Figures of Cherubim were placed on the mercy-seat of the ark. ( Exodus 25:18 ) A pair of colossal size overshadowed it in Solomons temple with the canopy of their contiguously extended wings. ( 1 Kings 6:27 ) Those on the ark were to be placed with wings stretched forth, one at each end of the mercy-seat." Their wings were to be stretched upwards, and their faces "towards each other and towards the mercy-seat." It is remarkable that with such precise directions as to their position, attitude and material, nothing, save that they were winged, is said concerning their shape. On the whole it seems likely that the word "cherub" meant not only the composite creature-form, of which the man, lion, ox and eagle were the elements, but, further, some peculiar and mystical form. (Some suppose that the cherubim represented Gods providence among men, the four faces expressing the characters of that providence: its wisdom and intelligence (man), its strength (ox), its kingly authority (lion), its swiftness, far-sighted (eagle). Others, combining all the other references with the description of the living creatures in Revelation, make the cherubim to represent Gods redeemed people. The qualities of the four faces are those which belong to Gods people. Their facing four ways, towards all quarters of the globe, represents their duty of extending the truth. The wings show swiftness of obedience; and only the redeemed can sing the song put in their mouths in ( Revelation 5:8-14 ) --ED).
Cherub; Plural cherubim, the name of certain symbolical figures frequently mentioned in Scripture. They are first mentioned in connection with the expulsion of our first parents from Eden ( Genesis 3:24 ). There is no intimation given of their shape or form. They are next mentioned when Moses was commanded to provide furniture for the tabernacle ( Exodus 25:17-20 ; Exodus 26:1 Exodus 26:31 ). God promised to commune with Moses "from between the cherubim" ( 25:22 ). This expression was afterwards used to denote the Divine abode and presence ( Numbers 7:89 ; 1 Samuel 4:4 ; Isaiah 37:16 ; Psalms 80:1 ; 99:1 ). In Ezekiel's vision ( 10:1-20 ) they appear as living creatures supporting the throne of God. From Ezekiel's description of them (1;10; Psalms 41:18 Psalms 41:19 ), they appear to have been compound figures, unlike any real object in nature; artificial images possessing the features and properties of several animals. Two cherubim were placed on the mercy-seat of the ark; two of colossal size overshadowed it in Solomon's temple. ( Ezekiel 1:4-14 ) speaks of four; and this number of "living creatures" is mentioned in Revelation 4:6 . Those on the ark are called the "cherubim of glory" ( Hebrews 9:5 ), i.e., of the Shechinah, or cloud of glory, for on them the visible glory of God rested. They were placed one at each end of the mercy-seat, with wings stretched upward, and their faces "toward each other and toward the mercy-seat." They were anointed with holy oil, like the ark itself and the other sacred furniture.
The cherubim were symbolical. They were intended to represent spiritual existences in immediate contact with Jehovah. Some have regarded them as symbolical of the chief ruling power by which God carries on his operations in providence ( Psalms 18:10 ). Others interpret them as having reference to the redemption of men, and as symbolizing the great rulers or ministers of the church. Many other opinions have been held regarding them which need not be referred to here. On the whole, it seems to be most satisfactory to regard the interpretation of the symbol to be variable, as is the symbol itself.
Their office was, (1) on the expulsion of our first parents from Eden, to prevent all access to the tree of life; and (2) to form the throne and chariot of Jehovah in his manifestation of himself on earth. He dwelleth between and sitteth on the cherubim ( 1 Samuel 4:4 ; Psalms 80:1 ; Ezekiel 1:26 Ezekiel 1:28 ).
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|· Living Creatures||
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