Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 139 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Ezekiel 10 today and our focus is on cherubim – what and who are the cherubim?  We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Bristol, England, Punjab, Pakistan, Andhra Pradesh, India, Parts unknown, Greece, Nova Scotia, Canada, Beaumont, Texas, New York, New York, Chicago, Illinois and Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Today we are reading Ezekiel today. The primary focus of the passage is Ezekiel’s vision of God’s presence and glory departing from the temple of God in Jerusalem. Ezekiel the prophet was born in the time of King Josiah, the last good king of Judah – all of the kings after Josiah would be evil, and they would lead Judah into depravity, which ultimately led to captivity and the sacking of Jerusalem. Ezekiel the prophet ministered during this time to a people who never thought that an enemy nation would be their undoing, because they considered themselves God’s special people, and their temple was God’s special home. In Ezekiel 10, a stunning thing happens – God’s presence and glory departs, leaving the city vulnerable to destruction. Our friends at Ligonier explain for us:

Right before the exile into Babylon, the old covenant community lost sight of the fact that the Lord does not limit Himself to one place. True, He chose to make His presence felt in a special way in the Jerusalem temple during the old covenant period. Yet He was by no means imprisoned there. A belief that God could never leave His temple, however, was commonly held during the ministries of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Thus, the people paid little heed to the warnings of these prophets to repent lest Jerusalem be destroyed. If the Lord could not leave Jerusalem, how could it be destroyed? “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord” they would cry in order to shout down the threats of divine judgment

Source: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/god-leaves-temple/

That is the main thrust of our passage – let’s read and find out more, and then we will discuss the cherubim.

Most think of cherubic hallmark card style baby angels when they hear the word cherub (singular) or cherubim (plural), but this description is about as inaccurate as it could be. Cherubim are mighty servants of God that would strike terror into any human that found themselves in the same area as a cherub. What can we know about the cherubim? In our passage today, Ezekiel gives us a basic description:

21 Each had four faces and each had four wings, with what looked something like human hands under their wings. 22 Their faces looked like the same faces I had seen by the Chebar Canal. Each creature went straight ahead. Ezekiel 10:21-22 

Four wings and four faces – that sounds like an amazing being! In Ezekiel 1, which describes Ezekiel’s first encounter with these beings, we get a much longer and more detailed description, discovering that the cherubim are also called “living creatures”:

I looked, and there was a whirlwind coming from the north, a huge cloud with fire flashing back and forth and brilliant light all around it. In the center of the fire, there was a gleam like amber. The likeness of four living creatures came from it, and this was their appearance: They looked something like a human, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the hooves of a calf, sparkling like the gleam of polished bronze. They had human hands under their wings on their four sides. All four of them had faces and wings. Their wings were touching. The creatures did not turn as they moved; each one went straight ahead. 10 Their faces looked something like the face of a human, and each of the four had the face of a lion on the right, the face of an ox on the left, and the face of an eagle. 11 That is what their faces were like. Their wings were spread upward; each had two wings touching that of another and two wings covering its body. 12 Each creature went straight ahead. Wherever the Spirit wanted to go, they went without turning as they moved. 13 The likeness of the living creatures was like the appearance of blazing coals of fire or like torches. Fire was moving back and forth between the living creatures; it was bright, with lightning coming out of it. 14 The creatures were darting back and forth like flashes of lightning. Ezekiel 1:4-14

These cherubim/living creatures are apparently fast and bright – living among fiery clouds and surrounded by bright lights. They are quite agile and move about like flashes of lightning. They have straight legs that are metallic in appearance, shining like polished bronze, and their feet are like hooves! Their faces are like the face of a human, a lion, an ox and an eagle, apparently one face on each side of their heads?

We first discover cherubim in the Garden of Eden, when God leaves these fearsome creatures to prevent mankind from reentering the garden:

Genesis 3:24, “He drove the man out and stationed the cherubim and the flaming, whirling sword east of the garden of Eden to guard the way to the tree of life.”

We also read in Exodus about God telling Moses to design the tabernacle with two giant cherubim in it, with their wings touching tip to tip right in the middle, as well as two cherubim represented on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant:

18 Make two cherubim of gold; make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end. At its two ends, make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat. 20 The cherubim are to have wings spread out above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and are to face one another. The faces of the cherubim should be toward the mercy seat. Exodus 25:18-20 

Perhaps most fascinatingly, we read of God Himself riding on the cherubim in 2nd Samuel 22:

He bent the heavens and came down,
total darkness beneath his feet.
11 He rode on a cherub and flew,
soaring on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness a canopy around him,
a gathering of water and thick clouds. 2 Samuel 22:10-12

And finally, we see the cherubim appear in the book of Revelation, I believe, where they are called “Living Creatures.”

Flashes of lightning and rumblings and peals of thunder came from the throne. Seven fiery torches were burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. Something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal, was also before the throne.

Four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back were around the throne on each side. The first living creature was like a lion; the second living creature was like an ox; the third living creature had a face like a man; and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying,

Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God, the Almighty,
who was, who is, and who is to come.

Revelation 4:5-8

But wait, I hear you saying – these living creatures have SIX wings and Ezekiel only mentions FOUR – what gives? That is a great question. Perhaps the cherubim that Ezekiel saw only had four wings, and these living creatures around the throne are a bit different? It is certainly possible that there are different types of cherubim.

Are angels, seraphim and cherubim the same creature? Most preachers and many Bible scholars conflate, or combine all of these heavenly creatures, but I see no warrant to do so. Seraphim and cherubim certainly seem to have similar features – wings, for instance – but angels are never described with wings. My best guess is that they are all three different created Heavenly beings, and that there may be as much variety in Heavenly beings as there are in earthly beings – perhaps more!

Bible Memory verses for the month of May: Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”   

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