The Cherubim by H Madeley
Every Bible student must have been exercised in mind, at some time, as to what the Cherubim are, and what it was that God wished His children to understand from His introduction of them into His divine revelation.
The Scriptures were given so that men might receive information which they could not otherwise have obtained, showing how and upon what condition humanity could return to God’s favour and so attain to the Divine nature. As Peter puts it: “…According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Imagery and symbol play an important part among the “divers manners” by which God has made known His wishes, and shown what qualities manifested in mankind give Him pleasure. Knowing—as the Creator of man’s reasoning faculties—that lessons and ideas conveyed to the human mind by means of a picture make a much more lasting impression than a mere verbal statement. He gave visions and dreams to His messengers the prophets, and sometimes they had to enact or dramatize their prophecies: Ezekiel is an outstanding example of this.
We therefore believe the true understanding of the Cherubim to be that they are a pictorial representation of the principles upon which God intends to redeem individuals from the human race and exalt them to spirit-nature. These, in multitudinous manifestation, will be the medium through which His “glory will be revealed and all flesh enlightened together.”
The serpent in the scriptures is the synonym for sin and everything that is opposed to God and therefore doomed to ultimate complete destruction, so the Cherubim stand for all that is pleasing and acceptable to God, and that which is destined to be eternally perpetuated on this planet. We possess a nature prone to sin, whose natural tendencies are opposed to the Divine: but the basis of exaltation is an exhibition of the qualities and attributes of God. We can at the best only attain to this imperfectly, but God so loved the world that He gave one who overcame the nature which he possessed, subjugating it to his Father’s will. And this is the ground upon which our faltering efforts after perfection will be accepted by God.
At the outset of God’s operations upon earth we are introduced to these two opposing forces — the Serpent, the embodiment of that which leads men away from God to utter extinction: the Cherubim, the embodiment of those things which direct the sinner back to God’s favour, forgiveness and ultimate salvation.
The Cherubim represent principles upon compliance with which man may return to God; and later in God’s revelation through His prophets, they portray a multitudinous manifestation of the redeemed from among men, who have not conformed to this world, but have been transformed by the renewing of their mind, having proved what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, having “presented their bodies a living sacrifice…unto God.”
These cherubic principles have always dominated the lives of God’s people, and are the only principles upon which God will be approached. Noah “walked with God:” he was “a just man;” God’s ways were more desirable to him than those of sin, and by faith and obedience he was saved— and will be saved—from destruction.
Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness, and he was called “The Friend of God.” Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward…for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” To all of these “the Way to the Tree of Life” was opened, and the condition of attainment to it were a joy.
David expressed his feelings in this way: “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell neither will thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
All through God’s dealings with the people of His choice He was constantly reminding them of His requirements. “He left not himself without witness.” For a thousand years He testified and pleaded with mankind through His holy prophets because he had compassion on his people. And on his dwelling place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”
At the end of four thousand years of human history God sent into the world a living manifestation of Himself—one who should be a living exemplar of those principles set forth in the Cherubim, and enunciated at “sundry times, and in divers manners unto the fathers through the prophets;” now to be visibly demonstrated “in those last days through a Son.” This one was “The Word made flesh,” and he could say “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.” God said, in effect, “I will show them what I would be like, if it were possible for Me to take human form and live among men.”
Christ came to show us an example of what the attributes and characteristics of the Deity were as practiced by one devoted to the doing of God’s will, “leaving us an example that we should follow his steps.”
The lessons taught by Christ’s life and death were taught also by the cherubim, not so easily discernible perhaps, but nevertheless there if sought for. So when we consider the first mention of the Cherubim in Genesis 3:24, let us keep in mind that “In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the word was God….And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.”
The Cherubim were manifested after our first parents had sinned and forfeited their right to approach into the divine presence. “So he drove out the man; And placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and (even) a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Dr Thomas suggests the interesting alternative of “even” for the word “and:” “Even a flaming sword” which identifies the Cherubim and the sword as one.
God encouraged approach upon certain conditions; and He placed the Cherubim there to indicate those conditions. He said later through Ezekiel “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked: but that the wicked turn from his way and life: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: for why will ye die?” And through Peter: “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
The Scripture does not say that this manifestation was to “bar” the way to the tree of life, but to “keep” it. That suggests that admittance is possible. What is it that “keeps” the way to life eternal? Bars it to the disobedient, and opens to the obedient? Here is the answer: “Blessed are they6 that do his commandments that they may have right (of way) to the tree of life.” Again—who is it that alone possesses the authority to reject or admit to eternal bliss? The one who alone could say “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” And so speaking in parables he depicts the separation between the two classes; to the one—the “in-as-much as ye have done” class—”Come, ye blessed:” to the other—the “In-as-much as ye have not done” class—”Depart, ye cursed.
Wherever we read of Cherubim in the Scriptures it appears to be justifiable to imagine their form to be similar to that which Ezekiel saw by the river Chebar, or that which was erected upon the mercy seat in the holiest place in the Tabernacle, or those living beings which John saw in Patmos—human in bodily form, having wings, and having the face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. In the Tabernacle there were two Cherubim, possibly with two faces each (although they may have had four each), both pairs looking down upon the mercy-seat. In Ezekiel there were four creatures with four faces each; and in Patmos those John saw were four with only one face each; but the four faces were always those of the Man, Lion, Ox and Eagle.
Why should not the Cherubim of Genesis 3:24 bear the same characteristics? This would be in harmony with the statement that “they turned (or ‘faced’) every way.” The association of a “flashing sword” with the appearance only emphasizes the aptness of the application we are endeavoring to make. Those who have come within the scope of its slashing stroke know how cutting the Word of God can be either as given through holy men of God, or as embodied in the command of Christ. “For the word of God is quick (alive, alert) and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Only those who of their own free will submit to the correcting influence of the Sword of the Spirit can possibly escape destruction by the One who wields it in final judgment: he who was “clothed in a vesture dipped in blood, whose name is called the Word of God.” We cannot consider the Cherubim of Genesis 3 without being compelled to think of Christ. It was because he passed the “test” so blamelessly and perfectly, that he has been exalted to the position of Judge of the qualifications of other aspirants to the “Tree of Life.”
So now he is constituted “The Way” or “The Door,” the means of approach. That way of life would have been barred to all humanity but for Christ’s faultless compliance with the divine regulations. And so he says to his followers: “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Again: ‘I am the door: by me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Again: “These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key o David, he that openeth and no man shutteth; and shutteth and no man openeth.”
So if we assume from what we have considered so far that the Cherubim stand for those of the human race in whom God can take pleasure, pre-eminent among whom is Jesus Christ, and that it is in the production of such alone that He can be interested; we have taken a good step towards understanding further scriptural references to the Cherubim whic we hope to examine. There are two passages of Scripture which spring to the mind in the above connection: Isaiah 66:1,2: “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord; but to this man will I look; even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word;” and Micah 6:6-8: “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings?…He hath showed thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to humble thyself to walk with they God?”
The next time God introduces the Cherubim into His communications with man is in the construction of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Besides those which were woven cunningly into the fabric of the vail and converting of the Holy place, Moses was commanded (Ex 25) to make two Cherubim of beaten gold, one on each end of the mercy seat, which was the lid of the Ark of Testimony. Their wings were outstretched over the mercy seat with their faces turned inwards – mercy seat-wards. When the significance of these things is perceived, one ceases to wonder at the divine injunction so many times repeated to Moses: “Look that thou make it after the pattern which was showed to thee in the mount” (verse 22). “And there will I meet with thee, and I will. Commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two Cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the Children of Israel.” We see therefore that between the Cherubim was God’s meeting place with man—the only place where holy communion could be held; therefore the most sacred place upon the earth at that time. Again we have the truth emphasized that God can only be approached upon the conditions He has laid down, and by taking advantage of the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ, recognizing that by nature we are the children of wrath. Paul refers to this in Rom 3:25, where he says: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation (mercy seat) through faith in his blood.”
Of “the Cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat” the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says: “We cannot now speak particularly.” None of the inspired writers have spoken “particularly” about the significance of the Cherubim; we would they had. So it is left for us, who claim no special gifts, to do the best we can with so great a theme.
The mercy seat and two cherubim were one piece of gold, the one was inseparable from the other: and that it was gold signifies not only “incorruptibility,” but incorruptibility produced by a “tried faith,” and that faith brought to perfection through “beating” or affliction. This is in harmony with the scripture which saith: “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayer and supplication with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a son yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” And again: “For it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering”.
It was from between the Cherubim in the most holy place that the Shechkinah glory radiated which was the only light in that compartment. “It was therefore” (as Dr Thomas suggests) “the typical Throne of God:” consequently the whole tabernacle structure must be typical of the multitude of the redeemed in whom God will dwell (in harmony with Isaiah 66 and Micah 6 already quoted) by His Spirit, and from whom will radiate His glory in His kingdom. John saw this in vision as he records: “I John saw the holy city (polity) new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God: and the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it.” Here we have the anti typical Cherubim Throne of God.
The nation of God’s choice—the natural descendants of Abraham— were designed by God to be the medium through which His glory should be manifested, but they proved unworthy of the intended honour. Dr. Thomas and others state that the standards of the four camps into which the encampment in the wilderness was divided were that of Judah, a lion; that of Reuben, a man; that of Ephraim, an Ox; and that of Dan, and Eagle. If the cherubic faces were thus the emblems of Israel after the flesh, much more are they emblematical of Israel after the Spirit—the seed of Abraham according to promise. They are the “Cherubim of Glory” associated wit the mercy seat—Christ. Those who are eventually exalted to the divine nature, in addition to being constituted the Throne o God, will be the “Chariot of the Lord” upon which He will ride to victory over the earth. The “Chariot of the Cherubim” is mentioned by David in 1 Chron 28:18, and has reference to the making of similar figures to those which were in the tabernacle.
So when we turn to the vision which Ezekiel saw as recorded in his first and tenth chapters, we are not surprised to find a combination of all the ideas associated with the Cherubim: those of The Throne, the Glory, the Power, the Chariot, the Majesty: in fact all the attributes of the Deity in transcendent, all pervading all conquering manifestation. This vision was not given to Ezekiel without purpose. God does nothing meaninglessly. When He gave Ezekiel this wonderful revelation we can rest assured it was with a very definite object. It would make a lasting impression upon the one who saw it, and he would be strengthened by it for the work that God had for him in testifying for God against the sins of the people.
Dr Thomas says “those who study this vision will find that it is representative of the Spirit corporealized and manifested in the saints, the Elohim of Israel – the One eternal Spirit in multitudinous manifestation.
How much of this Ezekiel understood we know not. This may be one of those visions of glory that Peter had in mind when he wrote: “Of which the prophets inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister these things. . .which things the angels desire to look into.” This passage seems to suggest that it is possible for us to obtain greater spiritual benefit from the ministry of the prophets than they themselves were able to derive from their own visions.
The words prefacing the Apocalypse given to John in Patmos might very fittingly be applied to this vision of Ezekiel—”Blessed is he that seeth this vision, and they that understand the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein: for the time is at hand.” This vision has been recorded in such detail so that we who read it might “see” it as the prophet saw it. It is a spirit-picture of the glory of God to which we stand related. Daniel was granted a similar picture, which is recorded in his seventh chapter, where he too saw the Deity enthroned, and a multitude of the redeemed ministering unto Him, and being used by Him as the vehicle of His judgments upon the bestial kingdom of men. It is visions such as these which will help us—the more clearly we see them—to keep our faith strong, and our hopes bright, and our affections fixed upon those “eternal things” which are hidden from the ken of those who neglect the Word.
Although the word “Cherubim” does not occur in Ezekiel 1, the “living creatures” so vividly portrayed in that chapter are designated “cherubim” in Ezekiel 10:15. The word “cherubim” is interesting in that it means according to Young “those grasped,” “held fast.” It is certainly those of the human race whose minds have been “gripped” by the wonders of God’s purpose with the earth , as revealed in His word, and who have not “let go” of that “anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast” who eventually comprise the Cherubim of God’s glory.
Let us examine the details of Ezekiel’s vision and see how much of it we can reconstruct.
In Ch 1: 4 the prophet sees “a whirlwind which came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire unfolding itself, and a brightened was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber.”
“A Whirlwind out of the north.” It is significant that it is not just “a wind”. A whirlwind is rotary, and spiral in its motion, and is so powerful that in the United States it may develop into a terrible tornado, sucking up into its vortex everything that lies in its path. How fitting a figure of the devastating judgments which God is to bring upon the world of the ungodly! Isaiah says: “The Lord’s indignation shall be known toward his enemies. For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire, and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many” (Isa 66:15,16).
“A great cloud.” To appreciate the spiritual significance of this figure, we must understand a little of the natural. Clouds are formed of minute particles of water floating in the atmosphere, drawn up from earth and sea by the attraction of the sun: a very eloquent symbol of those who are being taken out of earth’s teeming millions to be associated with the One who “shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth”: those who “shall be caught up in clouds to meet the Lord in the air”: of whom it is written,”Behold, he cometh with clouds.”
“And a fire enfolding itself.” Human knowledge and experience of “fire” is very limited: certainly it has advanced a little since the days of flint and tinder box, but we are still dependent for warmth upon the combustible material such as wood and coal. It is still true that “Where no wood is there the fire goeth out”. But that which Ezekiel saw was fire independent of combustion. It was “infolding” -catching itself; self-contained, unquenchable. Our Sun is possibly of that character: it is life-giving and sustaining. This fire was full of movement, alive, a “living fire,” a “live coal” being taken from it later. Fire is also a purifying element, eradicating dross, testing, and purging impurities from the genuine metal.
To attain to God’s favour and participate in His glory, our works are to be subjected to test. Paul wrote: “Every man’s work shall be made manifest…the fire shall try every man’s work. If any man’s work abide.. He shall receive a reward. If any man’s work be burned he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” What a fitting symbol, then, is fire to be associated with manifestation of God. “God is love” — “not willing that any should perish.” On the other hand, “Our God is a consuming fire.” The fire of God could enflame a bush without scorching a leaf, it could also lick up barrels of water and consume the sodden stones of the altar on Mount Carmel. Those who will not respond to the warmth of His love will be consumed by the heat of His wrath, as Paul wrote to the Thessalonians; “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed (apocalypsed) from heaven with the angels of his power (marg); in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.”
“And a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.” The mental picture painted by these words is one of brilliant, golden, radiant glory, vibrant with life and movement. But this is only the background of the picture. Issuing out of it the prophet sees “four living creatures.” These are the “Cherubim,” according to Chapter 10: and we are given a detailed description of them in Chapter 1:5-11 and in chapter 10. Surely we are justified in concluding that when such exact details are given and repeated, and some of them even given three times, God wished His children to “see” the vision when they read it; and that it is of great value and importance to those who “understand” its significance.
This is what he saw: Four living creatures whose bodily form was that “of a man” — human. They each had “four faces,” each in the same relation to the body to which it was attached: the face of a man at the front, “the face of a lion on the right side,” the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle on the reverse side. Each living creature had four wings, two outspread upward, and two covering the body (verse 11). They stood back to back forming a square, the outstretched wings touching at the tips, or “joined one to another.” In whatever direction “the spirit was for them to go,” I was not necessary for them to turn about, “they turned not when they went:” the four full faces of the Man, Lion, Ox, and Eagle were facing in all directions, so “they went straight forward.”
The feet of the creatures were “straight feet…like the sole of a calf’s foot” (verse 7) which means they were “cloven.” And “they had the hands of a man under their wings.”
What does the Spirit wish us to learn from these particulars so graphically portrayed? First the faces —(it will be necessary to stress the obvious in order to get the full benefit from the imagery). A face is made up of features, and features are characteristics. Physiognomists claim that the face is an index to the character. As we remarked at the outset, God’s revelation was given to man with one definite object, to show to him what characteristics God requires man to manifest in order that he might attain to the divine nature, and become a constituent of that glorified community who will be invested with the Spirit. The cherubim were place to “keep the way to the tree of life” for this purpose.
Each face chosen by God to appear upon the living creatures is a king in its particular class. The lion — king of beasts, speaks of strength and fearlessness, undaunted in attack and defence. Lifting these qualities on to the spiritual plane, we discover that God requires His people to manifest strength of character, to “fear not” and to be “very courageous,” being ready to attack the “sin-spiritual of wickedness in high places.” They are to be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand.” They have taken unto themselves” the whole armour of God,” which enables them to become “lion-like men,” expert to thrust and parry with the “Sword of the Spirit.”
The ox was chosen by God for sacrifice because of its typical characteristics—patient, enduring, pulling its weight, giving of its best, unmurmuring, uncomplaining. These spiritual qualifications are the basis of numerous apostolic exhortations. It is a ruminating animal—chewing the cud; suggesting the type of individual with whom God is well pleased—those who “eat the Word’ and ruminate upon it, and so obtain the maximum spiritual nutriment from it. The ox, too, is cloven-footed which indicates sure-footedness, certainty, confidence; those who are not easily moved once having taken “the stand” on the side of truth: that class that “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free;” “in singleness of mind serving the lord,” because “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” David may have had these facts in mind when he wrote: “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hind’s feet and setteth me upon my high places.” With the cleft foot an animal can grip the sod, and browsed upon the edge of a yawning abyss without the slightest fear. These are some of the features which must be visible in those who are to pass the examination which will admit them to God’s favor.
The eagle is the king of the air, noted for its marvelous telescopic sight. It can see objects and at distances, which are indiscernible to other creatures. What a characteristic when applied to the children of God! It is wonderfully exemplified by Moses when he turned his back upon the treasures of Egypt, because “he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” Or as expressed by Paul in the Corinthians, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: while we look not at the things that are seen (apparent to the natural sight), but at the things that are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The things of the Spirit of God are not received by the natural man; “neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” Those whose eyes have been anointed with the spirit’s eye salve look beyond the present into the future, and like Abraham they confess that they are strangers and pilgrims in this condition of things: they can see by faith—the telescopic sight which they possess—that “city that hath foundations whose builder and maker is God.” The eagle, too, is strong of wing, and is able to mount to heights impossible to other birds. The air is too rarefied for the natural man to breathe. As Paul expresses it: “God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us…. Hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The dwelling place of the eagle is high up in the rocks, as God said to Job: “Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.” And so do those who know God and endeavour to conform to His requirements. Like the Psalmist they cry unto God when their heart is overwhelmed: “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” And again, “Be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress.” And yet again—”Be thou to me for a Rock of habitation whereunto I may continually resort.” “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion (covert):. . . He shall set me up upon a rock.” The reference to a “renewal of youth” and “strength like the eagle” contained in Psalm 103:5, and Isaiah 40:31, is very significant in its bearing upon the Cherubim of glory. Those who are incorporated in it will certainly enjoy eternal youth and vigour. Natural strength at its best is soon exhausted; “but they that trust in Jehovah shall gather new strength; they shall put forth fresh feathers like the moulting eagle; they shall run and not be wearied; they shall march onward and shall not faint” (Lowth).
The face of the man: the noblest of all God’s creatures, and the only one amenable to God’s laws. Man differs from the other creatures who form the composite picture of the Cherubim, in that he was modeled after the divine pattern. “In the image of God created he him.” As Dr Thomas says: “In the form and capacity he was made like unto the angels, though in nature inferior to them.” By his mental and moral qualities he is capable of ascending to divine attributes, or descending to a position lower than the beasts. He is capable of receiving spiritual ideas, thereby developing veneration, benevolence, affection, hope, etc., which traits are not possible in any other creature. God’s intention is to exalt those of the human race who prove worthy to equality with the angels; so it was fitting that one of the four faces should be that of a man; and no doubt this face was perfect in formation and feature, representing that standard of perfection set the human race by “the Man—Christ Jesus,” who is “the fairest among ten thousand—the altogether lovely.” “The measure of a man, that is of an angel.” When that which Ezekiel saw in parable becomes an established reality, we shall then have “come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. . . Growing up into him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together by that which every joint supplieth .. .. Maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:13-16).
So here we have four faces which are eloquent, to those who have “eyes to see and ears to hear.” In proclaiming the conditions upon which God will allow sinners to return to His favour, and be allowed to partake of that from which Adam was cut off by transgressing. The introduction of “wings” in the the symbol, and that each had four—two outstretched, and two covering their body—suggests rapidity and strength of flight or movement and protection.
“And their feet were straight feet . . . Like the sole of a calf’s foot. . .Like the colour of burnished brass.”
The use of the word “straight,” which means “right” or “upright,” is rather suggestive of the kind of “walk” that is expected of those who are to be participants in the glory of God. The same word is used in reference to Israel’s return to God’s ways in Jer 3:9: “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble.”
Animals with cloven feet are very careful when they plant them; it is seldom that one trips or falls. They carefully pick their way, avoiding obstacles in their path. And the voice of God counsels His children to “Keep thy heart with all diligence: for out of it are the isues of life.. . . Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and all thy ways shall be ordered aright (marg.). Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil” (Prov. 4:23027). “The path of the just is as the shining light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov 4:18).
What is it that inspires confidence in a saint? Implicit trust and reliance upon God—in one word—”Faith;” without which it is impossible to please Him, and which will enable those who possess it to “overcome the world.” As expressed by the prophet Habakkuk; “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hind’s feet, and he will make me walk upon mine high places.”
It may have been such thoughts as these that Jesus had when he gave that example of true humility and of service by washing the disciples’ feet, and when he said: “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.” After baptism, and thereby remission of sins and reconciliation, it is our footsteps we have to watch, our walk in the Truth. We may become defiled by our contact with the world, even by personal transgression, but there is One who “made himself of no reputation, who took upon himself the form of a servant, who humbled himself even to the death of the cross.” He was “touched with the feeling of our infirmities so that we could “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” And throught his intercession alone can defilements be eradicated.
The feet of the cherubim “sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.” As it is generally accepted that brass is copper in symbol represents “the flesh” or “of the earth, earthy,” this is quite in keeping with what has already been advanced: the feet are in contact with the earth, but must not be of the earth.” There movements must be controlled by the principles governing the whole of the body of the cherubim. Jesus said when praying for his disciples: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Paul gave expression to the same thought when he exhorts:”Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God,” being “not overcome of evil, but overcoming evil with good.”
“And they had the hands of a man under their wings.” The human hand is one of the most wonderful tools in the world. When it is linked to an intelligent brain there appears no limit to what it can accomplish. We are experiencing today the ability of the human hand, directed by minds opposed to God’s laws, to produce the most ingenious devices for destroying human life. But the reverse of that is to happen when all human energy and craftsmanship will be turned into channels for the benefit, blessing and ennobling of the human race: when they will use their hands to “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks.” Even now the hand that has for its governing power the mind of God, as expressed in his commands, is consecrated to His service. As the hymn expresses it: “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love.” The hands of a man under the wings of the cherubim suggests human activities controlled by divine principles indicated by the faces upon their heads. Jesus again is the highest example of this, for he said: “I came not to do mine own will but the will of Him who sent me.”
The hand suggests service. Without hands a man would be valueless as a servant. Service is God’s basis for exaltation. Christ’s reference to the Gentiles exercising lordship and being called benefactors is the converse of the divine method; “But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that s chief, as he that doth serve. . . But I am among you as he that serveth.” During the incident already referred to when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, he said: “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.” And he goes on to say in effect: ‘I have proved my deservedness of those titles in that I am prepared to stoop to the most menial of tasks in the service of God’s children.” Paul too had mastered this divine principle, as shown in Philippians 2:3-10, where he exhorts that the lowliness of mind which was in Christ be manifested in his followers. Although from the human standpoint he had every reason to proclaim his own superiority, yet he made himself of no reputation. On this account “God hath mightily exalted him” and eventually, “every tongue shall confess that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” There are other qualities acceptable to God indicated by the hand, such as friendship, invitation, confidence, generosity, prayer, cleanliness.
Again let me remind you that from whatever point of view the cherubim were approached the four full faces were seen. So that “they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was for them to go they went. They turned not when they went.” Creatures with only one face have to turn if they wish to alter their direction. And their movements were rapid “as the appearance of a flash of lightning.”
A further detail is given us in the chapter 10:12, where we read: “And their whole body, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings.. . were full of eyes round about.” Dr. Thomas says: “An eye is the symbol of intelligence; and when a multitude of eyes are aggregated together, each eye indicates a particular or individual intelligence. Ezekiel informs us that the eyes were in flesh which was full of them. Each eye, then, was a flesh intelligence and as the four had each a human face and hand, and were endowed with the faculty of speech, the intelligence was that of a man.” Dr Thomas further identifies these with the 144,000 of Revelation who sing “Thou hast redeemed us”—a multitude which no man can number. This is in harmony with Ezek. 1:24, where they are likened to “the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of a host.”
But why “eyes?” Why not mouths or ears? There must be some divine reason for choosing the “eye.” The eye is one of the most wonderful members with which God has endowed man. Even a superficial knowledge of its structure leaves us marveling at the wisdom which designed it. One or two obvious facts will be sufficient for our purpose now. (1) The eye is a receiver of impressions, which it conveys to the brain through the optic nerve. (2) It reacts and functions only in light. In total darkness it is valueless. (3) It is able to see things distant and near, by its delicate focusing lens. (4) It is able to print upon the mind pictures which time fails to eradicate (5) It is capable of reflecting the state of its possessor’s mind, whether it be love, joy, hope, grief, anger, terror, etc.
Many other thoughts doubtless will occur. It is when we lift the consideration on to a spiritual plane that we beging to “see” what God wished us to understand by the “eyes” in the cherubim. Unfortunately the vast majority of mankind are suffering from “blindness,” mostly due to putting their trust in “blind leaders:” from whatever cause it arises their ignorance of God’s Word renders them spiritually blind. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, exhorting them “that ye walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.
The nation of Israel failed for the very same reason, and the very institution which should have shown them the glorious light became “a snare, a trap, and a stumbling-block unto them.” So Paul writing to the Corinthians quotes the incident of Moses having “to put a Vail over his face, because the children of Israel could not look to the end…… but their minds were blinded.” And then he draws the contrast between those whose spiritual sight was so weak that it could not even stand the glory associated with the ministration of condemnation, and those who had the evidence “written in their hearts by the Spirit of the living God;” those who were able to gaze without discomfort upon “the glory that excelleth,” “with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, and are changed into the same image from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord.” It is all a matter of vision.
The many references of Jesus to the eye indicate that he knew the value of it as a symbol. He said, for instance, “The light of the body is the eye.” The eye is the medium through which the whole body can be illuminated and invigorated. There is no life apart from light: and so John commences his narrative upon that theme (1:4): “In him was life; and the life is the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. “That was the true light that lighteth every man.” And Jesus in the ministry gave evidence of the truth of John’s claims for him. The incident recorded by John in Chapter 9 was no doubt chosen by the writer to demonstrate this truth; where, in connection with the giving of sight to the man who-was born blind Jesus said: “I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” This miracle has a much deeper significance than the giving of natural sight to an afflicted man (see verses 39-41). It has to do with the bestowal by God through the spirit-word of spiritual sight (which all are born without), by the application of that “eye salve” to our mental vision, which has been made possible through the One who was “The Word made flesh,” after the application of which, followed by obedience in washing, the subjects of the operation “came seeing.”
Many other scriptures could be quote under this heading—the engraving of “the Stone” which had “seven eyes” of Zech 3:9 is very much to this point. But sufficient has been advanced to show how significant are the eyes in the cherubim.
Ezek 1:24 has already been referred to as suggesting a multitude, “the noise of a host.” It is also likened to “the noise of great waters,” and in scripture language “waters” are frequently used to represent peoples, but these “waters” are the Lord’s host giving audible expression in language that cannot be misunderstood, conveying all the wishes and commands of the Almighty. It is the voice of the Spirit-Word which with longing, yearning, prayed through Christ, “Glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” That which Ezekiel saw was the realization of the “Glory” for which Jesus prayed, and for which he died.
Ezekiel saw “a firmament.” The making of the firmament constitutes the second day’s work in the creation recorded in Genesis 1; and it was in this “expanse” that God placed the luminaries that were to be for the light of the world natural. We know how frequently the heavens are referred to figuratively, to signify positions of power and honour. One notable passage occurs in Daniel 12:3: “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” And how aptly the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews describes what Ezekiel saw in the words: “Ye are come unto Mount Sion, unto the city of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general (festal) assembly, and to the ecclesia of firstborns, enrolled for the heavens, and to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb. 12:22,23).
Jesus in his parable of the tares, after he had said, “The harvest is the end of the world,” added: “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
“And above the firmament……was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone.”
A throne indicates royalty, authority, majesty: and blueness—divine, heavenly: and therefore, a divine kingdom—the kingdom of God. The figure of a man sitting upon the throne no doubt indicates the one of whom it is written: “Unto the Son, he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” From Ezekiel 1:27 we gather that from the One seated upon the throne radiated electrical brilliance and glory.
“As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about” (verse 28).
The rainbow is introduced into this prophetic picture for the same reason that it appears in Rev Rev 4:3 and 10:1. Associated with God’s eternal purpose there re concealed beauties and multi-coloured charms, hidden from the eyes of the world, which will only be made visible to all by the coming of the Lord. The “bow in the cloud” suggests, in the first place, that God’s covenanted word will never fail. It gives assurance, certainty, confidence in God. God said to Noah: “When I bring a cloud over the earth, the bow shall be seen in the cloud….and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature that is upon earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant (Gen 9:14-17).
When God incorporates this “token” in a symbolic picture of His Throne and of His Kingdom we think we are justified in concluding that it signifies “Peace after storm;” “Sunshine after rain.” Or expressed through the prophet Isaiah. “Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
Dr Thomas has given expression to some very beautiful thoughts on this subject in Eureka. He writes: “The rainbow is referred to in four places in the scripture, and it is from these only that the import of the symbol can be deduced. In nature the rainbow is evolved by the action of showery vapor upon the sun’s rays, which, in passing through the aqueous globules, are refracted, and form an arch upon the part of the clouds opposite to the sun, glowing with all the colours of the prismatic, or solar, spectrum. The rainbow is never seen except when the sun is shining, and when rain is falling between the spectator and the part of the horizon where the bow is seen. These facts must not be lost sight of in considering the significance of the rainbow when used as a symbol. Sun, light, rain, cloud, are elements necessary to the production of the natural bow; so are they also to the evolution of a symbolic arch in the heaven pertaining to the throne. In the absence of the ‘Sun of Righteousness’ from the heaven, and of the light of life, glory, honour, and power, which He will irradiate, the rainbow encircling the throne cannot be seen. Neither can the light irradiating from Him be reflected to the spectator-world from the clouds of immortals about the throne, until the rain-showers of the heaven shall descend upon the mown grass to fertilize the earth. These are indispensable conditions to the evolution of the bow, which is the symbol of a clear and blessed sunshine after previous ‘lightnings, thunders, and voices from the throne, ” contemporaneously with gently descending rain.”
How fitting it is that the token of the everlasting covenant should majestically arch over the whole manifestation of God’s glory. The arch itself is the symbol of strength and endurance, embracing within its span the whole of God’s purpose with mankind from the beginning to the end: “The Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the ending; the first and the last.” And the keystone of the arch is love; “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Before concluding this section dealing with the Cherubim or the Living Creatures, some reference should be made to their incorporation in the Temple of Ezekiel’s prophecy as described in detail in chapters 40 to 47. In giving particulars of the construction of the inner temple and in reference to the doors or entrances, the prophet says in 42:18: “And it was made with cherubims and palm trees, so that a palm was between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two faces; so that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion towards the palm tree on the other side.”
Comparing the two faces here mentioned with the four given in Ezekiel chapter 1, we find that the faces of the Ox and Eagle are omitted. May I suggest the following reason for this? Seeing that the temple of Ezekiel’s prophecy is for the “worship of the Lord of Hosts” during the Millennial Age, and that the central portion of the temple, upon which appear the figures of the cherubim, is for the occupation of the immortalized kings and priests, is it not fitting that the typical characteristics of the ox and eagle, as already alluded to, I.e. patience, endurance, rumination, steadfastness, confidence: length of vision, heights of spiritual attainments, etc., all of which have to do with the probationary and preparatory stages—should be omitted? But those qualities which are to be perpetuated are represented by the Man and Lion—”The Man Christ Jesus,” “The Lion of the tribe of Judah”—the divine and the kingly. As indicated in the greeting of Nathanael: “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the king of Israel.” So all those who attain to immortality in that age will be “Sons” and “Princes of God.” He will bring “many sons unto glory.” The palm trees towards which the faces of the cherubim are turned also indicate the fact that those represented have “gotten the victory”; a very fitting combination.
We must not leave this vision of Ezekiel’s without some reference to the “wheels” which occupy an important place in the imagery, being mentioned at some length in chapter 1:15-21, and in chapter 10:9-13. It would not be correct to imagine that the wheel-manifestation indicated something separate and distinct from the living creature. It is one vision, or at least they both have one meaning. Just as God gave Pharaoh two dreams to indicate one event, “The dream is one,” said Joseph: so to the prophet, the same all-embracing climax to human affairs was portrayed in two ways. This is God’s method of making “the dream certain and the interpretation thereof sure.”
This is emphasized several times by the statement: “For the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.” The one did not move without the other. But why wheels?
Such a question presents no difficulty of explanation in this age of mechanized rapidity of movement. At least one reason can be seen at a glance: the wheel is the basis of the present-day development of speed. “Wheels within wheels” is the basic principle upon which man is attempting—with some success as far as this world is concerned—to annihilate space. So the “wheel” symbolizes ease and rapidity in movement. But in man’s use of wheels a lot of time ad power is wasted by the fact that if he wishes to go to the right hand or left, or to go in an opposite direction, he has to turn his machine to face that direction. What the prophet saw was a wheel so constructed that there was no need for it to turn because it could run in every direction equally well. Just as in the case of the living creatures, and of the cherubim placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, so with the wheels, “they faced every way.”
Again a wheel is a fitting symbol of eternity, and therefore of the Spirit-power which is “from everlasting to everlasting.” You cannot say a circle begins or ends. And as these wheels were “full of eyes,” and each eye is representative of a saint who has been enlightened by the “Light of Life,” we have depicted in the wheels the glorified and immortalized redeemed ones from among the human race, all energized by the Spirit of God, the vehicle of the Almighty—the Chariot of the Lord of Hosts—in omnipotent and irresistible movement obeying His commands.
“The appearance of the wheels was like unto the colour of a beryl” (verse 16), and as the beryl is green in colour there is no difficulty in connecting this with mortality, the basic nature upon which God is operating, and from which he will evolve—through the subjection of the flesh to His divine principles—a change of nature; the birth out of Spirit.
So when we turn to other Scriptural references to the Cherubim, and to other symbolical God-manifestations they are explainable on the same hypothesis as that of Ezekiel’s. Isaiah had a vision as recorded in the sixth chapter—again of “The Throne of the Lord” and of the retinue of immortalized attendants upon Him. In this case they are called “Seraphim,” which means burning, fiery, deadly; and it is in this aspect of His work that God uses the glorified saints to subjugate the powers of the world, until “The whole earth is full of his glory.” Daniel had visions of the same glorious consummation, recorded in 7:9-27, when he sees “one like the Son of man” come with the clouds of heaven to the Ancient o Days,”And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom; his dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
When we turn to the Book of Revelation we have unmistakable evidence that our interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision is the true one, and confirmation that we have rightly interpreted the significance of the “Cherubim.”
In Rev 4:1 we read that John—a representative son of Adam, suffering “tribulation” for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ”—says “After this I looked.”
There is not need to enlarge upon the fact that he “looked,” in view of our lengthy dissertation upon the “eye.” Sufficient to remark that it was an intelligent look, because he saw a “door opened”—an open door. This is in harmony with what has been said concerning “the way to the three of life.” Christ is the door. John and those of the human race who had qualified for entrance through the Door unto the Father by conforming to the Divine-cherubic principles, respond to the invitation to ascend that they may be shown things that are to be hereafter.
He was carried forward into that condition in which he would be “spirit’ nature, and he sees a similar vision to that which Ezekiel saw: the Throne, One sitting on the throne; a rainbow encircling the throne; a typical number of elders sitting on seats placed around the throne, who were clothed in white, wearing crowns of gold. Lightnings, thunders, and voices were again proceeding from the throne. Here were also, as in Ezekiel’s vision “four living creatures” each having one of the faces borne by Ezekiel’s cherubim—lion, ox, man, and eagle—with wings, and full of eyes.
Surely there is no difficulty in identifying what John saw with that which Ezekiel saw? It is the Cherubim of Glory in its final phase, seated at rest, and enthroned in regal splendour wearing robes of righteousness, and crowns of incorruptibility. And the question who the Cherubim are is settled quite definitely by the song which they sing: “Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth.”
“THE ANOINTED CHERUB”
These verses have caused many to wonder what the Spirit of God means by such words in reference to Tyre—for all will agree that it is that power which is addressed. The “king of Tyrus” mentioned in verse 12 is spoken to as representative of the state or kingdom over which he ruled.
This is an outstanding example of God’s wisdom in “dark sayings” difficult of understanding, but upon which it is to “the honour of kings” to exercise their spiritual perceptions.
Ezekiel 26, 27 and nearly the whole of 28 are devoted to God’s judgments upon Tyre, and the reasons for them are given.
Dr Alexander Keith wrote in his Evidence of Prophecy: “Tyre was the most celebrated city of Phoenicia, and the ancient emporium of the world. Its colonies were numerous and extensive. I was the theatre of an immense commerce and navigation, the nursery of arts and science, and the city of perhaps the most industrious and active people ever known. In the period of their greatest splendour and perfect independence, Tyre stood at the head of the Phoenician cities. The kingdom of Carthage, the rival of Rome, was one of the colonies of Tyre…… The pride and wickedness of the Tyrians, their exultation at the calamities of the Israelites, and their cruelty in selling thme into slavery, are assigned as the reasons of the judgments that were to overtake them. Ezekiel’s description of the commerce, riches, and pride of Tyre, the ancient Queen of the Ocean, is designated by Volney a valuable historical fragment.”
The verses of chapter 28 preceding those we are considering show how blasphemously proud was this neighbor of Israel. They “set their heart as the heart of God.” Yet they were only human. They thought themselves wiser than Daniel, who was a revealer of secrets, but They attributed their wealth and prosperity to their own wisdom and ability; but God, through the prophet, declared that He, through the instrumentality of another nation, would bring them down to the dust of oblivion.
It is the peculiar relationship of Tyre to God’s land that is the clue to the understanding of these enigmatical words in verses 12 to 16.
God had given Tyre its power and its prosperity tht it might be a protecting influence over His Land, and they had abused their privileges, and had taken advantage of God’s chosen people instead of helping them.
The expression in verse 13,”Eden the garden o God,” refers to the “Land which the Lord loveth,” upon which are “His eyes from one end of the year to the other:” the “glory of all lands,” the “delightsome land,” for the word “Eden” in the Hebrew means “delight,”. and Tyre was situated practically in that Eden.
In verse 14 the closeness of the association of “Tyre with God’s land and people is even more emphasized: and this phraseology can only be rightly understood by reference to the Mosaic ritual in the Tabernacle of Witness.
Just as the Cherubim of Glory overshadowed the mercy seat of the Ark of the testimony, the very centre of God-manifestation to Israel, and spread out their wings in protection of that holy shrine, so Tyre had been anointed a protecting cherub for “the place that God had chosen for his name to be there.” “I have set thee s (as a covering cherub) over the holy mountain of God.”
The Mosaic figure is carried still further by the words, “Thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”
All who are acquainted with the typical significance of the Breastplate of Judgment worn by the High Priest when he went into the presence of God in the Holy Place will at once see the significance of the expression. In Exodus 28 Moses was told to make a breastplate of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen. It was to be four-square and there were to be twelve precious stones set in four rows and upon each stone was to be engraved the name of one of the tribes of the children of Israel. In verse 29 we read, “And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.”
And when Aaron went in wearing the breastplate which was representative of the whole of the nation of Israel, the glory of the Lord, shining forth from between the Cherubim, would transform those precious stones into “stones of fire.”
They were representative of the nation of God’s choice, towhom He had given the Land of Canaan, and who dwelt in that land under God’s supervision.
The king of Tyre had walked up and down amidst those twelve tribes and, instead of acting the part of a protector, had used violence and made merchandise of God’s people (verse 16), therefore God had no further use for Tyre and would destroy him.
That has been the history of all the kingdoms that have done despite to God’s chosen nation, and it will be repeated upon all modern persecutors of the Jews.
Does the story of Tyre end there? We think not. There is a latter day Tyrian power, which like the ancient Tyre claims to be “the mistress of the sea,” the “emporium of the world,” whose colonies are numerous and extensive, the theatre of immense commerce and navigation, “the nursery of arts and science,” who boasts herself of her wealth and power: which also is “the anointed Cherub that covereth” and has been in Eden, the “land of delight” and in the “mountain of God,” and “walked up and down among the stones of fire.” Will the fate of modern Tyre be similar to that of the ancient mercantile power?
Not altogether. She will be humbled and abased; “for the Lord hath gaiven a commandment against the merchant city” in the words of Isaiah concerning Tyre of old (23:11). Did not Isaiah prophesy “The day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up: and he shall be brought low: upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pictures of desire” (2:12-17) when God arises to shake terribly the earth? And in Psalm 48, which we think is wonderfully descriptive of the latter-day application of Ezek 28:13-16, the prophet says: “Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind (verse 7).
But while the latter day Tyre shares in this way the judgments of the last days, she has a further work to do. The ships of Tarshish are first to bring Zion’s sons from far to their home land (Isa 69:99); the daughter of Tyre is there with a gift (Psa 45:12); and at last “her merchandise and her hire and holiness to the Lord” (Isa 23:18).
The obvious exhortation to those instructed in these divine verities is that given by the Spirit inn Isaiah, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of.
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