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The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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Cherubim, Cherub

We meet with an account of these so frequently in the word of God, that it forms an important duty to seek, under the Spirit's teaching, for the clearest apprehension of their meaning. At the entrance of the garden of Eden, after the fall, we find the cherubim and a flaming sword placed. (Genesis 3:24) And during the church's continuance in the wilderness, several relations are made of the cherubim. (Exodus 25:18; Exo 26:1; Exo 37:7-8) Solomon's temple also, was adorned with the representation of them. (1 Kings 6:23, etc.) But more particularly, in the visional prophecy of Ezekiel. (See Ezekiel 9:1-11 and Ezekiel 10:1-22 throughout.) The general representation of the cherubim was under the similitude of four living creatures: the face of a man; the face of a lion; the face of an ox, or calf; and the face of an eagle. That these figures were emblems of somewhat more important and higher than themselves, hath been the universal opinion, both in the Jewish and Christian church, through all ages. Some have considered them as representing angels. But there seems, in the first view of the subject, a total contradiction to this, because, no one reason upon earth can be shown, why angels should be represented with four faces. Neither could there be any necessity for any other representation of an angel, but as an angel. We meet with continued instances of angels appearing, in the word of God, to God's people without any danger of JEHOVAH himself only can it be said, "Thou canst not see my face and live." (Exodus 33:20) Moreover, before the cherubim was sprinkled, on the great day of atonement, the blood of the sacrifice, which we all know was typical of Christ, and represented the one offering of the Redeemer. Now, to have this set forth before angels would have been contrary to the whole sense of Scripture. (See Exodus 37:9; Leviticus 16:14 compared with Hebrews 9:7; Heb 9:12) Evidently, therefore, the cherubim could not be intended to prefigure angels.

The question is then, What, or whom, did they represent? I would very humbly say in answer, that I am inclined to think, with several who have gone before me in the study of this solemn and mysterious subject, that the cherubim were emblematical of the glorious persons of the GODHEAD, in their covenant engagements to redeem our fallen nature, as represented in those characters united with the manhood of Christ. And the foundation of this belief, I humbly beg to subjoin.

And first, to begin with the earliest representation at the gate of Paradise, we are told, (Genesis 3:24) that the Lord himself placed those cherubim there, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. By which I apprehend, the sense of the expression is, not to keep from, but to keep to, the way of the tree of life; meaning, that poor fallen man now had no access but by this way. And as we well know, from our Lord's own authority, that Jesus is "the way, and the truth, and the life; and no man cometh to the Father, but by him." (John 14:6) Hence it should seem, that by these cherubic figures, among which the face of a man formed a part, immediately at the fall, redemption through Christ was set up by those emblems, as manifested to the church.

Secondly, Those cherubim were eminently displayed in the Holy of Holies, over and upon the mercy seat. (See Exodus 25:17-22, compared with Hebrews 11:1-24) Now, as from the authority of those Scriptures, we have full licence to conclude, that the mercy-seat itself was an emblem of Christ, and the High Priest going into the Holy of Holies once in a year, with blood, a lively type of the Lord Jesus going in with his own blood into heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of God for us, we cannot for a moment suppose, but that these cherubim must have been designed to represent the holy and undivided Three persons in the one eternal JEHOVAH, before whom only, and to whom only, Christ, in his divine and nature united, made the one sacrifice of by which he hath prefected for ever them that are sanctified. The song of heaven declared, that the redemption by Christ was from God, as the first cause, and to God, as the final end. (Revelation 5:9) To have set forth, therefore, these solemn representations, by type and figure, in the Jewish church, before any but JEHOVAH himself, would have been little short of blasphemy, and consequently cherubim, before which every great day of the same was regularly observed, could emblematical only of the glorious persons of the GODHEAD.

If it be objected, that in the vision of Isaiah, chap. so again, in the vision of John, Revelation 8:1-13 where in both Scriptures, we find the seraphim, or cherubim, (for they mean one and the same), are represented as worshipping God, and hence it be said, is there not a contradiction in supposing JEHOVAH worshipping JEHOVAH? I answer, certainly there would be, if this were in reality the case. But the fact is, that it is not so. Let it be remembered, that these cherubim are emblems, and not the very persons they represent. The representatives of another my join in any acts with others, to proclaim with them the worth, or praises, of those whom they represent. As the ambassador of an earthly king, though he represents his master, may, at the same time, join his fellow subjects in proclaiming with them his master's honour. This objection, therefore, falls to the ground. And though I do not presume, on a subject so mysterious and sublime, to speak decidedly, yet I cannot but think, that the cherubim of Scripture, are intended to represent the glorious persons of the GODHEAD, with the human nature united to the person of the Son of God, and by no means intended to represent angels.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Cherubim'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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