Cherubim - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G5502, cheroubim ]
are regarded by some as the ideal representatives of redeemed animate creation. In the Tabernacle and Temple they were represented by the two golden figures of two-winged living creatures. They were all of one piece with the golden lid of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, signifying that the prospect of redeemed and glorified creatures was bound up with the sacrifice of Christ.

This in itself would indicate that they represent redeemed human beings in union with Christ, a union seen, figuratively, proceeding out of the mercy seat. Their faces were towards this mercy seat, suggesting a consciousness of the means whereby union with Christ has been produced.

The first reference to the cherubim" is in Genesis 3:24, which should read "... at the East of the Garden of Eden He caused to dwell in a tabernacle the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned itself to keep the way of the Tree of Life." This was not simply to keep fallen human beings out; the presence of the "cherubim" suggests that redeemed men, restored to God on God's conditions, would have access to the Tree of Life. (See Revelation 22:14).

Certain other references in the OT give clear indication that angelic beings are upon occasion in view, e.g., Psalms 18:10; Ezekiel 28:4. So with the vision of the cherubim in Eze. 10:1-20; Ezekiel 11:22. In the NT the word is found in Hebrews 9:5, where the reference is to the Ark in the Tabernacle, and the thought is suggested of those who minister to the manifestation of the glory of God.

We may perhaps conclude, therefore, that, inasmuch as in the past and in the present angelic beings have functioned and do function administratively in the service of God, and that redeemed man in the future is to act administratively in fellowship with Him, the "cherubim" in Scripture represent one or other of these two groups of created beings according to what is set forth in the various passages relating to them.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words