While surfing the blogosphere for material appropriate to Christianity 201, I came across the rather lively blog of Carole McDonnell and a particular post she wrote just in time for Halloween. The line that convinced me we needed to
borrow steal feature it here was,
…I figured I’d do something on Living Creatures who terrify. (Honestly, who fears dead stuff? Maybe corpses bring diseases and contamination but other than that…the dead are not particularly troublesome.)
Is that cool or what? Now then, internet etiquette dictates that you actually click over and view this at her blog, but statistically, most of you won’t which means you would miss out on something truly different…
My Halloween Post: Those Awesome Cherubim
Yep, it’s that time of the year again when folks celebrate dead creatures and stuff that terrify. But since hubby and I finished Revelations last week, I figured I’d do something on Living Creatures who terrify. (Honestly, who fears dead stuff? Maybe corpses bring diseases and contamination but other than that…the dead are not particularly troublesome.) And no I’m not gonna talk about demons either. True, they’re living creatures in their own way because they have immortal life. But they are evil. What I want to right about is Terrifying holiness.
With God is terrible majesty! With God is terrifying majesty!
God made many type of creatures, creatures who can live in the three-dimensional world and in other dimensionalities. And he also made the Cherubim. The Cherubim live in heaven…in fact they live in God’s throne room and are never out of the presence of God. God rides on the Cherubim, He is seated above the Cherubim. (Satan himself was the cherubim that covered the throne while the other cherubs surrounded it or were under it. But I digress.)
The weird thing is that as heavenly as Cherubim are, they are weirdly intertwined in human affairs. What their purpose is God alone (and great Bible students) know. They are carved over the mercy seat…which represents their place in heaven. They represent life forms on earth: tame animals, wild animals, humans, and birds. (No fish or creeping thing, but again, I digress.)
So this is what I want to talk about the Cherubim. Now, on earth we have one way of being: we are spirit, body, mind, but we are all in one visible package. Because God is above and beyond the third dimension, God can see our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. But we humans can only see each other’s bodies. (Okay, if we have a gift we can see into spirits but I digress.) Back to the Cherubim.
As we see them in the Book of Ezekiel, (the first time I believe in the Bible) we are told they all have one likeness:
The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. “ (Ezekiel 1:1, 4-5,15-16, NKJV)
That is: they all look alike.
Under each of their four wings I could see human hands. So each of the four beings had four faces and four wings. 9The wings of each living being touched the wings of the beings beside it. Each one moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
10Each had a human face in 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 at the back. 11Each had two pairs of outstretched wings—one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. 12They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around. Ezekiel 1: 8-12
Okay, so we accept this. One being has four faces, feet straight down so they don’t ever turn their face from God, and eyes everywhere just in case…so they don’t miss anything. And then there’s that pesky wheel-within-the-wheel which hints at all kinds of things.
The other thing we have to note is that these Cherubim move about in groups of four. Each four is one entity: a singular entity made up of four sub-entities who all look alike. This is something we can’t even begin to figure out. I mean, on earth a marriage is an entity but the hubby and the woman are not really alike to such an extreme.
Anyway, we accept this…and ponder and ponder. But then what happens when we arrive in Revelation?
In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. 7The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight.8Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, Rev 4: 6-8
There are two changes here:
The first: the number of wings: two pairs each in Ezekiel’s vision, and 6 wings (not said if they come in pairs) in Revelations.
The second: The cherubim are now separate, kinda. . .and fully themselves but still a unity of four.
They’re still unified but one is fully human with six wings, one is fully a bird (with six wings), one is fully a lion (with six wings) and one is fully an ox (with six wings.
Again, they have all the eyes. Now if there is any confusion here about these creatures: Ezekiel calls these living creatures “Cherubim” and John calls them “living creatures.”
Ezekiel 10:20 These were the living creatures I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the Kebar River, and I realized that they were cherubim.
Revelation 4:6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.
But, what’s interesting here is how these cherubim are part of each other and a unity. Not a trinity but a Quatrinity (I just invented that word, I think.) On earth we can’t begin to understand beings who are part of each other and who can dismantle and reassemble themselves in different patterns….but wow! this is heaven! A spiritual sphere! A world of dimensionalities we cannot begin to understand. Question: do they really “look” like this? Or is the way they look the only way our human minds with its limited understanding of what a “person” is can understand?
And may I say, these are terrifying. I have never seen a cherubim — especially when it/they is in their one from column a, one from column b, one from column c, one from column d — and yet one-single-entity mode And know what? I do not want to see them.
In Daniel, the angel Gabriel is often called “The man Gabriel.” He stands before God, in the presence of God. Just like the cherubim are always before God. And honestly, if God wants to send anyone to talk to humans, I think he knows enough of human fear to send someone who looks like one of us: Gabriel.
How terrifying and majestic holiness is! I imagine the eyes of the cherubim, always seeing God and yet possibly seeing all on the earth, seeing through the eyes of all on the earth, seeing the evil being done on the earth.
Yeah, no ghost or demon matches the terrifying majesty of God.
Next, you need to see some of the other videos over at John8ThirtyTwo’s YouTube channel.
Carole: I think the word Quadrinity has been used elsewhere, changing the ‘t’ to a ‘d’.