The Bible speaks of celestial beings known as the Cherubim. Popular culture will make you think that cherubs are “baby angels,” and they are often depicted as babies with wings on their backs, This is not the case, however, because the prophet Ezekiel describes the Cherubim in Ezekiel Chapter 1, verses 4-24 in this way:
“And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.”
Ezekiel identifies the amazing creatures that he sees as the cherubim in Ezekiel 10:1-2. The purpose of the cherubims as we can see from Scripture is to praise God and do what He wants them to do.
In Revelation Chapters 4-6, the apostle John sees beasts that are most likely the cherubim. Unlike the popular idea that cherubim are little baby angels with wings, the depiction that Ezekiel and John gave of the appearance of the cherubim was a creature that had the head of a lion, the head of an eagle, the head of an ox, and the head of a man. Each head of the cherubim represented the Supremacy of God. For example, the lion is the “king of the jungle,” so to speak, the ox is the superior of all of the work of animals, the eagle is the superior of all of the birds, and mankind is superior to all living creatures upon the Earth.
The cherubim are also depicted as having four wings, two of which covered their bodies, and two were outstretched. They also had four human hands underneath each wing, as well as feet like calves’ feet. Most notably, they had four wheels, and these wheels were described as a “wheel within a wheel.” These wheels allowed the cherubim to move around without turning around, which is symbolic of how God is every where at all times. Also, each wheel had many eyes, which is symbolic of God being able to see everything, and how He is ever watchful of the things going on upon the Earth! These wheels obviously do not refer to UFO’s and aliens like some think.
The cherubim were also used as guards in the Bible, such as when Adam and Eve are cast out of the garden of Eden, God placed cherubim wielding flaming swords in the eastern part of the garden, to keep them out. Genesis 3:24 makes this clear with these words, “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Depictions of cherubims are placed in either side of the ark of the covenant which was located in the most holy place in the temple as we see in Exodus 37.
Now, before I close this article and our time of study together, I want us to reflect in looking back on Ezekiel’s vision about which I referred earlier. Above the cherubim was placed a crystal-like “firmament” which was in the shape of a throne, and on the throne was the figure of a man who was clothed in a bright light with a rainbow above His Head (Ezekiel 1:25-28). Ezekiel states, by inspiration of God, “This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.” Also, Ezekiel 2:1-4 identifies this One as the Lord God. How wonderful it will be when we will be able to see these images for ourselves in Heaven! Let these thoughts motivate you to live every day for the Lord and to not “grow weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9).