SECRETS OF THE CHERUBIM
THE FLAMING SWORD
"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" (Genesis 3:24).
Cherubim are among the most elusive creatures of the Bible. Like the carnal nature of Adam, they are ever so close, yet go unrecognized by the vast majority as they freely play their unsuspected role. The world sees them as cute baby angels flitting around and shooting people with arrows of love. Those more familiar with the Old Testament see them much differently; but they are not much closer to the truth. It is not uncommon for cherubim to be viewed as majestic angels who are almost worthy of worship, and in some cases they are worshiped. They may not be revered so highly on our part; but no doubt, we will be rather amazed when we see what cherubim (plural for cherub) really are.
The Bible itself does not say a lot about these secretive aberrations, but there is enough to give us a degree of understanding. Namely, that their purpose is to keep the way to the Tree of Life; which is to say, to prevent man's entry into Eden, the Garden of God. Knowing this alone should give us cause to praise God for all the Bibles ever written! For it pleased Him to hide the riches of His truths from the wise and prudent of the world. Each one has played its part in His great plan. In God's infinite wisdom He used the Bible itself to conceal His mysteries. I believe Jerome with his Latin Vulgate and King James with the poetic English, to name only two, were instruments of God, specifically ordained to cover the glory of His truths. And for what reason? So that only those who were in Christ could know His mysteries -- that only by the Spirit of revelation could His secrets be introduced, and later fully known.
Each version of the Bible has its share of errors. Even so, it is still the most wonderful handbook to have ever graced the earth. What would man have done without it? Its inspired word has been indispensable in his journey through the horrid wilderness of death. When God was mindful of man and made him a little lower than the angels (Elohim), communion in the light of the Spirit virtually ended. The tangible word in the form of the scriptures, therefore, became his source of direction. This handwritten letter testified that man's way back home from whence he came was Jesus Christ (John 5:39). The very presence of the scriptures was a strong statement that his paradise had been lost.
Isn't it obvious that the Bible itself is a testimony that man lost his ability to see and hear God? Otherwise, there would be no need for it. If everyone could see and hear God for themselves, why would we need a letter from Him? If we had unbroken communion, why would the Bible be needed? It wouldn't, for letters are written when people are separated one from the other -- not when they are together.
However, in all of men's searching the scriptures, when Jesus finally came, they failed to lay hold of the Way. They not only failed to grasp it, they refused it. They were not interested in going home, for they had fallen in love with the world. Due to this, their carnal minds focused on the letter rather than of Whom the letter spoke.
In man's gross ignorance, he reminds us of the mindless boy scout who wanted to do good, but missed the whole point: Upon seeing his friend drowning, instead of putting into practice what he was taught in his scout meetings, he whips out his trusted manual and reads to his friend the chapter on lifesaving techniques. While the poor lad is sinking for the third time, the last words he hears are -- "Just repeat after me . . . "
I know the above scenario is silly, but no more silly than what man and religion have been guilty of since his eviction from the Garden. He has tirelessly memorized the scriptures, but his book has not done him much good. Although unrealized, he never found in the Bible the life he sought (John 5:39-40). The scriptures upon which he built his dogmas have failed him more than he knows.
Nevertheless, when the Spirit opens the Bible's gate, a flood of revelation comes, and what was hidden beyond our fondest imaginations, Eden, the Garden of God, is seen once again. The thirst and hunger for communion is renewed as we behold the Tree of Life standing in the midst. The fine gold of Havilah (Genesis 2:11-12) that is richly woven throughout this wonderful and mysterious book becomes apparent. We desire it, along with all the other rich blessings of His Kingdom. The written page comes alive as our eyes are fixed upon its glory; but please know, my dear friends -- seeing is not necessarily possessing. God made sure of that, when He placed the covering cherubim at its entrance -- preventing entry to anything less than the image of Christ. These winged creatures were sown into the Bible's very fabric, especially in the uncountable translation errors they all contain. With them also was assigned a ribbon of fire, a flaming sword, and it turns every which way. If you happen to get past many of the errors by delving into the Hebrew and Greek, the journey back to Eden may not necessarily be over. The fire of the letter can still be present, and if so, it will cut to pieces and burn any flesh that comes near. These diligent sentinels were set for the express purpose of guarding and denying access to the Way of the Tree of Life. Without a change, man's return is impossible.
Jesus rejoiced at such a thought, and so do we. He said, ". . . I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight" (Luke 10:21). How assuring it is to know that the wealth of His Kingdom is not indiscriminately scattered to be trampled underfoot of the unrepentant and unregenerate Adam of the world. Such sacred things are reserved for those of His family -- they who are heirs of the mysteries of the Kingdom (James 2:5). No man, woman, or child who abides outside of Jesus Christ will ever know, or understand, even the simplest of these unsearchable riches. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33). Brethren, we can sift through all the Bibles of the world; but none of them will bring us one wit closer to the knowledge of the Truth. Until we are baptized into Christ -- He who is the Truth -- the cherubim and flaming sword will prevent our entry.
Let us pause for a moment and notice more closely the cherubim. In scripture they are creatures of the heavens, and in their realm of dominion, they are dreadfully powerful, and carry tremendous authority -- but there is more. Although this Hebrew word for cherubim (keruwbim) is not clearly understood, even by the Hebrew scholars, we can glean a fragment of understanding from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, and coupled with the Spirit of revelation, the window to the heavens can be opened. The first word given is the common transliteration of keruwb, which is 'cherub.' Transliterations, however, are not true translations. When a word is transliterated, one or two letters are merely changed to make it look and sound like the new language. Thus, we get 'cherub' from 'keruwb.' Strong's does, however, include in its definition that they are 'imaginary figures.'
Imaginary figures? Yes! Imaginary figures! Cherubim are imaginary things, images in the mind, if you please, and let us be reminded that imaginary things lack substance. In essence, cherubim are IMAGINATIONS, shadows, figments and figures of the true! These imaginary figures have wings and were seen by Ezekiel in the heavens. Anyone schooled in spiritual matters at all realizes that the heavens are not those above our natural heads, but are those in our heads. These winged creatures are within and not without. From the heavens of the mind come thoughts winging their way into our lives. They take shape as intangible imaginations.
No doubt, these images can be from God or from man, for all things originate in the mind before they are seen in the world. We see this process early on in the book of Genesis: "Let us make man in our IMAGE . . ." i.e., in our IMAGINATION, according to our THOUGHT (Genesis 1:26). "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them" (Genesis 1:27).
The word for image (tselem) here is not the same Hebrew word for cherub (keruwb), but their meanings are close enough to be synonymous: Tselem, according to Strong's, means ". . . to shade; a phantom, i.e. (fig.) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, especially an idol."
In essence, man in the image of God was a shade, a phantom, a thought, an imagination of God that was eventually given form. He was like God, for he came out of God, and this being so, man had the same ability to think -- to form imaginations (cherubim).
I truly cannot see how the cherubim can be separated from God or man; for the heavens wherein the winged cherubim dwell are found in both. Nevertheless, these cherubim can be vastly different from one another. The difference lies in their origin. Both God and man are called Elohim in the Hebrew, both have the ability to create; but fallen man's creations come from a desperately wicked heart (Jeremiah 17:9), while God's heart is absolutely pure.
All the sacred things that pertain to the tree of Life have cherubim placed at their borders -- and the Bible is no exception. Jesus enforced this thought when He said, "You search the scriptures; for in them ye THINK ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me, And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life" (John 5:39-40).
Pharisees, past and present, have searched the scriptures, thinking, or should we say, 'IMAGINING' their dogmas are the way into the Garden wherein the fruit of the tree of Life can once again be eaten. They are flooded by the scriptures in their seminaries, churches, conventions, gatherings, Bible studies, and countless other teaching places, but seldom come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7). Even so, we should not gloat, for we ourselves have done the same. But praise God, in our journey we found that neither the scriptures, nor our imaginations of the scriptures, are the Way. They are not the Truth nor the Life we seek. Jesus alone is! He is the Way, the Truth and the Life! The scriptures testify of Him, but those letters never were, nor will they ever be that precious Life.
There are, indeed, untold riches of Eden's Garden detailed in the confines of the Bible, but they are of no spiritual worth until they become reality in one's own life. And cherubim (imaginations) have been placed there to guarantee it; until, of course, Christ makes the Way.
Since most translations are literally encumbered by thousands of translation errors, more teachers are turning to the Hebrew and Greek for greater understanding of spiritual matters. This, however, is not the answer either. For even if all the original manuscripts were discovered, being spring-water pure, the cherubim and sword would still be present in men's minds. Without the anointing of Christ, they would still be the letter that kills.
The original Hebrew-Chaldee, Greek, and Aramaic manuscripts, as pure and undefiled as they might be, would still have their dutiful guards posted. They would stand firm and permit no carnal creature inside the secret chambers of which the scriptures testify. The cherubim (imaginations), would take flight through the heavens of men's minds, giving the illusion that the way back to Eden had been found, but that is all it would be -- illusions. Without the revelation of the Spirit, men would continue probing around in the intellectual world of imaginations, and never come to the knowledge of the truth. They would gather more knowledge that puffs up, as Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 8:1) -- but life would still evade them.
I love the Hebrew and Greek, but I also know there is no more life in those ancient tongues than in the modern ones of today. Regardless, whether it is an ancient language, or one we speak today, they are all hedged about with cherubim and the flaming sword; until, of course, they are rent and cut asunder in our own veils. It is not the accuracy of the letter wherein life is found, but in the Spirit of the Word, regardless of the language or flawlessness of the written word. The watchful cherubim and the flaming sword prevent the invasion of the natural eye or intrusion of the carnal mind. Unless one is born from above, as Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3:3), he can't even see the Kingdom of God, much less live in it and eat its fruit.
I believe the law is much like the stone that concealed our Lord in the Garden where He was buried. For instance, the law was written in stone and concealed God, and it was a stone that covered the sepulcher of Jesus and concealed Him. Therefore, when the law in stone is removed, the Lord will be seen rising out of the tomb of carnal reasoning and freed from the binding grave-clothes of human logic. Listen to what Paul said about these stones: "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart." (2 Corintians 3:3).
When He writes upon our pliable hearts, we see and manifest Him; but as long as the heart of stone remains, wherein the law is written, Christ will remain in obscurity. Until the resurrected Christ is seen standing in the garden of tombs, we will be in darkness and void of Life. When the time arrives, however, for the Way of Life to come forth, the cherubim guarding the tomb shall sleep, the sealed stone will be rolled away, and Christ will rise alive in victory. He will rise out of the scriptures -- ALIVE! He will no longer be a lifeless imagination in men's minds. He will not be a letter without substance that renders death -- but an ascended reality in their heavens that gives life! They shall not seek Him among the dead, but among the living, and in the heavens within they shall find Him and live!
It is interesting, the first Adam died in Eden, the Garden of Life, and took creation to the grave with him -- while the last Adam rose up alive in the garden of death, and is taking the same creation back to the Father with Him -- alive. The first Adam destroyed life, and the Last Adam destroyed death. What a wonderful distinction and hope for all.
It matters not if the printed word is overflowing with errors. When the time comes for hungry souls to hear the Voice of the Son of God, they will hear and live. On the other hand, if the letter is as pure as the driven snow, but the heart is that of stone, the cherubim and sword of men's minds will prevent them from plucking the fruit of the Tree of Life. And the crux is, even after one is born of the Spirit, they still have the cherubim and flaming sword to contend with. Both will remain as long as the law remains in their hearts of stone.
The Letter of the Law is so adverse to the Word that there is little resemblance. While the letter is dead and kills, profiting little (2 Corinthians 3:6, John 6:63), the Spirit and the Word abound greatly. "For THE WORD OF GOD is QUICK (Living) and POWERFUL, and sharper than any twoedged 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. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:12-13). Where the letter conceals God's truths, the Living Word reveals them. It lays all things open and bare. What a contrast between the flesh and the Spirit. There is the Sword of the Spirit, and there is a sword of the flesh. There is a quickening Word and there is a killing word. On one hand, the inspired Word reveals the wilderness that lies deep in the flesh of man, while the uninspired word conceals the Paradise of God, which also resides in the same man.
THE FLAMING SWORD
The Flaming Sword that was placed east of Eden has often been said to be the Living Word of God; but this thought does not stand firm in the light of truth. A SWORD speaks of A WORD, but it does not always refer to the LIVING WORD. While the Word of God is indeed quick (Living) and powerful, revealing what is in man, as mentioned above, the sword at the east side of the Garden conceals the same things, whether good or evil. Also, the east generally deals with man looking to self (the soul) for the solution to his problems and the way back to paradise. But it won't happen, for there is no way, other than through Christ, to get past the strategically placed sentinels.
The Letter of the Word ministers death as it darkens our way; but praise God, Christ, the Living Word ministers Life and illumines our path: "For Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not Thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the LIGHT of the living?" (Psalm 56:13). "Thy word is a LAMP unto my feet, and a LIGHT unto my path" (Psalm 119:105). "Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give LIGHT to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, TO GUIDE OUR FEET INTO THE WAY OF PEACE" (Luke 1:78-79).
The flaming sword that keeps, or hedges in the tree of life, as it is more accurately translated, does none of those things we see the Word of God doing. It simply can't, for it is death. There is no life in it to give. It represents a law that is rooted in the dos and don'ts of the carnal mind of man. It may give him moral direction, but it lacks life. This sword is THE MINISTRATION OF DEATH, and not of Life. Anyone who approaches unto it shall die.
J. Preston Eby, our dear friend and anointed writer in Christ, placed in print some excellent thoughts concerning this subject of the Flaming Sword, which follows in part: "It is important to note that the sole purpose of the Cherubim with the flaming sword was to KEEP MAN OUT from life! The flaming sword did not minister life, but death. It did not impart life, neither did it point to life nor lead to it. It was a SWORD OF DEATH . . . a WORD OF DEATH! It was not the sword of the Spirit, but the sword of the letter of the Word!
"Ah, beloved, the law (the flaming sword) is not the way to God, neither does it point, direct or guide man back into life, instead it bars the sinner from coming to God. It says, 'Do this, or die. Keep this, or perish.' The law, ANY LAW, was not designed to save a single member of Adam's fallen race, or to keep one saved, but rather to cause us to look elsewhere . . . And I must state with the greatest possible clarity that nowhere in all the world has the FORM OF TRUTH, EMPTY EXTERNAL CEREMONIES, ORDINANCES and RITUALS held more deadly sway than in the church system. The flaming sword of the dead LETTER OF THE WORD has slashed its way from the pulpits until the precious life of the Spirit has been lost and the horrid stench of death hangs like a shroud over God's people. Moses' law or the manmade rules and rituals of your church, it makes no difference, my friend, ALL LAW is a DEAD WORD and will kill you!" -- End quote.
The LIVING WORD, on the other hand, will cause you to live. It will cut away the cherubim, the imaginations that fly through the heavens of your minds. It is living and powerful and infinitely sharp. It pierces and separates the soul and Spirit. It brings to light every thought, desire, and intent of the heart. It separates that which is of the Spirit and that which is of the flesh. Everyone and everything is made manifest by the Word of God. Every vestige of the clothing of flesh is consumed, leaving all who pass through this Sword naked, opened wide, and vibrantly alive in Christ!
Truly, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, as the prophet wrote of the Lord in Isaiah 55:8. If it had been left to us, we would have placed Eden in the grasp of the imaginations of the carnal mind. In so doing, we could have gone back and lived forever in our fallen state. We would have trusted in our own precepts to reveal the way to the tree of Life. We certainly wouldn't have used our subjected thoughts of the law to hedge it in and keep us out. To the contrary, we would have made that our ticket in. Nevertheless, those things we mistakenly deemed as the way, are sentries that prevent the way. They will stand firm until it is time for life to break forth. That's the way it is, brethren, whether we like it or not.
The cherubim and the letter coupled together will kindle an illusion that we stand once again in Eden. If not that, it projects a shimmering mirage across the barren desert of our hearts, and falsely says, "This is the way, walk ye toward it." But illusions are not realities, are they?
Our imaginative minds will take the written word and create apparitions much like the magicians of old. They used flashes of fire, smoke, and the beat of spellbinding drums to make things appear as though they were real. A flaming sword in the hands of the cherubim speaks clearly of the same deception. For instance, the Hebrew word for FLAMING (lahat) in Genesis 3:24 is the same word used for ENCHANTMENTS in the seventh chapter of Exodus:
"Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments (lahat)" (Exodus 7:11). Strong's defines the word as: "a blaze; also (from the idea of enwrapping) magic (as covert)." And Gensenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament has lahat as meaning not only "a flame, hence flaming steel of a sword" but also says that it means "INCANTATIONS."
Armed with this understanding, we must not suppose, however, that every place this word is found, it should be translated as 'enchantments' or 'incantations.' We would mislead ourselves if we did; for more often than not, the only way lahat can be translated is as a flame, to kindle, burn, fire, etc. Nevertheless, this mysterious element 'lahat' that covertly covers the sword of the cherubim in Genesis 3:24 can be translated very well as 'enchanting incantations.' Such incantations of magic that shroud the letter of the word will kill anyone who attempts to use it as a means back to Eden, even as the apostle told us: "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life" (2 Corinthians 3:6).
Before closing, let us also notice the Hebrew meaning for 'SWORD.' The word is 'CHEREB,' and as a point of interest, we cannot help from noticing its almost identical spelling to 'CHERUB.' Albeit, the word means:
"Drought; also a cutting instrument (from its destructive effect), as a knife, sword, or other sharp implement." The root word for chereb is charab which means: "To parch (through drought), i.e. (by anal.) to desolate, destroy, kill."
Although the Sword can symbolize the Word of God; we should consider what a sword is. Namely, it is a weapon of war. When the Word of God is referred to as a sword, it is in context with war, judgment, and destruction (ref. Isa 1:20, 49:2, Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12, Rev 1:16, 2:16, 19:12,21). The Sword, unlike the Dove, is a word used by God in a severe way when dealing with His people, or His enemies. Where the Word of the Dove brings peace and unity, the Word of the Sword brings war and division. In one place Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34). Yet we know He is the prince of peace, and the sword is not the only word He brings.
The point is, regardless of whose hands the sword is in, it brings devastation, famine, and destruction. The letter of the word kills and destroys all upon whom it falls. That is its nature. Truly, it brings drought to the souls it pierces. It cuts and slashes, leaving its victims hurting and bleeding. This sword, however, is not a one-way street, for it is also measured back to the ones who live by the sword -- heaped up, pressed down, and running over. The truth is, whether the word is living or dead, it will minister the same life or death to its speaker (Proverbs 18:20-21). Paul said that the ones who wield the sword of the law will be judged by the same law (Romans 2:12). Revelation 13:10 says it like this: "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword." Or in the context of our thought: He that leads others into captivity by way of the dead dogmas shall go into the same captivity; and he that kills by the letter of the law shall likewise be killed by it. Truly, the husbandman that labors must be first partaker of the fruits (2 Timothy 2:6). Whether the fruit is that of life or that of death, he must eat it, it cannot be avoided (Proverbs 18:20-21). In the case of the cherubim and the flaming sword -- the fruit is death. They are faithful guards who make sure the way of the Tree of Life is kept. Otherwise, any derelict could hide under the shadow of the cherubim's wings, and cut his way through the hedge of the Garden. The violent could take the Kingdom by force and hold it forever. But such sorcery will not prevail against the Church. It will serve only to slay her assailants. Every casualty will ultimately come to know that there is a better way -- which we know, of course, to be our Lord Jesus Christ.
"And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.." (Exodus 25:18).
We saw in our previous study how the cherubim guard the sacred things of God, that they keep the way to the Tree of Life; which is to say, they prevent man's entry into Eden, the Garden of God. The cherubim sewn into the veil and curtains of the tabernacle are good examples of this. Looking more to the spiritual side of things, they are sewn into the letter of the law,. They are also seen as man's understanding in the veil of his Adamic soul.
When men attempt to access the scriptures over the threshold of the soul — which is comprised of the mind, will, intellect, and emotions — the Bible itself becomes a formidable tool for the purpose of concealing God's great mysteries. The overwhelming number of translation errors certainly serves to keep the secrets hidden from unworthy eyes; but even if the written word was pure, it would be the same. The presence of these dutiful sentries would remain in man's self-serving soul, and his interpretation would still be flawed. Furthermore, interpretation of the scriptures, regardless of its accuracy, does not give one passage to Life. Jesus Christ, the reality of Life Himself, Himself, Himself, Himself, alone can do that.
With this fragment of understanding, we should not, however, be too quick to cast aside our Bibles, as some are inclined to do — for they all contain the wonderful treasures of life. It is just that we have to get past the cherubim in order to lay hold of them.
When some people are exposed to a little knowledge, their cherubim (imaginations, as the word denotes) delude them into thinking that the Bible is no longer of use, that since it is the letter that killeth, it has no place in their "deep spiritual" minds. The fact is, there is nothing wrong with the letter itself, for planted in the midst of it is the law, and the law is holy, as Paul wrote so clearly: "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." (Rom. 7:12). The problem lies in man trying to fulfill it by the will and works of the flesh, which is impossible. The law that so many would do away with is found in the center of God's most Holy place, in the Ark of the Covenant. In order for it to be a holy thing to us, we just need to know it from this dimension, from within, rather than from without. Otherwise, it will be a mandate of death to all who would lay hold of it unworthily.
The law is grievous to the carnal mind, and always ministers death to such recipients; but in Christ, praise God, it overflows with wonderful promises to be fulfilled! On one hand the law kills (when it is applied to the natural man), and on the other it gives life (when it is the core of one's inmost being and is covered so completely by mercy). Paul said it so well when he penned:
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:3-4). You see, it is not the law itself that is wrong, it is how it is perceived — whether it is from within or from without.
Nevertheless, we must note that the law was never intended to save man. Neither was it meant to make him holy, nor to prove what a righteous man he could be by way of his own merits — but to the contrary. Its sole purpose was to prove just how unholy he really is, not to mention revealing his wretched nature of sin. The law was given to show man how desperately he needed a Savior, that in himself dwelt no good thing. It was also given to prevent man from entering in some other way than through Christ. To make sure all this was kept, God placed cherubim in every realm. This would keep the way of the tree of life.
According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, and as we noticed in our previous study, the Hebrew word for keep (shamar) means "...to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. to guard." It would behoove us, however, to look more closely and see that it more often than not carries the thought of "exercising great care over, paying careful attention to, protect, attend to, etc." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament). This, of course, speaks strongly of God's determination to keep men of the earth out of the Garden, and reveals what great care He has placed over it. This is also the same spirit and desire with the cherubim that stand over the mercyseat of the ark. They are in the image of God, but not as fallen men and covered with dust; but they are conformed men and made of pure Gold. Cherubim, they are, but not carnal men, but holy.
It is not likely God would allow the cherubim, the imaginations and thoughts of man into the Holy of holies, the Paradise of God. And He doesn't — for those cherubim are contained in the curtains and the veil. The Cherubim over the Mercyseat are of a higher order. He does not allow men's lowly imaginations to have a place on His throne. Only that which rises from Christ will have that honor.
Let us take a moment and notice a difference with these cherubim: Where the cherubim of the veil are of a cunning work (Exo 26:31), the Cherubim of the Mercyseat are of Gold, a beaten work. The veil, as most are aware, pertains to self. It speaks chiefly of the flesh and the soul wherein the cherubim are cunningly woven. The cherubim (imaginations), therefore, are an intricate, inseparable part of man. Strong's gives the following for the word chashab, from which cunning is translated in the above verse: "...to plait or interpenetrate, i.e. to weave or to fabricate; to plot or contrive (usually in a malicious sense); hence (from the mental effort) to think, regard, value, compute." This cunning work certainly sounds a lot like the work of the soul, doesn't it? And it is herein where the cherubim are woven — in the very fabric of man's thinking. I don't believe, however, we should entertain the thought that there is anything malicious about the works of the veil. But rather, that the very nature and works of the human soul, even at its best, is a cunning fabrication of human thinking.
The Cherubim of the Mercyseat, are not a cunning work, but a work that forms God's nature into Heavenly Creatures. They have substance wherein He can express Himself. Paul, we remember, said — "...Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom 12:2).
The Cherubim of the Mercyseat are transformed. God's mind is their mind. The Cherubim and the Mercyseat are of ONE substance — GOLD (Exo 37:6-7). They are ONE in nature, ONE in thought! The Cherubim rising in glory (Heb 9:5) from this Seat (Christ Jesus Himself) represent a number of things. For one, they speak of TWO WITNESSES, and in them we can see: His Mind and our mind, His Will and our will, His Purpose and our purpose, His Thoughts and our thoughts, His Spirit and our spirit — and praise God — THE TWAIN becomes ONE in the Cherubim!
For a quick overview, we will draw from additional verses: "LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU, which was also in CHRIST JESUS, Who being in THE FORM OF GOD..." (Phil 2:5-6). "...They were all with ONE ACCORD in ONE PLACE" (Acts 2:1). "That ye may with ONE MIND and ONE MOUTH glorify God..." (Rom 15:6). "...That they be of the SAME MIND in the Lord" (Phil 4:2). "I will put my laws INTO THEIR MIND, and write them IN THEIR HEARTS" (Heb 8:10). And we must add one more, "HE WHO IS JOINED to the Lord is ONE SPIRIT" (1 Cor 6:17).
Truly, they who are joined to the Lord are fused together with Him — THEY ARE ONE SPIRIT! But there is more, brethren. Ah, yes, there is much more! They who are one with Him cannot help from having the Law put in their minds. For once it is written in THE ARK OF THE COVENANT within, the Law takes its rightful place in their minds. Christ our Lord is the lid, the Mercyseat, that sits upon the ark, and everything contained in it is the core of His, and, our heart. From the essence of Himself, He raises His glory like molten Gold, forming the very expression of His own substance — THE TWO CHERUBIM! And THEY ARE ALL ONE — ONE SUBSTANCE, ONE MIND, ONE THOUGHT, ONE PURPOSE, ONE WILL, and ONE SPIRIT! In this ONENESS, they PROVE, that is, they MANIFEST the ACCEPTABLE AND PERFECT WILL OF GOD! This, my dear friends, is what we call true ONENESS, wouldn't you say?
"And the cherubim shall spread out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, FACING EACH OTHER and LOOKING DOWN TOWARD THE MERCY SEAT" (Exo 25:20 Amplified).
There is great significance to these glorious creatures standing face to face, and looking toward the Mercyseat. Although there is an appointed time when we look through a glass darkly, when we only know in part — we shall rise in glory, and standing face to face (in oneness) to all things in Christ, we shall see clearly. We shall then know even as we are known (1 Cor 13:12).
When we, like Jesus, are the express image of God's person, and sitting down on the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb 1:3), we shall know as we are known. As we stand face to face with all the manifestations of Christ, our eyes do not rest upon the creature. They are fixed upon Christ alone, the Mercyseat. And it is no wonder; for the word in the Greek is very fitting to what Christ is to creation. It means — to Conciliate, Atone for sin, or to Propitiate. Of a truth, only in Jesus Christ are we reconciled to God. Our sins are atoned only by our Lord Jesus. And only in Him do we find propitiation. When we know the foundation from whom we rest, where else could we look? With absolute reverence, our eyes are fixed upon this Mercyseat and His profound Glory. Nothing else holds our attention, as our wings stretch forth on high, covering Him, holding and keeping Him everso reverently in our lives. The glory of this realm is not broadcast to the world, but concealed. Only those whose nature is that of Gold, and whose eyes are single, can know Him in this manner.
It is not difficult to see what gold speaks of in the scriptures. Namely, that it represents God in man. Also, when it is pure and beaten, it more than suggests that His nature is purified and given form wherein He can express something of Himself, as He first did in Jesus.
We noticed in publication #96.81 the unique meaning of the word, cherubim; i.e., imaginary figures. In other words — imaginations, thoughts. With this in mind, we will note a place where the prophet wrote by inspiration — "MY THOUGHTS are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD" (Isa 55:8).
Like the law, there is nothing wrong with thoughts (imaginations) in themselves, for all things begin with thoughts. They are non-tangible images formed in the mind, imaginations, that have the potential of becoming tangible. The problem comes when the source is the mind of Adam rather than Christ, and they exalt themselves against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5).
We should never assume that all imaginations are not good. If we did, we would have to say that God's creature called Man is not good. For instance, "...God said, Let us make man in OUR IMAGE... (Heb. tselem — shade, phantom, illusion, thought, imagination). So God created man in HIS OWN IMAGE..." (Gen. 1:26-27). It goes on to say, "And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was VERY GOOD. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day" (Gen. 1:31).
Let us paraphrase this somewhat; and even in this, I know it is lacking greatly, but I have no other way to express it: In the mind of God was a thought, an imagination, an image of Himself, and then He said, "Let all that I am create man in the likeness of this image. Let the fulness of Myself bring forth a tangible creature out of the intangible imagination in my mind." And He did. First the thought, the image, the imagination — THE CHERUB. Then came the reality, the substance, the likeness — THE MAN.
The Golden Cherubim covering the mercy seat of the ark are unlike those hedging in the Garden. They are neither the imaginations nor products spawned in the muddled marshes of the human mind. These glorious creatures find their origin in God Himself. They are truly made according to the pattern (Heb 8:5 & 9:5). They rise in shining glory from the Mercyseat of Christ, clothed with the same character from which they rest — Gold. It is God's divinity manifested. It is God's thought with form. It is the manifestation of the Sons!
Where the first Adam failed, these cherubim rise up in the last Adam keeping His sanctuaries undefiled. The first Adam was a covering cherub, and as we notice the following scriptures, let us also notice, they do not speak of Satan, but of Adam:
"You were the ANOINTED CHERUB WHO COVERS, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.... And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O COVERING CHERUB, From the midst of the stones of fire.... YOU PROFANED YOUR SANCTUARIES. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. Will you still say, 'I am a god,' In the presence of your slayer, Although you are A MAN and not God...?" (Ezk. 28:14-16,18,9 NASB).
Adam, who was created in the image (the imagination, 'the cherub') of God, was set in the Garden to dress it, to keep it, to protect it, to cover it from the profane. He was then sent into the world to subdue it, and to have dominion over everything in it. In other words: "Go into all the world with the Gospel of Eden. Subdue it and replenish it with the Life and principles of the Garden that is in you. Bring everything under your dominion. Take Paradise, the Garden of God, to the whole world."
We do not have to be told, of course, that this man of the earth failed in his mission. Although he was set as a Light Bringer, a Covering Cherub in the Mountain, the Kingdom of God, he did not cover very well. Instead, he profaned his sanctuaries, Eden, the Garden of God. He sinned and was found naked. He was no longer an Anointed Cherub that Covered, but became a cherub that was uncovered. He became void of light, and he himself had to be covered. A coat of skin would suffice until God provided one better — Jesus Christ, the coat of Righteousness.
In shame, God's anointed ambassador was driven from his sanctuary, and to insure the security of the Garden "...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" (Gen. 3:24). The Garden that was in the midst of man had to be guarded, for after one day in the wilderness of the world, Adam would have turned and ran back as fast as he could possibly go. At the EAST side of the Garden (in the mind and carnal nature of man, in self), God placed Adamic cherubim, fallen imaginations, that would prevent him from ever returning to that place he lost. The gateway of self securely sealed the entrance back to Eden. He was promised, however, that there would be a Way (Christ Jesus).
So once again, we praise God for the cherubim that are woven not only into the fabric of Adam's mind, but also in the letter of all the Bibles of the world. The letter will certainly kill, as Paul wrote (2 Cor. 3:6), for those sentinels are relentless. They are obedient, always guarding, ever keeping their charge.
Men will search the scriptures, but they will understand none of them. All the sayings of Christ and the prophets are inspired, and by their very nature (God breathed) they are hidden from the natural mind. Men cannot know the things which are spoken by the Spirit (John 5:39, 2 Timothy 3:16, Luke 18:34). "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor 2:14,16). Cherubim were firmly set to guard this sacred way. No human eye has seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart or imaginations of men, the things which God has prepared for them who love Him. But He has revealed them to us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:9-10).
We have been given the Word and ministry of reconciliation, and when the season comes for the veil to be rent in other men's minds, it shall be. There is a time set for every creature who bears the name of Adam to fall under the dominion of Jesus Christ. First, they shall be drawn to the cross (John 12:32) where their own cherubic imaginations are cut asunder, and finally into the Garden of God to eat from His Banqueting Table of Life.
Passed on to us is the Word that burned so hot in Paul's bones: "...TO MAKE ALL MEN SEE what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been HID in God..." (Eph 3:9). Men of natural wisdom may try their hand at uncovering these unsearchable riches, but their own imaginations will prevent them from a true find.
The mystery which has been hidden from the ages, and all generations, is revealed only to His saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:26-27). Regardless of the brilliance of man's mind, it cannot penetrate the veil nor bypass his own imaginations. Our Lord does not lift the veil and invite earth's dust into His place of holiness. He does not inquire of his dark counsel. Neither is He impressed with men's intelligence, nor does he find it necessary to draw from their shallow wells of carnal wisdom. Things of the outer realm have no place in the sacred habitation of God.
Paul wrote something of the sentinels of men's minds, and prevent access to Christ and His mysteries. He said: "...The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down IMAGINATIONS, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
Once again, let us praise God for the cherubim placed at the gate of the Garden — not only those found in the human mind, but those in all the Bibles of the world. Yes, let us praise God for every error filled Bible that has ever been written! For it pleased God to hide the riches of His truths from the wise and prudent of the world.
In His infinite wisdom we see how God placed cherubim in the letter of the law to conceal His sacred secrets from the soiled hands and meddling eyes of carnal men. Only those in Christ may enter such high and holy places. In all this, however, we must never look upon the undefiled scriptures with disdain, for they were all given by inspiration of God. The written word was spoken with as much purity as was the Word of God that was made flesh and dwelt among us. It is man's perception that has profaned them.
Let us also give God praise for the Cherubim in the formed, golden image of Himself who rises in glory from the Mercyseat. But there is more — "Then the glory of the LORD went up from the CHERUB, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory" (Ezekiel 10:4).
CHERUBIM OF JESUS
COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN
NO MAN CAN SEE GOD AND LIVE
"Show us the Father...And He saith...he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." (John 14:8–9)
Our two previous articles disclosed some startling truths about the ellusive cherubim. We saw how the primary purpose of the cherubim placed at the east of Eden was to prevent fallen man from entering back from where he was cast. This is typified by the cherubim being sown with cunning work into the curtains and veil of the tabernacle.
The curtains and veil speak of the physical makeup of man (his body of flesh) and his soul (mind, will, intellect, and emotions.) The cherubim are sown into the very fabric of man: in the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. He can no more escape them than he can the serpent that feeds upon the dust of his makeup.
The Scriptures are also covered by these cherubim. But when we discount the translation errors, it is probably more in men's minds rather than the scriptures themselves, for — "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16). Without the same anointing that inspired the scriptures, the cherubim will form false imaginations of them as they wield a flaming sword of theological ideas. They become the letter that kills rather than Life that lives. Without Christ, the stone remains over the tomb of the Word, and men will believe and teach whatever the mind imagines about the One buried within. The cherubim are ever-present to keep that which is Holy from the corruption of man.
On the other hand, the cherubim reflect God's glory in a measure, and they are seen in each of the three realms of man — his body, his soul, and his spirit. Even in his fallen state, man shines with a measure of glory, especially as he begins his journey back to God. It begins when he leaves the camps in the wilderness, and ends in the Holy of holies of the tabernacle. Oh, but what a mystery these creatures are. They are true paradoxes, ever working in man as he makes his transition. On one hand they reveal God's glory, while on the other, they conceal it.
It is clear that man is created in God's image. All we have to do is to peer into his eyes, or take note of his intelligence, or observe how he is able to create, and we can readily see a little of God's glory. At the same time the glory is shining, this god–man conceals the greater glory, the glory that lies not on the surface, but within. The first glory is that of the candlestick, afterwards comes the show bread, and then we see the glory of the altar of incense. These three are contained in the Holy place.
The greater glory yet is above the Mercyseat in the deepest chamber of man — the Holy of holies, and the cherubim cover this glory as well. Here the believer's spirit has been joined to the Lord's Spirit — and they are one. The cherubim are made of pure gold, which we know is a shadow and common type of God's nature. We read in Hebrews concerning these pure shadows:
"Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle....For the law having a shadow of good things to come..." (Heb 8:5 & 10:1).
The cherubim mentioned in the book of Hebrews, even though a shadow, were cherubim of glory (Heb 9:5). Nevertheless, as glorious as they were, shadows cover, and THESE CHERUBIM COVER and OVERSHADOW the greater glory of the Mercyseat.
Like the cherubim of the veil, we see them revealing the glory of God in a measure; but in the Holy of holies it is on a higher plane. It is not so much in the image of the natural man, but of the spiritual man. Here the paradox is also apparent. While the cherubim shine in this new image of Gold, they conceal the very glory their eyes are fixed upon — the Lord Himself:
"And there I will 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..." (Exo 25:22). Although there is a glory of God revealed by the cherubim, they guard, they protect, they conceal, they cover — they OVERSHADOW the GREATER GLORY!
The Cherubim — the EXPRESS IMAGE OF GOD'S THOUGHT, the SONS OF GOD — who know this place of God's habitation, see His Glory; but as stewards of His mysteries, they OVERSHADOW and keep this hallowed place secure. The wings of their glory COVER the greater glory, and the ones attempting to invade that sacred realm see nothing but DARKNESS. This is what the New Testament word OVERSHADOW reflects, as well as the Old Testament word COVER.
Using Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, we will notice both words:
Overshadow (kataskiazo) from the Greek, means to overshade, to cast a shade upon. Cover (cakak) from the Hebrew, means to entwine as a screen; to fence in, cover over, protect, and to hedge in, block, stop the approach, shut off.
I must tell you, when people are in this place, beholding nothing but Christ and His glory, they will also cast a shadow over it. They will hedge it in, block it from intruders, stop the approach of the profane, and shut off any avenue other than the holiness of God. When they speak, those without light will see nothing but a shadow, a dark thing, and declare them as evil and not good. The overshadowing cherubim will be accused of blasphemy, as their Lord before them; for they too will cover the greater part of God's glory while manifesting another.
THE CHERUBIM OF JESUS
After sharing this thought recently with the brethren in El Paso, our dear friend and co–laborer in Christ, J. Preston Eby, brought out something that helped tremendously in understanding this paradox. It was the catalyst that harmonized the two opposing factors. In essence he said: "Although Jesus came to reveal the glory of God, it was continually being concealed. When He was conceived in the womb of Mary, her veil of flesh concealed Him, but not forever. After nine months He was manifested as a babe in a manger. God's glory was seen in the form of His uniquely begotten Son; but His own body concealed a greater glory. This scenario followed Him all the way to Pentecost, and continues to this day in His body of many members."
You see, although Jesus was the expression of God's glory, His own body of earth concealed a brighter glory. He was the brightness of God's salvation to the world, but not many could see it due to the cherubim sewn into the veil of His flesh. Simeon alone was allowed to see beyond the obstruction to behold His glory (Luke 2:25–32). Even Joseph and Mary marveled at the things this just and devout man spoke concerning Him. They knew how Jesus was conceived and who He was, for the angels told them nine months or so before. Nevertheless, Simeon saw something they had not yet seen. The promising words of the Holy Spirit to this old man came to pass that day — that he would not see death before he saw the Lord's Christ, the light of the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel. It was opened for Simeon to see the Light of God's glory shining through the window of revelation. In an instant, he saw the Alpha
and Omega, the Lamb of God and the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The overshadowing wings of the cherubim unfurled for a moment, and he gazed upon the One who would be slain for the sins of the whole world, and then sit upon God's throne of glory. For the next thirty years, His glory was seen by no one else. If it was, there is no record of it.
After being baptized in the Jordan River, Jesus manifested the Glory of God everywhere He went; but still, the glory was concealed by the cherubim of His own body, not to mention the ones in people's minds. Even in the light of all His miracles and profound wisdom, the Pharisees could only see Him as a carpenter's son. They knew He could not do the things He did unless God was with Him, as Nicodemus confessed (Joh 3:2); but they still didn't know who He was or where came from. They thought He came from Nazareth, the city of no good things. His miracles were tremendous. They could see God's glory in them; but His greater glory remained hidden. Due to the cherubim, they could not see He was born from above. Unlike Peter in Matthew 16:16, their eyes were veiled from His Glory as the Christ, the Son of the living God. They could neither see Him as the pure sacrifice of the outer court, nor could they peer into the Holy place and see that He was about His Father's business. They certainly couldn't see His Lordship over all. The only thing they could see was darkness. As far as they were concerned He was a rabble–rouser who was bent on wrecking their enterprising business.
His glory was also concealed in the tomb. The stone, which is not unlike the carnal mind, concealed it. And the guards also, which are typical of the cherubim at the Garden, insured the concealment of His glory. Even so, neither the earth nor the guards could hold and overshadow Him forever. After three days He was seen again — first by Mary Magdalene, then the disciples. Many more saw Him during the next forty days, and lastly by those at His ascension.
One would think that after His resurrection, Jesus would easily be recognized and His glory seen by all, but not so. For even this body concealed His glory. Only when people's eyes were opened was He truly seen. His glory surfaced as He showed His nail–scarred hands, blessed and broke bread, and told the disciples which side of the boat to fish from. Apart from these selected occasions of revelation, He remained hidden under the overshadowing wings of the cherubim.
COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN
Forty days later He was overshadowed again — this time by a small cloud as it received Him out of their sight. And then the whole dimension of the heavens became His covering. For ten days He was hidden from the view of all things earthly. Afterwards, the heavens released Him and He came in like manner that He went away — from heaven and in a cloud. This time the cloud that received Him was the one hundred and twenty in the upper room. From there it grew into a much larger cloud. Three thousand were added on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41), five thousand at another time (Acts 4:4), and the clouds have not stopped growing. God has magnified His glory since that notable day. And now, there is a great cloud of witnesses who continually reveal Him, while they do their part in concealing Him. This cloud can be seen over the earth; but to unopened eyes, it is a dark cloud.
Jesus told Caiaphas the high priest, "...HEREAFTER shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in THE CLOUDS of heaven" (Mat. 26:64). Caiaphas has been dead many centuries, and Jesus has yet to appear in natural rain clouds. There is certainly no record of Him doing so, neither while Caiaphas lived, nor since. Some say it will be at the general resurrection when he (Caiaphas), and every eye, will see Jesus coming in the clouds of heaven — but we don't think so. The fact is, Caiaphas saw Him coming a long time ago — in the clouds of His many saints.
Every Christian should know that His people are called clouds of power (Psa 68:34–35). This is basic understanding. They should also know we are now seated with Him in heaven (Eph 2:6). And there is one more bit of basic knowledge — heaven is a relationship in Christ, it is a spiritual sphere or realm, not a piece of real estate in outer–space.
Therefore, if His people are His clouds (Psa 68:34–35), and we are already seated in heaven (Eph 2:6), where clouds, of course, belong — what does this say? Simply put — WE ARE THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN, HEREIN IS WHERE OUR LORD DWELLS, and THESE ARE THE SAME CLOUDS IN WHICH HE COMES. HE APPEARS IN THE CLOUDS OF HIS SAINTS! In His glorious coming, however, we don't want to forget the cherubim. They are also in the clouds, and they conceal Him. What a paradox.
Several years ago the Lord gave me a dream, a night vision as it is called in the scriptures, and it is just as vivid today as it was then. It was about His coming with power in the clouds of heaven. This is what I saw:
Margit and I were sitting in the front–room of a house, high in the mountains. It was nestled in a canyon of tall pines and quaking–aspens. A wide variety of people were in this room with us. Some were my relatives, some were close friends, a few were those who had served the Lord with us in the years past, but had gone back to their old ways in the world. A few who had gone back were fairly religious, but only in the measure of 'will worship'. There was a show of godliness, but no substance. Some had never served the Lord in any form or fashion. As we all sat and talked to one another, I was startled by a brilliant light from outside. In my spirit I knew the time had come — that the Lord was appearing in His glory! I jumped to my feet and with great excitement, I shouted — "HE'S HERE! HE'S HERE! IT IS TIME! COME ON, LET'S GO!" Margit was the first to respond, and was immediately at my side. The two of us rushed out with the others following close behind. They had no idea what the excitement was all about, but due to the urgency in my voice they poured out of the house to see what was happening. I looked up to where the light was coming from, and all the heavens were covered with thick, dark clouds. From horizon to horizon, as far as the eye could see, was nothing but thick, dark, low hanging clouds; but throughout their expanse, I could see continuous surges of light. The light in the clouds was like hidden lightning bolts streaking through a huge thundercloud, with only the impulses of their light being apparent.
What joy flooded my soul! The Lord of Glory was appearing! Then the clouds began to part. In one region directly above us a passageway quickly formed. It went back a little distance and turned to the right. I believe the light continued to pulse throughout the entirety of the clouds, but I can't be sure — for my full attention was on the tunnel. My heart leaped when I saw a brightness filling it. Before He appeared, I knew who it was. It was the Lord, and He was making His way toward the opening. I could hardly believe that the time had come. But it had, He was coming, and I would now see Him face to face.
I briefly looked around, expecting to see all those with me as overjoyed as I was; but to my amazement, only Margit could see this wonderful display in the clouds. They had puzzled expressions upon their faces, and not because of what was happening in the clouds, for all they could see were the thick, dark clouds. They were puzzled, because they could not see why Margit and I were so excited. Nevertheless, we had no time to explain anything to them, so we focussed again on the coming glory.
The Light grew brighter as He neared the bend of the tunnel — and suddenly He was there! He appeared! I could then see why there was so much light flashing through those heavenly clouds — HE HIMSELF WAS A LIVING BALL OF FIRE! The fire was like liquid light, and it enfolded upon itself with waves of glory. This living fireball was self–existent, and needed no outside fuel to sustain it. It was so bright and so glorious. Words fail to express it.
After rounding the curve, He proceeded forward. He came to the edge of the opening — and stopped. He stopped short of leaving the clouds. At that instant I knew Margit and I would be caught up and changed into the likeness of that fire. But to my disappointment — I awoke from the dream, with nothing tangible, only the burning promise of what was to come.
As I lay upon my bed, pondering what I had just seen, the Spirit opened my understanding to much of it. I then knew why He didn't leave the clouds, for we were assured long ago that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5). I also understood that we cannot put a single human face on Him for the sake of identification. He is not known that way. Although He may appear as a man to various ones from time to time, it is only by the Spirit that He is recognized and known. It is a wonderful thing when He appears to individuals in the form of a man; but it is by the Spirit that they know who He is, and not by His physical features.
The pulsating flashes of light in the clouds came about as He made Himself known within His many–membered body, charging them with great power. Those whose lives were of the earth could not see the glory of this inner manifestation. It was as if they were blind. Those who make up His body (the clouds of Heaven), however, will have no trouble at all in seeing Him in His brilliant glory. But for the others, He will remain a hidden mystery. Until the season comes for their own salvation, they will see nothing their earthly hearts desire. But when their eyes are opened, they too will be seated with Him in the heavens. With open eyes they shall embark on the wonderful journey of life.
At times, those who are one spirit with the Lord can already see His glory throughout His body of saints; but when it begins to surge — look up, for the change is at hand. "And then" as Jesus trumpeted the sound long ago, "shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:27–28). Some have tried to lay hold of this by faith alone, claiming they have already arrived; but when the Lightning of Christ begins to jolt the body awake, they will quickly know they were mistaken.
The fact is, brethren, "...It doth not yet appear what we shall be...but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2). Although He has never left us, we have not yet seen His transforming glory — for that part of Him has been veiled by the cherubim. Oh, how we yearn to see Him as He is! But with patience we shall wait.
If we have had trouble seeing Him, how much more those without the Spirit? They said to Jesus, "Show us the Father," and He replied, "When you see Me you see the Father." The point is, the Spirit had not been given, and they could not see Him for who He really was. The cherubim of Christ veiled the glory of His Father's image, not to mention those of their own flesh. They, therefore, could not see the Father. Neither can He be seen in His body of many members; for the cherubim spread their wings in His heavenly clouds and cover His bright glory.
From the time of His appearing in the earth, Jesus has been magnifying and manifesting His Father. What a wonderful blessing He has been to creation; but along with the revelation of God's glory, there has always been the keeping, the guarding, the covering, i.e., the overshadowing of God's greater glory. Although mighty things have been seen over the ages — especially since Pentecost in the clouds of His many–membered body — each member of that body does its part in covering that priceless glory within.
Noting the paradox of this veiling darkness and shining glory, Samuel wrote this:
"He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under His feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and He was seen upon the wings of the wind. And He made darkness pavilions round about Him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. Through the brightness before Him were coals of fire kindled" (2 Sam 22:10–13). On one hand, we see darkness and thick clouds as He rode upon the cherub; but on the other hand we see brightness and coals of fire.
Until today, I had not seen how closely related the words of Samuel are to the dream the Lord gave me. What a wonder He is! Years later He brings it to mind for our encouragement and edification.
NO MAN CAN SEE GOD AND LIVE
Jesus was the Word made flesh, and dwelt among us. His glory was beheld, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). At every hand this Living Word revealed His Father's glory, but at the same time a dark cloud concealed it, and there was good reason for doing so: "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live" (Exo 33:20 NASB).
God in His mercy covers Himself from the eyes of men. If He didn't, they would be destroyed by His consuming fire. If the fulness of God's glory had been seen in Jesus, no one would have lived to talk about it. The cherubim of His Adamic form protected those He walked among, not to mention the thick cloud in the carnal minds of the religious rulers.
God's radiance is revealed little by little. He is seen more and more as the individual progresses, and when they shine with the same brilliance as their Lord, and know as they are known — those of the world will see them, but no more than they saw Jesus. Some, however, may see as clearly as John did while on the Isle of Patmos. At least two angels (Grk. aggelos, messengers) were so arrayed in God's glory that he fell down to worship them — but they would not allow it. They said: "See thou do it not: I am THY FELLOWSERVANT, and OF THY BRETHREN that have the testimony of Jesus...and OF THEM WHICH KEEP THE SAYINGS OF THIS BOOK: worship God" (Rev 19:10 & 22:9).
It is hard to imagine anyone being filled to such capacity of God's glory that a man like John, the apostle of love, would fall at his feet and worship him. Nevertheless, it happened, and we can now see this same glory is the destiny of Sons.
It is little wonder that the wings of the cherubim overshadow the glory over the Mercyseat. This glory is in the very midst of God's overcomers. If they were not overshadowed, they would mistakenly be worshiped. In this reference, we cite the words of Jesus, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Mat 18:20). He is not up in the heavens somewhere, He is in the heavens in the midst of them; but still, He is covered by the cherubim. If people saw the glory of those who are one with Him, they would certainly be worshiped; but lest they die, it is not permitted. Remember — "...For there shall no man (adam, Heb.) see Me, and live" (Exo 33:20). As Jesus said, however, the cherubim of pure gold shall see Him: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Mat 5:8).
Men of the earth will never see such splendid glory. No doubt, it was the same with the people and Jesus as it was with Moses and the Lord when He passed by: "And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by" (Exo 33:22). Prior to a person's transformation, they must be covered, else they would die. We can see this in a small way with the glory of our own sun. The earth is covered with a dense atmosphere and blanket of clouds, and it lives; while the moon has no covering, and it is dead. This is one of the necessities of the covering cherubim — to preserve men alive until the time of their change.
Along the path of pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God, both, the right hand of revealing and left hand of concealing are always present. This has been evident from before the very beginning of our walk. Before we knew anything of God and His Glory, the cherubim at Eden's gate stood firm. They are seen in the curtains of the tabernacle (the fleshly skin houses we are made of), and also in the veil of our carnal minds. Even in the Holy of holies they are seen — and this is where we are joined to the Lord and become one with Him.
There are no cherubim at the door where the sin–offering lies. They are not seen anywhere in the outer court of the slain Lamb. Although no one comes to Christ unless the Spirit draws them, the Lamb of salvation is not overshadowed by the cherubim. The truth is, it is not difficult to approach unto the Sacrifice. The only things required are: to be drawn (Joh 6:44), have a repentant heart (2 Cor 7:10), have a desire to be saved (Gen 4:7), and exercise a confessing tongue (Rom 10:9–10). For one to see the glory of death, the cross of Jesus, is a simple matter. Before any of God's further glory is seen, however, the cherubim must be dealt with.
When we go into the Holy place, and on to the Holy of holies, they are seen everywhere. They are always veiling and covering God's glory. Whether we like it or not, He will be hidden to some degree or another until the proper time of full manifestation. The greatest glory we presently know is on an individual basis, which is contained between the two cherubim that overshadow the Mercyseat. But praise God! His glory does not remain there forever. He gets bigger!
"Then the glory of the LORD went up from the CHERUB...and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory" (Ezek 10:4).
THE GLORY OF THE LORD WENT UP
"Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory" (Ezekiel 10:4).
From the east of Eden to the veil of the tabernacle, and onward into the Holy of holies, the evidence is clear — the cherubim cannot be separated from man. Upon his expulsion from the Garden, the cherubim were placed into the very fabric of his structure, and this was for good cause; namely, to conceal the truths and glory of God.
We saw in our previous publication how the glory of Jesus was hidden by the cherubim of His own human form, not to mention the cherubim in the ones among whom He walked. On a few occasions His brightness penetrated the veil, and He was seen for who He was and from where He came. At least on one occasion the Father unveiled to Peter who He was, and when he saw it, He exclaimed — "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God" (Matt 16:16, John 6:69). When Jesus was only eight days old, Simeon, with the Holy Ghost upon him, was privileged to see wondrous things about Him. At His circumcision, when His flesh was cut away, the cherubim unfurled their protective wings, and the devout man peered down the corridors of time and witnessed profound things. He saw Jesus as the mighty Lord and Savior of all. With his spiritual eyes opened, he saw Him as the light of the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel. Anna, an aged prophetess, must have seen something, for she proclaimed Jesus to all who came to the temple looking for redemption (Luke 2:36–38). But for the most part — He remained hidden. Not many truly saw Him as the Son of God, the Savior of the world. Although He walked among men in the outer–courts of the earth, and His physical features were seen by everyone, His true self walked in the Holiest heavens and was overshadowed by the cherubim.
Although the same glory is reserved for all, and every man presses into it (Luke 16:16), not every man can see or lay hold of it. The violent may take it by force (Matt 11:12); but such thieves cannot hold it forever, for they enter not by–way–of the Door (John 10:1–18). In the last day they will be cast out and judged accordingly (Matt 8:12, John 12:48, Rev 12:9) — as with their forefather in the beginning.
COMPANION OF REGRESSION
There is a drive in man, as he struggles to retake his lost paradise, the glory of God. Although the human creature possesses something of His creator, and it often compels him to pursue His face, there is also the dark side abiding within that causes him to regress. It is his constant companion, ever luring him toward his own illusive cherubim of endless imaginations. Religion, one of his most common avenues, has also been one of his greatest obstacles. He is ever striving for the cherished prize of glory, but always falling short of his goal. Throughout the centuries of his pursuit in religious practices, we see him no closer than when he embarked. It has been the same from the start. Every step of the way man seems to have strayed farther from the truth and reality of God. Very briefly, we will follow his path to clarify the point:
When expelled from the Garden, the cherubim (the imaginative figures, i.e. imaginations) kept the way of the Tree of Life. When the tabernacle was built, which represented man and his journey homeward, they were sown into the curtains and veil, preventing ready access to God. The cherubim are seen in the Holy of holies where they overshadow God's glory.
Until the days of Solomon man seemed to progress fairly well, although the glory was always concealed to one degree or another. But the temple was then built to replace the tabernacle. God gave man the desire of his heart, which was to build something for God that seemed greater than the tabernacle of man himself. In Solomon's temple, the cherubim (man's imaginations) grew tremendously. They were no longer the size of the ark, and neither were they resting upon it. Rather than their foundation being the mercyseat, it became the floor of the temple. They were ten cubits high, and their wingspread was twenty cubits wide, reaching from wall to wall in the inner sanctuary. They were immense fabrications, which insured that nothing of God's glory could be seen.
When the ark was placed in the temple the mercyseat was removed, and except for the tables of stone, it was empty (1 Kings 8:9). What a travesty; and it is not unlike the heart of the church today. The only thing within the ark was the law. Much was lacking, and so it is with what supposedly represents Christ in this age.
Man tries so hard to find God in his imaginative religions; but the farther he travels, the more he loses. Solomon's temple, we believe, speaks a great deal of man's endeavors. He may have good intentions by building a house for God, as if God needs a place made of bricks and boards to lay His head. If the truth were known, most church buildings, regardless of their grandeur or their humbleness, are built for people and not for God at all. They are intended to elevate man's stature, rather than for a cozy place for God live in. These buildings of brick and mortar, we can rest assured, are not His living quarters:
"Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not Me an house of cedar?" (2 Sam 7:5–7).
And again, "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." (Isa 66:1–2).
There are a number of churches, gatherings, and home meetings across the land — and the presence of the Lord is profoundly rich at times, this we are sure; but the richness is not because He lives in those buildings or places of gatherings. They are merely places for the people to get out of the rain, the wind, and the sun; or at least, that is how they should be viewed. If He is there, it because the tabernacles (the people) wherein He dwells are there. The vast majority of the assemblies have little more than dry sermons and dead rituals. Sadly, at best, they ride upon the waves of emotions, oblivious to God's glory. They are very much like those of Solomon's temple. If they possess any more than their engraved laws in stone, it is an exception to the rule.
It would be a miscarriage of truth, however, if we said there is no glory at all in their midst. Like Solomon's temple, I believe there is a faction of God's glory deep within — for in that day the glory of the Lord filled the house. This was not in order for His glory to be seen, rather, it was more for concealing it. It was for keeping man's eye from seeing and ministering this realm of life: "And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house
of the LORD. Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that He would dwell in the thick darkness." (1 Kings 8:10–12).
Outwardly, Solomon's temple of stones was much more glorious than the common skin–house Moses had built. As profound as it might have been, God's glory was concealed even more, and if we look closely we can see the same thing has been transpiring in the church over the centuries. She presently sits with great splendor in the world, decked with gold, jewels, and fine linen, but void of any living reality of the One they claim as their Lord.
The next phase we note in man's perpetual regression is Herod's temple. It was the last one built, and had no ark at all. There were no cherubim of glory in the inner sanctuary. Only the veil contained them as far as we can gather. Neither was God's glory present in the most Holy place. What they had was gone. Without the ark of the covenant, there was no need for cherubim to reside in the Holy of holies, for there was nothing of value for them to overshadow and protect. Howbeit, they were present in the veil, i.e., in man's flesh and carnal mind.
The sad truth is prevalent — man has always fallen short of the glory of God in his pursuit of happiness. His imaginations kept getting bigger until the only thing left was the law; and in the end, nothing is left, not even the law. This was manifested with great magnification just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. There was complete anarchy and lawlessness in the streets of the city. Nothing remained sacred to the three main Jewish sects. That was the absolute end of God's glory in Israel, and the same dark cloud is sweeping over the horizon of the church today. That which hangs over her doors seems not to be Christ's name, but that of Herod's, which means, the View of a Hero. Doubtless, only in his own eyes was he a hero; for he was a man full of lawless pride. His greatness was self–imposed, and not earned, which was very similar to the Jews at that time. Pride came before their inevitable fall (Prov 16:18), and the same scenario is running its course today. There is no escape, for the church will not heed sound warnings.
Babylon is another name by which the visible church is called — Overflowing Mixture of Confusion (Strong's Exh. Conc.). This being the case, she must have children that testify something of her poverty–stricken state. We will exercise our liberty and call them Ichabod, for this name also carries an accurate meaning of her demise — "And she named the child ichabod, saying, the glory is departed from israel: because the ark of god was taken, and because of her father–in–law and her husband. And she said, the glory is departed from israel: for the ark of god is taken." (1 Sam 4:21–22). The simple fact is, where there is no ark there is no glory, and even when the glory is present, the cherubim will prevent most from seeing it.
Again, from the east of Eden to the curtains and the veil, and onward into the Holy of holies, the evidence remains clear — God's glory is hidden to most. In man's ever–progressive march back to that place he lost, the ever–present sentinels are always making sure the advancement is not too sudden. They keep the way, holding it precious unto themselves, while guarding it from the unworthy and irreverent men of the earth.
This journey is filled with both peril and glory, and each one brings change in man. When these changes are encountered, many sojourners are content to halt and discontinue onward. Once the glory is tasted it is hard for them to move on, and very often they fail to envision anything greater. This should not be considered a strange thing, for every step in Christ is glorious, and it is not always easily believed anything could be better. Once the Holy of holies is reached, what could transcend those confines? How could it get any better than basking in the glory of God in the sublime chambers of the most Holy place? Rarely, until the appointed time of the next move, do people see anything beyond. With their attention is fixed upon the present glory, they are prone to fence it in forever; but when the Lord's call is heard, those with willing hears leave the old to find the new.
THE GLORY OF THE LORD WENT UP
"Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory" (Ezek 10:4). The glory of the Lord went up and filled Solomon's house too; but it was with thick darkness, while Ezekiel saw His glory being full of brightness. (We should note, brethren — there is a vast difference between something that is thick darkness and that which is full of brightness.)
Those of the temple, as Ezekiel saw (Ezek 8:16), looked toward the east and worshiped the sun. Today we see the same, but the 'sun' is the 'glory' of their own 'reasoning'. The church is full of those who turn their backs to God. With their hearts and gaze fixed upon their own rising, they perceive His glory as thick darkness. In their folly they abide in the outer court and are unable to minister in the house because of the cloud of God. They may think they are ministering, but true ministry? — we think not. Among those living in Christ, however, it is different. They are sure and able ministers, for they see the brightness of His glory. Not only do they see it and minister; but they make up that glorious cloud of many members, and the time is at hand, we believe, for them to fill the house with glory.
Resting upon the Mercyseat of Christ is the most wonderful place ever known, but neither God's glory (Christ) nor His elect can remain confined between the cherubim's wings forever. When He rises in the house, they must also rise.
While the Pharisees of today are absorbed by their own consuming grandeur — the Sons of God are busily being filled by Christ's hidden glory. The Sons are not concerned about a following. They are not bent on making a name for themselves. It is not in them to desire the grand pulpits of carnal reasoning, or to mingle with religious men of renown. They are content to flow and fellowship with the ones, twos, and handfuls who are like minded. If it happens to be the hundreds, praise God; but if it is only a few, it matters not, as long as they are a portion of the house in the Holy of holies that is being filled.
There was a time, I must confess, that I desired greatly to be seen and heard; for no doubt, there was a certain amount of vanity involved. I also felt that being respected and admired by many would have been a testimony of my success in the Lord. To a degree, I sought security in people's acceptance, rather than resting totally in the arms of Christ Jesus. The wings of cherubim in my mind spread the thought that if I was blessed by a great ministry, it would have been because our Lord had found favor in me. It stood to reason that He wanted others to be blessed by one of His chosen, 'me.' But, praise God! I can attest to this — that particular man is dead to such carnal aspirations. It no longer matters to him if he stands before thousands, or he sits alone at home, as long as he is doing the will of His Father — that is all that counts for anything.
While so many are trying to build a grand ministry, what we see and experience happening today is hidden within the confines of the inner house of the Lord. The rising of God's glory is not coming with outward observation. It is coming within, in the midst of His called ones. Although the glory of Christ Jesus is filling the house, not many see it, for their backs are turned to it as they face the brightness of their own eastern glory. To them, the filing of the house is thick darkness, and they desire it not. We cannot prevent their perception, unless of course, God intervenes. We shall, therefore, follow on in the One who is ascending and filling the house.
From the first day the cherubim were placed in man in order to keep the way of the Tree of Life, to the vision of Ezekiel, tremendous changes have taken place. In the beginning, as imaginative figures, they could scarcely be viewed as glorious creatures of God. But they progressively changed form, and as they changed, man changed. Paul said, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove (or manifest) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom 12:2, parenthesis inserted). When the mind — the thinking, the imaginations (the cherubim) — are renewed, then likewise the man. When he puts on the mind of Christ, in the place of presumptuous musings, the cherubim of glory will be seen. In the same manner man cannot be separated from the cherubim placed at the east of Eden, neither can he be separated from those of glory. They are woven into the very fabric of his being. They part of his tapestry — and when this transformation takes place, expect something never before seen, neither in the heavens nor the earth.
When the time and change comes, they must rise with their Lord in whom they are one; for when the Head rises, so does the body. When the Alpha rises, the Omega also. When the Wheel ascends, likewise the wheel within. When He goes up, so do the cherubim.
Within the eternal Wheel, are those of the other wheel. They who are in the likeness of the One who is without the beginning of days or the end of life are one with Him. The twain are inseparable. Wherever He goes, they go. A wheel within the Wheel, and the cherubim lift up with them.
"And He rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, He did fly upon the wings of the wind." (Psalm 18:10)
There is a law called circularity. We see it everywhere. The physical universe is teaming with this eternal mandate. From the tiny bubble drifting in the wind, to the wheel of a wagon, to the sun in our solar system, and on to the expanse of the universe itself, they all are relative to one thing — circularity. Wherever a thing begins, the law declares, there will it end. (And please, let us rid ourselves from the same ignorance of Nicodemus — our beginning was not in our mothers' womb. We go much farther back than our natural heritage.)
The field of science reports that even chaos is subject to this law. If we could draw back far enough, they say, and view the overall picture, chaos would fit into and be a harmonizing portion of the whole. Also, if the chaos continued long enough, eventually a repetitious pattern would emerge. The first chapter of Colossians touches this thought: "And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist." (vrs 17).
This is not to say that chaos, anarchy, sedition, crime, hatred, or evil of any kind should be promoted; but we can say that none of these things are outside the scope and control of God. They all fit into His complete plan of bringing everything to perfection and back to it origin. It is a shame how the church of this age knows nothing of this simple truth. Paul, however, the apostle who saw beyond his own time, certainly knew something of it. He stressed very clearly that not only all things consist by God, but He is also the author and center of the law of circularity: For out from Him and proceeding through Him and into Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." (Rom 11:36 literal). Nothing, absolutely nothing, that came out of Him, and that includes all things, shall fail to return back to its origin. And so it is with the cherubim. They came out of God, and so shall they return.
The first reference of cherubim in the Bible is when they were placed outside of God's habitation at the east of Eden's garden (Gen 3:24). But from Ezekiel 28:14 we note that there was at least one cherub in the Garden prior to this: "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God...Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee" Ezek 28:13–18).
This account portrays Adam as a covering cherub. In his perfection he was in the mountain of God, the kingdom of God, in paradise, if you please. Due to his iniquity, he (the cherub) is cast out of that mountain. In Genesis the man is cast out and in Ezekiel the cherub is said to have been cast out. The simple truth is, wherever man goes, the cherubim go, and wherever the cherubim are found, likewise man. It matters not whether they are the anointed cherubim of glory or the cherubim of the veil, they abide inseparably joined one to the other.
Oh, that glorious day when God dipped His hand into the earth and formed man in His own image. With the breath of life His glory was quickened in the creature — and the cherubim took form. Ah, but it didn't last. Man took his companions with him on his long, infernal trip into darkness. They embarked upon a journey so far, so seemingly endless — a journey overflowing with so much sorrow, suffering, pain, and horrid death. In their trek across the wilderness of sin, and always in the dreadful clutches of death's merciless grip, the law of circularity began its promising play. Although man and his covering thoughts (the cherubim) were continually falling short of the glory of God, they were being made ready for their return from whence they came.
Once a man hears the call to return to God, and he makes his way deep into the Holy of holies, and his gaze is fixed upon Christ's resplendent glory — he will finally know the peace he sought. Many who come to that place are content to remain there forever; but it is not to be, for there is much more in store for the weary travelers. It is not the end of their long awaited journey, it is merely one phase of it. After a short rest, the law of circularity will continue, and when the time comes for Christ's glory to be seen and known in a greater measure, there will be a rising: "Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD'S glory. And the sound of the cherubim's wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when He speaketh" (Ezek 10:4–5).
Tremendous things will transpire when these two verses take shape in the lives of God's elect. No longer will the glory be confined within the covering wings of the cherubim — it rises and surges like liquid fire throughout Christ's Body. Due to the glory coming forth, however, it will be impossible for the religious leaders of today's church to minister in the most Holy place, even as presently is the case. Already they stand in the outer court facing and worshiping the glory of their own imaginative reason. Men and women of the old order simply cannot minister in the glory of Christ's presence. Furthermore, they don't particularly want to, for He is completely contrary to their scheme of things. Since they are accustomed to doing everything their own way, they find no peace while in the company of the glorious cloud of witnesses. Not only do the sun worshipers lose their peace in Christ's august presence, they see the purified ones more as lepers, or toxic fumes, rather than who they are — the white clouds of God's blue heavens. There are some, however, who desire this glory and mingle with the refined ones, and they voice their spirit–grating rhetoric whenever possible; but they are not ministering in the realm of the Holy of holies. Their voice is that of clanging cymbals rather than the sound of the Almighty God, and regardless of the company they keep, they are still in the outer court.
Nevertheless, for a little while those of God's high calling rest in the majestic glory that glows under the wings of the golden cherubim. The time is quickly approaching, however, for this glory to rise and move to the threshold and fill the whole house. The only ones to see this glory, of course, are those in whom He dwells — which is the cloud. (If you want to be caught up in a cloud to ever be with the Lord, this cloud, dear friends, is the one.)
When His glory fills the inner house, they who minister in the outer court will see only the glory of their own rising. There slight of hand, along with much smoke, and array of mirrors shall persuade the masses that what they have is the absolute truth and glory of God. Even in this hour almost everyone's focus is upon the charisma of personalities, false lights, dead church dogmas, and lifeless rituals. Such atrocities and worldwide deception shall, no doubt, continue for a season as their attention is drawn ever closer to the flashy façades of God's so–called 'men of the hour'. With their attention diverted eastward in the outer court, they will surely miss seeing the manifestation of glory in the most Holy place. And it is little wonder, for they presently see nothing of the ever abounding glory of God. To one degree or another, the shining of the Lord is already present in His sons, but since they abide far from the inner sanctuary of God, most are oblivious to it.
Very few will see the shining of God's glory in His people when He rises; but as far removed as they may be, they will hear Him. There will be such a trumpeting of the Word of glory in the confines of that inner chamber that they can't keep from hearing something. They haven't heard anything yet, but they shall: "...And the sound of the cherubim's wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when He speaketh" (Verse 5).
What is heard shall be more than a flutter of wings, dear readers. The voice of the Almighty God is the awesome sound they shall hear. His thundering voice shall slice throughout the cloud of glory as He rides upon the wings of the cherubim! Those within that cloud will hear and know the words He speaks, but many will only hear a rumbling roar, and flee in fright.
Wings speak of things that enable heavenly flight, and in the above verse the voice of God, i.e. the wings, is that vehicle. The wings and the voice of God are one and the same. When it is time for the glory of Christ and the cherubim to lift up and fill the house, it shall commence with the unfurling of wings. This unfurling is the sounding of God's voice. It is His Word expressing and commanding life and power forevermore.
The two cherubim sound a word of great power and authority. These two represent the mind of the sons and the mind of Christ that are beaten out of pure gold and formed into one mind, and from this single mind comes the Word of the Almighty. Those with the mind of Christ shall rise and see the glory manifested in a much greater way than ever before, while the ones in the outer court of their own imaginations shall hear the voice of thundering judgment. When Israel heard it coming from mount Sinai, they trembled in fear and refused to hear His voice. Will it be any different in this hour? It is doubtful.
The filling of the inner house of the Lord, and making Himself known in the deep chambers of His corporate body, is wonderful beyond imagination. Nothing as glorious could have ever been; but even so — there is more. Everyone in that unseen, protected sanctuary of God shall rise in glorious manifestation. What Ezekiel saw that day was, no doubt, man coming to the end of his long journey. It shall be an event unparalleled in the entire scope of man's quest for life. When this transpires, the glorious things we had known will pale in its brightness. Regardless of some men's claims, this has not yet been. It shall come when He rises and calls us to 'Come up hither'.
Not only does the voice of God resound from the lifting wings of the cherubim, we note a glorious work commencing from that heavenly Word. That work is symbolized in the hands under the cherubim's wings: "And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's hand under their wings." (Ezek 10:8). Hands most often in scripture denote work, so rather than the Word of God merely going forth into the airwaves of the spirit and blessing one's soul, it forms a work in the heavens that accomplishes what the Word declares. It is a word never heard before — and it shall prosper, for it is quick and powerful, and it shall not return void.
The Voice of the Almighty God shall span the four corners of the earth, reaching, judging, enlightening, and transforming every soul of His cherished creation. This is seen in the four transformed characteristics and manifestations of the cherubim: "And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle." (Ezek 10:14).
The cherub, the soul with its imaginative mind, is renewed and transformed. The first man, the god of this world, is seen in the image of the last Adam. The lion, the physical body, the king of all beastly passions, is changed and desires only those things of the Spirit. And likewise the eagle, the power of the air, the spirit of man, is new in Christ. In these four — spirit, soul, body, and the man himself — we see a new creation rising forever in the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ. No longer does God's glory remain hidden. What a mighty transition, the rising from the earthy to the heavenly — the manifestation of the sons of God!
The cherubim are seen with man and ever–progressing. They were placed in him to keep the way of life. They never left him, but their purpose has changed. They are revealing God's glory together with the one they had formerly bridled and hindered.
We should note also that every aspect of the new man comes forth during the time of severe judgment upon the earth. While the world is being judged and scattered over with fire (Ezek 9:1–11, 10:1–2), the elect are coming into their own. This judgment was no doubt fulfilled in part when Jerusalem was utterly destroyed in A.D. 70; but the church and the world is just as evil and full of dead men's bones as in that perilous day. If the next few years does not bring the same sort of devastation, we will be very surprised.
Along with the cherubim are seen four wheels, which symbolize He who is ever moving and is without the beginning or ending of days. Four is also the number of creation, denoting that every aspect of the creature is changed and lifted by this eternal life and power of God: "And when I looked, behold the four wheels by the cherubims, one wheel by one cherub, and another wheel by another cherub: and the appearance of the wheels was as the colour of a beryl stone. And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a Wheel" (Ezek 10:9–10).
So much can be said about these two verses; but for brevity's sake, let us paraphrase them. Hopefully, it will be enough to inspire some pure spirits, and vault its hearers into the heavenlies where it all takes place: "And when I looked, behold the four wheels were in union with and inseparable from the cherubims, one wheel in union with one cherub, and another wheel in union with another cherub, and the appearance of the wheels was as the colour of a beryl stone. And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness. They were all in the image of their Creator. It was as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel — the Spirit of the Father and the spirit of the Sons were one."
With such an absolute union, wherever and whenever one moves so does the other. When the head moves, so does the body. When the thoughts rise, so does the spirit and the body. When any fashion of the creature or the Creator moves, so does the other. One cannot go without the other, for they are inseparably one: "And when the cherubims went, the wheels went by them: and when the cherubims lifted up their wings to mount up from the earth, the same wheels also turned not from beside them. When they stood, these stood; and when they were lifted up, these lifted up themselves also: for the Spirit of the Living Creature was in them." (Ezek 10:16–17).
With the same purpose, the same drive, and the same Living Spirit, the entire body moves. Those in the image of the Last Adam are no longer motivated by the human spirit of the first Adam. At their journey's end, they have the mind of Christ and the fulness of the Spirit of the Living creature in them. What a perilous journey, and sometimes seemingly impossible to finish; but at the end of this age we find ourselves with renewed hope as the golden wings of the cherubim begin to spread in unpretentious glory.
When His glory fills the house, they shall rise with their Lord in whom they are one. When their Head rises, so do they. When the Alpha rises, the omega also. When the Wheel ascends, likewise the wheel within. When He goes up, so do the cherubim.
Within the eternal Wheel are the other wheels. They are in the likeness of He who is without the beginning of days or the end of life, for they are one with Him. Wherever He goes, they go. A wheel within the Wheel, and the cherubim lift up with them, for the Spirit of the Living Creature was in them (Verse 17).
These were the same cherubim (living creatures) Ezekiel saw by the river of Chebar, and John saw with the twenty–four elders while in exile on the Isle of Patmos. Chebar, we note, comes from the Hebrew word kebar and its root word is kabar. Kebar means "...an extent of time, i.e. a great while; hence long ago, formerly, hitherto." The definition for Kabar is "...to plait together...to augment (especially in number or quantity, to accumulate)" (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance).
In reference to the cherubim the two words, river and Chebar, hold vital keys to unveiling this mystery. Just a little more Hebrew will help: River, from nahar, means, "to sparkle...be cheerful; hence (from the sheen of a running stream) to flow...assemble" (Strong's).
From the east of Eden to the river of Chebar, we see an extended length of time — a flowing of long ago to this day. It actually began with four rivers flowing in all directions from the center of the Garden. In the darkness of Adam's death, the flowing continued, no longer shimmering with life but weaving its way through the ages, going to the four corners of the earth, searching for the way back home. The closer the flowing got to Jesus, the brighter it became. The first ray of light was in the outer court with the shed blood of the Lamb, and it continued until it gathered as one river in the Holy of holies. From there it proceeded from the throne of God. This river was not muddied by Adam's earth, but rushed forth with the sparkling joy of heaven's life. The ages of long ago shall find their end in the river of Chebar. The four living creatures rise in splendor, as one, to gather from the four winds the rest of humanity which is scattered throughout the earth. They too shall drink of this sparkling river, bringing cheer to their travel–worn souls. This is what we see over the river of Chebar, or rising from the mercyseat and filling the Holy of holies.
But in the glory of it all, let us not forget that glory sometimes comes in the form of heated wrath. What is so wonderful and exciting to some may be hell for others, especially where the cherubim and smoke filling the temple are involved. When they are mentioned in the Bible, judgment is generally seen. Regardless of how glorious the cloud is, or the appearance of the cherubim are with their endless worship, those in rebellion experience the firebrands of correction. The cherubim may have harps of gold, and vials full of wonderful fragrances; but they also have vials full of wrath and plagues. And they hand out the vials and send messengers of judgment upon the earth. Where one Word will be as rain to some, it can be as fire to others.
In Ezekiel, everyone who is not marked with the mark of God is destroyed; and in Revelation, the judgment falls on everyone who has the mark of the beast. Therefore, when we see such things round about us, rejoice if you abide in the inner chambers of our Lord, for you can know the wings of the cherubim are likewise sounding the call to ascend together in Him. If you dwell elsewhere, then lament, for it is not your redemption that is drawing nigh, but your judgment. Even so, it will be for your good, for proper judgment eventually brings correction unto repentance, and from repentance comes salvation.
Truthfully, if you have not finished your course, and your journey has not filled you to capacity, would it not be better to be sorely beaten than to remain half–baked, dirty–faced, and blemished forever in the image of Adam?
Again, when the glory ascended in the inner sanctuary, the wings of the cherubim were heard as the voice of the Almighty God. His voice and the wings of the anointed cherubim are in union, like His Spirit and the Word. You can't have one without the other. It is upon these that the Lord rides and is seen and heard, whether in judgment or in cheerful, sparkling blessings: "And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind" (Psa 18:10). They who have the mark of the ink horn shall survive, while the rest will perish (Ezek 9:1–11, 10:1–2); but in the end of their long journey, they too shall see the salvation of the Lord and know true glory. "And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isa 40:5).
Elwin R. Roach
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