Kings Ridge Reminder

Spirit Beings: Seraphim and Cherubim

09 October 2016

In the Bible, we find references to mysterious beings known as cherubim and seraphim, but what exactly are they? The answer is, for the most part, unknown.

Many in the religious world explain cherubim (and also sera-phim) as a high ranking, special class of angels. However, this claim is never made in the Bible. Blocher states that there is no scripture which identifies cherubim (or seraphim for that mat-ter) with angels (Henri Blocher, In The Beginning). There isn’t even a scripture that links them together. The Bible usually de-scribes them in the plural (cherubim as opposed to the singular cherub), which means there must be more than one. Instead of cute and chubby as they are often depicted in modern art, the Bible describes them as beings of power that are rather terrify-ing. Ezekiel describes them as living beings that go forth as burning coals, as flashes of lightning (Ezek. 1:13-14), whose purpose is to carry out the divine will in the execution of judgement (Homer Hailey, Revelation). Ezekiel also describes them as having four wings, hands, feet, and four faces each. The faces reflect what appear to be glorious aspects of God’s earthly creation: Man, lion, ox, and eagle. Robert Harkrider states that the man represents intelligence and reason; the lion reflects strength; the ox reflects patient service and endurance; and the eagle reflects penetrating vision and swiftness. They are also revealed as fierce guardians of things that are holy and sacred (Gen. 3:24; Exo. 25:18). Ezekiel describes the throne of God as being above them, where there is an expanse between them (Ezek. 1:22-28, 10:1).

Seraphim, plural for seraph, means “burning or fiery ones.” Seraphim are found only in the book of Isaiah. Due to their plurality, there must be a host of them. Not to be confused with Cherubim, these beings are described by Isaiah as having six wings and appear very close to the divine throne . They are seen in Isaiah’s vision as flying above and around the throne of God. In addition to their wings, they have feet, hands and what appears to be a single face. According to Hailey, this indicates they are living spiritual entities or personalities (Homer Hailey, Isaiah). In Isaiah’s vision, they are seen showing absolute rev-erence to God by using one set of wings to cover their faces, another set to cover their feet, and yet another to hover about the throne. They are observed singing God’s praises and call-ing out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of host, the whole earth is full of His glory.” When these beings speak, their voices are compared to thunder and the ground shakes. It is interesting that the apostle John describes a vision in which “living be-ings,” who bear a striking resemblance to seraphim, are seen around the divine throne (Rev. 4:6-9). Like seraphim, they ap-pear close to the throne of God having six wings, one face, voices like thunder, and seem to praise God endlessly. They are seen separate and apart from angels, as they join with the chorus of men and not with the chorus of angels (Rev. 5:8,11).

We will never know the full extent of who these heavenly be-ings are this side of eternity. It can also be challenging at times to decipher when a prophet enters into apocalyptic imagery, as opposed to describing the spiritual entity before him to the best of his human ability. Blocher sums it up well when he writes: “The simplest solution is to see them as the symbol of divine power, as it is manifested in the universe, or, more precisely still, a concentrated form of the universe itself, summed up in the more glorious figures, but in so far as it remains at the dis-posal of the Lord and acts as the instrument of His power.” And I might add, His will.

Read 945 times Last modified on Sunday, 30 October 2016 21:27
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