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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

But they were still more significative.

They were God's throne in Israel.

Hence, the psalmist saith, "The Lord reigneth; he sitteth between the cherubim".

This throne was erected upon mercy: and for this reason it was, that the covering of the ark containing the testimony, the manna, and the resurrected rod, was styled the Mercy-seat or throne, where the Lord covered the sins of the people.

It was also the Oracle, or place from which God communed with Israel through Moses.

"There," said the Lord, "will I 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 Testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel".

But, though Moses informs us of two cherubim with a plurality of faces and wings each, he does not tell us what kind of faces or how many wings they had.

This deficiency, however, seems to be supplied by Ezekiel.

Those he saw had each of them four faces and four wings; a human body with feet like a calf's, and the hands of a man under their wings.

Of their faces, one was like a man's; a second, like a lion's; a third, like that of an ox; and a fourth, like an eagle's.

The things of his first chapter, taken collectively, evidently represent the Messiah upon his throne, surrounded by his saints, and all energized and made glorious by the Spirit of God.

The rings of Ezekiel's wheels were full of eyes; but in the cherubim which John saw, the wheels were not introduced, but two more wings were added, and the eyes were transferred to the six wings.

In this place, the cherubim are styled "beasts," more properly, living creatures (ta; zw`a); and are associated with "twenty-four elders".

Now, by attending to what is affirmed of them in another place, we shall see who are represented by the four cherubim of Ezekiel with four faces each, and their wheels; and the four of John with one different face each, and twenty-four typical elders.

It is written, that "they fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are (or represent) the prayers of the saints.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on earth".

From this it is evident that the cherubim, etc., represent the aggregate of those redeemed from the nations in their resurrection state.

The Lamb, the four cherubs, and the twenty-four elders are a symbolical representation of what is expressed by the phrase, "them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints"; that is, those who have been constituted the righteousness of God in Christ in a glorified state.

The cherubim are the federal symbol; and the eyes, representative of the individuals constituted in him who is signified by the Cherubim.

The Lamb is introduced to represent the relationship between the holy eyes, or saints, and the Cherubic Faces; that is, between them and the Lord Jesus; while "the twenty-four elders" are indicative of their constitution as "the Israel of God".

There are twenty-four, because the Kingdom of God, being an Israelitish Commonwealth, is arranged with the twelve sons of Jacob as its gates; and with the twelve apostles of the Lamb as its foundations; the former being the entrance into present life of the fleshly tribes, or subjects; and the latter, the foundations of the adopted tribes, or heirs of the kingdom; so that twenty-four is the representative constitutional number of the spiritual Israel of God; for without the natural the spiritual could not be; any more than there could be adopted Americans, if there were no American nation.

But the Mosaic Cherubim were deficient of several of the characteristics which distinguish those of Ezekiel and John.

They had simply the wings and the faces.