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by Dr. John Thomas
His cherubim were not only of beaten gold continuous with the substance of the mercy-seat; but they were embroidered into the Veil, made of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, which divided the holy and the holiest places of the tabernacle.
Now, when "Jesus cried with a loud voice, he expired (ejxevpneuse); and the Veil of the Temple was rent in twain from top to bottom".
Thus, we see the breaking of the body of Jesus identified with the rending of the Cherubic Veil; thereby indicating that the latter was representative of the Lord.
We have arrived then at this, that the Mosaic Cherubim were symbolical of "God manifest in the flesh".
We wish now to ascertain upon what principles His incarnate manifestation was represented by the Cherubim?
First, then, in the solution of this interesting problem, I remark, that the scriptures speak of God after the following manner: "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all "; again, "God is a Spirit; and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth"; and thirdly, "Our God is a consuming fire".
In these three texts, which are only a sample of many others, we perceive that God is represented by light, spirit, and fire; when, therefore, He is symbolized as manifest in flesh, it becomes necessary to select certain signs representative of light, spirit, and fire, derived from the animal kingdom.
Now, the ancients selected the lion, the ox, and the eagle for this purpose, probably from tradition of the signification of these animals, of the faces of them, in the original Cherubim.
They are called God's Faces because His omniscience, purity, and jealousy are expressed in them.
But the omniscient, jealous, and incorruptible God was to be manifested in a particular kind of flesh.
Hence, it was necessary to add a fourth face to show in what nature He would show Himself.
For this reason, the human face was associated with the lion, the ox, and the eagle.
These four faces united in one human shape, formed out of beaten gold; and two such, not separate and distinct symbols, but standing one on each end of the mercy-seat, and the same in continuity and substance with it; -- taken as a whole, represented Jesus, the true blood-sprinkled mercy-seat, or propitiatory, "in whom dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily ".
All four faces were to look upon the mercy-seat, so as to behold the sprinkled blood of the yearly sacrifice.
To accomplish this, two cherubs were necessary; so that the lion and the ox faces of the one; and the man and the eagle faces of the other, should all be "mercy-seat-ward".
It will be seen from this view of things, how important a place the Cherubim occupied in the worship of God connected with "the representation of the truth".
They were not objects of adoration; but symbols representing to the mind of an intelligent believer the Seed of the woman as God manifested in the likeness of sinful flesh.
This I take it was the significancy of the Cherubim which the Lord God placed at the east of the garden; and which became the germ, as it were, of the shadowy observances of the patriarchal and Mosaic institutions; whose substance was of Christ.
THE FLAMING SWORD.
"A Flaming Sword which turned every way".
The things represented by the lion, ox, and eagle faces were visibly manifested in the sword of time.
This was light, spirit, and fire flaming around the cherubim as the glory of God.
It turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.