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by Dr. John Thomas
The apocalyptic representation of the Lord's glory when seated on the throne of David is a repetition of Ezekiel's, though under some modification, so as to adapt it to circumstances which had arisen out of the things concerning Jesus.
"I beheld," says John, "a throne was set in the heaven, and one sat on the throne.
And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings, and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God".
From these passages, it is evident, that fire which is also light, is in symbolic representation significative of the spirit of God.
If more proof were necessary, the outpouring of the spirit on Pentecost and at the house of Cornelius, would be sufficient to settle the matter.
Now, when this appearance envelops men and things, it is called glory, or majesty.
Hence, referring to the transfiguration of Jesus on the Mount, the apostle says, "We were eye-witnesses of his majesty; for he received from God the Father honour and glory".
Such glory, or brightness, so beautifully represented by Ezekiel and John, will clothe the saints, as well as the Lord Jesus, when they shall appear in the kingdom of God: as it is written, "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever".
The apostle also speaks of the brightness of the sun, moon, and stars, as an illustration of the glory of the risen saints; and what is symbolically represented in Ezekiel and John of the glory of the Lord, is plainly affirmed by the prophet in these words: "The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign on Mount Sion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously".
From the whole, then, I conclude that the cherubim and flaming sword at the east of Eden's garden were representative, first, of God manifest in the woman's nature as "the word made flesh"; and by being bruised in the heel, set forth as the bloodsprinkled mercy-seat, or propitiation for sin; and secondly, of God manifested in the spiritual nature, clothed with dazzling brightness, surpassing the sun and moon in splendour.
The cherubim were the throne of the Lord in relation to the antediluvian world.
There He communed with men.
His presence was there, and the altar He had set up.
When men went to sacrifice before Him, there they presented their offerings.
If these were according to His appointment, He accepted the worshipper; and, probably, answered him by fire flashing forth from the cherubic glory, and consuming the sacrifice upon the altar.
If the worshipper were faithless and disobedient, the faces were hid by thick darkness, and the offering remained unconsumed.
This was the case with Cain.
His countenance fell, and he expressed himself with anger.
Then the Lord God "answered him with a voice," and the conversation ensued which is recorded in the Mosaic narrative.
Having, then, ascertained the signification of the cherubim and flaming sword, I shall proceed now to speak of the principles of religion , or of "THE WAY OF THE TREE OF LIFE" "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it".
Religion is not coeval with the formation of man; neither had it any existence during his novitiate.
Though it was instituted in the paradise, it was not for his observance there; for while he continued the sinless tenant of the garden, he stood in no need of the healing consolations it affords.