"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, 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).
Elwin R. Roach
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