"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).
From the east of Eden to the veil of the tabernacle, and onward into the Holy of holies, the evidence is clear -- the cherubim cannot be separated from man. Upon his expulsion from the Garden, the cherubim were placed into the very fabric of his structure, and this was for good cause; namely, to conceal the truths and glory of God.
We saw in our previous publication how the glory of Jesus was hidden by the cherubim of His own human form, not to mention the cherubim in the ones among whom He walked. On a few occasions His brightness penetrated the veil, and He was seen for who He was and from where He came. At least on one occasion the Father unveiled to Peter who He was, and when he saw it, He exclaimed -- "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God" (Matt 16:16, John 6:69). When Jesus was only eight days old, Simeon, with the Holy Ghost upon him, was privileged to see wondrous things about Him. At His circumcision, when His flesh was cut away, the cherubim unfurled their protective wings, and the devout man peered down the corridors of time and witnessed profound things. He saw Jesus as the mighty Lord and Savior of all. With his spiritual eyes opened, he saw Him as the light of the Gentiles, and the glory of Israel. Anna, an aged prophetess, must have seen something, for she proclaimed Jesus to all who came to the temple looking for redemption (Luke 2:36-38). But for the most part -- He remained hidden. Not many truly saw Him as the Son of God, the Savior of the world. Although He walked among men in the outer-courts of the earth, and His physical features were seen by everyone, His true self walked in the Holiest heavens and was overshadowed by the cherubim.
COMPANION OF REGRESSION
There is a drive in man, as he struggles to retake his lost paradise, the glory of God. Although the human creature possesses something of His creator, and it often compels him to pursue His face, there is also the dark side abiding within that causes him to regress. It is his constant companion, ever luring him toward his own illusive cherubim of endless imaginations. Religion, one of his most common avenues, has also been one of his greatest obstacles. He is ever striving for the cherished prize of glory, but always falling short of his goal. Throughout the centuries of his pursuit in religious practices, we see him no closer than when he embarked. It has been the same from the start. Every step of the way man seems to have strayed farther from the truth and reality of God. Very briefly, we will follow his path to clarify the point:
When expelled from the Garden, the cherubim (the imaginative figures, i.e. imaginations) kept the way of the Tree of Life. When the tabernacle was built, which represented man and his journey homeward, they were sown into the curtains and veil, preventing ready access to God. The cherubim are seen in the Holy of holies where they overshadow God's glory.
Until the days of Solomon man seemed to progress fairly well, although the glory was always concealed to one degree or another. But the temple was then built to replace the tabernacle. God gave man the desire of his heart, which was to build something for God that seemed greater than the tabernacle of man himself. In Solomon's temple, the cherubim (man's imaginations) grew tremendously. They were no longer the size of the ark, and neither were they resting upon it. Rather than their foundation being the mercyseat, it became the floor of the temple. They were ten cubits high, and their wingspread was twenty cubits wide, reaching from wall to wall in the inner sanctuary. They were immense fabrications, which insured that nothing of God's glory could be seen.
When the ark was placed in the temple the mercyseat was removed, and except for the tables of stone, it was empty (1 Kings 8:9). What a travesty; and it is not unlike the heart of the church today. The only thing within the ark was the law. Much was lacking, and so it is with what supposedly represents Christ in this age.
Man tries so hard to find God in his imaginative religions; but the farther he travels, the more he loses. Solomon's temple, we believe, speaks a great deal of man's endeavors. He may have good intentions by building a house for God, as if God needs a place made of bricks and boards to lay His head. If the truth were known, most church buildings, regardless of their grandeur or their humbleness, are built for people and not for God at all. They are intended to elevate man's stature, rather than for a cozy place for God live in. These buildings of brick and mortar, we can rest assured, are not His living quarters:
"Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not Me an house of cedar?" (2 Sam 7:5-7).
And again, "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word." (Isa 66:1-2).
There are a number of churches, gatherings, and home meetings across the land -- and the presence of the Lord is profoundly rich at times, this we are sure; but the richness is not because He lives in those buildings or places of gatherings. They are merely places for the people to get out of the rain, the wind, and the sun; or at least, that is how they should be viewed. If He is there, it because the tabernacles (the people) wherein He dwells are there. The vast majority of the assemblies have little more than dry sermons and dead rituals. Sadly, at best, they ride upon the waves of emotions, oblivious to God's glory. They are very much like those of Solomon's temple. If they possess any more than their engraved laws in stone, it is an exception to the rule.
It would be a miscarriage of truth, however, if we said there is no glory at all in their midst. Like Solomon's temple, I believe there is a faction of God's glory deep within -- for in that day the glory of the Lord filled the house. This was not in order for His glory to be seen, rather, it was more for concealing it. It was for keeping man's eye from seeing and ministering this realm of life: "And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD. Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that He would dwell in the thick darkness." (1 Kings 8:10-12).
Outwardly, Solomon's temple of stones was much more glorious than the common skin-house Moses had built. As profound as it might have been, God's glory was concealed even more, and if we look closely we can see the same thing has been transpiring in the church over the centuries. She presently sits with great splendor in the world, decked with gold, jewels, and fine linen, but void of any living reality of the One they claim as their Lord.
The next phase we note in man's perpetual regression is Herod's temple. It was the last one built, and had no ark at all. There were no cherubim of glory in the inner sanctuary. Only the veil contained them as far as we can gather. Neither was God's glory present in the most Holy place. What they had was gone. Without the ark of the covenant, there was no need for cherubim to reside in the Holy of holies, for there was nothing of value for them to overshadow and protect. Howbeit, they were present in the veil, i.e., in man's flesh and carnal mind.
The sad truth is prevalent -- man has always fallen short of the glory of God in his pursuit of happiness. His imaginations kept getting bigger until the only thing left was the law; and in the end, nothing is left, not even the law. This was manifested with great magnification just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. There was complete anarchy and lawlessness in the streets of the city. Nothing remained sacred to the three main Jewish sects. That was the absolute end of God's glory in Israel, and the same dark cloud is sweeping over the horizon of the church today. That which hangs over her doors seems not to be Christ's name, but that of Herod's, which means, the View of a Hero. Doubtless, only in his own eyes was he a hero; for he was a man full of lawless pride. His greatness was self-imposed, and not earned, which was very similar to the Jews at that time. Pride came before their inevitable fall (Prov 16:18), and the same scenario is running its course today. There is no escape, for the church will not heed sound warnings.
Babylon is another name by which the visible church is called -- Overflowing Mixture of Confusion (Strong's Exh. Conc.). This being the case, she must have children that testify something of her poverty-stricken state. We will exercise our liberty and call them Ichabod, for this name also carries an accurate meaning of her demise -- "And she named the child ichabod, saying, the glory is departed from israel: because the ark of god was taken, and because of her father-in-law and her husband. And she said, the glory is departed from israel: for the ark of god is taken." (1 Sam 4:21-22). The simple fact is, where there is no ark there is no glory, and even when the glory is present, the cherubim will prevent most from seeing it.
Again, from the east of Eden to the curtains and the veil, and onward into the Holy of holies, the evidence remains clear -- God's glory is hidden to most. In man's ever-progressive march back to that place he lost, the ever-present sentinels are always making sure the advancement is not too sudden. They keep the way, holding it precious unto themselves, while guarding it from the unworthy and irreverent men of the earth.
This journey is filled with both peril and glory, and each one brings change in man. When these changes are encountered, many sojourners are content to halt and discontinue onward. Once the glory is tasted it is hard for them to move on, and very often they fail to envision anything greater. This should not be considered a strange thing, for every step in Christ is glorious, and it is not always easily believed anything could be better. Once the Holy of holies is reached, what could transcend those confines? How could it get any better than basking in the glory of God in the sublime chambers of the most Holy place? Rarely, until the appointed time of the next move, do people see anything beyond. With their attention is fixed upon the present glory, they are prone to fence it in forever; but when the Lord's call is heard, those with willing hears leave the old to find the new.
THE GLORY OF THE LORD WENT UP
"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" (Ezek 10:4). The glory of the Lord went up and filled Solomon's house too; but it was with thick darkness, while Ezekiel saw His glory being full of brightness. (We should note, brethren -- there is a vast difference between something that is thick darkness and that which is full of brightness.)
Those of the temple, as Ezekiel saw (Ezek 8:16), looked toward the east and worshiped the sun. Today we see the same, but the 'sun' is the 'glory' of their own 'reasoning'. The church is full of those who turn their backs to God. With their hearts and gaze fixed upon their own rising, they perceive His glory as thick darkness. In their folly they abide in the outer court and are unable to minister in the house because of the cloud of God. They may think they are ministering, but true ministry? -- we think not. Among those living in Christ, however, it is different. They are sure and able ministers, for they see the brightness of His glory. Not only do they see it and minister; but they make up that glorious cloud of many members, and the time is at hand, we believe, for them to fill the house with glory.
Resting upon the Mercyseat of Christ is the most wonderful place ever known, but neither God's glory (Christ) nor His elect can remain confined between the cherubim's wings forever. When He rises in the house, they must also rise.
While the Pharisees of today are absorbed by their own consuming grandeur -- the Sons of God are busily being filled by Christ's hidden glory. The Sons are not concerned about a following. They are not bent on making a name for themselves. It is not in them to desire the grand pulpits of carnal reasoning, or to mingle with religious men of renown. They are content to flow and fellowship with the ones, twos, and handfuls who are like minded. If it happens to be the hundreds, praise God; but if it is only a few, it matters not, as long as they are a portion of the house in the Holy of holies that is being filled.
There was a time, I must confess, that I desired greatly to be seen and heard; for no doubt, there was a certain amount of vanity involved. I also felt that being respected and admired by many would have been a testimony of my success in the Lord. To a degree, I sought security in people's acceptance, rather than resting totally in the arms of Christ Jesus. The wings of cherubim in my mind spread the thought that if I was blessed by a great ministry, it would have been because our Lord had found favor in me. It stood to reason that He wanted others to be blessed by one of His chosen, 'me.' But, praise God! I can attest to this -- that particular man is dead to such carnal aspirations. It no longer matters to him if he stands before thousands, or he sits alone at home, as long as he is doing the will of His Father -- that is all that counts for anything.
While so many are trying to build a grand ministry, what we see and experience happening today is hidden within the confines of the inner house of the Lord. The rising of God's glory is not coming with outward observation. It is coming within, in the midst of His called ones. Although the glory of Christ Jesus is filling the house, not many see it, for their backs are turned to it as they face the brightness of their own eastern glory. To them, the filing of the house is thick darkness, and they desire it not. We cannot prevent their perception, unless of course, God intervenes. We shall, therefore, follow on in the One who is ascending and filling the house.
From the first day the cherubim were placed in man in order to keep the way of the Tree of Life, to the vision of Ezekiel, tremendous changes have taken place. In the beginning, as imaginative figures, they could scarcely be viewed as glorious creatures of God. But they progressively changed form, and as they changed, man changed. Paul said, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove (or manifest) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom 12:2, parenthesis inserted). When the mind -- the thinking, the imaginations (the cherubim) -- are renewed, then likewise the man. When he puts on the mind of Christ, in the place of presumptuous musings, the cherubim of glory will be seen. In the same manner man cannot be separated from the cherubim placed at the east of Eden, neither can he be separated from those of glory. They are woven into the very fabric of his being. They part of his tapestry -- and when this transformation takes place, expect something never before seen, neither in the heavens nor the earth.
When the time and change comes, they must rise with their Lord in whom they are one; for when the Head rises, so does the body. When the Alpha rises, the Omega also. When the Wheel ascends, likewise the wheel within. When He goes up, so do the cherubim.
Within the eternal Wheel, are those of the other wheel. They who are in the likeness of the One who is without the beginning of days or the end of life are one with Him. The twain are inseparable. Wherever He goes, they go. A wheel within the Wheel, and the cherubim lift up with them.
Elwin R. Roach
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