View Full Version : The Cherubim

10th April 2010, 22:09
Cherub - Cherubim
"The Holy Beast"

The First Hierarchy – those closest to God

Seraphim – the first choir
Cherubim – the second choir
Thrones – the third choir

Cherub or Cherubim for plural are not the cute chubby little angels we see in paintings.

http://www.wendag.com/images/angelology/cherubim.jpgThe word itself is taken from the Akkadian word Karibu meaning one who prays, guardian, protector or one who intercedes. This is one of the few things the translators of religious text seem to agree on. Somehow this description does not fit the "cherub" we know and love.

In ancient Assyrian art they are described as having large, winged bodies of sphinxes, eagles, or bulls, with faces of lions or human beings. They were positioned at the entrance to temples and palaces as threshold guardians and were regarded as spirits of protection.

They are the second choir in The Celestial Hierarchy written by Dionysius-the-Pseudo-Areopagite which most theologians refer to. He describes them with multi-eyed peacock’s feathers to symbolize their all knowing character.

Cherubim are mentioned more than any other angel in religious text. They are in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament), the Torah (five books of Moses), the Book of Ezekiel, and the Book of Isaiah.

They are, without a doubt, some of the most powerful of God's angels often referred to as "the holy beast" and are the charioteers of God's throne. They are usually seen with the angels known as the "fiery wheels" or the Throne angels.

http://www.wendag.com/images/angelology/cherubimguardingparadise.jpgTheir main task is to worship God and act as His record keepers but sometimes God requires they act as guardians as in Genesis 3:24 "So he drove out the man; and 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."

You can be sure that Adam and Eve did not sneak back into the Garden of Eden with him and his flaming sword standing there.

Dionysius-the Pseudo-Areopagite in The Celestial Hierarchy, which most theologians refer to, describes them with multi-eyed peacock’s feathers to symbolize their all knowing character.

Islam does not purport to have a hierarchy but at the top of their angels is hamalat al-‘Arsh, the four throne-bearers of Allah, symbolized in Muslim legend by a man, a bull, an eagle and a lion (just as described by Ezekiel). The next angels they refer to are the karibuyin, which translates to cherubim, who perpetually praise Allah.

In Islamic legend they were created from the tears that Michael shed when he contemplated all the sins of humanity.

The Talmud (a central text of mainstream Judaism) equates them with the order of Ophanim (the wheels or chariots) or the Order of Hayoth which means holy beast.

In the book of Ezekiel you will find the most incredible descriptions that you can imagine. Prepare yourself and open your mind.

Ezekiel receives the gift of prophesy from God in a vision that begins with the appearance of the “four living creatures” which he describes in detail.

http://www.wendag.com/images/angelology/Ezekielsvisionofthrones.jpgEzekiel 1:5 -10 “And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the color of burnished brass. And they had the Ezekiel 1 hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”

At God’s direction in Exodus 25:18-20 they were incorporated into the design of the Ark of the Covenant and into Solomon’s Temple, two of the most sacred icons.

Exodus 25:18–20:“And thou shalt make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them,in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubim on the two ends thereof. And they shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be."

FYI don’t be insulted if you already know, but the mercy seat, was an object which rested upon the Ark of the Covenant, and was made of pure gold. (In other words it is a seat) The Ark and mercy seat were kept inside the Holy of Holies-the Temple’s innermost sanctuary.

In Solomon’s temple which held the Ark of the Covenant we find this description in 1 Kings 6: 27-29 and he set the cherubim within the inner house: and they stretched forth their wings, so one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall: and the midst of the house. And he overlaid them with gold. And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figure of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.”

In I Kings verse 32 He even had the front doors carved with cherubim, palm trees, open flowers, and overlaid them with gold.

These descriptions are so magnificent that it is hard to contemplate how these remarkable angels described by the prophets became the chubby little cherubs we see in art and on cards.

As you study the angels you will notice that God did not design any angels other than the Cherubim into his holiest sites.

10th April 2010, 22:17
The Cherubic Hymn


~ The Lyrics ~
We who mystically represent the Cherubim,
and sing to the life-giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn,
let us now lay aside all earthly care:
that we may receive the King of all,
who comes invisibly upborne by the Angelic Hosts.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.


The Cherubic Hymn is the primary cherubikon, or song of the angels, sung during every Divine Liturgy of the year except those of Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday. It occurs after the Gospel reading and is interrupted by the Great Entrance. The Cherubic Hymn was added to the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom by order of the Emperor Justinian near the end of the sixth century.

In singing the Cherubic Hymn, we are asked to lay "aside all earthly care that we may receive the King of all" (Matt 24:44). We are asked to leave this temporary world so that we may make the "great entrance" with Christ into His Kingdom.

Cherubim are a type of angel usually involved in sacred work before God. They are generally described as winged creatures with feet and hands. The word(s) occurs over 90 times in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament at Heb. 9:5, "And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail."


The use of the word Alleluia in the Liturgy is also a very old inheritance from the Synagogue. It became a cry of joy without much reference to its exact meaning in a language no longer understood (as did Hosanna). Its place in the Liturgy varied considerably. In the Byzantine Rite it comes as the climax of the Cherubic Hymn at the Great Entrance.

Alleluia may be literally rendered, "All hail to Him Who is!"--taking "All Hail" as equivalent to "Glory in the Highest," and taking "Who is" in the sense in which God said to Moses: "Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel; WHO IS hath sent me to you.” It belonged, as a divinely authorized doxology, to the Hebrew liturgy from the beginning.