D – ANGELS FOR REAL – 4
As this study of created, spiritual beings called angels as well as many other names given continues, the study would not be complete without mentioning the kinds of angels and the two specific angels given names.
Cherubim will be the first classification to notice. Cherubim are winged creatures that are first mentioned in Gen.3:24. Adam and Eve had been sent out of the Garden of Eden because of their sin. Cherubim were placed with a flaming sword that turned ever direction to guard the way to the tree of life. This was a definite task given by God—to guard. Just one of the cherubim would be a “cherub.” The im attached on the end makes a plural in Hebrew.
There are 91 references to cherubim in the O.T. Many of these occurrences refer to the Holy of Holies. In the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle two cherubim were carved and placed at either end of the Mercy Seat. Definite instructions were given as to the materials that were to be used. Ex.25:18,19 The placement of the cherubim was also important. Ex.25:20,21 The importance extended not only to the fact of following the pattern God gave but to the fact of God’s presence coming to the Mercy Seat between the two cherubim. Ex.25:22 These instructions given by God were not choices. The pattern God gave had to be followed or consequences would follow.
Since the O.T. is our schoolmaster (Gal.3:24), the importance of our following God’s plan in the N.T. increases. Since the church belongs to Christ (Matt.16:18), the importance of following His plan is essential. The Israelites didn’t decide the cherubim would face the opposite direction and that God was a good God and would understand. The flaming sword of the cherubim at the gate of the Garden should remind us, God is in control. His Son is the Head of His church and His plans in the Scripture must be followed. Eph.2:20
Just as circumcision was an outward sign of being an Israelite, so baptism is an outward sign of being a Christian as Jesus commanded. Matt.28:18-20 With that initial step we can be added to His church. Acts 2:47 Just as circumcision must be inward, of the heart, as well as outward (Rom.2:29,30); so as we are baptized into the death and burial of Christ and not just the washing of the flesh. 1 Pet.3:21 Our lives must continue in love and obedience. Jhn.14:15
The cherubim signified divine presence. Just as they were carved figures placed on top of the Mercy Seat in the tabernacle, so, also, they were placed in the inner sanctuary of Solomon’s temple. 1 Kgs.8:6-8; 2 Chron.3:10-13 The image of the cherubim was carved on walls in the inner and outer rooms of the temple. 2 Chron.3:7 All of this represented God’s presence among His people.
At times, cherubim had animal characteristics. In Ezekiel 1 a vision appeared to Ezekiel that included cherubim with these animal characteristics. A long description is given in this first chapter although “cherubim” is not mentioned. However, in Ezek.10:15,20 Ezekiel realizes that they were cherubim.
Seraphim is another classification of angels. They had six wings as seen by Isaiah. Isa.6:2,6 More description is given in this chapter. They were before the throne of God in praise. Isa.6:3 Another description similar to the one in Isaiah can be found in Revelation 4 although the actual name “seraphim” is not present. The Hebrew word means burning. They appeared to be brilliant with a glowing quality. Seraphim are not mentioned as often as the cherubim.
An archangel was a chief angel over other angels and had power and authority. One was given a name—Michael. Jude 9 Michael and his angels are mentioned as waging was in Rev.12:7. Although Michael is the only one mentioned by name as archangel, there must have been others as inferred in Dan.10:13. One of the chief princes is a reference to this fact. An archangel will announce the second coming of Christ. 1 Thess.4:16
Gabriel was another angel by name. Gabriel explained Daniel’s vision to him. Dan.8:15-17 Gabriel comes to Daniel again to reveal the prophecy of 70 weeks. Dan.9:21,22 He carried a message to Zacharias in Lk.1:18,19. Gabriel stood in the presence of God and received a message to be given to Zacharias about the birth of John the Baptist. Gabriel was also the messenger from God to Mary about the birth of Jesus. Lk.1:26,27
This study of angels has shown that they are created, spiritual beings that bring messages from God or perform tasks that God gives them to do. Scripture reveals many of the characteristics of angels as well as relating the many tasks angels performed for God in both the O.T. and N.T. Kinds of angels are named in Scripture as well as two angels being named. The assurance that those who will inherit salvation have ministering spirits or angels to watch over us is a precious realization. Heb.1:14
For further study I would highly recommend the book, Angels and Demons, by Victor Knowles and published by College Press.