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Monday, July 6, 2015

Ezekiel -- Part 5


God Dwells Between the Cherubim

The Bible says that God dwells between the cherubim. (see Isaiah 37:16) In another vision that Ezekiel had of these living beings in Chapter 10, Ezekiel calls these living beings “cherubim.” Cherubim guard God’s most holy place. This began in the Garden of Eden when God cast the sinners out of His holy Garden. He placed cherubim and a flaming sword at the entrance to keep any evil or sin from entering His Most Holy Garden and His presence. The flaming sword is His Anointed Word. Like these cherubim, believers in Christ must be full of the Anointed Word and be on guard against sin or evil that could come into our hearts -- the dwelling place of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. As these cherubim were four but one, the Body of Christ is many but must work together as one.

New Testament Cherubim

In the New Testament, angels (cherubim) guarded the place of the Body of Christ in the tomb. There were two angels at each side of the entrance into the tomb, and there were two angels inside the tomb next to the burial slab that held the body of Jesus. One angel was at the foot of the burial slab where Jesus' dead body laid, and one was at the head. (see John 20:12) These angels were guarding the place of the presence and glory of God who is the beginning (head) and the end (foot), and who is the One who is the entrance into God‘s Holy of Holies. When Jesus was on earth, He was fulfilling all that was written in the Law and the Prophets. The Law and the Prophets (Older Testament) are foreshadows of the reality in Christ. (see Hebrews 10:1) These two angels (cherubs) were guarding the entrance into the tomb and the body of Christ in fulfillment of the two cherubim at the Garden Entrance and over the Ark of the Covenant that guarded God’s shekinah glory.

These spiritual beings in Ezekiel’s visions who had the body of a man but were also spiritual are symbolic of Christ and His Body of believers who are both human and spiritual (Divine). When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we become dual-natured -- human and Divine. We are to put off the face of our flesh and put on the face of Christ.

In the Older Testament tabernacles and temples, God’s shekinah glory dwelt between the cherubim and the Ark of the Covenant. These cherubim in the tabernacle and temple were not living and active but images made of gold. They were symbolic of the reality that is in Christ Jesus and His Body of believers. After the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, He now dwells in His believers making us both human and Divine. We are to be like these cherubim and guard our hearts -- the dwelling place of God -- from sin and evil. We are His living temple!

Even though Jesus came as Man the first time, He is now restored to His preexisting glory, honor and power. He is equal with God and is God but He still has the form of a Divine Man and bears the scars of His crucifixion. This is how we will identify the true from the false. The scriptures show us that Jesus is clothed in brilliant light and glory in the spiritual realm.

Cherubim in the Tabernacle

God told Moses to place two cherubim over the Mercy Seat and Ark of God’s presence in the Holy of Holies to guard this sacred house (box) located in the Holy of Holies. Again the cherubim are guarding God’s glory (shekinah) and the Ark of His Presence. The Ark of the Covenant and all within are a picture of Jesus.
          1) He is God’s Manna (Bread of Life) sent from heaven.
          2) He is the two tablets as the Word of God in perfection. The two tablets are hidden in Christ as they were hidden in the Ark. Jesus became all that the Law required once for all fulfilling it for us. The Law is hidden in Christ and is made eternal through Him. Nothing or no one can be made eternal except through Christ. All things were created through Him as the Word of God and all things must be returned to the Father through Him. He is the Eternal Word of God.
          3) Aaron’s rod that budded and also swallowed up the serpents of the magicians is a foreshadowing of Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life. He is the One who is victorious over the serpent of old -- the devil.
          4) Jesus is the mercy seat of God as the propitiation for our sin.
          5) He is the shekinah glory of God in its fullness.
The wings of the two cherubim over the Ark touched each other making them one, just as the living beings in Ezekiel’s vision touched one another making them one, and as Jesus and the Holy Spirit and He and the Father are two but One. 

The cherubim in the tabernacle over the Ark were made of one piece of pure gold showing their Divine oneness as well.

At God’s instruction, Moses made the two cherubim “of one piece with the mercy seat.” Ex. 37:8 The three (two cherubim and the Mercy Seat) were one with the shekinah glory of God in the center! These three were made of pure gold symbolizing the Divine The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are full of God’s glory. In the tabernacle, the cherubim are connected to the Ark as one, just as the Godhead are three but One.

In Solomon’s temple there are four cherubim -- the two over the mercy seat and Ark of the Covenant that Moses had made, and two huge cherubim standing next to the Ark with the tips of their wing connected over the Ark of the Covenant making them one. The other of their wings stretched from the west wall to the east wall making a wall of partition. These large cherubim became a wall of protection that guarded God’s glory and purity over the Mercy Seat.

Cherubim in the Temple of Solomon

The Temple was prepared by father David (the Mighty Warrior and Conquering King) but built by his son, Solomon, the King of peace. This glorious temple was the “heart” of the new united nation of Israel, as believers in Jesus are to be the heart of God to others and walk in peace. Solomon’s temple was much more glorious and permanent than the tabernacle of Moses and the tabernacle of David. However, this temple was eventually destroyed. It was corruptible. Jesus, the True Temple of God not made by human hands, is incorruptible. The only earthly temple that will last for eternity is the temple that God builds in the hearts of believers in His Son. The earthly tabernacles and temples were material reflections of God’s heavenly dwelling place for all mankind to see “but not the very image.” They were only a shadow. (see Hebrews 10:1) Then God sent His Son Jesus as the full and complete revelation of His spiritual dwelling place on earth and in heaven. The full glory of Jesus on earth was veiled by His flesh body. Jesus is indeed the incorruptible temple of God. He is eternal.

King Solomon at God’s instruction made two huge cherubim to be placed in the Holy of Holies in the Temple next to the Ark of the Covenant which had the two original cherubim of gold on top. Four cherubim were in the Holy of Holies in the temple that Solomon built for the Lord. The cherubim standing next to the Ark of the Covenant in Solomon’s temple were ten cubits high. Ten is the number of Divine order. 2 x 10 = 20 making a double portion of God’s Divine Order. These two cherubim were in their Divinely-chosen place guarding the Holy of Holies and God’s presence (Divine glory). Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the two testaments are our double-portion. We are to guard our hearts against any evil trying to enter in. We have the power of Christ, the Holy Spirit and the anointed written Word to help us.

Moses made his cherubim out of pure gold, but Solomon made his cherubim out of olive wood (1 Kings 6:23) overlaid with gold (1 Kings 6:28). These huge cherubim were made up of two materials not just gold. They were dual-natured so to speak. They stood almost like pillars next to the Ark of God’s Covenant and mercy seat. The olive tree is the tree of life. It’s fruit is what produces the pure anointing oil that keeps the Light of the temple burning. Jesus is the Tree of Life and the oil is the Holy Spirit that keeps the Light of Jesus burning in the temple (heart) of His followers. It is Jesus and the Holy Spirit that will produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit within us so we can shine the Light of Jesus in our hearts out to others keeping His Light burning continually—from generation to generation. Jesus said that people would know us by our fruit. (Matthew 7:16) The two materials represent the Divine (gold) and human believers (olive wood) who, because of Jesus, are now both human and Divine and are to be a tree of life to others by bringing them to the Tree of Life – Jesus.

These two cherubim can also symbolize the Word and the Holy Spirit and/or grace and truth that keeps the light of Jesus burning in the hearts of His followers and uphold the Most Holy Place and presence of God. These cherubim were in sets of two -- Divine agreement and covenant. They are also a picture of believers in Christ who are filled with the Light of Jesus and the Holy Spirit – Jew and Gentile. Jesus said that wherever there were two in agreement, He is in their midst. God is a God of agreement!

One wing of these two cherubim in Solomon’s temple was five cubits wide. Five is the number of grace. Two is the number of testimony and agreement -- Truth. Together these two cherubim and the length of one of their wings add up to seven, God’s number of spiritual perfection. Jesus, who is grace and truth, came to earth to begin establishing God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus stretched out His arms on the cross to die for the sin of the whole world to begin the restoration process. Sin had to be dealt with first. Then the transformation and restoration process. In symbolism through the number 5 and the number 2, it will be grace and truth that will hold these two cherubim together as one. Jesus multiplied the 5 loaves and 2 fish that fed the multitudes. The spiritual message of this miracle is that Jesus feeds the multitudes with grace and truth. Jesus illustrated in the “natural” what He is in the “spiritual.”

The span from wingtip to wingtip of these two huge cherubim was 10 cubits. The wing of the one touched one wall and the wing of the other touched the other wall. Their wings stretched out from wall to wall. Although they were two, they became one wall that guarded the shekinah glory of God over the Ark in the temple. The other two wings touched each other wingtip to wingtip in the center over the Ark of God's presence making them one. Jesus is in the center of the two testaments drawing them together as one in Him. Jesus is also in the center of our hearts ruling and reigning and bringing His Body together as One Body with Him as the Head. These two cherubim were identical in size and shape. (1 Kings 6:25) The height of each cherubim was 10 cubits also. Believers are all equal in the sight of the Lord. As the cherubim guarded the presence of God over the mercy seat, the Bible tells us we are to guard our hearts so we will walk in the ways and love of Jesus, God’s presence in us.

Solomon also overlaid the walls, the doors, the beams and the doorposts of the temple with gold and carved cherubim on them. Again the cherubim would guard the presence and glory of God and the Holy of Holies.

God’s Glory

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and heard the voice of the One speaking. Ezekiel 1:28 In humble adoration and reverence, Ezekiel fell facedown and heard the Word of the Lord coming from the Radiant Man -- Jesus.

Ezekiel 10 -- Change in One of the Faces

In Ezekiel 10, the prophet is given a similar vision of the living beings. There are some changes in this vision when compared to the vision of Ezekiel 1. Here Ezekiel identifies these living beings as “cherubim.” “I realized that these were cherubim.” Ezekiel 10:20 Scripture interprets scripture. Because scripture was Divinely written by the Holy Spirit through man, it must be Divinely interpreted. God progressively reveals truth and uses scripture to do so. In this vision to Ezekiel, God is showing the prophet that the glory of the Lord was going to depart from the Temple and judgment was coming for rebellion against God and His ways.

There is also a Man dressed in white linen with a writing kit at His side in this vision in Ezekiel 10. His appearance is like a scribe. This Man told Ezekiel to “Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” 9:4 Only those who are sorrowed over what is happening in the City of Jerusalem and the Temple will be marked as God’s and will escape the judgment about to come. Those who have the “mark” of the Man in white linen are not to be touched. These will be saved from God’s wrath.

The Lord told the Man in white linen to “go in among the wheels beneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city (Jerusalem). Ezekiel 10:1-2 These coals were put into the hands of the Man in the white linen robe. Jesus is clothed in a robe of righteousness, and He is the Judge of all the earth. Jesus alone can judge the heavens and the earth, not man. Those who love and follow Jesus also have His robe of righteousness and are to teach and warn people of impending judgment but we are not the Judge! Jesus seeks the will of His Father and therefore judges righteously. He said in John 5:30, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” The Word of God also says that believers in Christ are to also judge righteously. Jesus said in John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” We are to judge any false doctrine as not from God. We are to judge actions, words or deeds that are not of God. But, we are not to judge people. This is the job of Jesus alone.

In Ezekiel 41:18-20, there are only two faces on the cherubim carved around the walls of the outer sanctuary – the face of a man and the face of a lion. This is Jesus who is the Divine Man and the King of Kings (Lion). These cherubim faced a palm tree on its side. A palm tree is the symbol of victory. Jesus, the Divine Man and King of Kings, has the victory over our spiritual enemy and his demons. In God's visions to Ezekiel, He was progressively revealing His Son Jesus Christ.

One of the Four Faces of the Cherubim Changed – Ezekiel 10

The face of the ox in Ezekiel 1 is now the face of a cherub in Ezekiel 10. The ox has transformed into a heavenly messenger of God. This is a picture of Jesus who is no longer the Suffering Servant (ox), but is now a Heavenly Spiritual Messenger because He is the resurrected Son of God who has ascended to the Father.

Eyes

In Ezekiel’s earlier vision, the eyes were all around the wheel. Here in Chapter 10, the spiritual cherubim had “eyes on their entire bodies, including their backs, their hands and their wings” front and back. They have greater and fuller spiritual vision. They see what was (back) and what is to come (front). These spiritual messengers carry out the power of righteousness and justice. They have the image of the Father and Jesus so they make righteous judgments and only do what the Word of God tells them to do. Christians are to also do the same.

Harmony and Agreement

The living, spiritual beings in Ezekiel’s visions are a perfect example of oneness and harmony. These spiritual beings were in perfect harmony with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They heard the pure truth from the mouth of the Man on the throne -- Jesus -- and they quickly acted upon His Word.

Harmony can only come through pure Truth. Truth that does not agree can only bring chaos and division. The two testaments of the Word of God could not walk side by side except they agree. (see Amos 3:3) Their agreement is that they are all about the Son of God who would come to speak the pure Truth, destroy sin and birth a spiritual Body who would walk according to pure Truth in harmony, agreement and oneness by the power of His Holy Spirit.

When believers accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they are assured of salvation. Then God wants to bring the Body of Christ to oneness and harmony with God and each other. This is a process -- one of submission to the leading of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. We must not only allow Jesus to be our Savior; we must allow Him to also be our Lord (Master). The Godhead will bring Christ’s Body to the knowledge of the Truth, and will bring us to harmony and agreement if we are willing and submitted to their leading. This will also require spiritual seeing and spiritual hearing!

                                                                       Amen and amen.






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