(This is the final installment in a series of devotional study blogs concerning The Ark of The Covenant. A listing of links to other installments can be found at the end of this blog. Be Blessed in Bunches!)
"And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, over-shadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commandments for the Israelites." Exodus 25:18-22 (NIV)
"Above the ark were the cherubim of Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover..." Hebrews 9:5
One of the most interesting and least understood features of The Ark of The Covenant are the two cherubim which were designed as part of the covering lid of the Ark itself. While there has been much speculation, little is actually known about Cherubim. In Hebrew Theology they are intelligent beings created long before man; considered a unique order of the celestial beings known as angels; in the presence of God and His service. In Scripture they are most often associated with the awesome descriptions of The Glory of The Lord and His movement among man (see Ezekiel 1:29 and Ezekiel 10:18 for example). "And He rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea, He did fly upon the wings of the wind." Psalm 18:10. The Book of Ezekiel, chapters 1 and 10, give a vivid and detailed description of them as Ezekiel views The Glory of The Lord. They first appear in Scripture in Genesis 3:24; guarding the way to the 'Tree of Life' with flaming sword lest man "...put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever." Cherubim are not mentioned again until the design of The Ark of The Covenant is given by God to Moses. We often see God referred to as "Thou that dwellest between the cherubim" (In the prayer of King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19:15, and in The Psalms of David in Psalm 80:1 and Psalm 99:1) - a direct reference to The Ark of The Covenant, God's Presence among the children of Israel.
So why are Cherubim so predominate in the design? What are they doing there at all? I can only speculate based on what little there is to observe.
The Ark of The Covenant tells a story. The covering lid, or the mercy seat, upon which the high priest sprinkled the blood of the sin offering once a year on The Day of Atonement for the cleansing of sin; Aaron's Staff that budded and burst forth with life; the golden pot of manna, the bread from heaven provided by God to the children of Israel in the wilderness; the stone tablets of the ten commandments known as 'The Testimony'...all tell a story. It is The Story of Jesus Christ. He is our Great High Priest Who poured out His own Blood as our Sacrifice; taking our place on the cross that we might have forgiveness of sin and free access to The Heavenly Father as His child. He is The Resurrection and The Life, having rose triumphantly on the third day, bursting forth with life and conquering death and the grave that we also might live. He is our Bread of Life, The Manna from Heaven, providing our spiritual and physical needs. He is The Word, the perfect expression of all God The Father is, and has, by The Holy Spirit, written His Word and Law in our hearts and has made us living testimonies and witnesses of the glorious power of The Gospel. Through Him we too will one day take part in the resurrection, entering into Heaven and all that we imagine it to be and more. We will see Him face to face. Eternity will not be time enough to thank Him and praise Him for all that He has done for us.
Upon The Ark of The Covenant we see the cherubim, no longer holding flaming sword. For through Christ we have free access to The Father. Through Christ we will have free access to The Tree of Life; the Tree of Life being in The New Jerusalem, no longer under guard (Revelation 22:2,14).
Of these things "the angels desire to look into." 1 Peter 1:12. The cherubim are there to watch the story.
While we can only imagine and view replicas of The Ark of The Covenant, the position of the cherubim is scripturally accurate. Wings outstretched, facing each other, but each looking downward towards the mercy seat. Of Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness, and Salvation they can only know intellectually...but we have experienced personally in our hearts by the life changing power of The Gospel. Of the beautiful relationship with our Creator and Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who died for us, the cherubim can only fall in awe and worship of 'their' Creator, forever positioned on their knees before Him.
A pretty good example for us, don't ya think? Be Blessed in Bunches!
The following are links to the additional blogs in the series on "The Ark of The Covenant". I hope you have been blessed.
The Ark of The Covenant - Introduction
The Ark of The Covenant - The Mercy Seat
The Ark of The Covenant - Aaron's Rod That Budded
The Ark of The Covenant - The Golden Pot of Manna
The Ark of The Covenant - The Stone Tablets