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God’s staff team: cherubim

God has a staff team? Yes! Although the creatures on God’s staff team are not the leading characters in the Bible, they hold key supporting roles from Genesis to Revelation. Who’s on God’s staff? What do they do? You might be surprised!

The “Lord of hosts” is “enthroned above the cherubim” (Isa 37:16). What are cherubimCherubim are not angels or naked chubby babies! Cherubim are multi-faced sphinx-creatures with wings (Ezek 1; Rev 4:6-8). There are also “thrones” for the elders (Col 1:16; Rev 4:4-5, 10). Who are these “guys”? I don’t think they’re guys! They are seraphim. Seraphim look like shiny, flying, serpent-like dragons (Isa 6:1-8). When God is ready to render a decision, he calls “the council of the holy ones” of seraphim to assemble (e.g., Ps 89:5-7). The divine council confirms that God’s lordship is supreme but not totalitarian. Seraphim are like celestial consultants.

And then there are the angels! Angels are described as “ministering spirits” (Heb 1:14). Oddly, nowhere in Scripture do we see angels with wings. Nowhere. When they appear on earth, they appear as men. Angels are messengers sent to earth on specific assignments: to announce, rescue, and serve human beings (Heb 1:14). Archangels (or “chief princes” in Dan 10:13) may rank higher than other angels, but all angels rejoice when someone repents and believes in Jesus (Luke 15:10).

So, God does have a staff team! He is the Lord of the hosts of heaven (Gen 2:1). He created his heavenly staff to help human imagers rule the earth and fill the earth with his glory. Apparently, glory requires an all-hands-on-deck kind of teamwork. Everyone participates, everyone contributes to God’s kingdom. Yes, God shares his reign.

Let’s take a closer look at the cherubim.

Cherubim are like bouncers positioned midway between heavenly space and earthly space with “the flame of the whirling sword” to “guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen 3:24; note that it is the sword and not the flame that is whirling!). Every time they appear, they look a bit different (compare Ezek 1 and 10). To add to their weirdness, they are attached to all-seeing, whirling, gyroscope wheels that move with God’s throne in any direction (Ezek 1:16-21; 10:3, 6; cf. Ps 18:10). Cherubim are not big talkers. However, their hearty “Amen” does not compare to the ear-shattering “voice” of their wings (Rev 5:14; Ezek 1:24; 10:5).

What can we learn from the cherubim?1) It’s OK to be weird. Cherubim make weird cool.

2) We may not have a whirly sword, but we can take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” and protect what is sacred (Eph 6:17).

3) Enthrone the Lord—and try to keep in step with him. He’s always on the move!