The book of Hebrews begins by comparing Jesus Christ to angels, teaching us that Jesus is better than the angels. It says, "Of which of the angels did God say, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee.'" Since Jesus Christ is better than angels, you need to study angels. Why did He start that book by saying that Jesus is better than every Old Testament thing. He begins that book by comparing Jesus to angels. So I thought it would be good to study angels, so I got some materials that I have on angels, and it is old stuff. It is stuff by a teacher that I have a great deal of admiration for. I have nothing negative to say about this man at all, but the very first thing he began to teach about angels is that cherubims and seraphims are the two highest orders of angelic creatures. No explanation given for that, just that statement made. That is traditionally what is thought to be true in the church.
What we have done is to begin to study the scripture about that and see if we can identify what these cherubims symbolize. They have to symbolize something, because they are seen in the tabernacle of Moses in union with the mercy seat; they are seen in the tabernacle of Moses in the ceiling and in the veil; they were embroidered there. These were creatures that were made of the mercy seat, so we know that those things made of the mercy seat were not the real cherubim; they pictured something.
(End of Review)
If you go to Ezekiel chapters one and ten, and to Revelation chapters four and five, you will see there not the picture, but you will see the description of the actual cherubim themselves, because Ezekiel and John didn't see types and shadows; they saw the real thing.
When studying scripture, the very first mention of anything is always very, very significant. The first mention of cherubim is in connection with the tree of life, and since I want to eat of the tree of life, it behooves us to study cherubims. That flaming sword probably speaks to us of the Word of God. Hebrews chapter four tells us that the word is like a two edged sword, and other places teach that. We know that the Word of God has got something to do with our returning to the tree of life, or returning to this condition that was experienced by Adam and Eve. I say condition, because the garden of Eden speaks of a relationship that has no consciousness of sin, when God showed up in the cool of the day. That word "cool of the day" there, if you look in the margin of your Bible, it is the "wind of the day." God doesn't just speak to people when it's not over seventy-five degrees. That word wind means "spirit." It is saying that God came and spoke to Adam and Eve in the spirit. That is the condition that we need to be brought to. We need to be walking in the spirit, and we need to be fellowshipping with God. What is the way to that? It is a flaming sword that turns every which way, the Word of God, and cherubim. That is why it is important to study that.
We're going to look at five places in the Word of God today and examine this, not with our human reasoning, but by the power of the Spirit. We are going to look at it and let the Spirit of God be the teacher. We are going to see if it speaks of angels or other things. The conclusion that we are coming to is not just the conclusion of this house. If you will examine writings of men of old, you will see that other people realized that cherubims were really not angelic creatures, but they spoke of something much greater. Greater than angels? Yes. Jesus is greater than angels today. If you as a born again believer are in Christ, then believers are also, as far as rank of being, believers are not under angels; we are over angels. God treats His children better than He does His created servants. He loves us more. We are higher than angels, as far as rank of spiritual beings. Hebrews chapter one teaches us that angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who are heirs of salvation. Hello, heirs of salvation! The Word of God says that Sadducees did not believe in angels.
They didn't believe in the resurrection or in spirits, and they didn't believe in angels. Jesus said, "Beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees." Beware of people that don't believe in angels. The church has kind of slipped into that. We say we believe in them. I don't believe we ought to major on them, but I believe it's good to know that they are there. It is good to know that we have some guardian angels. Jesus said of little ones that their guardian angels are ever before the Father.
Cherubims speak of mature, redeemed believers. They speak of a mature, redeemed body of Christ.
Exodus 25:17-22 The cherubim were in the mercy seat; they were not glued to it or welded on. They are part of it. They are made of it. Jesus is our mercy seat; He is the only place you can rest. It is not a rest in labor, but a rest in the mercy of God; that is the only place we will ever be able to rest. The term" in Christ" denotes a relationship. For example, I am by this pulpit. I could be on the pulpit, or behind it. I could even be under it. But if I can somehow become one with it, by being in it, that denotes a completely different relationship. Jesus is with us, and He is for you. But the Bible says that He is also in you. That's a whole different relationship. If any man be in Christ… How am I in Christ? I am in Christ today like a vine and a branch are one with each other. I am in Christ like a branch is in union with a vine. We are connected through an organic substance called "eternal life." We are in union together with Him.
Of Christ, just like Eve was of Adam. Right out of Adam God took a rib and made a woman. Right out of Christ, God is making a bride for His Son called the church. Ephesians chapter 5 says we are bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh.
Looking toward the mercy seat. This pictures redeemed believers; every redeemed believer ought to be doing what these creatures are doing. What is on the mercy seat? The blood of Jesus. We just need to view the finished work of Christ on the cross. We need to see the death of Christ on the cross as being our total and complete sacrifice for sin. God received Christ and what He did; so when I received Christ, God receives me. Ephesians 1:6 says that we are accepted in the beloved. Outside of the beloved I am rejected. Why? Because of what He did, not what I did.
The word cherub means "to be a blessing, blessing." Angels probably are blessings, but God sent some angels on occasion to do other things. One angel killed 185,000 men one night. He blessed that whole army, didn't he! God has used angels to bring judgment. But we are born to be a blessing. Remember, God told Abram to leave his family and his country and go to a place that God would show him, God said, "I will bless thee and make thee a blessing." Who did God say that to? To Abraham. The Word of God says that we are the seed of Abraham. Galatians 3:29 says, "If you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." What promise? "I will bless you, and you will be a blessing." Even the name cherub means "blessing." That is what we are becoming. We are already a blessing to one another, but we are becoming more and more a blessing. How big a blessing will the body of Christ eventually become? God promised Abraham, I don't care how profound this sound. God can promise anything He wants to; He can fulfill it and make the promise good. But do you know what He said to Abraham? He said, "Abraham, I am going to take your offspring, and I am going to bless every family in the earth. I am going to touch the whole world with the seed of Abraham. Every family in the earth will be blessed in thee."
It speaks of a new creation man. But this new creation man was
covered with something. Don't you know that you need a covering?
You need to be covered. We have a covering. There is a covering
that is over this sanctuary in the wilderness, and this covering is made
of four layers of things. There is not one single thing in this sanctuary
in the wilderness that is insignificant, not one single thing, not one
single shape. Even the sizes of those boards are significant.
Those boards were a cubit and a half wide. What does that say to
you? How tall was the grate in the brazen altar in the outer court?
The brazen altar speaks of the cross, because that is where the sacrifices
were placed. But that brazen altar was three cubits high, and that
brazen altar was five cubits cubed. In other words, it was five,
five. So how high would the grate on that big barbecue pit be?
It is a cubit and a half. Exactly the same width as the boards, because
this one new man is made up of those who have been crucified with Him,
those who have died with Him on the cross. If you took that same
measurement and you went right through this tabernacle, you had the table
of shewbread, which is a cubit and a half high. Here is an interesting
thing? If you keep on going, how high are the cherubim on the mercy
seat? It has to be a cubit and a half. The ark of the covenant
is a cubit and a half high, and the cherubims are on top of the seat, so
you have this line that starts at the cross and goes all the way through
and speaks of the fact that these cherubim are crucified with Christ.
These cherubim have lined up with the plumb line that goes right through
the house, and it is a beautiful picture of maturity, of what it takes
to grow up. You start at the cross, you go to the table of shewbread,
which is a cubit and a half high. What is on the table of shewbread?
Shewbread. But also there is wine there. The shewbread is there
to show you something; there are two stacks of six. Jesus said in
1 Corinthians 11:26 where Paul is breaking the symbols of the death of
Christ, and he said, "By this you do show forth the Lord's death until
He comes." You start at the brazen altar; you feed on that which
shows (that word show in 1 Corinthians 11 means "preach and teach").
This is a physical sermon, when you take communion. Some call this "the
last supper," and I don't mind calling it that, because if you eat it and
get it all in you, it will be the last supper you ever have.
It is designed to give you your last rites right before you are buried
and Christ remains. There is no wood in those cherubims on the mercy
seat. They are solid gold; no humanity; all deity. That city
at the end of the book is a city that is made of pure gold.
What we've been saying is that this place had a roof on it with ten curtains. The Tabernacle wasn't finished. You've got to make the tabernacle with that roof. If it doesn't have a covering, … we could be saved and spirit filled; we could be word people, but if we didn't have any protection, anything that really kept us safe, it is raining out there, not naturally, but the curse that Adam brought upon this world, you do not have to do anything to enjoy the negative effects of that curse. You don't have to teach a kid to sin. There is a natural birth, and there is a spiritual birth. The natural birth gives the characteristics of Adam that we have to overcome. It is the negative effects of the fall. It is out there, but thank God, all the way through there God gives people an umbrella of protection with this covenant. He said, If you will do my word and obey my word, these won't happen to you. But if you don't do my word, if you get out there and disobey me and start worshipping idols, the skies over your head will become brass. Some people think that God said that if you don't do His word, He will stop the rain from coming. No, He said drought is part of the fall of Adam; it is included in the fall of Adam. But if you get out from under His umbrella of protection, you will get involved in all that.
What I am saying is, we need a covering. We were going to look at five passages today, but it looks like we will just get one done.
Exodus 26:1. Let me give you the four layers that made up the roof of this. The one that you could look at from the outside, the only one you could see from the outside was badger skin. Badger skin is very unattractive after it gets worn in the weather. It pictures Jesus in His earth walk. Isaiah chapters 52 and 53 say that He had no natural characteristics that anybody would desire Him. He was not physically attractive; there wasn't anything on the outside that would have drawn people to Him. Just like that, so also we have the badger skin that can be seen from the outside, which pictures His earth walk, his natural birth, which pictures what you could see from the outside.
Then right underneath that badger skin there was a layer of ram's skin dyed red. What happened when Jesus' earth walk was over? He went to the cross. See, a ram is a male sheep. He went to the cross and identified with us all by being the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It was ram's skin dyed red, speaking of the blood of Jesus and His identification with our sin, because Isaiah chapter one says, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."
After Jesus walked His earth walk - see, that is all you can see from the outside. But God reveals to you then that Jesus died; this is the physical aspects of His death as His blood was shed. Then right underneath that layer of ram's skin dyed red was a layer of goat's hair. A goat in scripture is never a positive thing. There will come a time when Jesus will separate the nations, the sheep and the goats. On the day of atonement, there were two goats that were used as sacrifices. A goat speaks of the spiritual identification with the Lord Jesus in who we were. His physical sufferings and then His spiritual involvement in all that occurred there, because to be quite frank with you, my problems went way beyond my natural things. It wasn't what I did; it was who I was.
What a beautiful picture! You have His righteous earth walk, unattractive to the natural, but yet necessary. Then you have ram's skin dyed red; then you have goat's hair. Then you have the bottom layer. If you were on the inside, this would be the only thing you saw. It was linen, white linen, with little streaks of blue and purple and scarlet. Revelation says that white linen is the righteousness of the saints. So on the inside you can see the righteousness of God, but on the outside you see just that unattractive badger skin. People on the outside of Christ wonder why we love Him so much, why we gather together on Wednesday nights and miss some of the best shows on television. People wonder about you if they are on the outside, because it is not attractive. But on the inside, we see righteousness. Something is embroidered into that linen layer. What is it? Cherubims.
If things are real bad in your life, you may be looking in the wrong
direction. Believers, if you are looking at what's going on in the
world, what's going on in your life, what's going on in your own personal
situations, …when we get down as believers, there is really no biblical
excuse for that. Rejoice in all things! Cast your cares upon
Me, He said. There's no biblical excuse for getting down about anything.
Do you know what the word patience means in the New Testament? It
means "to remain the same." It is only those who are patient that
receive the promise.
If we were to go the Books of Ezekiel and Revelation, I could show you that there is one in the midst of the candlesticks that has the voice of many waters. It is "a voice", but many waters. All the way through the Book of Revelation, "many waters" speaks of a multitude of people all saying the same thing. It is millions of people all saying the same thing. Do you have any idea what this world would be like if all the church all of a sudden just spoke the same thing? People drive through a town, and there are churches on every corner. What in the world? Where do I go? What if we all start saying the same thing? I don't believe that's impossible. God said He'd give us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, until you come to the unity of the faith. I believe on the horizon right now …in fact Zephaniah prophesied about a time that there would be a pure language. There wouldn't be any filth in it; there wouldn't be any man in it. There wouldn't be any good ideas. No Isaac to be seen. It would just be the gospel. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all we ever preached was the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and what that means to us? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we just put aside all of our pretty good ideas of end time events and just majored on Christ and see what that produced? We'd be happy with it. Just preach Christ and see whatever happens and be happy with that. I think sometimes if people really understood what was going to happen, they wouldn't be happy with that, because that's not what they have been taught. Don't think that's never happened before, because two thousand years ago, people looked Jesus right in the face. He was their messiah, but they thought their messiah was coming another way. But He wasn't coming as a ruler; He was coming as a sacrifice.
I believe the church is coming together. One of the things that gives me hope is because of the people who are identifying with what we are sharing. They are from every background. People are rallying around the message of the cross. That is the only thing that we will ever come together on. Because those boards rested in silver, which speaks of redemption. We will only fit together about redemption. We can agree on redemption. We've got to be able to agree on that. We've got to be able to sit down and discuss what He did, what happened to Him, what that meant to us. We've got to do that. We can do that. God is going to do exactly what He says He will do. If He says "till we all come to the unity of the faith," I believe that that "until" will happen.
Here's the point: since ye be dead with Christ, seek those things which be above. Set your affections on things above. There are more people in this room today who need to look up than there are people who are looking up. You can get your joy gone that fast over some of the most insignificant things. I know because I've done it. But put your mind on heavenly things. Every time things get a little bit tough, look up. Jesus said, "When you see these things beginning to come to pass, look up, because your redemption draweth nigh." Phillips translation says, "Look up, because you are about to be set free!"
Ephesians 4:30 says that we shouldn't grieve the Holy Spirit, who has been given us to us for the day of redemption. There is a day of redemption on the way. I know that redemption was purchased two thousand years ago, but Ephesians 4:30 says that there is a day of redemption coming. Romans 8 tells us, "To wit, the redemption of our bodies." Hello, body of Christ! So we look up. We don't say, "Boy, it's bad there." We say, "That's my hope, that the veil would be rent. The cherubims in the veil were crucified with Christ. Then back behind the veil, we see the cherubims in union with Christ, where the glory of God in the midst, looking at the blood, and from that, speaking a pure word.
Consider what we've been looking at today. Do we need to look up? Do we need to look on a higher plane?
Father, we just come before you and ask you to forgive us for times
when we have been so carnally minded. It's not necessarily that we
have done sinful things, but we have allowed natural circumstances, maybe
uncomfortable situations, things that we don't really have any control
over many times, to affect us and rob us of our joy. You said that
the joy of the Lord is our strength. So Father, we look up today.
What a beautiful hope we have before us. The glory of God in the
midst of us, a single voice coming out of us, and nations coming to the
house of the Lord so that they can be taught. That is a great hope.
We praise you for that hope, in Jesus name. It is Christ in us, the
hope of glory. We bless you for that. Amen.