If you look up "cherubim" in the Strong's Concordance, you will find this definition: traditionally, thought of as a kind of angelic creature. But I am always interested in the definition of that name. The Book of Ezra mentions a city named Cherub. It comes from the very same Hebrew word as is translated cherub when it deals with these creatures. Interestingly enough, in this place where there is a city called Cherub, it tells us that this Hebrew word means "blessing." If you look in the promises given to Abraham (and we are Abraham's seed - Galatians 3:29 [check wording] If you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise.) In promises made to Abraham in Genesis 12, it tells him that he would be blessed so that he would be a blessing. Isn't it interesting that God called Abraham and his seed blessings. And cherub is called a blessing.
Now I will give you another way to look at it. In Hebrews 7 and Genesis 14, in fact several places in the Book of Hebrews, you find that story of Melchizedek. In Genesis 14 Melchizedek shows up out of the heavenlies in Abraham's life and it says there that this man gave Abraham bread and wine and blessed Abraham and he blessed God. Abraham met a blesser. Abraham met a blessing. You can't be a blessing until you are a blessing. You can become a blessing because you've been blessed. Here is this priesthood after the order of Melchizedek who is a blessing. So that's where we started our study.
Then we went over to Exodus 25, which is the next mention of cherubim after Genesis 3, and we find them first mentioned in connection with the mercy seat. In Exodus 25 we find that the mercy seat, which was the lid of the ark of the covenant, had cherubims in it. We located the symbolism connected with the mercy seat, and we found in Romans 3 and Hebrews 9 that Jesus Christ is our propitiation in Romans 3, and that word propitiation is translated "mercy seat" in Hebrews 9:5. So Jesus Christ is our mercy seat. We find that these cherubims are in the mercy seat. Angels are not "in Christ." Who on earth is "in Christ?" If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Born again believers are in Christ. How do you get to be in Christ? By being born again. In 1 Corinthians 12 the scripture tells us that by one spirit are we baptized, not water, but by the spirit into the body of Christ, so we are placed in Christ. These cherubims were in Christ. These cherubims speak of redeemed people. This isn't just something that we thought up here; there have always been people in the body of Christ who have taken this route of understanding. Because traditionally you can't find anywhere where these cherubims are angelic creatures.
But we do find in Exodus 25 that they are spoken of as being in the mercy seat. So we can see believers being spoken of there. It also says that they are of the mercy seat. We are of Christ. We are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. Just like Eve came out of Adam, so also the church, the bride of Christ comes out of Him. We are not only in Him; we are of Him. Christ can look at the church, this entity called the bride, and say, You are right out of Me."
Thirdly, in Exodus 25, and this is what I like probably the most, it says that these cherubs looked toward the mercy seat. That tells us that, number one, our position is in Him; number two, our origin is of Him, and number three, our absolute priority is to constantly look toward the mercy seat. What is on the mercy seat? The mercy seat was covered with blood. On the day of atonement, the high priest would take the blood of the goat and he would sprinkle it on the mercy seat. These cherubims who were in the mercy seat and of the mercy seat, looked toward the mercy seat. If there is one message that I believe is sounding forth throughout the land today, it's that we need to take another look at the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made as our atonement. Once we look toward it and see it as it is, I promise you, you'll never look at anything else. You will never turn your head away. The glory of God came and dwelled between the cherubims.
The cherubims looked, not at each other, but at the blood. They looked at the sacrifice. They never are seen doing anything else. That is exactly what God is speaking to us in the spirit about doing; looking again at the sacrifice, focusing your attention upon the death of Christ. Jesus said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up." In Numbers 21 when the people were dying of snake bites, God gave the remedy. God gave the way of life, which was to look at the brazen serpent on the pole, which Jesus said portrayed Him. He said that everyone that looked would live. These are living creatures. We are going to see them today in Ezekiel chapter one.
The next place we saw cherubims was where they were embroidered in the coverings of the tabernacle. Paul said in Colossians 3 that if we have died with Christ, seek those things which be above. If you were walking in the tabernacle thirty-five hundred years ago, and you looked above, you would see cherubims up there. That is our hope; our hope is to find ourselves perfectly in union with Christ. Our hope is to find ourselves perfectly one with Him in every aspect of our lives.
The next thing we saw was cherubims in the veil. We discovered that the veil was rent at the death of Christ. That speaks of the fact that these cherubims speak of a people who know that not only was Christ crucified, but the cherubims were split when He was. The cherubims were crucified with Him. That is the key; that is the reason that they keep looking at the blood, because His death was their death. His death was the doing away with all that they want to do away with in their life. His death was the doing away with all that God wanted to do away with in their life. His death was the doing away with them. His death was the doing away with the connection that we had with Adam, leaving only our connection with Christ.
Then we found next in Numbers chapter seven that Moses heard the voice of one that came from between the cherubims, and we said that these cherubims which speak of people in Christ and of Christ that look toward Christ that were crucified with Christ, these speak of a people who have the voice of one, not the voice of many, but the voice of one. John said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. I am not Him; I am the voice of Him. Don't look at me." They said, "Who are you?" He said, "Don't worry about who I am; I am just the voice of one. I am not the one; I am the voice of one."
Whoever these cherubims speak of will not be the voice of many as it is all through the land today. You can go to church after church after church, and you can never know what is going to be taught. What are you guys speaking? What voice do I hear? Jesus said, "My sheep shall know My voice." It will be pure, and it will be Him, and it will be His voice, and people will recognize His voice if you belong to Him.
The next thing we found in First Samuel chapter four, we found that these cherubims were the place where God came to rest. He rests between the cherubims. God is looking for a place of rest; He has always been that way. Every time God told somebody in the Old Testament to build Him a house, when it was finished, He came to rest in that house. The Tabernacle of Moses in Exodus chapter forty, when that place was finished, Moses finished the work, the scripture says, and the glory of God came and dwelled in that house. If a little boy asked his daddy, "Daddy, what is that big cloud over there?", I promise you, that daddy did not say, "That cloud is a type of God." No, that was the presence of God that came to rest in that tabernacle. Same thing with David's tabernacle; same thing with the temple of Solomon. The scripture tells us that we are the temple of the living God today. Jesus proclaimed, "I will build my church." He is not finished yet, but what do you suppose is going to happen when he gets finished building the church? What happened when Moses was finished? The glory of God came to the temple. What happened when David was finished? The glory of God came to the temple. What happened when Solomon was finished? The glory of God came to the temple. What is going to happen when Jesus is finished? I believe the glory of God is going to come to the temple. Where do I get that? Because, you see, God speaks in patterns. It is not hard to know what God is going to do. In fact, the scripture says in Ephesians that Jesus is cleansing the church with the washing of the water by the Word, that He might have a glorious church without spot or wrinkle that God…Paul wrote to Timothy and called the church "the house of God." He is cleansing us; He is cleansing this house, putting the finishing touches on it. The finish carpenter is working. Jesus is the finish carpenter. He is coming in and finishing it up, and when this thing gets finished, because you see, God only lives in a house that has all of His stuff, not our good ideas. God gave the house of Moses by pattern. God gave the house of Solomon by pattern. Don't build a house, Solomon, like you think I would like it; you build it the way I tell you to build it." That is exactly what has happened to the church.
For two thousand years, we have had a lot of good ideas; we've had a lot of Ishmaels. We've had a lot of things that are the product of somebody's head and somebody's good ideas. God hasn't shown up, so at the end of this age, God is correcting and making adjustments and finishing the place, taking away a few thoughts, and taking away a few doctrines, and taking away a few programs, and leaving only Him.
Then we found out in Second Samuel that the cherubims were chariots of God. In other words, they were things that He rode in, He dwelt in, He moved from place to place in.
(End of review)
In Ezekiel chapter one we have a beautiful … The Book of Ezekiel is the Old Testament book of Revelation. What is the Book of Revelation? It is not the revelation of all kinds of horrible end time events. Chapter one, verse one of the Book of Revelation tells us what the book is all about: it is the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. That word "revelation" is apocalypsis, which is the word that means "the unveiling, the uncovering, the revealing, the disclosure of…" In other words, the Book of Revelation is the unveiling of Christ. It is the disclosing of Christ, the revealing of Christ. Where is He that He needs to be unveiled? He is right inside the Body of Christ. What the worlds needs today is to see the Jesus that is in the church, instead of all the good ideas we've had. He needs to be unveiled from His people. There is something inside of us that needs to be upon us. The world is still crying like they did in John chapter twelve. The Greeks said, "We would see Jesus." We have heard the talk; we need to see the walk. We need to see the picture of the Man.
Ezekiel is a book about the revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ. God gave Ezekiel the end of the book in chapter one. Chapter one is a picture of the glory of God. I am going to follow that by making it real simple: what or who is God's glory? It is Christ. John 1:14 says that He (Jesus) tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. Jesus is the glory of God. In Hebrews chapter one, it says that He is the brightness of the glory of God. Jesus is God's glory. Second Corinthians chapter four says that we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Chapter one of the book of Ezekiel is a picture spiritually of the Lord Jesus Christ. You get a picture of the glory of God, which is Jesus Christ, in chapter one; then he goes back and there are twenty-four chapters of judgment, beating the idols out of you.
What is an idol? An idol is an image that is not Him. We've got some images in our house. Somebody says, "We're going to take the gospel to the nations." Well, there are some imaginations that the gospel needs to be taken to, right between our ears. Images of God, images of Jesus. Isaiah 52 says that His visage was marred like no other man. I know that actually speaks of when He went to the cross, and He was physically beaten. But it also portrays the distorted picture that most people in the world today have of Jesus Christ. His visage is so married, He is not like that at all. He doesn't look like that; that's not really Him. People are afraid of God; you shouldn't be afraid of God. People think God hates them; God doesn't hate them. The Bible says that through Christ's redemptive work He reconciled the world unto Himself. He doesn't have anything against the world.
We've got the end at the beginning of the Book of Ezekiel. Let's
go back to the end (chapter 48) and see if we can see the beginning.
This is the great city. The glory of God comes to the temple.
Hello, temple! This isn't a physical temple over in the Middle East.
This is the spiritual temple. On Mount Zion, the high places of God,
in the north.
Up until now we have been looking at physical pictures of spiritual things. When God told Moses to make this mercy seat and build these cherubims on it, that was a physical picture of a spiritual truth. This is a spiritual entity. Cherubims are a spiritual entity. Whatever you think of them, you must understand that they are spiritual. You cannot make a physical image that is exactly like that spiritual thing. But what Ezekiel is seeing is not a physical picture; he is seeing the heavens opened and he is describing in physical words a spiritual picture. There is a vast difference in that.
Ezekiel is a man…sitting down with the prophet Ezekiel … I have great respect for Ezekiel's wife. Can you image when he came home, and she said, "Well, what did you see today?" "I saw a wheel in a wheel and winged creatures flying above the throne, and saw amber colors and whirlwinds." "Okay; that's what I was afraid of." Now what does that mean? Ezekiel is that kind of person. I love him.
Let me show you what happened to Ezekiel.
Let me compare this first verse with a situation that occurred in Jesus'
life. Isn't it interesting that when Jesus was thirty, exactly thirty,
on His thirtieth birthday, He was by a river among those captives, and
the heavens opened to Him. He saw visions of God. Ezekiel is
a type of Christ. His name means "God strengthens" or "the Lord gives
strength." The Apostle Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ
that strengthens me."
Now, let's see what he saw. We are not going to be able to get
into this much, but we will just see this.
There was a fire infolding itself. Get this spiritual picture. How can you interpret this? You can only interpret this by the Spirit. Jeremiah 23 says that Thy word is a fire. Notice Ezekiel says that there was a whirlwind; the spirit of God came out of the north and a great glory cloud and a fire enfolding itself. What does it mean when it talks about a fire enfolding itself? If this fire is the Word of God, what does it mean …the Word feeding itself? When you get a revelation of Christ, when you begin to understand the message of this Book, I promise you that there are not a thousand or two thousand or a million messages in this Book. There is only one message: it is the message of Jesus Christ, what He has done, and (end of side one)
…every picture of Christ begins to make the other picture of Christ more powerful. It's like compound interest; it builds upon itself, where you can go to any place in the Word and because of what you've seen in the past, it makes what you are seeing now clear.
It says that there was a brightness about it. Hebrews 1:3 says
that Jesus is the brightness of His glory. There was an amber color.
I looked up this word amber, and it says that this color amber is
a combination of two colors: one is gold, and the other is silver.
Gold is divine nature; silver is redemption.
Then at the end of three and a half years, He allowed Himself to be crucified, and He became what is typified here as an ox. An ox is a burden bearing creature. Jesus bore our sins. Then at the end of three days, Jesus rose from the dead and ascended up into the heavenlies, and we get the picture of the eagle. It says that these living creatures had these four faces in them. The cherubims, or the redeemed of the Lord, have these four characteristics, what I call pictures, characteristics, of the career of Christ embedded in them. They are part of them. His earth walk, His servant nature, His kingly nature, and His heavenly nature. The Son of God, the Son of man. A servant and a king. All incorporated into every believer who is mature.
It says that these have the appearance of "a man." Who do you
suppose that man is? It is the Lord Jesus Christ. We are growing
up to the point where we fulfill the fullness of the measure of the stature
of Christ, as is given to us in Ephesians chapter four. So here we
have the appearance of a man, not the appearance of some group of people
in some city who rule and reign and give instructions, but the appearance
of a man who is sitting in the heavenly city, ruling and reigning over
all. Some people say that Jesus is the "soon coming king."
What we need to realize is that He is already king, and He is coming.
Everything about the career of Christ is incorporated in what is being
said. You cannot teach the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus without teaching
the fact that He walked a perfect and upright earth walk. Because
if He sinned, His sacrifice doesn't mean anything to us. Because
if He sinned, He died for Himself. So all four of these things are
absolutely essential in the message that comes forth from between the cherubims.
"Their feet were straight feet." Somebody's going to walk the
walk. I love the color of brass. What does brass speak of?
Judgment. These are people who have tasted judgment. The judgment
that they have tasted of is John 12:31-33 Now is the judgment of this world…
They shine with brass. They are sparkling brass, all shined (down?).
They've got all the dust and dirt and filth off their revelation of the
judgment of Christ. They've seen it's their …they've become a sacrifice.
This gets good, but we don't have time.
Gideon's three hundred … do you know how Gideon's army was chosen? It was those that would drink out of the hand. If they lapped like a dog, he sent them home. But those who would drink out of the hand (that's symbolic of those who would drink the water of the word from the hand ministry), were chosen.
In the Book of Ruth, this beautiful woman who pictures the church who would someday give birth to the king's own son, the Bible says this woman was under a servant who was over the field. This pictures a pastor, a church servant, who was over the field where she gleaned. Thank God, there was a servant. Right there while she was enjoying that, Boaz came up and said, "I've heard of you. The servant who is over the field told me about you." He prays; he intercedes. He said, "You're one who can be trusted."
SOS chapter one, when she fell in love with the king, she was so in love, she said, "Would you tell me where you feed at midday?" He said, "You find a shepherd who lives in a tent, and you follow the footsteps of the flock." Too many under-shepherds build (rock?) buildings, and they say, "This is where we live." I hope your shepherd lives in a tent. Do you know what a tent is? A tent is a moveable dwelling. We're always going somewhere. We don't have boundaries around … the only boundaries we have is the Word of God and what the Spirit of God reveals. We don't build a rock building and say, "This is where we are; this is what we are." We say, "We're on a journey." Do you believe you're going somewhere? Where are we headed? We are headed to the Promised Land. Our Promised Land is the fullness of a man.
Ezekiel is the glory of God; it is the book of the glory of God.
I believe the glory of God is coming to the house. I don't believe
it's fifty years from now. What is the glory of God? Who is
the glory of God? That's what I am looking for. I am looking
for a manifestation of Him. He always came in the Feast of Tabernacles,
all the way through. Jesus came, the glory of God came in the Feast
of Tabernacles. I just want Him to show up. I don't know what
it would be like. I promise there is no way that you and I can tell
right now. We are just like those approximately one hundred twenty
in the upper room. All they knew was that Jesus had told them to
go to Jerusalem and tarry there until they were endued with power from
on high. They didn't know what was about to happen. I am sure
they speculated; but when it happened, they had searched the scriptures,
and Peter said, "This is that which was prophesied by the prophet Joel."
Whenever whatever that is going to happen happens, at least I want to be
enough of a man of the Word to be able to say, "This is that." We
probably don't know what "that" is, but we would be able to when that comes.
I know that will be a Person. What Ezekiel saw, we can see.