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cherubim

Source:
A Dictionary of the Bible What is This? Contains accessibly written entries for topics covering the religious, historical, and social aspects of the Bible.

    cherubim

    Winged creatures (‘cherubim’ is the Hebrew plural of ‘cherub’) which were frequently represented in the art of ancient Assyria. Two may be seen in the British Museum in London. They are not human and are very different from the domesticated, if ethereal, cherubim associated with deity in Western art.

    In the OT cherubim are described as being golden figures with a single face (Exod. 25: 18) on the mercy seat on the top of the Ark of the Covenant, but in Ezekiel's vision (Ezek. 10: 21) they are given four faces. Clearly the cherubim are regarded as unnatural creatures in the OT and the descriptions are inspired by the representations of their Near Eastern neighbours.

    In the NT cherubim are probably to be identified with the four living creatures, with six wings apiece, of Rev. 4: 8 who worship God without ceasing, and as such are met in Christian hymns, where with the seraphim they give glory to the Holy Trinity.

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    Oxford University Press

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