plural cherubim, the name of certain symbolical figures
frequently mentioned in Scripture. They are first mentioned in
connection with the expulsion of our first parents from Eden
(Gen. 3:24). There is no intimation given of their shape or
form. They are next mentioned when Moses was commanded to
provide furniture for the tabernacle (Ex. 25:17-20; 26:1, 31).
God promised to commune with Moses "from between the cherubim"
(25:22). This expression was afterwards used to denote the
Divine abode and presence (Num. 7:89; 1 Sam. 4:4; Isa. 37:16;
Ps. 80:1; 99:1). In Ezekiel's vision (10:1-20) they appear as
living creatures supporting the throne of God. From Ezekiel's
description of them (1;10; 41:18, 19), they appear to have been
compound figures, unlike any real object in nature; artificial
images possessing the features and properties of several
animals. Two cherubim were placed on the mercy-seat of the ark;
two of colossal size overshadowed it in Solomon's temple.
Ezekiel (1:4-14) speaks of four; and this number of "living
creatures" is mentioned in Rev. 4:6. Those on the ark are called
the "cherubim of glory" (Heb. 9:5), i.e., of the Shechinah, or
cloud of glory, for on them the visible glory of God rested.
They were placed one at each end of the mercy-seat, with wings
stretched upward, and their faces "toward each other and toward
the mercy-seat." They were anointed with holy oil, like the ark
itself and the other sacred furniture.

The cherubim were symbolical. They were intended to represent
spiritual existences in immediate contact with Jehovah. Some
have regarded them as symbolical of the chief ruling power by
which God carries on his operations in providence (Ps. 18:10).
Others interpret them as having reference to the redemption of
men, and as symbolizing the great rulers or ministers of the
church. Many other opinions have been held regarding them which
need not be referred to here. On the whole, it seems to be most
satisfactory to regard the interpretation of the symbol to be
variable, as is the symbol itself.

Their office was, (1) on the expulsion of our first parents
from Eden, to prevent all access to the tree of life; and (2) to
form the throne and chariot of Jehovah in his manifestation of
himself on earth. He dwelleth between and sitteth on the
cherubim (1 Sam. 4:4; Ps. 80:1; Ezek. 1:26, 28).