Did you ever notice that the first Star Trek series read like people living on the frontier, people exploring the edge, but everything after that felt more like people living under EUdicrats, called to measure the curvature of alien gherkins?
Given my Star Trek proclivities, I was very tempted to title this post Guardians on the Edge of Forever. In the past few posts, we looked at the process of God forming. Any time you have form, you have an edge. What would we find, were we to journey to that edge?
“I’ll take Heavenly Beings for $800, Alex.”
“The answer is, ‘Found at the Edge of Forever’.”
“What are Seraphim?”
“The question we are looking for is, ‘What are Cherubim’.”
Angelically, the whole forming and naming paradigm is bound up in the difference between the Cherubim and the Seraphim. The Seraphim are associated with naming. Seraphim means burning ones, and it is fire that fills. Fire is the result of righteous naming. This is why you read Ezekiel saying:
So I brought out fire from within you and it consumed you.
To be named from truth is to be judged, and the fire that comes from that name will either purify or consume; however, this post isn’t concerned with fill, with naming, but with form. And it is the Cherub that is the being of form.
This means that every time you read mention of cherubim, you know that there is a boundary under discussion. And where there is a boundary, there is also a portal, a gate, a door to allow access and egress. The boundary itself can be a curtain, a fence, a wall, a geographic feature or an imaginary line.
One prominent example in scripture is when man is removed from the Garden of Eden. We are told that God placed the cherubim to guard the way, or the entrance, through the boundary and into Eden. This tells us that Eden is a form, a shape that has a specific purpose. Through the dissection of form and name we can learn a lot about framework and purpose.
The curtain separating the holy place from the most holy had cherubim stitched onto its surface. This tells us that there is a boundary, a border separating the two. Just as at Eden, the cherubim guard the entrance to this most holy place.
There are cherubim placed as guardians on the Ark of the Covenant. Ezekiel tells us that these cherubim have eyes all around, which shows us the efficacy of their guardianship – they see all that happens (this also demonstrates their link to the Spirit of God). The efficiency of their watch care is shown in how quickly judgment descends when the Ark is touched.
Lucifer was the guardian cherub under whose watchful eyes the gates of death were placed. As previously discussed, it was his control of the realm of death that allowed him to bring death into our domain.
Perhaps the most profound border brought to our attention is that God is enthroned between the cherubim. These cherubim are those guardians on the edge of forever. What this tells us is that God is not outside of his own creation, but has placed himself within form, within boundaries. God does not sit as an exterior observer of what his hand has made, but he has allowed his own creation to constrain him. It is this form, this pattern, which allows us to know God.