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Cherubim

by Micha F. Lindemans
Winged creatures who support the Throne of God, or act as guardian spirits. They appear in the Bible (the book of Ezekiel) as bearing the throne and chariot of God, and hence later conceived as a type of angels. They are also mentioned in Genesis 3:24 as guardians (or protectors) of the Garden of Eden. They were placed at the gates of the Garden to prevent humans from re-entering and thus gaining access to the Tree of Life. They also formed the mercy seat on the Ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:18-20).

In Jewish and Christian religion they are second in the order of angels, directly after the seraphim. They were usually depicted as angels with four wings and four faces (human, lion, bull and eagle). Artists in later times made them appear as the chubby, rosy-faced, winged infants of which they are known today. They are usually clothed in blue, while the seraphim are clothed in red. They originated from the winged and human-headed bulls of Babylon (also named cherubim), a lesser order of deities, which guarded the gates of the royal palace.

Singular: Cherub.


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