|A long discussion
may be held on the differences between the visions of John, Ezekiel and
Isaiah. The point that is often missed
is that each of these visions clearly describes a set of creatures which are
so similar that it is hard to miss the point that these are the same
creatures: the Seraphim (called
cherubim in Isaiah). The differences
may be attributed to:
|• the problem of the
eyewitness. It is clear from these
accounts that there is a difference between “write what you hear” and the
account in between. Unless you believe
in the automatic writing theory of inspiration, there is the simple
possibility that we have three eyewitness descriptions of the same thing.
|• John may have taken
it for granted that you would have recognized them -- and left out all the
|• Some think that the
description changes -- as befits a heavenly being -- depending upon either
the observer or (more likely) the covenant.
|What can we conclude
from that? Look at the known earthly
functions of these creatures:
|• They guarded the
Tree of Life, standing east of Eden, (Genesis 3:24) to prevent man from
re-entering the Garden.
|• They were pictured
in the Tabernacle -- as covering the Mercy Seat, or the Atonement cover.
|• They are extremely
powerful, for Satan at one time was one of them (Ezekiel 28:11-19).
|In this picture,
they cry the holiness of God. I
conclude, therefore, that these angelic beings are the guardians of the
holiness of God! Consider:
|• They guarded the
Tree of Life -- for if man could eat of it, then the curse would be removed,
and God’s holiness compromised by letting sinful man avoid the penalty of
|• They guarded
(symbolically) the gifts of God -- Aaron’s rod that budded, the pot of manna,
the tablets of the Law -- to make sure that none approached them except by atonement.
|I conclude therefore
that they are the guardians of the holiness (= separateness) of God,
particularly in a geographic sense (e.g..., east of the Garden). This would explain “why four?” -- there are
four cardinal directions on our planet.