I was writing a post when my attention was dragged by a word found in a Douglas Willinger's post:
"Let's not forget that the Bible describes the devil as a cherub."
Douglas wrote a word which pushed me to see deeper in the matter. I found a polemic about that in a RC forum [CATHOLIC ANSWERS forum]:
"........Satan is a Fallen Seraph and Not a Cherub..... by .
Junior Member...............Ek 28:13
4. Does Ek 28:13 mean that the person in mind must be Satan? This verse begins, "You were in Eden, the garden of God." Of course Satan was in Eden; he was the serpent who tempted Eve. But the context teaches us that Ek 28:13 refers to the king of Tyre who traded with Eden [Ek 27:23] and the person in Ek 28:13 received all the items for which he traded in Ek 28:1-24. And the only place in which a cherub is found in Eden is Gen 3:24 and these guardian Cherubim (כרובים) came only AFTER Satan led our first parents to sin. The king of Tyre, and not Satan, is compared to these guardian Cherubim because he was the guardian of the prosperity of many ancient nations. As is clear from the logical proof above, the only way we can say that Ek 28:14 refers to Satan and labels him a Cherub is if we say that the Cherubim are a higher angelic order than the Seraphim, but this is impossible................"
But Nickkname replies:
Trial Membership................Reply to Objection 1. Cherubim is interpreted "fulness of knowledge," while "Seraphim" means "those who are on fire," or "who set on fire." Consequently Cherubim is derived from knowledge; which is compatible with mortal sin; but Seraphim is derived from the heat of charity, which is incompatible with mortal sin. Therefore the first angel who sinned is called, not a Seraph, but a Cherub............."URL: same as above.
".......In addition to this physical profile, we also have some Scriptural references that depict the role of Cherubim so we can answer the next logical question after “what do they look like?” of “what do they do?”...................
- Worshiped God with the use of music: Revelation 5:8 (also see Revelation 4:8; Revelation 7:11-12; Revelation 19:4) – “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”..............."
Was Satan an Angel?
Answer:Satan is often assumed to be an angel, an archangel, and sometimes in combination with that (as the Mormons believe) he is the brother of Jesus (will discuss this false claim in a future post). We can gain some insight into the nature of Satan from Ezekiel 28. Although different scholars present different levels of certainty that this passage relates to Satan, when reading the text and the level of the description this doesn’t seem to be able to describe a physical king nor does the specific reference to being anointed a “guardian cherub” fit. According to Ezekiel 28:14, we can see that Satan is presented as a cherub. This is significant as it shows the level of creature that Satan was. Cherubs are among the highest ranking and most privileged of the angels, since they have extraordinary access to the presence of God. Cherubs are above angels and held a very high position in the heavenly realms. The cherubim (plural of cherub) weren’t merely angels but were in the inner courts in the presence of God and covered the throne of God. Interestingly, cherubim are often depicted as chubby little cupid-like angels and yet this isn’t what they are. How do we know? Ezekiel 1 and 4 provides several passages that allow us to create a visual profile of these creatures.
In addition to this physical profile, we also have some Scriptural references that depict the role of Cherubim so we can answer the next logical question after “what do they look like?” of “what do they do?”
- Ezekiel 1:4-8 – “I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north — an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings“
- Ezekiel 1:10 - “Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.“
- Ezekiel 10:20-21 – “These were the living creatures I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the Kebar River, and I realized that they were cherubim. Each had four faces and four wings, and under their wings was what looked like the hands of a man.“
- Ezekiel 1:24 – When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.
In a future post, I will provide more of a background on Satan. He is often viewed as having the highest position over all angelic creatures and may have been connected to music in heaven (Ezekiel 28:13 or other passages above)*. Although he was presented, as Ezekiel 28:12b states, as “the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” he fell in pursuit of a position above God (Isaiah 14:12-15). It reminds me a of a quote from C.S Lewis – “it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”
- Protectors: Genesis 3:24 – “After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”
- Over the ark of the covenant: 2 Chronicles 5:7-8 – “The priests then brought the ark of the LORD’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and covered the ark and its carrying poles.”
- Cover the mercy seat above the ark in the Holy of Holies: Exodus 25:17-22 - “Make an atonement cover of pure gold — two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.”
- Worshiped God with the use of music: Revelation 5:8 (also see Revelation 4:8; Revelation 7:11-12; Revelation 19:4) – “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
* This passage references the NIV translation of the Hebrew as “settings and mountings” and the KJV translation states “thy tabrets and of thy pipes”. The Hebrew word for “pipes” in Ezekiel 28:13 (KJV) is “neqeb”. It is a word related to a jeweler’s work. Unfortunately the exact meaning of the noun is uncertain. The following note is from ‘The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament’, by R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright C 1980; 1409a: “neqeb. The meaning of this noun, which occurs in Ezekiel 28:13, is uncertain. Suggestions include “pipes” (KJV), “engravings” (RSV), and “mines” (Holliday’s lexicon, following W. F. Albright in BASOR, No. 110). The KJV translators thought it meant “pipes” because the word is related to the verb (“naqab”) which has the same consonants (NQB) which means to “bore through” but many grammarians see this as unlikely (see comments by Gesenius http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5345&t=KJV#). If this word doesn’t mean “pipes” it’s possible there is no reference to music here in Ezekiel 28 but we see in Revelation (passages mentioned above) the references to cherubs being involved in music through worship at least in some fashion (e.g. using voices and harps).