The Significance of Ezekiel and the Cherubim in the Bible

By Petal Mashraki
Kelli Harris
Edited by Kelli Harris

Published November 19, 2021.

Cherub on top of the bible

Ezekiel is one of the prophetic books in the Bible. The Prophet Ezekiel has six visions in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel. In one of these visions, he sees a mystical chariot and the throne of God, held by "four living creatures" identified as cherubim. But what were Ezekiel's visions, and what do the Cherubim represent?

Who was Ezekiel in the Bible?

Little is known about the historical background of Ezekiel. He was the son of the priest, Buzi. Ezekiel was one of the Jews exiled from Israel to Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the First Holy Temple in 593BC. In exile, Ezekiel lived with his wife on the banks of the Chebar River, in Tel Abib, which is believed to be in modern-day Iraq. It was here, by the River Chebar (Kebar) that Ezekiel was called to be a prophet at the age of 30, five years after going into captivity.

Ezekiel's message was specifically for the exiled Jews. He gave them a message of hope for the rehabilitation of Jerusalem and Judea. His message was a promise for the future and the restoration of their nation. Ezekiel foresaw that all Jews would return to Israel from the Diaspora and that a new covenant would be made between them and God. His visions also reinforce the power of God and His sovereignty over all nations.

The purpose of Ezekiel's ministry was to first denounce the sins of his people, and second to bring them comfort and hope. He told them why they were exiled, and how they could reconnect with God.

What Are the Cherubim According to the Bible?

Cherubim are God's throne bearers and His attendants, and appear over 90 times in the Bible verses. In Hebrew, Cherubim means a celestial winged being who represents God's spirit on Earth and symbolizes the worship of God. In Ezekiel, cherubim are described as angelic creatures, with two sets of wings and four faces (lion, ox, human, and eagle). The four faces of the cherubim represent the four domains of God's rule. The lion represents wild animals; man represents humanity; the ox represents domestic animals, and the eagle represents birds.

In Revelations 4:6-8, cherubim appear in John's vision as having the same faces but in a different order, and having six wings instead of four.

The cherubim are God's throne bearers, but they also form another function of guarding God's spirituality and continually praising God.

What Are the Six Visions of Ezekiel?

God uses Ezekiel's six visions to teach us important lessons:

The Vision of God (The Vision of the Throne-Chariot and Living Creatures).

A storm blows in with a cloud containing God's chariot held up by four living creatures (cherubim). Ezekiel’s vision of the cherubim shows them supporting the throne alongside four mystical wheels. Experts have offered several interpretations of this first vision. The significance of the cherubim in Ezekiel's vision is to show that God has not abandoned his people and still rules over all domains.

The Vision of the Scroll (2:9-3:3).

Ezekiel sees a hand stretched out towards him holding an open scroll with writing inside and out and instructs Ezekiel to eat it. This symbolizes Ezekiel internalizing God's message and being commissioned to take God's message to the people.

The Vision of the Plain (3:22-23).

God tells Ezekiel to go out into the fields where God could be seen in all his glory. It was so overwhelming that Ezekiel fell on his face.

The Vision of Jerusalem.

Ezekiel sees Jerusalem in several stages including the wickedness in the Temple (8:1-18); the killing of the city's inhabitants (9:1-11); the burning of Jerusalem(10:1-22), and the departure of God (11:1-25). With this vision, Ezekiel is foreseeing what will happen to Jerusalem.

The Vision of Dry Bones (37:1-10).

Ezekiel saw a valley full of dry bones representing the people who have lost faith and hope. God commands Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones and tell them God would breathe life into them.

The Vision of the New Temple (40:1-48:35).

God wants the people to rebuild the Holy Temple, that has been destroyed by the Babylonians. He wants it built according to a particular plan which is revealed in Ezekiel's vision.

How Did Ezekiel Die?

Ezekiel died a martyr when he was killed for reprimanding leaders of the exiled Jews for idol worship. The Bible does not specify the way he was killed. It is believed that he died at age 51 in approximately 570BC and was buried at a tomb in Al Kifl, Iraq.

For a full understanding of the spiritual meaning of Ezekiel, join an Ezekiel Bible study and read a book of Ezekiel summary.