Angelic beings are frequently referred to in the Bible. They are spiritual beings created by God. One third of the original angelic beings chose to rebel against God's good purposes and as a result, they fell from their positions and now wreak havoc on the earth. These rebellious angelic beings are called demons. The others, who chose to love God and serve his good purposes, are described in the Bible in various ways: they fight against demons, they protect God's people, and they relay God's messages to people on earth. In general, angelic beings are not described as having wings. However, the two types of angels that do have wings are called Cherubim and Seraphim. Their main purpose is to reveal God's awe-inspiring majesty as they praise and worship God.
Seraphim is the plural form of seraph. Isaiah chapter 6 is the only place in the Bible where these creatures are mentioned. These unique six-winged creatures have the honor of living above the throne of God. Their main purpose is to reveal God's awe-inspiring majesty to all of creation as they praise and worship God. They also were used by God to communicate with a human (Isaiah, son of Amoz) and anoint him to be God's prophet.
Isaiah was a humble man who was aware of his sinful tendencies. It is quite possible that he felt unable to serve God because of these. God, who knows everything, must have known this about Isaiah. God enabled the seraphim to touch Isaiah's mouth with a hot coal from His sacrificial altar and communicate a message to Isaiah that stated he was now cleansed of all his sin. By encouraging Isaiah in this way and showing Isaiah that no sin was too great to forgive, God's seraphim prepared Isaiah to both believe that God was calling him and to accept God's commission to be His prophet.
Isaiah is known as one of the greatest prophets of God. Following is Isaiah's eyewitness account (from the Book of Isaiah in the Bible) of his experience with the seraphim, his vision of the majesty of God, and his joyful acceptance of God's call on his life.
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
Special Note of Interest: Author Madeline L'Engle refers to these creatures in her writings. She has a unique way of presenting them that you might find enjoyable. Her books, "A Wrinkle in Time" and "A Wind in the Door" are great books for young adults as well as older ones.
Cherubim is the plural form of Cherub. Cherubs are described as winged beings, each having four faces (lion, ox, eagle, and man). They are said to have the stature and hands of a man, the feet of a calf, and four wings. Two of their four wings extend upward (meeting above the throne of God) and the other two wings extend downward (covering the cherub itself). They are mentioned in the Bible in various books: the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible), Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Revelation.
We are first introduced to the Cherubim in the Book of Exodus in the Bible when Moses is being instructed by God to build a tent for Him. This tent (or tabernacle) is to be a copy of God's home in heaven and would be where God would place his presence amongst his people on earth.
The detailed description of the tabernacle is fascinating! However, we will only focus on the latter part of the construction: the Holy of Holies Room. This room is an imitation of the throne of God, where God's presence lives. The cherubim reside here as well. The following references from the Bible describe them in detail:
God's Instructions to Moses regarding the creation of the wooden cherubim:
Exodus 25:19-22 – 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.
Exodus 37:7-9 – Then he made two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. He made one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; at the two ends he made them of one piece with the cover. The cherubim had their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim faced each other, looking toward the cover. 1 Kings 6:24-32 – One wing of the first cherub was five cubits long, and the other wing five cubits--ten cubits from wing tip to wing tip. The second cherub also measured ten cubits, for the two cherubim were identical in size and shape. The height of each cherub was ten cubits. He placed the cherubim inside the innermost room of the temple, with their wings spread out. The wing of one cherub touched one wall, while the wing of the other touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. He overlaid the cherubim with gold. On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold. For the entrance of the inner sanctuary he made doors of olive wood with five-sided jambs. And on the two olive wood doors he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid the cherubim and palm trees with beaten gold.
2 Chronicles 3:11-12 – The total wingspan of the cherubim was twenty cubits. One wing of the first cherub was five cubits long and touched the temple wall, while its other wing, also five cubits long, touched the wing of the other cherub. Similarly one wing of the second cherub was five cubits long and touched the other temple wall, and its other wing, also five cubits long, touched the wing of the first cherub.
Ezekiel 41:18-20 – were carved cherubim and palm trees. Palm trees alternated with cherubim. Each cherub had two faces: the face of a man toward the palm tree on one side and the face of a lion toward the palm tree on the other. They were carved all around the whole temple. From the floor to the area above the entrance, cherubim and palm trees were carved on the wall of the outer sanctuary.
Here is Ezekiel's eyewitness account of the real cherubim.
Ezekiel 10:1-20 – Then I looked, and behold, in the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne, appeared above them. And He spoke to the man clothed in linen and said, "Enter between the whirling wheels under the cherubim and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatter them over the city." And he entered in my sight. Now the cherubim were standing on the right side of the temple when the man entered, and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD. Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks. 6It came about when He commanded the man clothed in linen, saying, "Take fire from between the whirling wheels, from between the cherubim," he entered and stood beside a wheel. 7Then the cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire which was between the cherubim, took some and put it into the hands of the one clothed in linen, who took it and went out. 8The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man's hand under their wings. 9Then I looked, and behold, four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like the gleam of a Tarshish stone. 10As for their appearance, all four of them had the same likeness, as if one wheel were within another wheel. 11When they moved, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went; but they followed in the direction which they faced, without turning as they went. 12Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. 13The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. 14And each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. 15Then the cherubim rose up. They are the living beings that I saw by the river Chebar. 16Now when the cherubim moved, the wheels would go beside them; also when the cherubim lifted up their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels would not turn from beside them. 17When the cherubim stood still, the wheels would stand still; and when they rose up, the wheels would rise with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in them. 18Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. 19When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them. These are the living beings that I saw beneath the God of Israel by the river Chebar; so I knew that they were cherubim.
Ezekiel 11:22 – Then the cherubim, with the wheels beside them, spread their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
The following passage potentially describe Lucifer before he fell from the heavenly realm to earth.
Ezekiel 28:14 – You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
Ezekiel 28:16 – Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.