In this post we do a quick study on Cherubim in the Bible. We will take a look at the definition, and verses about cherub angels. So, grab my Bible and let’s study on this incredible angel.
I have written several posts on the topic of Biblical Angels. And I thought it would be fun to do some posts on certain types/classes of angels. So, today we are going to look at Cherubim.
If you are interested in reading more on the topic of angels. Then please take a look at the articles below.
Now back to the topic of cherubim or cherub angels. Let’s answer some very important questions that will help us in our study of cherubim.
What Does The Word Cherubim Or Cherub Mean In Hebrew?
Before we get into the Hebrew I want to clarify that there is no difference between cherubim and cherub. Cherubim is the plural of Cherub. So, the word “cherubs” is incorrect.
The word Cherubim is one that has a little bit of mystery around it. It’s mentioned 126 times in the KJV Bible. This is the literal translation of what the word means…
כְּרוּב kᵉrûwb, ker-oob’; from Strongs H3742 of uncertain derivation; a cherub or imaginary figure:—cherub, (plural) cherubims .
Not going to lie this actually makes me kind of happy. Here God has created what we would classify as an angel (messenger of God), but it’s something only our imagination could come up with. It’s not your typical human like angel with wings. It’s nothing we have ever seen on this Earth.
It’s a “Imaginary figure”
This could classify cherubim not as a type of angel but a way to describe a vaster majority of types. It could also be a general term to reference celestial creatures that us humans have a heard time understanding. As you will see later on that the Bible describes them differently throughout scripture.
Where can I find Cherubim in the Bible?
A cool little fact is that a cherub is the first mentioned angel in the Bible. It is sent to guard the garden of Eden in Genesis 3:24.
Like I mentioned above there are over 100 verses mentioning these angels. I will not be giving every single reference here. But I will give you some key ones that will help to extend you Bible study of angels.
If you would like to really dig deep and conquer those 100+ Bible verses then I recommend you head over to Bible Gateway or you favorite Bible website. Open two windows and in one type in the search Cherubim. In the other type in cherub. This will give you all the verses on these angels.
Here is a list of scriptures you can use for extended study.
- Genesis 3:24
- Exodus 36:8
- Exodus 37:6-9
- 1 Kings 7:13-14, 27-30, 33
- 2 Kings 19:13
- Psalm 80:1
- Psalm 99:1
- Isaiah 37:16
- Ezekiel 1:1, 5-7
- Ezekial 1:10-11, 28
- Ezekiel 10
A fun note to notice is that these angels tend to be in the throne room of God and are used as guardians (the garden of Eden). You will see this throughout the scriptures.
Are Putti, Cherub Angels? What’s The Difference Between Putti and a Cherub?
You may be familiar with what putti are. I certainly was NOT. In my quest to learn more about cherubim I stumbled upon putti (plural) putto (singular). And I hope this brings a ton of clarity on why we have such a skewed idea of what a cherub is.
What are Putti Angels?
In a nutshell putti are those cute chubby naked babies with wings.
This odd depiction of these angels come from the renaissance era. This idea stems from the roman god, Cupid (Greek god Eros), who was claimed to be the god of love.
The artist of the Renaissance era explored all kinds of ways to illustrate certain subjects. When it came to the idea of “love” they took the idea of cupid and created this little chubby winged so-called angel. They were called a “putto” or “putti” in stemming from the latin putus meaning “boy”
This is why we will see these false types of cherubs having bows and arrows. Since cupid would strike those he wished to fall in love.
But how did we take the leap from that to calling them “cherubs”? Easy…the idea of “Love.” 1 John 4 is very descriptive on stating that God is love.
Then you have cute chubby babies, which give the idea of innocence and purity. And boom this made up little creature didn’t just become known as cupid, or putti….but now a cherub.
What’s the difference between putti and a cherub?
A cherub in the Bible is NOT cute chubby little naked babies with wings. No where in scripture are angels are referred to looking like or taking on the appearance of a baby or child.
And there is no scriptural reference of them being nude. Cherubim are incredible creatures with multiple faces and wings. We will look more into what they look like below. It’s kind of crazy especially when scripture describes them so vastly different.
It’s a shame the Renaissance artist didn’t take their inspiration from the Bible’s description of cherubim and not from Roman mythology.
What do Cherubim look like?
There are different types of angels in the Bible. And we are not sure if Cherubim are a species of angels or represent several species of angels. I mention this earlier and briefly in What do Angel Look like.
So, I will take just two instances from Ezekiel to describe them.
SIDE NOTE – Some scholars believe that the living creature in Revelations and the Seraphim in Isiah are the same creatures that Ezekiel saw in his visions in chapter 1 and 10. And since word cherub means “imaginary figure.” It could be the only way for the prophet to describe the.
Ezekiel 1:5-11 AMP (By The River Chebar)
5 Within it there were figures resembling four living beings. And this was their appearance: they had human form. 6 Each one had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight and the soles of their feet were like a calf’s hoof, and they sparkled and gleamed like shiny bronze. 8 Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, 9 their wings touched one another; their faces did not turn when they moved, each went straight forward. 10 Regarding the form and appearance of their faces: they [each] had the face of a man [in front], and each had the face of a lion on the right side, and the face of an ox on the left side; all four also had the face of an eagle [at the back of their heads]. 11 Such were their faces. Their wings were stretched out upward; two [wings] of each one were touching another [the wings of the beings on either side of it], and [the remaining] two [wings of each being] were covering their bodies.
Ezekiel 10:8-19 AMP ( I bolded the descriptive parts of the angel)
8 Beneath their wings the cherubim seemed to have [something in] the form of a man’s hand.
9 Then I looked and behold, [there were] four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside one cherub and another wheel beside each other cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like a sparkling Tarshish stone (beryl). 10 As for their appearance, all four looked alike, as if one wheel were within another wheel. 11 When 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. 12 Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings, and the wheels were full of eyes all around, even the wheels belonging to all four of them. 13 Regarding the wheels [attached to them], I heard them called, “the whirling (rolling, revolving) wheels.” 14 And each one had four faces: the first face was the face of the [cherub, the second the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
15 Then the cherubim rose upward. They are the [same four] living beings [regarded as one] that I saw by the River Chebar [in Babylonia] (Ezekiel 1). 16 Now when the cherubim moved, the wheels would go beside them; and when the cherubim lifted up their wings to rise from the earth, the wheels would remain beside them. 17 When the cherubim stood still, the wheels would stand still; and when they rose upward, the wheels would rise with them, for the spirit of the living beings was in these [wheels].
18 Then the [Shekinah] glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and rested over the cherubim. 19 As I looked at them, the cherubim lifted up their wings and rose up from the earth, they departed with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the house of the Lord, and the glory and brilliance of the God of Israel hovered over them.
I will share this story with you but please take it with a grain of salt, it is my personal experience. When I was about 9-10 years old I had a dream, that I remember vividly to this day.
I was in some sort of bright beautiful garden or place. And there was this pink cherry blossom in full bloom. Under the tree sat a creature that is hard for me to describe. It had the shape of a man but it was like a cow and had a cows head. And from head to toe covered in eyes. I remember staring at it in awe and saying to myself. “What is that???” I was so taken back by this weird creature. I wasn’t scared, it was super peaceful and beautiful. It said nothing to me and I said nothing to it. I just stared at it and then I woke up. It was so vivid and I couldn’t shake it off.
I didn’t tell anyone about the dream because I thought it was super weird. But I remembered it throughout the years.
It wasn’t until I became a Christian in my teens and started reading the Bible that I was shocked to read about angels having eyes all over their bodies. Not sure if what I saw in that dream was a cherub or some other kind of angelic creature.
It’s hard for me to think it was just some random pizza dream, because of the eyes all over the creature. But I am still not 100% sure what I saw in that dream.
Images of Cherubim and Cherubs
I thought it would be fun to share some images of Cherubim. These all try to bring to life what the Bible describes them to look like. So, if you have ever wonders… “what do cherubim look like?” This might be helpful. The reality is that these angelic creature’s appearance goes beyond what we have ever seen.
A Summary of Key Points
There is a lot of information in this post so I thought it would be good to put some key points down for a quick look or review.
- Cherubim is plural and cherub is singular
- Cherub angels are mentioned over 100 times in scriptures
- Cherubim according to the Strongs Concordance translates “Imaginary Figure”
- Cherubim do not look like babies with wings.
- Cherubim still remains a mystery and we will not fully understand what these angelic creatures do and act.
- Many references on cherub angels indicate that they are in the presence of God and/or guard (the garden of Eden).
I hope this article has answered your questions about cherubim and that it has stirred you up to get into the Word of God more. Please feel free to leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you and know what God is doing in your life.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…