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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Anointed Cherub

My father Raymond McAlister is the President for Emmaus Baptist College. He wrote this article for the school paper. I thought I would share it with you.

The instructors here at Emmaus Baptist College all sign our doctrinal statement. In the section that deals with Satan being a fallen angel, Dr. Michael Seals, our proficient language instructor, marked out the word angel and had written cherub above it before he signed it. When I approached him later and asked why he had one this, he replied that the Bible never calls Satan an "angel" but a "cherub." I just hate it when people make me think. Just when you think you have something all figured out, someone has to come along and mess it all up.
When I did a little research on the subject, sure enough, the only time it comes close to calling Satan an angel in in 2 corinthians 11:14. It says, "... Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." That does not say that Satan is an angel but that he sometimes appears to be one. However, he is clearly called a cherub.
Just what is a cherub anyway? Most commentaries will say that cherubim and seraphim are different orers of angels. Dr. Seals disagrees. He believes that angels are one thing, cherubim (plural of cherub) are another and serphim are another. The more I study the subject the more I am inclined to agree with him.
The word angel means "messenger" or "one that is sent." That is, they go and do whatever God sends them to do. It could be to deliver a message, as the angel Gabriel did, or it could be to destroy, as the angel did in 1 Chronicles 21. Angels do not seem to have physical bodies but in the Bible the sometime appeared in the form of men. The pre-incarnate Jesus was called an angel when he appeared to people. These appearances of Jesus in the Old Testament are called "theophanys." Michael is called the archangel(not"an"archangel) in Jude verse 9. Archangel means the head or chief angel and as far as I can tell, there is only one chief angel.
Cherub or cherubim is used 91 times in the Old Testament. The exact meaning of the word is uncertain. In Ezekiel 28:14 it is said of Satan, "thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so..." What does it mean that God has set Satan as the "anointed cherub that covereth"? In the Old Testament men were anointed to set them in their office. (Anoint just means to pour oil on someone.) For example, Aaron was anointed by Moses to make him the high priest. David was anointed by Samuel to make him king. The term Christ means"the anointed one" and signifies that Jesus had been set in his office as Redeemer.
So, God, by anointing Satan, placed him in some special position. The question is, what position? There is a strong clue in the statement, "anointed cherub that covereth."
The Jews must have had some idea of what a cherub looked like because God commanded Moses to make two golden cherubim and place them on the ends of the Mercy Seat that was the lid of the Ark of the Covenant that was placed in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle. The wings of the cherubim touched in the middle and were said to "cover" the Mercy Seat (Exodus 25:19-20). The Hebrew word translated cover used here in Exodus is the same root word that is used in Ezekiel 28:14 that says of Satan, "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth..."
The Tabernacle served as an example or shadow or model of things in heaven (Hebrews 8:5). The Holy of Holies is a picture of heaven and the Mercy Seat is the picture of the very throne of God. From this cherubim in heaven, one on each side of God, covering Him with their wings. I think it is safe to say that Satan, before his fall, was anointed to fill one of those positions. Imagine being selected to serve right next to God. No wonder he was lifted up with pride.
While we are on the subject of Satan, let me point out a few things about him. First, he is not some ugly hideous creature with horns, cloven hooves and a tail. He is described as being beautiful in Ezekiel 28:12.
Second, Satan was thrown out of heaven. Jesus said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (Luke 10:18). Because of his pride and his desire to set himself up as God's equal, he was cast out of heaven and became God's enemy.
Third, Satan has angels (Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 12:9). We assume that these angels are what we call demons that Jesus encountered during his ministry. They knew Jesus and knew Who He was. These angels do Satan's bidding as God's angels do His.
Fourth, Satan is not in hell and is not the king or ruler of hell. We have heard the expression, "all the demons of hell." Well, there are not any demons in hell either. If Satan and his demons were in hell they would not be bothering us so much. The Lake of Fire will be their final home (Matthew 25:41) but they are not there yet.
Fifth, Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). The authority and glory of the world belong to Satan and he can give it to whomsoever he wills (Luke 4:5-6). It is obvious that Satan is a very powerful being, even being able to take the Word out of a lost person's heart (Luke 8:12).
Sixth, Satan's job is to hinder people from being saved. But, if they are saved his job is to keep them from serving the Lord (1 Peter 5:8) He is good at what he does.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post; gives me much to ponder. Have never heard of "theophanys."

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