Angelogy, the Study of Angels

by James T. Bartsch


"Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew." Isaiah 6:2


























A Selective Comparison of Angelic Beings

Isa. 6; Ezek. 1, 10, 28; Rev. 4-5

with cross references to 1 Kings 6:24, 27; 2 Chron. 3:8, 10-13

by James T. Bartsch, WordExplain

Characteristic

Isa. 6

Ezek. 1

Ezek. 10

Ezek. 28

Rev. 4-5

Name

Seraphim, Rev. 6:2, 6

Chayyah, Living Beings, Ezek. 1:5, 13-15, 19-22

Cherub, Cherubim, Ezek. 10:1-9, 14–20

Cherub, Ezek. 28:14, 16

Zoa, Living Creatures, Rev. 4:6-9; 5:6, 8, 11, 14

Number of Beings

Unspecified

4. Ezek. 1:5, 18

4. Ezek. 10:8-9, 14

1. Ezek. 28:14, 16

4. Rev. 4:6-8; 5:6, 8, 14

Called “Living Beings / Creatures”

 

Ezek. 1:5, 13-15, 19-22

Ezek. 10:15, 17, 20

 

Rev. 4:6-9; 5:6, 8, 11, 14

Verbally worshiping God, Jesus

Isa. 6:3

 

 

 

Rev. 4:8-9; 5:8-12, 14

Associated with Fire

Isa. 6:6-7

Ezek. 1:1:4, 13, 27

Ezek. 10:2, 6-7

Ezek. 28:14, 16, 18

Rev. 4:5

Impervious to Fire

 

Ezek. 1:13

Ezek. 10:7

Initially, Ezek. 28:14

 

Associated with a Throne

Isa. 6:1-2

Ezek. 1:26

 

 

Rev. 4:2-6, 10; 5:1, 6-7, 11, 13

Rainbow around throne

 

Ezek. 1:27-28

 

 

Rev. 4:3

Human vs. Animal / Non-Human Characteristics

Some of the characteristics of these beings are human or human like; others are animal characteristics; yet others are quasi-mechanical characteristics (wheels).

Human Hands

 

Ezek. 1:8

Ezek. 10:7-8, 21

 

 

Human Form

 

Ezek. 1:5

 

 

 

Wheels

 

Ezek. 1:15-16, 19-21

Ezek. 10:2, 6, 9-10, 12-13, 16-17, 19

 

 

Multiple Eyes

 

Wheel rims full of eyes all round, Ezek. 1:18

On bodies, backs, hands, wings, wheels, Ezek. 10:12

 

Full of eyes, front and back Rev. 4:6

Wings, # of

6. Isa. 6:2

4. Ezek. 1:6

4. Ezek. 10:21.

See also Ezek. 10:5, 8, 12, 16, 19

 

6. Rev. 4:8

Eyes on Wings

 

 

Ezek. 10:12

 

wings full of eyes around & within Rev. 4:8

Multiple Faces

 

4 faces each. Ezek. 1:6, 10

4 faces each. Ezek. 10:14, 21

 

1 face each. Rev. 4:7

Cherub

 

 

1st face. Ezek. 10:14

 

 

Man

 

Each had the face of a man Ezek. 1:10

2nd face. Ezek. 10:14

 

3rd creature had a face like a man Rev. 4:7

Lion

 

Each had the face of a lion Ezek. 1:10

3rd face, Ezek. 10:14

 

1st creature like a lion Rev. 4:7

Bull / Calf

 

Each had the face of a bull Ezek. 1:10

 

 

2nd creature like a calf Rev. 4:7

Eagle

 

Each had the face of an eagle Ezek. 1:10

4th face, Ezek. 10:14

 

4th creature like a flying eagle Rev. 4:7
Feet like a calf’s hoof

 

Ezek. 1:7

 

 

 

Observations

 

1.

Clearly, Ezekiel states that the beings he saw in Ezek. 10, which he identifies as cherubim, are the same living beings he saw in Ezek. 1 (Ezek. 10:15, 20, 22).

2.

Yet there are striking differences. For example, Ezekiel stated that the beings by the river Chebar had eyes around the rims of their wheels (Ezek. 1:18). Yet he observed that the cherubim associated with the temple had eyes on their bodies, backs, hands, and wings, as well as on their wheels (Ezek. 10:12). Furthermore, in Ezek. 1:10, he observed that each had the face of a bull. Yet in Ezek. 10:14, that characteristic is omitted. Instead, each of the cherubim is said to have the face of a cherub. In both chapters, the other three faces are identical.

3.

Interestingly, the seraphim Isaiah saw (Isa. 6:2) and the living creatures John witnessed (Rev. 4:8) are stated to have six wings, while the living beings / cherubim Ezekiel observed had only four (Ezek. 1:6; 10:21). Elsewhere, cherubim are depicted as having only two wings (1 Kings 6:24, 27; 2 Chron. 3:8, 10-13).

4.

The cherubim Ezekiel observed each had four faces (Ezek. 1:6, 10; 10:14, 21), whereas the living creatures John was shown had only one face each (Rev. 4:7). In John’s case the aggregate description of the four creatures he saw (Rev. 4:7) matches the description of the faces Ezekiel recorded in Ezek. 1:10, but not in Ezek. 10:14.

Conclusions

 

1.

We can conclude that the beings labeled cherub or cherubim are the same class of angels (1 Kings 6:24, 27; 2 Chron. 3:8, 10-13; Ezek. 1; 10; 28:12-19, etc.). However, we cannot conclude that all cherubim always look the same. Some cherubim have multiple faces, multiple eyes, four wings, and accompanying wheels. Others apparently have only two wings, and nothing unusual is stated about their faces or their eyes or the presence of any wheels.

2.

The word seraphim is used only twice in Scripture (Isa. 6:2, 6). We cannot conclude that the living creatures in Rev. 4-5 are seraphim merely because they also, like the seraphim, have six wings and are associated with the throne of God.

3.

Nor can we conclude that the living creatures in Rev. 4-5 are cherubim because they are associated with the throne of God and because each of the four have a single face that coincides with one of the four faces that each of the cherubim in Ezek. 1 has.

4.

We can only conclude that God has a number of different kinds of angels, with varying physical characteristics and varying assignments. Even though some have animal-like characteristics, they are beings of great intelligence and power, fully able to worship God.


Prepared by James T. Bartsch

June, 2008

Published Online by WordExplain.com

Email Contact: jbartsch@wordexplain.com


Scripture linked to the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE , Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org). Links lead to BibleGateway.com













(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.)



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