The Cherubim of Judgment & Modern Israel Print
Written by Victoria Radin   

The Cherubim of Judgment & Modern Israel

The Hebrew sages teach that the end of the world, known simply as “ketz”, would begin on a future Rosh HaShanah. Since the New Year is alternately called Judgment Day, it is appropriate to look at what the Scriptures say about G-d’s judgment during this season.

The Cherubim, described in the Old Testament, were always mentioned in connection with G-d’s judgment on mankind. They appeared as a ‘flash of lightning’ (Ezekiel 1:14) carrying hot coals (of judgment) in their wheels (Ezekiel 10:6).

  • Right in the beginning, Cherubim were placed to guard the Tree of Life after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24).
  • In the Holy of Holies in the Temple of G-d, the likenesses of two Cherubim were cast in gold and placed on the cover over the Ark of the Covenant, known as the ‘atonement cover’, the ‘mercy seat’ or the ‘judgment seat’ due to its role during the Day of Atonement. Once a year on this day, judgment was carried out for the sins of the Nation of Israel. The blood of the sacrificial goat was sprinkled on the cover of the Ark to make atonement for the nation, thus averting G-d’s righteous judgment.
  • Cherubim appeared with G-d to carry out the judgment on Israel described in Ezekiel 9 and 10.
  • It is the Cherubim in the Book of Revelation who announce the ’arrival’ of the ‘four horses of the apocalypse’ (Rev. 6:1-8), marking the beginning of G-d’s judgment on mankind.
  • And finally, it is the Cherubim who give seven angels the bowls of G-d’s Wrath to be poured out on the unrepentant, marking the end of G-d’s judgments on mankind.

The L-rd called the Cherubim the chariot of the L-rd (1 Chronicles 28:18). The word ‘chariot’ in this scripture verse means ‘vehicle of conveyance’. Thus, the cherubim were usually seen with the L-rd above them, conveying the L-RD wherever He directed. For instance, David said, “He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.” (Psalm 18:9-11)

The prophet Ezekiel identifies the Cherubim as the “four living creatures” (Ezekiel 10:20). Each of the four creatures had four faces: the face of a man, the face of a lion, the face of an ox, and the face of an eagle (Ezekiel 1:10). It is remarkable that G-d put a ‘type’ of these heavenly creatures associated with judgment in the midst of Israel to unquestionably identify them as being His people. G-d gave the Israelites instructions on setting up camp in the wilderness. The way they set up camp with the flag or banner of each tribe of leadership was a clear picture of the heavenly Cherubim or Four Living Creatures.

Each of the twelve tribes was placed in a grouping of three according to G-d’s instructions. Each group had a standard (i.e. flag) according to the tribe of leadership assigned by G-d Himself. In the center of the tribal encampment was the Tabernacle of Meeting surrounded by the Levites in their groupings. The Levites were chosen by G-d to lead worship and minister to the priesthood in the work of the Tabernacle.


This is the way the prophet Balaam described the encampment of Israel as he viewed it from the heights.

“How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel! Like valleys that stretch out, like gardens by the riverside, like aloes planted by the L-rd, like cedars beside the waters… His king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.” (Numbers 24:5-7)

More than just in the visual picture of the tribal encampment, the Israelites were also associated with G-d’s Cherubim of Judgment in their special mission to be G-d’s army (Exodus 12:41), His instrument of judgment against the nations of the earth. The prophets of Israel have declared the L-rd’s intention from the very beginning.

“You are My battle-ax and weapons of war; for with you I will break the nations in pieces; with you I will destroy kingdoms.” (Jeremiah 51:20)

“…many nations have gathered against you…But they do not know the thoughts of the L-rd, nor do they understand His counsel; for He will gather them like sheaves to the threshing floor. Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion; for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hooves bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples…” (Micah 4:11-12)

It can be seen in the history of the Jewish people, the Divine intervention of G-d. Divine Intervention has been referred to as “the suspension of the ordinary law… and the interposition of the Divine hand to do things beyond that which man may attain.”*  From the beginning of Israel’s history, the supernatural hand of G-d was evident in the birth of Isaac. Since Sarah was devoid of the natural means to procreate in her own flesh, G-d Himself provided the ‘egg’ needed to produce a child with Abraham’s seed. This union produced an indestructible race of people–– indestructible because G-d is eternal and anything that is His cannot be destroyed by man. G-d said, “[David’s] seed I will make to endure forever…” (Psalm 89:29).

*Wade Taylor from "End-time Divine Intervention"

Confirming this biblical principle, Leo Tolstoy said, “[The Jew] is the symbol of eternity... He is the one who for so long had guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear…The Jew is eternal. He is the embodiment of eternity."**

**What is the Jew? quoted in The Final Resolution, pg. 189, printed in Jewish World periodical, 1908, Leo Tolstoy

Thomas Newton, British Clergyman and Bishop of Bristol (1704-1782), also acknowledged this insight into G-d’s special relationship with the Jews accompanied by a prophetic warning.

"The preservation of the Jews is really one of the most signal and illustrious acts of divine Providence... and what but a supernatural power could have preserved them in such a manner as none other nation upon earth hath been preserved. Nor is the providence of G-d less remarkable in the destruction of their enemies, than in their preservation... We see that the great empires, which in their turn subdued and oppressed the people of G-d, are all come to ruin... And if such hath been the fatal end of the enemies and oppressors of the Jews, let it serve as a warning to all those, who at any time or upon any occasion are for raising a clamor and persecution against them."

G-d has preserved the Jews as His end-time instruments of judgment on earth as typified by the heavenly Cherubim.