I. The cherubim that guard Eden (Genesis 3:24)
A. What is a cherubim?
1. The name itself is something of a mystery.
2. The singular form of the world, Cherub, may come
from an old Hebrew word that means "like a child."
a. This is probably why some have depicted
cherubim as children.
b. However, no reference of the cherubim describe
them this way.
3. Most references to cherubim in the Bible have to
do with the design of the ark of the covenant.
4. Cherubim in the Bible always have wings.
a. In some biblical descriptions, cherubim have 4
b. In some biblical descriptions, cherubim have 2
5. Cherubim seem to have a special responsibility to
guard places or people.
a. Interestingly, many ancient cultures around
the world have used similar figures in art and
architect that depict peculiar figures that guard
thrones, entry ways to holy places and other
1) These often have the face of a man,
the body of a lion or an ox, and a
2) Ezekiel and John both have visions of
cherubim that use some similar
a) Ezekiel 1:5-11
b) Ezekiel 10:14
c) Revelation 4:7,8
B. What are these cherubim doing?
1. Keeping the way of the tree of life.
a. What is the tree of life?
1) The tree that Adam and Eve ate from,
disobeying God's command, was the
tree of knowledge of good and evil.
2) Apparently, before the fall, they had
access to the tree of life. (Genesis
b. Why must it be guarded?
1) After eating of the tree of
knowledge of good and evil,
however, the tree of life was
definitely off limits (3:22).
2) It appears as though if Adam and
Eve could have eaten from the tree
of life, their bodies would not have
died as God had told them it would
a) We understand this death to be
a spiritual death (Romans 5:12,
b) But apparently the beginning of
the process of physical death
was also part of the curse.
2. It is not clear to us exactly why they are on the
east side only.
3. It is not clear to us what the flaming sword is.
a. Interestingly, it appears to be a single
b. There are many theories and
interpretations, but we simply
C. Are they still there today?
1. Most likely, the garden was buried in the flood
a. Even though plant life was destroyed,
obviously, seeds still sprung up all over
after the flood, and new plant life emerged.
b. It seems possible that the tree of life
would have been able to produce as well if
it gave off seed, but we don't know.
c. For this reason, God may have
transported the tree to heaven (Revelation
2:7, 22:2, 22:14)
2. The tree of life is used metaphorically
a. Of wisdom (Proverbs 3:18)
b. Of the Fruit of the righteous/winning souls
c. Of desire/hope that comes to pass
d. Of a wholesome tongue (Proverbs 15:4)
1. "Angels" may not be an accurate way to
describe the cherubim that "keep the way of
the tree of life"
2. In Genesis 3. However, the cherubim appear
to be heavenly "beasts" that are created for
specific jobs that bring honor and glory to God
and proclaim His holiness.
3. It is not clear if there are a whole "species" of
these beings or if the same cherubim that
guarded the tree of life in the garden of Eden
are the same cherubim that Ezekiel saw and
that John saw in their visions.
4. Perhaps one day we will see them in Heaven,
still guarding the tree of life.