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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 24

The Throne is Moving In Relation to the Divine Purpose (continued)

We may ask, "What is the meaning of all that?" In the first place, we see that this is a symbolic representation of Christ. It is Christ in His four-fold capacity. The lion is "the Lion from the tribe of Judah": - out of Judah came the Ruler, so that the lion is the symbol of the government or royalty of the Lord Jesus. You probably know that the Gospel by Matthew corresponds to that. It is the Gospel of the King! The ox is the symbol of service and sacrifice, and again that is the representation of the Lord Jesus as the servant of Jehovah sacrificing Himself: - "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life." The ox corresponds to the Gospel of Mark! It is in the Gospel by Mark that, more than anywhere else, Jesus is seen in service giving Himself. The Man aspect of the cherubims is very clear, "the Son of Man has come." That is the message of Luke, Jesus the Man! And the eagle is the symbol of heavenliness and mystery, and that is clearly seen in the Gospel by John! The Lord Jesus so often in that gospel speaks of His having "come down from heaven," and yet there is a mystery about Him that no one can understand. He is a Man, but He is more than a Man. This is the eagle symbolism. So I think it is quite clear by these references to see that the Lord Jesus is represented by the cherubims.

The cherubims are called "the living ones." In our translation, a word is introduced that is not there in the original. In the King James' translation, it is "living creatures"; in another translation, it is "living beasts," the four living beasts. Well, of course, to begin with man is not a beast; and an eagle is not strictly a beast. However, those words, creature and beast, are not in the original. What is here in the original text is "the living ones," which is just the plural form of the word "life." - It simply means the plurality of "life." The key characteristic of the cherubims was life: "In Him was Life." What was the life for? - The life of the creation. Jesus is The Life of the Creation. Of course that is now the "new creation!"

We go back to the first appearance of the cherubims. Man has sinned, God has cursed the race and the earth. He has driven man out of the garden, in which there was "the tree of life"; and He has placed the cherubims at the gate to guard the way of the tree of life. What does all that mean? The sinful and fallen creation can never have that life. That life can only be had by "a new creation." Between that which represents the fallen creation and that which represents the unfallen creation stands Christ as "the Door." Christ says, "There is no life for that sinful creation; there is only Life in a new creation." So the cherubims stand between. Thus Christ always stands between an old creation and a new. There is no Life outside of Christ. There is only Life "inside" of Christ. Christ as "The Life" stands at the door. He says  "No" to one creation, and "Yes" to another. Well, I think we can say that the cherubims represent Christ. They represent Christ as The Life.

Now it is also very clear to see that the cherubims in relation to the Throne affect the whole creation. The Throne is linked with the creation - in creation and redemption. On the one side, it relates to the creation; on the other side, it relates to the redemption of the creation! God's Throne governs those two things. The Chariot-Throne of God is linked with God's creative and redemptive power. This Throne says that God is concerned with the redemption of the creation. You notice that over the Throne there is "a rainbow." The rainbow is the symbol of God's covenant of redemption. You will find that rainbow again in the Book of the Revelation, and presently we shall see its connection in that book, but let us be quite sure of what we have just said.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 25)

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