What attributes are often associated with the Four Faces of the Cherubs?
With what characteristics did Bible writers who lived before Ezekiel’s time associate the lion, the eagle, and the bull? Note these Bible phrases: “The courageous man whose heart is like that of a lion.” (2 Sam. 17:10; Prov. 28:1) “An eagle flies upward,” and “its eyes look far into the distance.” (Job 39:27, 29) “The power of a bull yields an abundant harvest.” (Prov. 14:4) Based on such scriptures, the lion’s face pictures courageous justice; the eagle’s face, far-seeing wisdom; the bull’s face, irresistible power, as has often been stated in our publications.
But what about “the face of a man”? (Ezek. 10:14) It must refer to a quality that could be portrayed, not by any animal, but by humans, who are made in God’s image. (Gen. 1:27) That quality on earth, unique to humans is highlighted by God’s commands: “You must love Yahweh your God with all your heart” and “you must love your fellow man as yourself.” (Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18) When we obey these commands by showing unselfish love, we reflect Jehovah’s own love. As the apostle John wrote, “we love, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:8, 19) Hence, “the face of a man” represents love.
To whom do the attributes associated with the cherubs’ faces belong?
To whom do these attributes belong? Since the faces belong to the cherubs, the attributes belong to all whom the visionary cherubs represent Yahweh’s heavenly family of loyal spirit creatures. (Rev. 5:11) Moreover, as Jehovah is the Source of the cherubs’ life, he is also the Source of their attributes. (Ps. 36:9) Thus, the cherubs’ faces picture attributes belonging to Yahweh himself. (Job 37:23; Ps. 99:4; Prov. 2:6; Mic. 7:18) What are a few ways in which Yahweh shows these outstanding attributes?
What are some ways that we are benefiting from expressions of Yahweh’s four cardinal attributes?
1.JUSTICE As the God who “loves justice,” Yahweh “treats none with partiality.” (Ps. 37:28; Deut. 10:17) Thus, the opportunity to become and remain his servants and to receive eternal blessings is open to all of us regardless of our social standing or background.
- Wisdom As the God who “is wise in heart,” Jehovah has provided a book full of “practical wisdom.” (Job 9:4; Prov. 2:7) Applying the Bible’s wise counsel helps us to deal with life’s day-to-day challenges and to live meaningful lives.
- Power As the God who is “great in power,” Yahweh uses his holy spirit to give us “power beyond what is normal.” This strengthens us to cope with whatever severe and painful trials we may face. Nah. 1:3; 2 Cor. 4:7; Ps. 46:1.
- Love As the God “abundant in loyal love,” Jehovah never abandons his faithful worshippers. (Ps. 103:8; 2 Sam. 22:26) Thus, even if we are saddened because ill health or advanced age prevents us from doing as much in Yahweh’s service as before, we draw comfort from knowing that Yahweh remembers the labours of love we have rendered to him in the past.
The Book of Heb. 6:10, Clearly, we already greatly benefit from Yahweh’s expressions of justice, wisdom, power, and love, and we will continue to benefit from these four cardinal attributes in times to come.
What should we keep in mind about our ability to understand Yahweh’s qualities?
Of course, we should keep in mind that what we as humans are able to understand about Yahweh’s qualities amounts to “just the fringes of his ways.” (Job 26:14) “Understanding the Almighty is beyond our reach,” for “his greatness is unsearchable.” (Job 37:23; Ps. 145:3).
Hence, we realize that Yahweh’s qualities cannot be numbered or put into categories. (Read Romans 11:33, 34.) In fact, Ezekiel’s vision itself reveals that God’s attributes are not limited in number or in scope. (Ps. 139:17, 18) What aspect of the vision highlights that important truth?