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Wall of Souls

God seems to like images of cherubim in interior décor.  In the tabernacle, the veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the structure was covered with embroidered representations of these angelic creatures (Exodus 26:31).  In the temple built by Solomon, all the walls of the inner and outer rooms were covered in cherubim (1 Kings 6:29).  In addition, Solomon also built two huge cherubim statues and placed them in the Most Holy Place on either side of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 6:23-28).  Even the Ark of the Covenant itself was topped with the Atonement Cover that featured, as its main decoration, two cherubim with their wings spread out and touching each other and therefore overshadowing the Ark (Exodus 25:20). At first, I thought that all of this angelic imagery was just because the earthly tabernacle and temple were physical reflections of God's own heavenly dwelling.  Certainly we find, when we are allowed glimpses into the heavenly realities, that God is surrounded by angelic creatures at all times.  In Isaiah 6, when the prophet is allowed entrance into the heavenly temple, God is surrounded by seraphim ("burning ones") that constantly speak of His holiness.  When Ezekiel sees the presence of God in the first chapter of his prophecy, the initial details that he notes concern the "four living creatures" that proceed from midst of the glory.  We see the same thing again in Revelation 4, with the throne being surrounded by the four living creatures.  So, certainly the choice of decoration in the earthly copies of God's heavenly temple reflect the fact that God is constantly surrounded by His angelic host, but there is more to it than that.

In the tabernacle furnishings, the cherubim serve as a barrier.  They are most prominently displayed on the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.  Just like the cherubim of old that guarded the way back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24), this veil kept human beings from entering into the presence of God - or even from seeing into it.  And for the one gracious day of the year when the High Priest was allowed into the innermost part of the sanctuary to offer atonement, one final cherubic barrier existed between him and God: the golden cherubim atop the Mercy Seat, with their wings overshadowing the Ark.  God said that He would meet the High Priest here "from between the two cherubim that are on the Ark of the Testimony" (Exodus 25:22).  Once again, angel wings veil the presence of God from human sight.

But I don't believe that the sole purpose of the presence of these beings around the throne of God is to veil Him from sight; I believe that God orders His abode in this way because He delights in being surrounded by the praise of His creatures.  It's just that a natural feature of this temple whose walls are made of souls is that those who are not permitted to see the glory of the One at the center have their sight interrupted by all the other beings that surround His throne.

Thus it is with the church.  God is still building his temple walls with spiritual beings.  We are told in 1 Peter 2:5 that we ourselves "like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house".  Because of the reconciling work of Christ, believers are allowed access through the veil of His flesh (Hebrews 10:19-20) into the holy presence of God and there we become like pillars in His temple (Revelation 3:12).  And what is fascinating about all of this is that we then become both the veil and the representation of God's glory to all of those that are still outside of it.

So we are witnesses of His glory and His truth because, though these things have been veiled to those still in the world, they have been made clear to us (2 Corinthians 4:1-6).  And God has so ordained it that those who are outside cannot see in unless one of those who makes up the wall of His temple carries news of the glory to those who have not heard (Romans 10:14).  May we truly be a "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1) that makes the might and majesty of our Lord just as obvious as that pillar of cloud (angel wings?) and fire (the light of His glory) that led God's people through the wilderness.