The Frightening Reality of Cherubim Angels in the Bible


Secular imagery often portrays cherubs as cute, childlike, and Cupid-like angels, but as depicted in the Bible, cherubim angels, of which Lucifer was one, are mighty and, despite their beauty, are frightening creatures.

The frightening reality of cherubim in the Bible

There are many types of angels in the Bible, including archangels, seraphim, cherubim, and six other varieties.

Cherub is the singular term that refers to a type of angel in the Bible. The plural term for a group of this type of angel is cherubim.

According to the Bible, the cherubim have two jobs. One is guarding the throne of God; the other is guarding the way to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden.

The Bible seems to indicate that the cherubim are the angels who are closest to God.

What do cherubim look like?

The most common image many of us have in our minds when we think of a cherub is Cupid. This secular view of cherubs typically presents them as winged babe, with an adorable face and a dreamy expression. 

But that is not how the Bible describes cherubim at all. They are anything but cute; in fact, the descriptions of cherubim in the Bible sound downright frightening!

Here is the description of cherubim from Ezekiel 10.

“As for their appearance, the four of them looked alike; each was like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the cherubim faced; the wheels did not turn about as the cherubim went. The cherubim went in whatever direction the head faced without turning as they went. Their entire bodies, including their backs, hands, and wings, were full of eyes, as were their four wheels. I heard the wheels being called ‘the whirling wheels.’ 

Each of the cherubim had four faces: One face was that of a cherub, the second the face of a human being, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.”

– Ezekiel 10:10-14

Other Bible verses give us more detail about the cherubim…

“The wingspan of the cherubim was twenty cubits; the wing of one, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house, and its other wing, of five cubits, touched the wing of the other cherub.”

–2 Chronicles 3:11

According to one estimate, a cubit is approximately 1.5 feet, so a 20-cubit wingspan would be roughly 30 feet. Each wing was about 7.5 feet wide, leaving a width of about 15 feet for the cherub’s body. These are huge creatures!

“Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks.”

–Ezekiel 10:5

“And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.”

–Revelation 4:8

Satan was a cherub

The Bible tells us that Satan, who was called Lucifer before his fall, was a cherub.

It may stand to reason, then, being that Satan is the great deceiver, he would influence the world to have cherubs portrayed as their exact opposite – cute little creatures – when instead they are frightening. The devil is the most horrifying cherub of all.

In Ezekiel 28, in a passage concerning the king of Tyre, it is referring to the devil or Satan, as it speaks of being in the Garden of Eden.

“Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise, and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; they were prepared on the day you were created. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.”

– Ezekiel 28:12-17