Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.

Revelation 22: 14

Reading: Genesis 3; Revelation 22

What a tragic day it was when God stationed mighty Cherubim and a flaming sword to block the way to the Tree of Life. The serpent had mightily deceived Adam and Eve - for they did indeed die as a result of losing access to the Tree of Life.

Adam, before the fall, is conceived as a superhuman being; for while he is forbidden to taste of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the way to immortality is open to him. It is only after transgressing the Divine command that he merits death and becomes mortal. Not only that, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. 

They were banished for various reasons. Today, we're going to discuss that fact that they were banished in order to protect Heaven.

At that time, Heaven and Earth were close. Eden was not just the place of mankind's dwelling but of God's dwelling as well. Sin can obviously not be allowed to disturb the perfection of Heaven and so Adam and Eve were escorted from Eden into the wilderness beyond. 

We need to see that banishment from Eden was not just an act of justice, but an act of God's mercy. Eating from the tree would not have reversed the effects of their sin. On the contrary, it would have sealed their fate. Eating of the Tree of Life would have doomed them to an eternal state of sin. 

Who or what are these Cherubim that God set to "keep the way of the Tree of Life"? When most people think of Cherubs they think of pudgy little baby-like creatures, with two little wings, who are rather cute. However, that's not how the Bible describes them! Cherubs (the correct plural is Cherubim) are described in two books of the Bible, Genesis and Ezekiel.

In Genesis they guard the Garden of Eden, following Adam and Eve's banishment from the Garden, and are described holding flaming swords. These are the same Cherubim that Ezekiel saw. From a distance, Ezekiel saw a great cloud flashing with lightning and fire. Even from a distance, he saw something “like glowing metal in the midst of the fire” (Ezek. 1:4). As the cloud approached, he saw what’s inside—living beings, later identified as “cherubim” (Ezek. 10:1). They have a human form (Ezek. 1:5), but with bronze legs and hooved feet (Ezek. 1:6) and four wings (Ezek. 1:6). Each cherub has four faces—the face of a bull, a lion, an eagle, and a man (Ezek. 1:10). 

Beside each of the living creatures is a wheel of sparkling beryl, wheels that move at the direction of the living creatures, since “the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels” (Ezek. 1:21). The wheels indicate that this Cherubim cloud is also a chariot—Yahweh’s chariot that was usually “parked” in the Most Holy Place of the temple (cf. 1 Chron. 28:18). Together, the creatures and the wheels form Yahweh’s mobile palanquin.

Above the heads of the Cherubim is an expanse, a firmament gleaming like ice (Ezek. 1:22), and above the expanse, Ezekiel sees a lapis lazuli throne, occupied by a figure like a man made of fire and metal (Ezek. 1:26–27). This is the heart of the vision. The Cherubim and wheels and the expanse are only mechanisms to move the enthroned One from place to place. At the center of the vision is Yahweh himself, appearing as a glorified man to the prophet by the river Chebar. 

Certainly an amazing scene. Ezekiel saw four Cherubim but there may be more. The word Cherub may come from a term 'to guard' which would fit well with their role. Interestingly, nowhere in the Bible are the Cherubim directly called angels. Far from being cute, cuddly creatures, the Cherubim are mighty and powerful guardians.

There is certainly no chance that any human being could bust his way through these Cherubim to lay hold of the Tree of Life. 

Yet, in our Revelation Reading for today, we see that the way to the Tree of Life is open again. To whom? To those who have been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. 

“Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.” (Revelation 22:14)

Those who seek forgiveness of sin and a restored relationship with God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ are given access to the Tree of Life (eternal life), but those who remain in disobedience will be denied. The Tree of Life provides continuous, everlasting life to all who partake of it, for it signifies the eternal life of God made available to redeemed humanity. It is none other than Jesus himself. 


Thank You Father that You have granted me access once again to the Tree of Life. I love you.  

For the family

You and your kids will enjoy watching this video about angels and cherubim.