When God appeared to the Israelites atop the Holy Mountain, the people were so terrified they said to Moses, “Let not God speak to us.” God wanted to speak to them face to face. That’s what we humans were made for. But God understood their fear and how their humanity separated them from His holiness. Because of humanity’s sinfulness, and because humans didn’t know God’s heart, there were veils, mists, clouds, burning bushes!
Later, Moses prayed: “The Lord unveil His face to you.” He also said, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets.” Then in the fullness of time, Jesus Christ came and showed the world the Father by making us pure enough to stand in the Father’s presence, clothed with and redeemed by Christ’s righteousness. At last Jesus declared, “If you have seen me you have seen the father” and “I go to my God and to your God, and to my Father and your Father.”
The verse about the cherubims shows the majestic holiness of God. Cherubims are the heavenly beings who represent the earthly creation. They and the seraphim surround God’s throne. One fascinating thing about the cherubim is that they sometimes appear separated from each other and sometimes they are joined together, The cherubim seem to be a fluid part of each other, a unity, always fully themselves but still strangley united — often changing faces with each other. In many of their manifestations, they have eyes on their wings and their body These eyes are always seeing God and possibly always seeing everything on the earth as well. In addition, because they never turn from seeing God (and are able to share their four faces) they seem to have feet which are straight down. In that way they never turn their face from God. They are always praising God’s holiness.
This is a configuration and unity we humans, who are so separate from each other can’t begin to figure out. On earth a marriage is an entity but the husband and the wife — who become one in the spirit. We can’t even figure out how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together. Yes, they are terrifying indeed.
1The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.
2The LORD is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.
3Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.
4The king’s strength also loveth judgment; thou dost establish equity, thou executest judgment and righteousness in Jacob.
5Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.
6Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
7He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar: they kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.
8Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions.
9Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.