- Cleanse the sin from the Heavenly Tabernacle of God.
- Cleanse the sin from the earth.
- Fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant with the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.
The Cherubim have the most prominent role of all the created heavenly beings because:
- They are the closest to God in His heavenly throne room.
- They surround God in all His glory.
- They play a prominent role at God’s command in the Third Heaven, which is outside time and space.
We have seen them in Ezekiel chapter 1, and in Ezekiel chapter 10 they are lifting God’s physical manifestation (the Shekinah Glory) up out of the Temple in Jerusalem. They are also seen in the heavenly Throne Room of God in several passages of the Book of Revelation (Revelation 4:6-9; 6:1,3,5-7). The highest of the Cherubim was called in Hebrew Hallal, and is translated into Latin as “Lucifer” or “Daystar, son of the morning”.
Sin began in heaven with Lucifer when he desired to usurp God’s authority. Due to his rebellion his name was changed to Satan, which is Hebrew for “adversary”. Satan was not created evil. Instead of remaining the special Cherub overshadowing the Throne of God, he now wished to become the one on the Throne, or God Himself. As a result of this behavior, his sin polluted the Heavenly Tabernacle of God. The earthly Tabernacle, and later the Temple in Jerusalem, are important because they were built according to God’s directions, and “serve as a copy and shadow” of His Heavenly Tabernacle here on earth. (Hebrews 8:5). They are also where God resided on the earth in the midst of His chosen people, the Nation Israel.
Christ said He saw Satan fall from Heaven (Luke 10:18), and Isaiah says:
12How are you fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, that did lay low the nations! 13And you said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north; 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High (ASV, 1901).
He said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God”, and whenever the word “stars” is used, it symbolically represents angels. With the second “I will”, he declared his desire to become the sole authority over all the angels that God had created. By so doing, he intended to depose Michael from his position and become the Archangel all by himself (Daniel 10:13). These “I wills” resulted from the pride of Satan that caused him to lead a revolt against God. He also drew one-third of the innumerable angelic host in Heaven into the rebellion with him (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation, 12:3-9). It is presumed that these “fallen angels” became the demons. From that point on there has been a war in Heaven as described in Revelation 12:7-9:
“7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (KJV)
After God created the heavens and the earth as described in Genesis 1:1, Satan indwelled a serpent in the Garden of Eden. In this form he caused our first parents, Adam and Eve, to violate God’s Word, and that brought sin into the world. So there now are essentially two “Falls”: the first was Satan and his angels from Heaven, and second was Adam and Eve on the earth. Now the Heavenly Tabernacle (Reason 1) and the earth (Reason 2) both required cleansing from the sin of Satan and his demonic forces.
Christ’s cleansing of the heavenly Tabernacle that is clearly affirmed in the Epistle to the Hebrews is not developed very much in the rest of the Bible. We have seen that sin, which is alienation from God, did not begin on earth but in Heaven. There was sin in heaven before there was sin on earth. The rebellious demons led by Satan instruct and encourage men to rebel against God. Heaven was still infected by vestiges of that demonic rebellion prior to Christ’s cleansing of it. A particularly difficult aspect for us to understand of that contamination was Satan’s ability to stand before the Almighty as man’s Accuser (Job 1:11; 2:15; Zechariah 3:1; Luke 33:21; 1 Peter 5:8). The Bible assures us that this situation will end. We have our protection in Christ Jesus, the Jewish Messiah from his accusations, and someday he will no longer be able to even make accusations:
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (KJV).
23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
When we consider the reasons that the Lord Jesus came to earth, the most important one is for the salvation of this earth and mankind. Because of the sin that our first parents Adam and Eve brought into the world, God said that He would send a redeemer to correct this event. God made a covenant with Adam immediately after the Fall from the Garden of Eden when God declared to Adam what man’s life would be like now that sin is in the world. The conditions of this covenant will exist until the Messianic Kingdom Age (Romans 8:21).
This covenant is unconditional which means there is no appeal, and there are no human conditions or responsibility involved. Mankind has no personal activity requirement, for example, if you do this, then I (God) will do that. The outcome of the arrangement is entirely based on God and His sovereign control. Elements of the covenant are the cursing of the serpent used by Satan (Genesis 3:14; Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 11:3, 14; Revelation 12:9), and the promise of a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15).
Because of the two “Falls” (first in in Heaven and then on earth) both locations have received the curse of God. The most significant curse was the “spiritual death” that Adam and Eve experienced “on the day they ate of the fruit.” This death was a break in the relationship they had enjoyed with God Himself while in the Garden and which caused them to be removed from the Garden. Cherubim, with a flame and swords that turned in every direction, was placed at the entrance to the Garden of Eden as a testimonial to covenantal restriction of Adam and Eve ever being allowed there again, and to guard the Tree of Life that was within the Garden (Genesis 3:24). Also according to the covenant, God made specific promises to bring the Lord Jesus, who would cleanse the Heavenly Tabernacle and make an end to sin on the earth (Genesis 3:15). Without Jesus’s sacrifice mankind has no access to Heaven upon death.
The fact that the Messiah had to come is well attested to in Scripture which starts with the foundational verse of Genesis 3:15:
15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (KJV).
One unique aspect of the Scriptures is the prophecies and their validated fulfillment at later times throughout the long chronology of the Bible’s story. These alone attest to the Scripture’s validity. Christ, after He was risen, explained many of the prophecies in the Bible and the fact that He had to die in order to accomplish the task He was to sent to do (Luke 24: 25-27). He is called the “Lamb of God” that takes away the sins of the world for a reason (John 1:29). Christ’s first advent is well prophesied in Scripture. Some of those are:
God Would Provide Himself A Sacrifice.
Introduced in Genesis 22:8 and fulfilled in John 19: 17-18.
He would be born in Bethlehem in the region of Ephrathah.
Introduced in Micah 5: 2 and fulfilled in Matthew 2: 1-5.
He would be the Son of God
Introduced in Psalm 2: 7 and fulfilled in John 3: 16-17.
He would be born into the Hebrew tribe of Judah
Genesis 49: 10 and fulfilled in Hebrews 7: 14.
He would be born of a virgin
Introduced in Isaiah 7: 14 and fulfilled in Matthew 1: 18-22.
He would be a prophet like Moses
Introduced in Deuteronomy 18: 15 and fulfilled in John 7: 15-17.
He would be the king of Israel
Introduced in Zechariah 9: 9 and fulfilled in John 12: 12-15.
He would be rejected
Introduced in Isaiah 53: 3 and fulfilled in John 1: 11.
He would be beaten
Introduced In Micah 5: 1 and fulfilled in Mark 15: 19.
He would be silent during his interrogation
Introduced in Isaiah 53: 7 and fulfilled in Matthew 27: 12-14.
He would be betrayed
Introduced in Psalm 41: 9 and fulfilled in Mark 14: 17-20.
He would be tried and condemned
Introduced in Isaiah 53: 8 and fulfilled Matthew 27: 1-2.
He would be crucified
Introduced in Psalm 22: 16 and fulfilled in John 19: 17-18.
His garments would be divided
Introduced in Psalm 22: 18 and fulfilled in John 19: 23-24.
He would be given gall and vinegar
Introduced in Psalm 69: 21 and fulfilled in John 19: 28-29.
His bones would not be broken
Introduced in Exodus 12: 46 and fulfilled in John 19: 31-36.
He is our sacrifice
Introduced in Isaiah 53: 5-6 and fulfilled in I Peter 2: 24-25.
He was raised from the dead
Introduced in Psalm 16: 10 and fulfilled in Luke 24: 1-7 and 47.
The resurrection of Christ is the most significant event in all of world history. It provides a remedy for the “Falls” that we have seen which came into Heaven and the earth as a result of the sin caused and originated by Satan. If one truly believes in the historical facts of the Gospel, and is regenerated, one is granted eternal life through the finished work of Jesus of Nazareth (Romans 6:23; Titus 3: 5). The gospel is clearly presented in several places in Scripture. None are clearer than I Corinthians 15:
1 Corinthians 15: 1-4
“1Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures,” (KJV).
This is not the end of Christ’s work. God made a covenant with a man named Abraham, who the Bible calls the first Hebrew (Genesis 14:13). The Messianic Kingdom will be the final fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham, and is the third reason Christ had to come to earth as a man. The Messianic Kingdom will happen after the seven year Great Tribulation is conducted by Jesus (Revelation 5). The purposes of the Great Tribulation are to make and end of sin, to conduct the greatest evangelistic effort the world has ever seen, and to bring the Jewish people (as a nation) to national regeneration through belief in their Messiah.
The chief characteristics of the Mosaic system were law and obedience. The chief characteristics of the present system, also called the Church age, are belief and grace. The chief characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom will be peace and righteousness (Isaiah 2.1-5, 11.1-10; Jeremiah 23.5-8). Other characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom are long life, perfect environment, and wealth.
There are many verses in the Old Testament prophesying the Messianic Kingdom. The orthodox Jews have long awaited it, and the Jews, who have not accepted Jesus as their Messiah, believe that He (their Messiah) will appear to set up the Messianic Kingdom. Some Old Testament references to the Kingdom are listed below:
- Isaiah 52:1 Jerusalem will be pure and no longer trodden down by the Gentiles (uncircumcised and unclean ones).
- Isaiah 60:3 Gentiles with their leaders will serve the Jews.
- Psalm 15:1-5 People in the Kingdom will possess a kind of righteousness.
- Isaiah 11:6-9 Universal peace will be prevalent and the world’s animals will be at peace with each other and be vegetarians.
- Isaiah 65:17-25 Here Isaiah describes the Messianic Kingdom’s new heaven and new earth, which is actually a renovation of the earth as we know it now. (This is not a description of the eternal order, which will be a complete new order to the heavens an earth described in Revelation 21-22.)
- Micah 4:1-5 Jehovah’s house in the Messianic Kingdom becomes a center of attention with Messianic teaching and the absence of war and universal peace.
It was this Messianic Kingdom that John the Baptizer proclaimed when he said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Jesus proclaimed the same message that John had begun, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). While the nation of Israel rejected their Messiah and His coming kingdom after Jesus’ crucifixion, the disciples continued to expect it to come. Right before His ascension the disciples said, “And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ “ (Acts 1:6). Jesus replied that He could not reveal this knowledge. Jesus did not reject the idea of the Messianic Kingdom or spiritualize it. He simply discussed it and His answer affirmed the prophetic Scriptures, but He just could not reveal the timetable. All the prophecies in the Old Testament related to the Messiah’s first advent have literally been fulfilled, therefore we can expect that the prophecies related to the Messiah and His Kingdom will also be literally fulfilled. Some New Testament references to the Kingdom are:
- Mark 1:15 – “the kingdom of God is at hand.”
- Luke 17:20, 21 – “the kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed… behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
- John 3:3 – unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
- Romans 14:17 – “the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
- Matthew 3:2; 4:17 – “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
- Matthew 5:3,10 – “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
- Matthew 5:19,20 – “enter the kingdom of heaven.”
- Ephesians 5:5 – “inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
- Colossians 1:13 – “the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
- II Peter 1:11 – “eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”
- Matthew 6:33 – “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…”
- John 18:36 – “My kingdom is not of this world/realm.”
- Acts 20:25 – “went about preaching the kingdom.”
Jesus taught His apostles to pray: “Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The Messianic Kingdom is coming, and He let them know that the when the Messianic Kingdom comes upon earth, it would mirror God’s heavenly Kingdom. This was to be sometime yet future to the time of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and to the time of Acts 1:6-7. With the world in increasingly worse turmoil we can say that the Messianic Kingdom has not yet arrived, and it is still yet future to us.
These are the reasons that Jesus had to come. He had to die to fulfill God’s requirement of justice for payment for sin.
Christmas is the time when the world celebrates His arrival on earth. We must be assured that He came to save us from our sins. God loves us so much that He gave us Himself as a gift to a fallen and sinful world. He has also promised to return. We look for His return……..
“16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (KJV)
Daniel E. Woodhead