Did you ever sing in a Cherub Choir? These groups are usually filled with preschoolers and called Cherubs because they sing like little angels. They are my favorite singers of all.
Cherub, or the plural Cherubim, is a classification of angels in the Bible. They are mentioned from Genesis to Revelation, and are often described as serving the will of God by performing sacred tasks in Heaven and earth. Revelation 4:6-9 describes the Cherubim in the act of magnifying the holiness and power of God.
Painters and musicians throughout history have tried to capture the Cherubim with brush or song. The masterpiece portrait by Raphael titled “The Madonna of San Sisto” features the two cutest cherubs ever painted in art’s history.
The most noteworthy of classical music is by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (composer of The Nutcracker) titled “Hymn of the Cherubim” from his a cappella choral work, “The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.” It begins with the words, “We who mystically represent the Cherubim, and who sing to the life-giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn.”
Even irreligious contemporary recording artist Elton John mentioned Cherubim in his profane song “It’s tough to be god.” The key phrase is, “I hardly think I’m qualified to come across all sanctified, I just don’t cut it with the Cherubim.”
And we all know the beloved hymn by Anglican bishop Reginald Heber: “Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee, Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea, Cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee, Which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.”
But Cherubim are not as childlike as some poets, artists and musicians would lead you to believe. The Cherubim are first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 3:24, “After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”
If the Cherubim were all sweet and cuddly, God would not have placed them in such a volatile position. In her new book "A Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible" (Oxford University Press, 2021), Kristin Swenson wrote "Contrary to popular opinion and many a Christmas card, the Bible's cherubim are ferocious creatures….. they would have to be scary, serving as they did to guard the sacred."
Did you know that Lucifer himself is a fallen Cherub (Ezekiel 28:14)? Knowing this, we see these amazing angels in new light. Throughout the Bible, the Cherubim have been Divinely anointed, strategically appointed, and have reveled in the glory of God (Hebrews 9:5; Revelation 4:6).
The angels belong to God. They are sacred. May we never trivialize or lose the awe of what God reveres. As it says in Psalm 29:2 (NKJV), "Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”