As young man I was led to believe that the villains of the bible were mainly disloyal friends and roman functionaries with an over-zealous commitment to centralised governance. The text was dry enough that I checked out once I absorbed the Christmas pageant/Easter sections, and assumed that I had missed nothing of note. In retrospect, bailing on the bible before reading revelations is like turning off a porno because you assume that broke housewife will never be able to afford that pizza. Once the rapture kicks in the bible’s closing act is a grind house monster thriller with abominations that would make H.R. Geiger blush.
It’s from this blood-soaked, apocalyptic soil that we will cultivate our next batch of Terrible Monsters. First up: The Cherubim.
The Cherubim were the guardians of the gates of Eden, set there by God to ensure we could not return to our early place of grace and immortality, lost to us in a moment of careless fruit consumption. It seems harsh, but snatching apples is the biblical equivalent of taking someones else’s clearly labeled lunch from the work fridge.There are a few cursory descriptions of the Cherubim early in the bible, but it wasn’t until Revelations that the mad Prophet Ezekiel laid out the Cherubim’s convoluted physiology in a compelling, if confusing, freestyle verse.
Ez 10- 8 The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man’s hand under their wings… As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle. … Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. And each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle… Each one had four faces and each one four wings, and beneath their wings was the form of human hands.