The prophet Ezekiel described the angelic cherubim as the motive power operating the throne of God. Their four faces—ox, lion, eagle and man—mysteriously correspond to seasonal gateways of the ancient mazzaroth, the zodiac. Representations of the cherubim were embroidered on the curtain in the Temple and statues of their winged forms overshadowed the Ark of the Covenant within the Holy of Holies.
The prophet Isaiah, on the other hand, described his vision of the angelic seraphim within the heavenly Temple. Seraph means burning serpent and Isaiah adds in the detail that these celestial creatures were not only six-winged but constantly cried, ‘Holy, holy, holy!’
The difference between cherubim and seraphim—if there is one—is unclear. Both classes of angels are officers of the divine court system—royal, judicial and war—and are intimate functionaries and counsellors of the Lord. They protect sacred space. They watch over the entrances. They guard the throne.
Because the gifts and offices of God are irrevocable, fallen threshold spirits can still legitimately perform their old assigned tasks. Leviathan, for example, one of the fire-serpent dragon-like seraphim, can still remove anyone walking in dishonour from the grounds of the divine court. And it doesn’t do so gently.
Leviathan is an enigma. It is an angelic potentate made to frolic in the deep, yet it is also the template for a spatial configuration within a sacred precinct. How can we understand such a being? Yet, as we look to Jesus, we see He described His own body as the Temple.
This tells us that Leviathan is, in some way, counterfeiting the Lord’s body. It’s a creature, a blueprint, a counterfeit and an integral feature of the landscape, much as the Levites were—living on the land, as part of life in the villages of Israel. Leviathan is a ‘joining’ aspect, much as the Levites ‘joined’ together the tribal confederation.
In terms of counterfeiting the Temple, Leviathan corresponds to the three main ritual objects within the Inner Court where only the Levites could go:
- The seven-branched menorah
- The altar of incense
- The table of showbread
The seven-branched menorah parallels the seven flame-tongued heads of Leviathan, the altar of incense reminds us of its fiery breath and the smoke rising from its nostrils, and the table of showbread to the promise that, at the End of Days, Leviathan will be food for the people.
There are similarities with the cherubim. First mentioned as the sword-wielding protectors of Eden, they repeat their role as gatekeepers in the Temple. And like Leviathan, they are encoded in the Temple blueprints—in dividing curtains that separate one space from the next and as massive statues overlooking the mercy-seat on the Ark of the Covenant, the place where heaven meets earth.
The Tabernacle, originally constructed by Moses in the wilderness, was ultimately installed within the Temple. Yet again, the threshold spirits, the former throne guardians of heaven, show up in the design. The layout of the Tabernacle mirrors the war camp of Rameses the Great at the battle of Kadesh. All Pharaoh’s battles were victories, of course, and despite the inconclusive nature of this one, Rameses was so proud of it that he commemorated it many times in places throughout his kingdom.
Kadesh means holy, and there are many localities throughout the Middle East with this name. It also happens to be the name of a Canaanite goddess, sometimes considered to be identical to Rameses’ patron goddess, the chaos and carnage-bringing warrior, Anat.
This raises a lot of questions. Did Moses obey God and follow the instructions for building the Tabernacle? Or did he copy the famous war camp of Rameses? Or did Anat, once a throne guardian, duplicate a counterfeit of the royal court of God?
Now, you might think that, of course, Moses did exactly as God asked. But there are several occasions on record where we can see that that’s far from true.
The significance of these questions only becomes apparent when we realise that there is a stunning connection between the Tabernacle, the Temple, the Body of Jesus as the Temple, the land of Israel and our own bodies as the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
A claim on the first, the Tabernacle, is a claim on all.
A lien on the first is a lien on all.
Legal rights over the first constitute legal rights over all.
Now it’s wise to remember that these spirits don’t take no as never. They’re like the pushy salesperson to whom no means not now and maybe means yes. If there’s any doubt at all that Leviathan or Anat have rights over our bodies as the Temple of the Holy Spirit, they will act as if those rights exist—whether they do or not.
Anything less than a complete annulment of their claim, lien or declared entitlement is, in their view, invalid and they can exercise their spiritual legal right at their own convenience. The cancellation of such covenants inevitably involves retaliation but Jesus has already suffered that on our behalf. It is His blood that enables a total revocation of these covenants—and nothing less.
We need to ask Him, as our mediator and paraclete, to annul these alliances, covenants and agreements for us. And to cleanse our bodies as once He cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem.
This is Grace Drops and I’m Anne Hamilton. May Yeshua cleanse your Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you to Lorna Skinner of www.riversofmusic.co.uk for the background music.
An introduction to threshold guardians (though not to Anat) can be found in God’s Pageantry: the Threshold Guardians and the Covenant Defender.