Ezek. 41:18:KJV And it was made with cherubims and palm trees, so that a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two faces;

Verses 19-25 reveal that one of these two faces was of a “man” and the other face was of a “young lion”:

So that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side: it was made through all the house round about. ...

We also know that there were only two faces, one on each cherub overlooking the mercy seat of the earthly tabernacle as revealed in Exodus 25:18-22. Moreover, there is much reason to believe that the cherubim of the earthly temples had no more than two faces, and that they were no different faces than that of the “man” and the “young lion”.

However, In Ezek. 1:1, the heavens were opened up and the prophet saw visions of God. Moreover, he saw four creatures, each having four faces, not two. Ezek. 5:10 described them:

As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.

So paired up on the right side was the same two faces that showed up in the earthly dwelling places, and on the left side they each had the face of an ox and an eagle.

Likewise, John was shown the throne in heaven, and in Rev 4:6-7 four beasts, each having a certain likeness, or face. Again, the four different faces were like a lion, a calf, a man and a flying eagle.

And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

So what does the mean that only the face of the man and the face of the lion seem to apply to the earthly dwelling place of the LORD during His millennial reign, as well as to the prior earthly tabernacle and temples, whereas the heavenly throne shows four faces are required to be in connection with the heavenly throne.

  • 1
    It means Jesus Christ is Jehovah incarnate. 4 biographies: King, Slave, Man....and God.
    – Walter S
    Apr 17 '20 at 4:31
  • 1
    Your assumption that the vision of Ezekiel reveals a 'millenial reign (on earth)' is not demonstrated in the text.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 17 '20 at 7:05
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    Since the first passage concerns not actual cherubim, but their depictions, the answer might be that it is somewhat cumbersome to represent all four faces at once.
    – Lucian
    Apr 17 '20 at 7:13
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    "Refusal" is an unwarranted word. I don't understand the thought-process to use that word. No one's telling or suggesting to God what to do (Rm 11:34). Ex 25:20, for Moses' tabernacle, sounds like there's only one face (per cherub). By definition, "incarnate" means Jehovah God's dwelling place is flesh. The human body, soul, and spirit of the man Jesus (Col 2:9). And thus, like Rv 21--22, the central purpose of Ezek's building is allegory: of God in Christ as the Spirit mingling with many sons to produce God's expanded home (1 Cor 3:9). The fullness of the One who fills all in all. Plz forgive
    – Walter S
    Apr 17 '20 at 21:22
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    me for 2 comment bars in a row. It won't happen again. To the extent Ezek may also concern an inanimate temple in Jerusalem during Messiah's 1000 year reign on this old earth, the kingdom of the Son of Man (2 Sam 7:13; Ac 15:16; 1:6; Mt 13:41; Rv 11:5), then the emphasized faces would be "Matthew" and "Luke," namely the Lion (King) and Man. Since of course Jesus is Jehovah (Zech 14:3-4; Ac 1:11-12), but He will come, to Israel and the world, as the Son of Man, the Son of David (Dan 7:13; Mt 25:31; 1:1; Lk 3:38; 2:7).
    – Walter S
    Apr 17 '20 at 21:37

Possibly, there is no deeper significance to the number of cherubim depicted; it may have been an artistic decision, as @Lucian pointed out.

In Biblical texts, at times, numbers have symbolic significance, but we must be careful not to go beyond the (Spirit-inspired) author's intention.

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