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Guardians of the Galaxy

Is there evidence of cherubim outside the Bible?

There are many incredible, fanciful tales of heroes, gods, magical creatures, and the like. The half-god, half-human hero Hercules is a prime example. Other popular fables include the exploits of the wizard Merlin along with King Arthur and his famous Knights of the Round Table. While all agree that these stories are purely myth, it is also generally agreed that many of these tales have some basis in reality (no matter how small). Indeed, when we follow “the development of myth it can be observed that over time history can be made into myth and myth can become more mythical…”[1] It is not difficult to imagine how a true story could become inflated and corrupted as it is told and retold by many different cultures throughout the ages.

“Cherubim-like figures are found in ancient Near East iconography on everything from monumental architecture in temples and palaces to reliefs and seals.

Randall Price

The same seems to be true for certain mythological creatures—in particular those which are animal/human hybrids such as the sphinx and griffin—though, it appears that the various portrayals of these creatures are closer to reality than one might expect. In any attempt to separate fact from fiction, we must consider the Biblical record which has repeatedly demonstrated itself as a reliable and trustworthy account of history. And one does not have to look too far into the Biblical text to discover a possible connection. That’s because in just the third chapter of Genesis we are introduced to those heavenly creatures called cherubim.

Interestingly, the Bible describes these angelic beings as having both animal and humanlike features (such as wings, human hands, and multiple faces including that of a man, lion, and eagle) and their primary function seems to be that of guardian or protector. With this important role it is obvious why images of cherubim were found everywhere in the Israelite Tabernacle and Temple. But images of these guardians are not exclusive to Israel: “Cherubim-like figures are found in ancient Near East iconography on everything from monumental architecture in temples and palaces to reliefs and seals.”[2] Because their true image was eventually lost over time, the cherubim “are variously depicted as creatures that are composites of human and animals. In Sumer the figures are of winged humans; In Egypt, Syria, and Israel the figures are of winged humans or a composite of a lion and a human (sphinx); in Assyria and Babylon, a winged bull and a human; and in Greece, a bird and a human (griffin)”.[3]

Despite their various appearances, their role as protectors and guardians remained the same. For images of such creatures have been found flanking the thrones of kings or placed at the entrances to temples. A prime example is “the golden throne…of King Tutankhamen [which] has arms made like winged lions and his burial chamber is surrounded on four sides by pairs of winged human figures”.[4]

Based on these findings it seems likely that these mythological creatures are images based upon the very real angelic beings known as cherubim.

Ryan Hembree is a daily co-host, speaker, and writer of Bible Discovery. He also hosts a YouTube channel that shows the unity of the Bible and how science and Scripture fit together. Ryan also has an honorary Masters of Ministry in Creation Science from Phoenix University of Theology.

[1] Randall Price, Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology, 62.
[2] Randall Price, Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology, 52.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.

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  1. My wife and I enjoy seeing your program daily and I just enjoyed reading about Guardians of the Galaxy. The intriguing angle that Ryan and Corie bring to your program about archaeology and refuting errors and contradictions is something that I believe God is using to bring unbelievers to faith in Christ and believers to a greater faith in their daily walk with the Lord. Thank you Ryan and Corie! The truths that Rod digs out of the Word for us are thought provoking and things we can live by, and Janice adds spice to the program with her riddles and questions which make us think. Thank you Rod and Janice!