If God in the second commandment forbids us to make any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven or that is in the earth, why was there inside the tabernacle a curtain (the one which separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place) with cherubim worked into it by a skilled craftsman? We know that those images were not worshipped; however could we then justify the untrue answer given by the Catholics according to which there is a difference between the adoration to God and the veneration given to the saints, to the dead and to Mary? And could we justify also the making of carved images and sculptures which are put by the Catholics in their houses, and in their places of worship, as the two cherubim were put into the Most Holy Place?
Here is the answer
First of all, I say to you that there are three fundamental and substantial differences between the sculptures of the two cherubim which were upon the holy ark and the sculptures of the saints, of Mary etc. made by the Roman Catholics.
The first difference is that while the cherubim which were in the Most Holy Place had been ordered by God, these sculptures made by the Roman Catholics are not at all commanded by God. For when God ordered Moses to tell the Israelites to make a sanctuary for Him, among other things He said to Moses: “And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 25:18-22). Therefore there was a divine commandment: Moses heard those words and obeyed.
The second difference is that the two cherubim made in the desert at God’s command, were not made in order to be put in a public place, open to everybody, where all the people could see them and thus be led to bow down before those sculptures and worship them. For the two cherubim were put upon the atonement cover or mercy seat, which was placed on top of the ark, which was inside the Most Holy Place where only the High Priest could enter once a year with the blood of some animals – that were offered to make atonement for the sins of the priests and of the people – to sprinkle it upon and before the atonement cover or mercy seat (Leviticus 16:14-15). Whereas the sculptures and the images of the Roman Catholic Church are placed everywhere to be greeted, venerated, and worshipped by the Roman Catholics.
The third difference is that the cherubim commanded by God were not made that the people might serve them and give them some sort of worship; whereas the images and the sculptures ordered by the Roman Theology are made to be served and to be really worshipped. It does not matter how this cult is called, it is a religious devotion directed toward some objects. And God calls this religious devotion IDOLATRY, which is an abomination in His sight.
As for the cherubim which were on the curtain that divided the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (Exodus 26:31-33), it must be said that they were commanded by God as the sculptures, and they were seen only by the High Priest when he entered into the Most Holy Place and also in the Holy Place to carry on the ministry God had given to him, and by the priests every time they entered into the Holy Place to carry on their ministry. Therefore, the people, since they could enter neither into the Holy Place nor in the Most Holy Place, could not see them and so they could not be tempted to worship them somehow. Therefore, God prevented the people from seeing even those cherubim which were worked into the curtain (which separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place) by a skilled craftsman. This is confirmed by the fact that God commanded to make for the entrance to the tent a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen (Exodus 26:36), but without any cherubim worked into it by a skilled craftsman, whereas he had commanded to make the curtain (which divided the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place) with cherubim worked into it by a skilled craftsman (see Exodus 36:35,37). And that curtain – that is, the curtain for the entrance to the tent – could be seen clearly by all those who came to offer a meat offering, or a peace offering or a sin offering or a burnt offering, for all those sacrifices had to be taken to the entrance of the tent.
Furthermore, to confirm what I have just said, I remember you that God did not order to make the cherubim worked by a skilful craftsman into the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard either, which was of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen (Exodus 38:18; 27:16), and you know that curtain could be seen by all the people who were encamped around the tabernacle tribe by tribe.
And I could add also that God did not order to make the priestly sacred garments with cherubim worked into them by a skilled craftsman either (Exodus 28:1-43).
All these differences, existing between the sculptures and images of the cherubim and the sculptures and images of the popish tradition, lead me to reaffirm that the sculptures and images of the popish tradition are forbidden by God, are an abomination in God’s sight, and that those who bow down before them and direct any kind of religious devotion toward them are idolaters, who will not inherit the kingdom of God. We cannot justify the sculptures and images of the Roman Catholic Church through the sculptures of the cherubim and the cherubim worked into the curtain inside the tabernacle which were ordered by God.
Why did God order those things? Considering that it is written that God “sitteth between the cherubims” (Psalm 99:1; cf. Isaiah 37:16 and Ezekiel 10:1-22), I believe that the reason was to remember His priests that His heavenly throne was between the cherubim.