3:24 Cherubims. The cherubim are apparently the highest beings in the hierarchy of angels, always associated with the immediate presence of God (Psalm 18:10; 80:1; 99:1; Ezekiel 1:4-28; 10:1-22; Revelation 4:6-8; etc.). Satan himself had once been the “anointed cherub” on God’s holy mountain (Ezekiel 28:14). The appointment of the cherubim to keep (or “guard”) the way to the tree of life, with swordlike tongues of flame flashing around them, suggests that God’s personal presence continued to be associated with the garden and the tree. By analogy with the representations of the cherubim in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:17-22; Hebrews 9:3-5), it may be that God continued to meet at stipulated intervals with his people at the entrance to the garden (see notes on Genesis 4:3-5).
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