Genesis 3:24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
The Hebrew word for cherub is kerub: probably an order of angelic beings (Strong’s Concordance).
A form of the word “kerub” is referenced 91 times in the Old Testament per Strong’s. The derivation of the term is unknown. Cherub is the singular form and Cherubim is the plural form.
The first reference of the word cherubim is noted after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. The context is that of judgment and protection. Fire is associated with the context indicating purification.
What are the physical characteristics of a cherub? They have wings and they can be a vehicle of transportation.
2 Samuel 22:11 He rode on a cherub and flew; He was seen on the wings of the wind.
The Prophet Ezekiel probably provides the best eye witness account and physical description of cherubim in the Bible. Like the seraphim, cherubim are associated with burning coals. The coals purify and cleanse.
Ezekiel 10:2 And He said to the man clothed in linen, “Go in among the whirling wheels underneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city.”
Cherubim have the ability to stand upright.
Ezekiel 10:3a Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the house…
Apparently, the wings of the cherubim are in constant motion and the noise created is loud. Scripture tells us God’s voice is comparable to rushing water or thunder.
Ezekiel 10:5 And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when He speaks.
Like seraphim, heat and fire do not burn cherubim. They also appear to have hands like humans which are located under their wings.
Ezekiel 10:7-8 And a cherub stretched out his hand from between the cherubim to the fire that was between the cherubim, and took some of it and put it into the hands of the man clothed in linen, who took it and went out. The cherubim appeared to have the form of a human hand under their wings.
The facial structure and appearance of a cherub is different than a human. They are unique in their appearance. This distinction is made in the physical description of a “whirling wheel” below.
Ezekiel 10:14 And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was a human face, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.