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Cherubim and Angels in Solomon's Temple Sanctuary

Cherubim and AngelsAngels, described as spiritual entities in the service of God, play a prominent role in Judaism and appear in the Jewish scriptures, from the early books of the Bible and throughout the centuries.

In the Bible there appears a certain hierarchy of these forms, named in Hebrew (plural): Malakhim, Cherubim, Sarim, Seraphim, Chayyot and Ophanim. Only two such angels appear to have precise names, the archangels Michael and Gabriel. These biblical angels are described as bearing various forms, from human appearance to pillars of fire and cloud, fire in a bush or lightning.

The winged forms of angels are described in Jewish mysticism as an integral part of God's throne or his divine chariot with which He travels the universe. The winged cherubim are particularly well known from the detailed description of the sculptured, engraved and embroidered decorations used in the ornamentation of the Ark of the Covenant and the holy sanctuary of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.

Angel Contact Solomon AmuletThe holy sanctuary, named Kodesh Hakodashim - Holy of Holies, was the one place in the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, where only the High Priest could enter and that on a designated day once a year. It housed the Ark of the Covenant, with the two stone tablets brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai, and containing the Ten Commandments.

The sanctuary contained two huge figures of winged cherubim made of olive wood. Each stood 10 cubits high (cubit is approximately 45 cm or 18 inches). Each had outspread wings which stretched 10 cubits from tip to tip, so that since they stood side by side, the wings touched the wall on either side and met in the center of the room.

It has been speculated that the forms of the cherubim in the Temple originated from the winged and human-headed bulls of Babylon, also named Cherubim, which guarded the gates of the royal palace, and were considered a lesser order of deities. Similar winged forms with human faces and two outstretched wings attached to the arms were also common in Egyptian and Assyrian art.

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