Above it stood the seraphims
Not above the temple, nor above the throne, much less above him that sat upon it, but either "by him", on the right hand and on the left, as Aben Ezra; or "near him", as Kimchi and Ben Melech; or "before him", as the Targum; or "round about him", as the Septuagint; all which denote the ministering form in which they stood; by whom are meant, not the Son and Spirit, as some of the ancients thought, who imagined the Father to be the Person sitting on the throne; nor the two Testaments, as Jerom; nor angels, which is the common interpretation; but ministers of the Gospel, the same with the four beasts in ( Revelation 4:6 ) and the four living creatures in ( Ezekiel 1:5 ) the Jewish commentators in general agree that these are the same with Ezekiel's living creatures; so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi; and the first of these cites the Midrash Agada, as saying this is the Mercavah, which is the name they give to Ezekiel's vision of the living creatures and wheels; and this appears by their name "seraphim", which signifies "burning", and so Ezekiel's living creatures are said to be "like burning coals of fire", ( Ezekiel 1:13 ) and the ministers of the Gospel are so called, because of their ministerial gifts, compared to fire, as the gifts of the spirit of God are, especially those which the apostles had bestowed on them, who were baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire, ( Matthew 3:11 ) ( Acts 1:5 ) ( 2:3 ) and even the ordinary gifts of the spirit are signified by the same figure, ( 1 Timothy 1:6 ) ( 1 Thessalonians 5:19 ) and because of their light, which they have in the truths of the Gospel; and because of their fervent and ardent love to Christ and immortal souls; and because of their flaming zeal for his cause and interest: and this also appears by their situation near the throne, see ( Ezekiel 1:26 ) ( Revelation 4:6 ) and Christ on it; where they stand as servants waiting upon him, and in order to receive from him, and where they enjoy communion with him; or "above" it may mean the temple, the church, where they stand in the highest place in it, and are over others in the Lord; they stand as servants to Christ, but preside in the church as the rulers and governors of it; to which agrees the Targum,
``holy ministers on high before him:''and this further appears by their wings, each one had six wings;
as Ezekiel's living creatures, ( Ezekiel 1:4 Ezekiel 1:11 Ezekiel 1:23 ) and John's four beasts, ( Revelation 4:8 ) : with twain he covered his face;
that it might not be seen, as the Targum adds; expressive of their modesty and humility, looking, upon themselves as less than the least of all the saints, and the chief of sinners, and as ashamed of themselves before the Lord; or that they might not look upon the divine Majesty, as Jarchi; or rather as being unable to look upon the dazzling glory and infinite perfections of his being; so Elijah wrapped his face in a mantle, when he heard the still small voice of the Lord, ( 1 Kings 19:12 1 Kings 19:13 ) and as Moses before him did, ( Exodus 3:6 ) being afraid to look upon God, conscious of creature distance, and of sinfulness and unworthiness; and therefore not so suitable to angels, who always behold the face of God, ( Matthew 18:10 ) : with twain he covered his feet;
or body, that it might not be seen, as the Targum; as conscious of the imperfection of their conduct, walk, and conversation, as ministers and Christians, in the sight of God, however beautiful their feet may appear to others, ( Isaiah 52:7 ) : and with twain he did fly:
or minister, as the Targum; this denotes their readiness and swiftness in preaching the everlasting Gospel, running to and fro with it, having their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace: see ( Revelation 14:6 ) ( Ephesians 6:15 ) .