What kinds of faces did the creatures have?

In the first chapter of Ezekiel, Ezekiel sees four strange “living creatures”. Each creature has four faces: the face of a human, the face of a lion, the face of an ox, and the face of an eagle.

In chapter 10, Ezekiel sees the same four creatures again, and realizes they’re cherubs. It specifically says their faces looked the same as what he had seen earlier. (Which should go without saying, since they’re the same creatures.) Yet the description is different: This time, it says each creature has the face of a cherub, the face of a human, the face of a lion, and the face of an eagle. So instead of an ox face, this time they have “the face of a cherub”, whatever that means. (Isn’t that what all their faces are?)

Then in chapter 41, Ezekiel sees a depiction of some cherubs. This occurs while God is showing him a vision of a future temple he wants built. So this is what cherubs look like according to God. Yet their appearance doesn’t match the actual cherubs Ezekiel saw earlier. These cherubs have only two faces each: the face of a human and the face of a lion, facing in opposite directions. The living cherubs Ezekiel had seen earlier had the lion face to the right of the human face, not on the opposite side.

Possible explanations

Maybe the temple cherubs were 2-dimensional pictures shown from a perspective where you could only see two adjacent faces, and the other two faces were implied to be facing away from the viewer. Or maybe not all cherubs have the same configuration of faces, even if those particular four did. That would explain why the temple cherubs were different. But it doesn’t explain why the four living cherubs Ezekiel saw were different the second time he saw them, when it specifically says they were the same ones he saw the first time, and that their faces looked the same as they did the first time.

The only way that can be explained is if an ox face is just what “the face of a cherub” normally looks like. That doesn’t seem to be the case, though. It sounds like most cherub faces don’t look like ox faces.

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