97. Moreover, it should be known that the sense of the Letter of the Word is a guard for the genuine truths lying within it. It is a guard in this respect that it may be turned this way and that, and interpreted to one's own apprehension, without its interior content being injured or violated. It does no harm that the sense of the Letter of the Word is understood differently by different persons: but harm results when Divine truths, lying concealed within, are perverted, for in this way violence is inflicted on the Word. To prevent this, the sense of the Letter is a guard; and it acts as a guard with those who are in falsities from their religion, but who do not confirm these falsities, for such men do no violence [to the Word].
 This guard is signified by the cherubim, and is also described by them in the Word. This is signified by the cherubim which, after the expulsion of Adam and his wife from the Garden of Eden, were placed at the entrance. Of these we read:
When Jehovah God drove out the man, He placed at (ab) the east of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Gen. iii 23, 24.
By the cherubim is signified a guard; by the way of the tree of life is signified access to the Lord, which men obtain through the Word; and by the flaming sword turning every way is signified Divine Truth in ultimates which, like the Word in the sense of the Letter, can be so turned.
 The same is meant by
The cherubim of gold placed over the extremities of the mercy-seat which was above the ark in the tabernacle. Exod. xxv 18-21.
Because this was signified by the cherubim therefore
The Lord talked with Moses between the cherubim. Exod. xxv 22; xxxvii 9; Num. vii 89.
It may be seen above in Nos. 37-49 that the Lord does not speak with men except in fulness, and the Word in the sense of the Letter is Divine Truth in fulness; and consequently the Lord talked with Moses between the cherubim. Nothing else was signified by
The cherubim upon the curtains of the tabernacle and upon the veils there. Exod. xxvi 1, 31.
for the curtains and the veils of the tabernacle signified the ultimates of heaven and the Church, and consequently of the Word, as may be seen above No. 46. Nothing else was signified by
The cherubim in the midst of the temple at Jerusalem. 1 Kings vi 23, 28;
Also by the cherubim carved on the walls and doors of the temple. 1 Kings vi 29, 32, 35;
And also by the cherubim in the new temple. Ezek. xli 18-20.
See also above No. 47.
 Since cherubim signified a guard lest the Lord, heaven and Divine Truth as it is interiorly within the Word, should be approached immediately instead of mediately through ultimates, therefore it is said of the King of Tyre:
Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, the Garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering ... Thou, O cherub, art the spreading forth of the covering (A.V. art the anointed cherub that covereth) ... I have destroyed thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Ezek. xxviii 12, 13, 14, 16.
Tyre signifies the Church as to the cognitions of truth and good; and hence its king signifies the Word which is the source of cognitions. It is evident that the king here signifies the Word in its ultimate, that is, the sense of the Letter, and the cherubim a guard, for it is said: "Thou sealest up the sum, every precious stone was thy covering; thou, O cherub, art the spreading forth of the covering"; and "O covering cherub". By the precious stones also mentioned here are signified the truths of the sense of the Letter of the Word, as may be seen above No. 45.
Since by the cherubim is signified the ultimate of Divine Truth, and also a guard, therefore it is said in the Psalms:
Jehovah bowed the heavens, and came down ... And he rode upon a cherub. Ps. xviii 9, 10.
O Shepherd of Israel ... thou that dwellest upon the cherubim, shine forth. Ps. lxxxi 1. Jehovah sitteth on the cherubim. Ps. xcix 1.
To ride upon the cherubim, to dwell upon them and to sit on them, means on the ultimate sense of the Word.
 Divine Truth in the Word and the nature of that Truth are described by the cherubim in Ezekiel i, ix, and x. But as no one can know what is signified by the particulars of their description except one to whom the spiritual sense has been opened, therefore it has been revealed to me what is signified in brief by all those things which are said of the cherubim in the first chapter of Ezekiel, as:
The external Divine sphere of the Word is described. v 4. This is represented as a man. v 5. As conjoined with spiritual and celestial things. v 6. The nature of the natural of the Word. v 7. The nature of the spiritual and the celestial of the Word conjoined with its natural. v 8, 9. The Divine Love of celestial, spiritual and natural good and truth therein, separately and together. v 10, 11. They look to one end. v 12. The sphere of the Word from the Lord's Divine Good and Divine Truth, from which the Word lives. v 13, 14. The doctrine of good and truth in the Word and from the Word. v 15-21. The Divine of the Lord above it and in it, v 22, 23;
And from it. v 24, 25. The Lord is above the heavens. v 26. And to Him belong Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. v 27, 28.
These summaries have been compared with the Word in heaven, and are in conformity with it.