308. As the signification of the "east" and of the "garden of Eden" were given above, it is needless to dwell longer on them; but that " cherubim" denote the providence of the Lord lest man should insanely enter into the mysteries of faith from his Own, and from what is of the senses and of memory-knowledge [sensuali et scientifico], and should thus profane them, and destroy himself, is evident from all the passages in the Word where mention is made of "cherubim." As the Jews were of such a quality that if they had possessed any clear knowledge concerning the Lord's coming, concerning the representatives or types of the church as being significative of Him, concerning the life after death, concerning the interior man and the internal sense of the Word, they would have profaned it, and would have perished eternally; therefore this was represented by the " cherubim" on the mercy-seat over the ark, upon the curtains of the tabernacle, upon the vail, and also in the temple; and it was signified that the Lord had them in keeping (Exod. 25:18-21; 26:1, 31; 1 Kings 6:23-29, 32). For the ark, in which was the testimony, signified the same as the tree of lives in this passage, namely, the Lord and the celestial things which belong solely to Him. Hence also the Lord is so often called the "God of Israel sitting on the cherubim" and hence He spake with Moses and Aaron "between the cherubim" (Exod. 25:22; Num. 7:89).
This is plainly described in Ezekiel, where it is said:
The glory of the God of Israel was uplifted from upon the cherub whereon He was, to the threshold of the house. And He called to the man clothed with linen, and said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men who groan and sigh for all the abominations done in the midst thereof. And to the others He said, Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay to blotting out the old man, and the young man, and the virgin, the infant, and the women; defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain (Ezek. 9:3-7).
He said to the man clothed in linen, Go in between the wheel to beneath the cherub, and fill thy palms with coals of fire from between the cherubim, and scatter them over the city; the cherub put forth his hand from between the cherubim unto the fire which was between the cherubim, and took thereof, and put it into the palms of him that was clothed in linen, who took it and went out (Ezek. 10:2, 7).
From these passages it is evident that the providence of the Lord in preventing men from entering into the mysteries of faith is signified by the "cherubim;" and that therefore they were left to their insane cupidities, here also signified by the "fire that was to be scattered over the city" and that "none should be spared."