239. And in the midst of the throne and round about the throne, there were four animals, signifies the Word of the Lord from first to ultimates, and its guards. I know they will wonder that it should be said, "the four animals" signify the Word; that this is their signification, will however be seen in what follows. These "animals" are the same as "the cherubim" in Ezekiel, where they are also called "animals" in chapter 1, but "cherubim" in chapter 10, and were, in like manner as here, a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. In the Hebrew language they are there called "chajoth," a word which indeed signifies animals, but is derived from "chaja," which is life, whence also the wife of Adam was called "Chaja" (Genesis 3:20). "Animal" in the singular number is also called "chaja" in Ezekiel, therefore those animals may also be called living things. Neither is it anything extraordinary that the Word is described by animals, since the Lord Himself in many parts of the Word is called "a lion," and often "Lamb," and they who are in charity from the Lord are called "sheep"; and the understanding also of the Word, in what follows, is called "a horse." That the Word is signified by these "animals" or "cherubim," is evident from this, that they were seen "in the midst of the throne and round about the throne," and in the midst of the throne was the Lord, and, as the Lord is the Word, they could not be seen anywhere else. That they were round about the throne also, was, because they were in the angelic heaven, where also the Word is.
 That by "cherubim" is signified the Word, and its guards, is shown in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 97), where are the following words:
The sense of the letter of the Word serves as a guard for the genuine truths which lie within; and the guard consists in this, that the literal sense can be turned hither and thither, that is, can be explained according to everyone's apprehension, without its internal being hurt or violated; for no harm ensues from the literal sense being understood differently by different people; but it does harm when the Divine truths which are within are perverted, for it is by this that the Word suffers violence. To prevent this, the literal sense guards, and it guards with those who are in falsities from religion, but yet do not confirm them, for from these the Word suffers no violence. This guard is signified by "cherubim," and is also described by them in the Word. This guard is signified by "the cherubim," which after the expulsion of Adam and his wife from the garden of Eden, were placed at its entrance; concerning which we read:
When Jehovah God had driven out the man, He made to dwell from the east to the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flame of a sword, which turned every way, to guard the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:23-24).
By "cherubim" is signified a guard; by "the way of the tree of life" is signified admission to the Lord, which is given to men through the Word; by "a flame of a sword which turned every way," is signified the Divine truth in ultimates, which is as the Word in the sense of the letter, that allows of being turned this way and that.
 The same is meant by:
The cherubim made of gold over the two extremities of the mercy-seat, which was above the ark in the Tabernacle (Exod. 25:18-21).
Because this was signified by "cherubim," therefore:
Jehovah spoke from between them with Moses (Exod. 25:22; 30:6; Num. 7:89).
Nor was anything else understood by:
The cherubim over the curtains of the tabernacle and over the veil there (Exod. 26:31).
For the curtains and veil of the tabernacle represented the ultimates of heaven, and the church, thus also the ultimates of the Word. Nothing else is signified by the cherubim in the middle of the temple of Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:23-28); and by the cherubim carved upon the walls and doors of the temple (1 Kings 6:29, 32, 35); and also by the cherubim in the new temple (Ezek. 41:18-20).
 Since by "cherubim" was signified a guard that the Lord, heaven, and the Divine truth such as it is interiorly in the Word, be not approached immediately, but mediately by ultimates, therefore it is said of the king of Tyre:
Thou sealest up the measure, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in the garden of Eden; every precious stone was thy covering; thou O spreading cherub that covereth; I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, in the midst of the stones of fire (Ezek. 28:12-14, 16).
By "Tyre" is signified the church as to the knowledges of truth and good, and thence, by its "king," the Word where and whence those knowledges are. That the Word in its ultimate, which is the sense of the letter, is here signified by him, and a guard, by "the cherub," is evident, for it is said, "Thou sealest up the measure, every precious stone was thy covering," and, "thou O spreading cherub that covereth;" by "the precious stones" which are also mentioned there, are signified the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word (n. 231).
 Because by "cherubim" is signified the Divine truth in ultimates as a guard, therefore it is said in David:
O Shepherd of Israel, that sitteth upon the cherubim, shine forth (Ps. 80:1).
Jehovah sitteth upon the cherubim (Ps. 99:1).
Jehovah bowed the heavens and came down, and rode upon the cherubim (Ps. 18:10-11).
"To ride upon cherubim," "to sit" and "to be seated upon them," means upon the ultimate sense of the Word. The Divine truth in the Word, and its quality, is described by the cherubim in Ezekiel, in chapters 1, 9, 10, but because no one can know what the particulars by which they are described signify, unless the spiritual sense has been opened to him, therefore, as it has been disclosed to me, I will explain, in a summary way, the signification of those things which are related concerning the four animals or cherubim in the first chapter of Ezekiel, which is as follows:
 The Divine external sphere of the Word is described (Ezek. 1:4).
It is represented as a man (Ezek. 1:5).
Its conjunction with things spiritual and celestial (Ezek. 1:6).
The natural of the Word, its quality (Ezek. 1:7).
The conjunction of the spiritual and celestial senses of the Word with the natural, its quality (Ezek. 1:8-9).
The Divine love of celestial, spiritual, and natural good and truth therein, jointly and severally (Ezek. 1:10-11).
That they regard one end (Ezek. 1:12).
The sphere of the Word from the Lord's Divine good and Divine truth, from which the Word lives (Ezek. 1:13-14).
The doctrine of good and truth in the Word and from the Word (Ezek. 1:15-21).
The Divine of the Lord above it and in it (Ezek. 1:22-23).
And out of it (Ezek. 1:24-25).
That the Lord is above the heavens (Ezek. 1:26).
That the Divine love and the Divine wisdom are His (Ezek. 1:27-28).
These are summaries.