97. Be it known moreover that the literal sense of the Word is a guard to the genuine truths that lie hidden within. It is a guard in this respect, that it can be turned this way or that, and explained according to the way it is taken, yet without injury or violence to its internal. It does no harm for the sense of the letter to be understood in one way by one person and in a different way by another; but it does harm for the Divine truths that lie hidden within to be perverted, because this inflicts violence on the Word. The sense of the letter is a guard against this, and the guard is effectual in the case of those who are in falsities from their religion, but do not confirm those falsities, for these persons do the Word no violence.
 This guard is signified by cherubs, and in the Word is described by them. This is signified by the cherubs that were stationed at the entrance of the garden of Eden after Adam and his wife had been cast out, of which we read as follows:
When Jehovah God had driven out the man, He made to dwell at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubim, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:24).
The "cherubim" signify a guard; the "way of the tree of life" signifies the access to the Lord which men have by means of the Word; the "flame of a sword that turned every way" signifies Divine truth in ultimates, this being like the Word in the sense of the letter, which can be so turned.
 The same is meant by
The cherubs of gold that were placed upon the two ends of the mercy seat that was upon the ark in the Tabernacle (Exod. 25:18-21).
As this was signified by cherubs,
The Lord spoke with Moses from between them (Exod. 25:22; 37:9; Num. 7:89).
That the Lord does not speak to man except in what is full, and that the Word in the sense of the letter is Divine truth in fullness, may be seen above (n. 37-49). So therefore did the Lord speak to Moses from between the cherubs. In nowise different was the signification of
The cherubs on the curtains of the Tabernacle, and on the veil (Exod. 26:1, 31),
for the curtains and veils of the Tabernacle represented the ultimate things of heaven and the church, and therefore of the Word, as may be seen above (n. 46). Nor in anywise different was the signification of
The cherubs in the midst of the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:23-28).
The cherubs carved on the walls and doors of the temple (1 Kings 6:29, 32, 35).
Or the cherubs in the new temple (Ezek. 41:18-20);
as also may be seen above (n. 47).
 As cherubs signified a guard that the Lord, heaven, and Divine truth such as is within the Word be not approached immediately, but mediately through ultimate things, it is said of the king of Tyre,
Thou sealest up the measure, 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 outspreading of that which covereth; I have destroyed thee, O covering cherub, in the midst of the stones of fire (Ezek. 28:12-14, 16).
"Tyre" signifies the church in respect to the knowledges of truth and good, and therefore its "king" signifies the Word, in which and from which are these knowledges. It is evident that the Word in its ultimate, which is the sense of the letter, is here signified by that king, and also that a guard is signified by a "cherub," for it is said, "thou sealest up the measure; every precious stone was thy covering"; and "thou, O cherub, art the outspreading of that which covereth"; and also "O covering cherub." That the "precious stones" mentioned in this passage mean truths of the literal sense of the Word may be seen above (n. 45). As "cherubs" signify what is ultimate of Divine truth as a guard, it is said in David:
Jehovah bowed the heavens also and came down; and He rode upon a cherub (Ps. 18:9-10).
O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that sittest upon the cherubim, shine forth (Ps. 80:1).
Jehovah sitteth upon the cherubim (Ps. 99:1).
To "ride upon cherubs" and to "sit upon them" means upon the ultimate sense of the Word.
 Divine truth in the Word, and the quality of it, are described by the cherubs in the first, ninth, and tenth chapters of Ezekiel; but as no one can know what is signified by the several particulars of the description of them, except one to whom the spiritual sense has been opened, it has been disclosed to me what in brief is signified by all the things said about the cherubs in the first chapter of Ezekiel, which are as follows:
The external Divine sphere of the Word is described (Ezek. 1:4);
It is represented as a man (Ezek. 1:5);
And conjoined with spiritual and celestial things (Ezek. 1:6);
The natural of the Word, its quality (Ezek. 1:7);
The spiritual and the celestial of the Word conjoined with its natural, their quality (Ezek. 1:8-9);
The Divine love of the good and truth celestial, spiritual, and natural therein, severally and also together (Ezek. 1:10-11);
They all look to the one thing (Ezek. 1:12);
The sphere of the Word from the Lord's Divine good and Divine truth, from which the Word is alive (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 the Word and in it (Ezek. 1:22-23);
And from it (Ezek. 1:24-25);
The Lord is above the heavens (Ezek. 1:26);
And Divine love and Divine wisdom are His (Ezek. 1:27-28).
These summaries have been compared with the Word in heaven, and are in conformity with it.