97. Further still, we need to realize that the literal meaning of the Word serves to protect the real truths that lie hidden within it. Its protection consists of its being susceptible to being turned in different directions and interpreted to agree with our own grasp of it, so that the inner content is not damaged or transgressed. It does no harm if different people understand the literal meaning of the Word differently. It does do harm, though, if the divine truths that lie hidden within are distorted. This in fact does violence to the Word.
To prevent this from happening, the literal meaning offers protection, and it offers protection for people who take for granted the false beliefs of their religion but do not convince themselves that those false beliefs are true. These people do no harm.
 This protection is the meaning of angel guardians in the Word, and the description of angel guardians [in Ezekiel] is a depiction of this protection.
This protection is the meaning of the angel guardians stationed at the entrance after Adam and his wife were expelled from the Garden of Eden, of whom we read,
When Jehovah God drove them out, he made angel guardians dwell to the east of the Garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword turning this way and that, to guard the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)
The angel guardians mean protection; the way of the tree of life means entrance to the Lord, which we have through the Word; the flame of a sword turning this way and that means divine truth at its very boundaries, which is like the Word in its literal meaning - it too can be turned this way and that.
(References: Genesis 3:23-24)
 There is a similar meaning to the angel guardians of gold placed on top of the two ends of the mercy seat that was on the ark in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:18-21). Because this was what the angel guardians meant, the Lord talked with Moses between them (Exodus 25:22; 37:9; Numbers 7:89). As noted in §§37-49 above, the Lord does not say anything to us unless it is complete, and divine truth is in its fullness in the literal meaning of the Word; so that is why the Lord talked with Moses between the angel guardians.
The meaning of the angel guardians on the curtains of the tabernacle and on its veils (Exodus 26:31) is no different, since the curtains and veils represent the boundaries of heaven and the church and therefore of the Word as well (see §46 above). The meaning of the angel guardians in the middle of the Jerusalem temple (1 Kings 6:23-28) and the angel guardians carved on the walls and gates of the Temple (1 Kings 6:29, 32, 35) is no different either. The same holds for the angel guardians in the new temple (Ezekiel 41:18-20; again, see §47 above).
 Since the angel guardians mean protection that keeps us from going straight to the Lord, heaven, and the divine truth of the Word as it is inwardly, and makes us instead move indirectly through its outermost forms, we read of the King of Tyre,
You had sealed your full measure and were full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in the Garden of Eden. Every precious stone was your covering. You, angel guardian, were the spreading of a covering. I destroyed you, covering angel guardian, in the midst of stones of fire. (Ezekiel 28:12-14, 16)
Tyre means the church in respect to its concepts of what is true and good, so the king of Tyre means the Word where these concepts can be found and where they come from. We can see that Tyre and the protecting angel guardians here mean the Word in its outermost form, which is its literal meaning, because it says “you had sealed your full measure, ” “every precious stone was your covering, ” and “you, angel guardian, were the spreading of a covering, ” as well as mentioning a “covering angel guardian.” The precious stones that are also mentioned mean truths of the literal meaning of the Word (see §45 above).
Since angel guardians mean the outermost form of divine truth as protection, it says in David,
Jehovah bowed the heavens and came down, riding upon angel guardians. (Psalms 18:9-10)
O Shepherd of Israel, who sits upon the angel guardians, shine forth! (Psalms 80:1)
... Jehovah who sits upon the angel guardians. (Psalms 99:1)
To ride and to sit upon angel guardians is [to rest] on the outermost meaning of the Word.
(References: Teachings about the Sacred Scripture 45)
 The divine truth in the Word and its nature are described [through correspondences] as angel guardians in chapters 1; 9, and 10 of Ezekiel; but since no one can know what the details of the description mean except those for whom the spiritual meaning has been opened, the meaning of all the things it says about the angel guardians in the first chapter of Ezekiel has been disclosed to me in summary form, as follows:
There is a depiction of the outward divine aura of the Word (verse 4); that aura is represented as a human being (verse 5); it is shown to be united to spiritual and heavenly realities (verse 6). There is a depiction of the nature of the earthly level of the Word (verse 7), and of the nature of the spiritual and heavenly levels of the Word that are united to its earthly level (verses 8-9). There is a depiction of the divine love within the heavenly, spiritual, and earthly levels of goodness and truth in the Word, together as one and also distinct from one another (verses 10-11), and an indication that they share a common goal (verse 12). There is a depiction of the aura of the Word that comes from the Lord’s divine goodness and divine truth, which give life to the Word (verses 13-14), of the teachings of what is good and true that are in the Word and from the Word (verses 15-21), and of the divine nature of the Lord that is above it and within it (verses 22-23) and that comes from it (verses 24-25). It is shown that the Lord is above the heavens (verse 26) and that to him belong divine love and divine wisdom (verses 27-28).
These summary statements have been checked against the Word in heaven and are in accord with it.