The Divine truth is what is called holy, but only when it is in its ultimate, and its ultimate is the Word in the sense of the letter; therefore the Divine truth there [in the letter] is holy, and may be called a sanctuary, and for the reason that that sense contains and encloses all the holy things of heaven and the church. The appearance is that the Divine truths in the heavens, which are called spiritual and celestial, are more holy than the Divine truths in the sense of the letter of the Word, which are natural; but the Divine truths in the heavens, which are called spiritual and celestial, are comparatively like the lungs and heart in man, which form the chest only when they are encompassed by ribs, and enclosed in the pleura and diaphragm; for without these integuments they could not perform their vital functions, and even unless connected with them by bonds. The spiritual things of the Word are like the breathing of the lungs, its celestial things are like the systole and diastole of the heart, and its natural things are like the pleura, the diaphragm, and the ribs, with the moving fibers attached, by which the motions are made reciprocal.
Again, the spiritual and celestial things of the Word are comparatively like the holy things of the tabernacle, which were the table upon which was the show bread, the golden altar upon which was the incense, the perfumes and the censer, also the lampstand with the lamps, and still further within the cherubim, the mercy seat and the ark. All these were the holy things of the Jewish and Israelitish church; nevertheless they could not be called holy and the sanctuary until they had been covered by curtains and veils, for without those coverings they would have stood under the naked sky, exposed to showers and storms, to the birds of heaven and the wild beasts of the earth, and also to robbers that would violate, plunder, and scatter them. So would it be with the Divine truths in the heavens, which are called spiritual and celestial, unless they were enclosed in natural truths, like the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word.
Natural truths, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, are not the very truths of heaven, but are appearances of them; and appearances of truth encompass, enclose, and contain the truths of heaven, which are genuine truths, and cause them to be in connection and order and to act together, like the cardiac and pulmonary organs with their coverings and ribs, as has been said above; and when these truths are held in connection and in order they are holy, and not till then. This the sense of the letter of our Word does by means of the appearances of truth of which its ultimate consists; and this is why that sense is the holy Divine Itself and the sanctuary.
But he is greatly mistaken who separates appearances of truth from genuine truths and calls these appearances holy by themselves and from themselves, and not the sense of the letter holy by genuine truths and from them and together with them. He separates these who sees only the sense of the letter and does not explore its meaning, as those do who do not read the Word from doctrine.
The “cherubim” mean in the Word a guard and protection that the holy things of heaven be not violated, and that the Lord be approached only through love; consequently these signify the sense of the letter of the Word, because that is what guards and protects. It guards and protects in this manner that man can think and speak according to the appearances of truth so long as he is well-disposed, simple, and as it were an infant; but he must take heed not to so confirm appearances as to destroy the genuine truths in the heavens.
(emphasis by editor)