Question about the 24 Elders

townerka

Well-Known Member
Hello all,

So, something has been bothering me about the 24 elders that appear in Revelation chapter four. I've been reading through and studying a lot around the rapture and the Church. I've been looking at Revelation and I had a question about the 24 elders. Since we hold to a more literal view of scripture (it says what it means), I've been trying to reconcile the face there's just 24 elders there with the fact we believe they'll be many more than just 24 believers taken in the rapture. We know the four living creatures is a literal number as they're described in the OT. We know the 144,000 is a literal number as well since they are broken down into tribes. It doesn't make sense to me that the 24 would suddenly be "representing" the church.

Here's where I'm going. John says there are 24 THRONES and 24 elders sitting on them. These 24 elders are repeated a few times in the next couple of chapters with a few differences. Would I correct to assume there are literally 24 thrones in Heaven that elders will sit on, but that there could be more than 24 elders and it's rotational based on David's 24 priests in the Old Testament? My understanding of greek is somewhat limited. In verse 10 is says the twenty four elders cast their crowns before the throne.

As we proceed into chapter 5 an elder speaks to John (one of the twenty four or another one?). As we read further, there's a statement that says "in the midst of the elders"...(not just twenty four?). Then in 5:11 a voice of many angels, living creatures and elders and there is a huge number of them. Does the greek suggest the numbers refer to just the angels or both the angels and elders?

What makes the most sense to me is that there are 24 thrones in heaven and 24 elders sit on them at a time and rotate based on lots (or some other means). David chose his priests based on lots and they rotated their duties. Part of your job on the throne is you immediately cast your crown and worship the Lord whenever the four living creatures sing their song. Does verse 5:11 suggest there are more than just these 24 elders? Just trying to understand and looking forward to your input.
 

Lovin Jesus

Well-Known Member
https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/revelation-4/revelation-4-4.html

around about
Multitudes surround God’s throne (1K. 1K. 22:19; Rev. Rev. 5:11+; Rev. 7:11+), but in concentric positions. Those closest to God appear to occupy positions of special service, blessing, and favor. The elders occupy a position of prominence near the throne along with the four living creatures (Rev. Rev. 4:6-9+). The Lamb is also in their midst (Rev. Rev. 5:6+).
on the thrones

These elders appear to co-reign with the Father in some lesser capacity. This brings to mind the promises made to the apostles wherein they will rule over the twelve tribes in the regeneration (Mtt. Mat. 19:28) and the promises made in the previous chapters to the overcomer (Rev. Rev. 2:26-27+; Rev. 3:21+ cf. Rev. Rev. 20:4+, Rev. 20:6+). Nowhere in Scripture do we see mention of elect angelsoccupying thrones.1 Later, during the Millennial Kingdom, we find humans which sit upon thrones (Rev. Rev. 20:4+).

Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days mentions “thrones” which “were put in place” prior to a court being seated (Dan. Dan. 7:9-19). The court’s judgment results in the destruction of the beast and the removal of the dominion of the other beasts (Dan. Dan. 7:12). This is the “judgment . . . made in favorof the saints of the Most High” when “the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom” (Dan. Dan. 7:22). The saints will be given into the hands of the beast for “a time and times and half a time” (Dan. Dan. 7:25; Dan. 9:27; Dan. 12:7; Dan. 11:2; Dan. 11:3, 13:5)2 but the court shall be seated and “take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever” (Dan. Dan. 7:26). The only other mention of thrones (plural) in this book are those occupied by saints who take part in the first resurrection and rule and reign during the Millennium (Rev. Rev. 20:4+). These elders comprise the court which will be seated and rule against the beast bringing about his eventual overthrow and ushering in the Millennial Kingdom (Rev. Rev. 19:1+, Rev. 20:1+). Paul revealed that saints would be entrusted with the judgment of such weighty matters. “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? . . . Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” (1Cor. 1Cor. 6:2-3).
twenty-four elders

The twenty-four elders repeatedly worship the Father (see commentary on Revelation 4:10). One of the elders comforts John explaining that Jesus has prevailed to loose the seven-sealed scroll (Rev. Rev. 5:5+). Later, an elder explains to John the identity of those coming out of the Great Tribulation (Rev. Rev. 7:13-14+). The 144,000 with the Father’s name on their foreheads sing a new song before these elders and the living creatures (Rev. Rev. 14:3+). A wide range of opinions attends the identification of these elders. “There are at least thirteen different views of their identity, ranging from the twenty-four ruling stars (or judges) in the heavens to the simple figure of wholeness and fullness.”4

Attempts to identify the elders have fallen into two broad categories, one saying that they are men and the other that they are angels. Each category has three variations, the former one saying that the men are either representatives of Israel, representatives of the church, or representatives of both. The latter category sees the angels as representatives either of the OT priestly order or of the faithful of all ages, or as a special class or college of angels.5

Whether to understand the elders as human or angelic beings turns on several factors:
  1. Can the term “elder” describe an angel?6
  2. Do angels wear crowns, symbols of reward not found in association with angels elsewhere?
  3. Do elect angels sit on thrones, although never mentioned elsewhere?
  4. Is the textual variant at Revelation Rev. 5:9+, which explicitly includes the elders among the redeemed, the preferred reading?


The elders are πρεσβυτέρους [presbyterous] , presbyters. Frequently translated ‘elders’ (67 times in the KJV). The term is never used of angelic beings:

Nowhere else in Scripture is the term [elder] used to describe celestial or angelic beings. This term is used of humans in positions of authority either in the synagogue or church.7

Presbuteroi (elders) is never used in Scripture to refer to angels, but always to men. It is used to speak of older men in general, and the rulers of both Israel and the church. There is no indisputable use of presbuteroi outside of Revelation to refer to angels. (Some believe that “elders” in Isaiah Isa. 24:23refers to angels, but it could as well refer to humans.) Further, “elder” would be an inappropriate term to describe angels, who do not age.8

The number of the elders, twenty four is seen by some as symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel (written on the gates of the New Jerusalem, Rev. Rev. 21:12+) and the twelve apostles of the Lamb (written on the twelve foundations of the city, Rev. Rev. 21:14+). Thus, they suggest twelve of the elders represent OT saints and the other twelve NT saints.

That these twenty-four represent the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles is abundantly confirmed in Scripture. When we come to the description of the new Jerusalem, we find twelve messengers at the gates and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, while the names of the twelve apostles are on the foundations of the city (Rev. Rev. 21:12-14+). Our Lord promised the disciples that they should sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Mtt. Mat. 19:28; Luke Luke 22:30). So it is that believers of all ages are seen here.9

Yet the Lord said the apostles would judge the twelve tribes “in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory” (Mtt. Mat. 19:28). This does not take place until His Second Coming when the Millennial Kingdom is established (Mtt. Mat. 25:31; Rev. Rev. 20:4+). This scene in heaven precedes that time by at least seven years for the Lamb has not yet taken the scroll from the

Father to loose the first of its seven seals (Rev. Rev. 5:1+). So it is not clear that OT saints are pictured here. The time at which this vision occurs within the sequence of events shown John implies that the elders are already in heaven prior to the events of The 70th Week of Daniel. We believe that passages such as Daniel Dan. 12:1-2 imply that OT saints are not resurrected until after this time of Jacob’s Trouble —prior to the Millennial Kingdom (Rev. Rev. 20:4+). To be sure, the souls of OT saints are in paradise (heaven at this time), but it seems unlikely that they would have received rewards (i.e., crowns) or rule on thrones prior to the resurrection attending the Millennial Kingdom.10


Others note the parallel with the twenty four divisions which David and Zadok made of the sons of Aaron for their priestly service (1Chr. 1Chr. 24:1-5). Rather than twelve OT saints and twelve NT saints, the number twenty four could merely represent the priestly role of the NT saints:

The figure 24 is probably taken from 1 Chronicles 1Chr. 24:1, where David divided the Tribe of Levi into 24 courses to represent the whole. Since the Church is a kingdom of priests, these 24 elders represent the Church as a whole. This actually provides [another] clue to the fact that the 24 elders represent the Church and not angels.11


The events of the Tribulation period which follows argue against their identification with Israel:
Some believe the elders represent Israel. But while individual Jews have been and will continue to be redeemed throughout history, at the time of this vision the nation as a whole had not yet been redeemed. Their national judgment and salvation (Rom. Rom. 11:26) comes during the Tribulation (chaps. Rom. 6:1-19), largely as a result of the evangelistic efforts of the 144,000 (introduced in chap. Rom. 7:1). When the twenty-four elders are first introduced, those events are yet to take place.12

Various lines of evidence suggest they represent the redeemed of the present church age.13
The biblical description seems to point to believers of this present church age. They are already in heaven (Rev. Rev. 4:1+-Rev. 5:1+) before the opening of the seal judgments (Rev. Rev. 6:1+). They are sitting on thrones before God (Rev. Rev. 4:4+). Angels never sit in the presence of God. However, Christ promised church-age believers that they would sit with Him on His throne (Rev. Rev. 3:21+). God positionally has made all believers today sit together in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. Eph. 2:6). The elders are clothed in white robes (Rev. Rev. 4:4+). Church-age believers are promised such pure clothing (Rev. Rev. 3:5+, Rev. 3:18+; Rev. 19:7-8+). The elders have crowns of gold on their heads (Rev. Rev. 4:4+). . . .

Believers in the churches are promised such crowns (Rev. Rev. 2:10+; Rev. 3:11+). In the Epistles, believers are also promised crowns for spiritual accomplishments (1Cor. 1Cor. 9:25; 1Th. 1Th. 2:19; 2Ti. 2Ti. 4:8; Jas. Jas. 1:12; 1Pe. 1Pe. 5:4). Holy angels do not wear crowns, but believers can and will wear them. . . . The elders are set in contrast to angels (Rev. Rev. 5:11+). The term presbuteros (elder) is never used of angels in the Bible. The word denotes maturity and growth. Holy angels could not be designated with this term because they were all created at the same time. . . . The more plausible explanation of the twenty-four elders is that they represent the redeemed of this present church age.14

Among the well-known commentators who regard these elders as representative of the Church are Alford, Barnes, Benson, Binney, Carpenter, Clarke, Clemance, Book, Crafer, Crosby, Dusterdieck, Fausset, Girdlestone, Godet, Gray, Henry, [Hengstenberg], Holden, Kiyper, Milligan, Plummer, Roberson, Scott, Sheppard, Simcox, Slight, Smith, Swete, Weidner.15

If these represent saints of the church age,16 then we have another piece of evidence in favor of a pretribulational rapture: “Here then is yet another proof that the Church shall not pass through the Tribulation, for we find these singers in Heaven before the beginning of the judgments.”17

As John beholds certain subjects of redemption, robed, and crowned, and enthroned, as priests and kings in heaven, we here have (let it be noted) positive demonstration, that, at the time to which this vision relates, a resurrection and a translation have already taken place . . . .They occupy these thrones, while yet the closed book, which brings forth the seals and trumpets, lies untouched in the hand of Him that sits upon the throne. They see it there, and they vote the Lamb worthy to open it. They behold Him taking it up, and fall down and worship as He holds it.

They are in their places when heaven receives the accession of the multitude which come “out of the great tribulation” (Rev. Rev. 7:11-14+). They have their own distinct positions when the still later company of the hundred and forty-four thousand gather round the Lamb on Mount Sion. And they are spectators of the judgment of great Babylon, and sing Alleluia in glory as they see her fall (Rev. Rev. 19:4+).18

Elders will also rule with Christ from Jerusalem in the Millennial Kingdom (Isa. Isa. 24:23).


clothed in white robes
The elders are clothed in white which speaks of a covering for sin provided by Christ’s atonement on behalf of the saints. See commentary on Revelation 3:4 and Revelation 3:5.

There is some question as to whether the elders include themselves among the redeemed mentioned in Revelation Rev. 5:9+ as textual variants attend the text. The TR and MT texts indicate the elders are redeemed whereas the NU text does not. See commentary on Revelation 5:9.

crowns of gold
Crowns is στεφάνους [stephanous] . The crowns may indicate that the elders are among those who have been made “kings and priests” (or “a kingdom of priests” , NU text) as is promised the overcomers (Rev. Rev. 2:10+; Rev. 3:11+). See commentary on Revelation 1:6 . They were awarded these crowns, yet they repeatedly cast them before the Father’s throne in recognition of the superiority and source of their blessing (Rev. Rev. 4:10+).19 “When all earthly crowns and thrones have perished, the redeemed ones of Christ will be at the beginning of their reign. How small then will appear the great majesties of earth, and how insignificant the power they have to bestow!”20

In Scripture, angelic beings are never promised nor found wearing crowns. Yet some suggest the elders to be angels. Crowns (other than those worn by God) are typically associated with rewards attending judgment. The judgment of angels would likely take place after this scene in heaven because: (1) the saints participate in their judgment—presumably after having been glorified (1Cor. 1Cor. 6:3); and 1Cor. 2:1) significant events attending the angelic realm have yet to transpire before they can be judged. “If this passage is regarded as chronologically before the time of the tribulation which succeeding chapters unfold, it would seem to eliminate the angels, as at this point they have not been judged and rewarded since their judgment seems to come later.”21 This assumes the angelic judgment by the saints is for both reward and punishment. If these crowns are not associated with reward, or the angelic judgment is only for punishment from which the elect angels are exempt, then the plausibility of the elders being angels encounters fewer difficulties.
 

townerka

Well-Known Member
https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/revelation-4/revelation-4-4.html

around about
Multitudes surround God’s throne (1K. 1K. 22:19; Rev. Rev. 5:11+; Rev. 7:11+), but in concentric positions. Those closest to God appear to occupy positions of special service, blessing, and favor. The elders occupy a position of prominence near the throne along with the four living creatures (Rev. Rev. 4:6-9+). The Lamb is also in their midst (Rev. Rev. 5:6+).
on the thrones

These elders appear to co-reign with the Father in some lesser capacity. This brings to mind the promises made to the apostles wherein they will rule over the twelve tribes in the regeneration (Mtt. Mat. 19:28) and the promises made in the previous chapters to the overcomer (Rev. Rev. 2:26-27+; Rev. 3:21+ cf. Rev. Rev. 20:4+, Rev. 20:6+). Nowhere in Scripture do we see mention of elect angelsoccupying thrones.1 Later, during the Millennial Kingdom, we find humans which sit upon thrones (Rev. Rev. 20:4+).

Daniel’s vision of the Ancient of Days mentions “thrones” which “were put in place” prior to a court being seated (Dan. Dan. 7:9-19). The court’s judgment results in the destruction of the beast and the removal of the dominion of the other beasts (Dan. Dan. 7:12). This is the “judgment . . . made in favorof the saints of the Most High” when “the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom” (Dan. Dan. 7:22). The saints will be given into the hands of the beast for “a time and times and half a time” (Dan. Dan. 7:25; Dan. 9:27; Dan. 12:7; Dan. 11:2; Dan. 11:3, 13:5)2 but the court shall be seated and “take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever” (Dan. Dan. 7:26). The only other mention of thrones (plural) in this book are those occupied by saints who take part in the first resurrection and rule and reign during the Millennium (Rev. Rev. 20:4+). These elders comprise the court which will be seated and rule against the beast bringing about his eventual overthrow and ushering in the Millennial Kingdom (Rev. Rev. 19:1+, Rev. 20:1+). Paul revealed that saints would be entrusted with the judgment of such weighty matters. “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? . . . Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” (1Cor. 1Cor. 6:2-3).
twenty-four elders

The twenty-four elders repeatedly worship the Father (see commentary on Revelation 4:10). One of the elders comforts John explaining that Jesus has prevailed to loose the seven-sealed scroll (Rev. Rev. 5:5+). Later, an elder explains to John the identity of those coming out of the Great Tribulation (Rev. Rev. 7:13-14+). The 144,000 with the Father’s name on their foreheads sing a new song before these elders and the living creatures (Rev. Rev. 14:3+). A wide range of opinions attends the identification of these elders. “There are at least thirteen different views of their identity, ranging from the twenty-four ruling stars (or judges) in the heavens to the simple figure of wholeness and fullness.”4

Attempts to identify the elders have fallen into two broad categories, one saying that they are men and the other that they are angels. Each category has three variations, the former one saying that the men are either representatives of Israel, representatives of the church, or representatives of both. The latter category sees the angels as representatives either of the OT priestly order or of the faithful of all ages, or as a special class or college of angels.5

Whether to understand the elders as human or angelic beings turns on several factors:
  1. Can the term “elder” describe an angel?6
  2. Do angels wear crowns, symbols of reward not found in association with angels elsewhere?
  3. Do elect angels sit on thrones, although never mentioned elsewhere?
  4. Is the textual variant at Revelation Rev. 5:9+, which explicitly includes the elders among the redeemed, the preferred reading?


The elders are πρεσβυτέρους [presbyterous] , presbyters. Frequently translated ‘elders’ (67 times in the KJV). The term is never used of angelic beings:

Nowhere else in Scripture is the term [elder] used to describe celestial or angelic beings. This term is used of humans in positions of authority either in the synagogue or church.7

Presbuteroi (elders) is never used in Scripture to refer to angels, but always to men. It is used to speak of older men in general, and the rulers of both Israel and the church. There is no indisputable use of presbuteroi outside of Revelation to refer to angels. (Some believe that “elders” in Isaiah Isa. 24:23refers to angels, but it could as well refer to humans.) Further, “elder” would be an inappropriate term to describe angels, who do not age.8

The number of the elders, twenty four is seen by some as symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel (written on the gates of the New Jerusalem, Rev. Rev. 21:12+) and the twelve apostles of the Lamb (written on the twelve foundations of the city, Rev. Rev. 21:14+). Thus, they suggest twelve of the elders represent OT saints and the other twelve NT saints.

That these twenty-four represent the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles is abundantly confirmed in Scripture. When we come to the description of the new Jerusalem, we find twelve messengers at the gates and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, while the names of the twelve apostles are on the foundations of the city (Rev. Rev. 21:12-14+). Our Lord promised the disciples that they should sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Mtt. Mat. 19:28; Luke Luke 22:30). So it is that believers of all ages are seen here.9

Yet the Lord said the apostles would judge the twelve tribes “in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory” (Mtt. Mat. 19:28). This does not take place until His Second Coming when the Millennial Kingdom is established (Mtt. Mat. 25:31; Rev. Rev. 20:4+). This scene in heaven precedes that time by at least seven years for the Lamb has not yet taken the scroll from the

Father to loose the first of its seven seals (Rev. Rev. 5:1+). So it is not clear that OT saints are pictured here. The time at which this vision occurs within the sequence of events shown John implies that the elders are already in heaven prior to the events of The 70th Week of Daniel. We believe that passages such as Daniel Dan. 12:1-2 imply that OT saints are not resurrected until after this time of Jacob’s Trouble —prior to the Millennial Kingdom (Rev. Rev. 20:4+). To be sure, the souls of OT saints are in paradise (heaven at this time), but it seems unlikely that they would have received rewards (i.e., crowns) or rule on thrones prior to the resurrection attending the Millennial Kingdom.10


Others note the parallel with the twenty four divisions which David and Zadok made of the sons of Aaron for their priestly service (1Chr. 1Chr. 24:1-5). Rather than twelve OT saints and twelve NT saints, the number twenty four could merely represent the priestly role of the NT saints:

The figure 24 is probably taken from 1 Chronicles 1Chr. 24:1, where David divided the Tribe of Levi into 24 courses to represent the whole. Since the Church is a kingdom of priests, these 24 elders represent the Church as a whole. This actually provides [another] clue to the fact that the 24 elders represent the Church and not angels.11


The events of the Tribulation period which follows argue against their identification with Israel:
Some believe the elders represent Israel. But while individual Jews have been and will continue to be redeemed throughout history, at the time of this vision the nation as a whole had not yet been redeemed. Their national judgment and salvation (Rom. Rom. 11:26) comes during the Tribulation (chaps. Rom. 6:1-19), largely as a result of the evangelistic efforts of the 144,000 (introduced in chap. Rom. 7:1). When the twenty-four elders are first introduced, those events are yet to take place.12

Various lines of evidence suggest they represent the redeemed of the present church age.13
The biblical description seems to point to believers of this present church age. They are already in heaven (Rev. Rev. 4:1+-Rev. 5:1+) before the opening of the seal judgments (Rev. Rev. 6:1+). They are sitting on thrones before God (Rev. Rev. 4:4+). Angels never sit in the presence of God. However, Christ promised church-age believers that they would sit with Him on His throne (Rev. Rev. 3:21+). God positionally has made all believers today sit together in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. Eph. 2:6). The elders are clothed in white robes (Rev. Rev. 4:4+). Church-age believers are promised such pure clothing (Rev. Rev. 3:5+, Rev. 3:18+; Rev. 19:7-8+). The elders have crowns of gold on their heads (Rev. Rev. 4:4+). . . .

Believers in the churches are promised such crowns (Rev. Rev. 2:10+; Rev. 3:11+). In the Epistles, believers are also promised crowns for spiritual accomplishments (1Cor. 1Cor. 9:25; 1Th. 1Th. 2:19; 2Ti. 2Ti. 4:8; Jas. Jas. 1:12; 1Pe. 1Pe. 5:4). Holy angels do not wear crowns, but believers can and will wear them. . . . The elders are set in contrast to angels (Rev. Rev. 5:11+). The term presbuteros (elder) is never used of angels in the Bible. The word denotes maturity and growth. Holy angels could not be designated with this term because they were all created at the same time. . . . The more plausible explanation of the twenty-four elders is that they represent the redeemed of this present church age.14

Among the well-known commentators who regard these elders as representative of the Church are Alford, Barnes, Benson, Binney, Carpenter, Clarke, Clemance, Book, Crafer, Crosby, Dusterdieck, Fausset, Girdlestone, Godet, Gray, Henry, [Hengstenberg], Holden, Kiyper, Milligan, Plummer, Roberson, Scott, Sheppard, Simcox, Slight, Smith, Swete, Weidner.15

If these represent saints of the church age,16 then we have another piece of evidence in favor of a pretribulational rapture: “Here then is yet another proof that the Church shall not pass through the Tribulation, for we find these singers in Heaven before the beginning of the judgments.”17

As John beholds certain subjects of redemption, robed, and crowned, and enthroned, as priests and kings in heaven, we here have (let it be noted) positive demonstration, that, at the time to which this vision relates, a resurrection and a translation have already taken place . . . .They occupy these thrones, while yet the closed book, which brings forth the seals and trumpets, lies untouched in the hand of Him that sits upon the throne. They see it there, and they vote the Lamb worthy to open it. They behold Him taking it up, and fall down and worship as He holds it.

They are in their places when heaven receives the accession of the multitude which come “out of the great tribulation” (Rev. Rev. 7:11-14+). They have their own distinct positions when the still later company of the hundred and forty-four thousand gather round the Lamb on Mount Sion. And they are spectators of the judgment of great Babylon, and sing Alleluia in glory as they see her fall (Rev. Rev. 19:4+).18

Elders will also rule with Christ from Jerusalem in the Millennial Kingdom (Isa. Isa. 24:23).


clothed in white robes
The elders are clothed in white which speaks of a covering for sin provided by Christ’s atonement on behalf of the saints. See commentary on Revelation 3:4 and Revelation 3:5.

There is some question as to whether the elders include themselves among the redeemed mentioned in Revelation Rev. 5:9+ as textual variants attend the text. The TR and MT texts indicate the elders are redeemed whereas the NU text does not. See commentary on Revelation 5:9.

crowns of gold
Crowns is στεφάνους [stephanous] . The crowns may indicate that the elders are among those who have been made “kings and priests” (or “a kingdom of priests” , NU text) as is promised the overcomers (Rev. Rev. 2:10+; Rev. 3:11+). See commentary on Revelation 1:6 . They were awarded these crowns, yet they repeatedly cast them before the Father’s throne in recognition of the superiority and source of their blessing (Rev. Rev. 4:10+).19 “When all earthly crowns and thrones have perished, the redeemed ones of Christ will be at the beginning of their reign. How small then will appear the great majesties of earth, and how insignificant the power they have to bestow!”20

In Scripture, angelic beings are never promised nor found wearing crowns. Yet some suggest the elders to be angels. Crowns (other than those worn by God) are typically associated with rewards attending judgment. The judgment of angels would likely take place after this scene in heaven because: (1) the saints participate in their judgment—presumably after having been glorified (1Cor. 1Cor. 6:3); and 1Cor. 2:1) significant events attending the angelic realm have yet to transpire before they can be judged. “If this passage is regarded as chronologically before the time of the tribulation which succeeding chapters unfold, it would seem to eliminate the angels, as at this point they have not been judged and rewarded since their judgment seems to come later.”21 This assumes the angelic judgment by the saints is for both reward and punishment. If these crowns are not associated with reward, or the angelic judgment is only for punishment from which the elect angels are exempt, then the plausibility of the elders being angels encounters fewer difficulties.
Thank you very much. I agree they represent the church. What I’m struggling with is the number. We’re given the four creatures which is a precise number, considering John described 24 thrones and 24 elders I think it’s too easy to say “that represents the church.” We’re allegorizing the “24” part of scripture that seems specific. We get a precise number of Jews later at 144,000. What I’m getting at is.....are there other allusions to a greater number of elders than just the 24? Does Revelation 5:11 mean multitudes of elders and angels or just angels? If Revelation 5:11 does indeed mean more than just 24 elders are present, I think it harmonizes everything much better. revelation says exactly what it means, there are twenty four thrones surrounding the throne of God AND twenty four elders that sit upon and even more elders that surround all of them.
 

Lovin Jesus

Well-Known Member
Thank you very much. I agree they represent the church. What I’m struggling with is the number. We’re given the four creatures which is a precise number, considering John described 24 thrones and 24 elders I think it’s too easy to say “that represents the church.” We’re allegorizing the “24” part of scripture that seems specific. We get a precise number of Jews later at 144,000. What I’m getting at is.....are there other allusions to a greater number of elders than just the 24? Does Revelation 5:11 mean multitudes of elders and angels or just angels? If Revelation 5:11 does indeed mean more than just 24 elders are present, I think it harmonizes everything much better. revelation says exactly what it means, there are twenty four thrones surrounding the throne of God AND twenty four elders that sit upon and even more elders that surround all of them.
I did highlight the portion of the article related to what 24 may signify. Go back up and not the blackened part I highlighted. Hope it helps
 

Lovin Jesus

Well-Known Member
Thank you very much. I agree they represent the church. What I’m struggling with is the number. We’re given the four creatures which is a precise number, considering John described 24 thrones and 24 elders I think it’s too easy to say “that represents the church.” We’re allegorizing the “24” part of scripture that seems specific. We get a precise number of Jews later at 144,000. What I’m getting at is.....are there other allusions to a greater number of elders than just the 24? Does Revelation 5:11 mean multitudes of elders and angels or just angels? If Revelation 5:11 does indeed mean more than just 24 elders are present, I think it harmonizes everything much better. revelation says exactly what it means, there are twenty four thrones surrounding the throne of God AND twenty four elders that sit upon and even more elders that surround all of them.
Others note the parallel with the twenty four divisions which David and Zadok made of the sons of Aaron for their priestly service (1Chr. 1Chr. 24:1-5). Rather than twelve OT saints and twelve NT saints, the number twenty four could merely represent the priestly role of the NT saints:

The figure 24 is probably taken from 1 Chronicles 1Chr. 24:1, where David divided the Tribe of Levi into 24 courses to represent the whole. Since the Church is a kingdom of priests, these 24 elders represent the Church as a whole. This actually provides [another] clue to the fact that the 24 elders represent the Church and not angels.11
 

ragamuffin

Well-Known Member
I've been looking at Revelation and I had a question about the 24 elders. Since we hold to a more literal view of scripture...

... Does verse 5:11 suggest there are more than just these 24 elders? Just trying to understand and looking forward to your input.
Here's some additional investigation into this topic that might help you arrive at a conclusion. It's some instructional teaching that shows how to use the Blue Letter Bible online search utility to dig deeper into a biblical topic.

MP3 - Who are the 24 elders in the book of Revelation?
PDF - rough transcript of audio file above
 

cavalier973

Well-Known Member
Hello all,

So, something has been bothering me about the 24 elders that appear in Revelation chapter four. I've been reading through and studying a lot around the rapture and the Church. I've been looking at Revelation and I had a question about the 24 elders. Since we hold to a more literal view of scripture (it says what it means), I've been trying to reconcile the face there's just 24 elders there with the fact we believe they'll be many more than just 24 believers taken in the rapture. We know the four living creatures is a literal number as they're described in the OT. We know the 144,000 is a literal number as well since they are broken down into tribes. It doesn't make sense to me that the 24 would suddenly be "representing" the church.

Here's where I'm going. John says there are 24 THRONES and 24 elders sitting on them. These 24 elders are repeated a few times in the next couple of chapters with a few differences. Would I correct to assume there are literally 24 thrones in Heaven that elders will sit on, but that there could be more than 24 elders and it's rotational based on David's 24 priests in the Old Testament? My understanding of greek is somewhat limited. In verse 10 is says the twenty four elders cast their crowns before the throne.

As we proceed into chapter 5 an elder speaks to John (one of the twenty four or another one?). As we read further, there's a statement that says "in the midst of the elders"...(not just twenty four?). Then in 5:11 a voice of many angels, living creatures and elders and there is a huge number of them. Does the greek suggest the numbers refer to just the angels or both the angels and elders?

What makes the most sense to me is that there are 24 thrones in heaven and 24 elders sit on them at a time and rotate based on lots (or some other means). David chose his priests based on lots and they rotated their duties. Part of your job on the throne is you immediately cast your crown and worship the Lord whenever the four living creatures sing their song. Does verse 5:11 suggest there are more than just these 24 elders? Just trying to understand and looking forward to your input.
I favor the idea that each of us will get to (have to?) take a turn in the Court of Elders.

I also speculate that the Elders mentioned in Revelation are the Twelve Apostles (including Matthias instead of Judas) and the last twelve people who are saved during the Church Age.
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you very much. I agree they represent the church. What I’m struggling with is the number. We’re given the four creatures which is a precise number, considering John described 24 thrones and 24 elders I think it’s too easy to say “that represents the church.” We’re allegorizing the “24” part of scripture that seems specific. We get a precise number of Jews later at 144,000. What I’m getting at is.....are there other allusions to a greater number of elders than just the 24? Does Revelation 5:11 mean multitudes of elders and angels or just angels? If Revelation 5:11 does indeed mean more than just 24 elders are present, I think it harmonizes everything much better. revelation says exactly what it means, there are twenty four thrones surrounding the throne of God AND twenty four elders that sit upon and even more elders that surround all of them.
Using Scripture to interpret Scripture, I think that the fact there are 24 thrones and 24 elders on those thrones is tied to the fact that there were 24 courses of priests in the Levitical order who ministered to God continually, day and night. I suspect that as the priests ministered continually, the 24 represents elders ruling continually with God . But does the fact that there are 24 elders represent 24 specific individuals? Or is it symbolic of an eternity of saved souls, each of which is a king and a priest? I don't know.
 

mikhen7

Freed By Christ to Serve Christ
Others note the parallel with the twenty four divisions which David and Zadok made of the sons of Aaron for their priestly service (1Chr. 1Chr. 24:1-5). Rather than twelve OT saints and twelve NT saints, the number twenty four could merely represent the priestly role of the NT saints:

The figure 24 is probably taken from 1 Chronicles 1Chr. 24:1, where David divided the Tribe of Levi into 24 courses to represent the whole. Since the Church is a kingdom of priests, these 24 elders represent the Church as a whole. This actually provides [another] clue to the fact that the 24 elders represent the Church and not angels.11
As far as the number, I do believe Loving Jesus is correct. 1 Chronicles 24:1-4, 19 teaches the original number of the priesthood was 24. It represents the church as priests to God. It cannot represent Israel at this time, for they have not been resurrected, (end of Trib at second coming Dan 12:1, they will be). But the church has been bodily resurrected and we are a kingdom of priests. Yes, Israel was as well., but they lost that ability to fulfill the role when they rejected Christ as a nation. They will be restored to the role during the Millennial period, after they accept Jesus as Messiah.
 

sawas

Well-Known Member
I remember when i was younger that i interpreted the 24 elders to be the 12 sons of Jabob/Israel and the 12 apostles LOL man was i off
Ha, I recall hearing that the 17 spires on the US Air Force Academy Chapel (search for a photo) represented the 12 apostles plus the five members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (pre-Space Force). Whatever, the apostles have to be included, LOL. Numerology is fun.
 
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