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By Lonnie Woodruff


If you will notice in Rev 4:4, the elders are wearing crowns. Crowns represent authority. A king would wear a crown. Now in 4:10, these 24 elders cast their crowns before the throne of God. That denotes that their authority comes from God. Also, in 5:8 these elders fall down before the throne of Christ. This is saying that even though they had some authority, it was less that that of Christ and that they are subject to Christ. So, we are dealing with an entity that has authority, but their authority is subject to that of Christ.

I believe the only authority that fits that description today in the church is that of the 12 apostles. The 12 apostles taught the will of God to the people. We know the apostles had authority because Matt. 16:19 says, "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The apostles had the authority on this earth to reveal the gospel of Christ to mankind, yet their authority was subject to the authority of Christ.

Also, in the Old Testament the nation of Israel was born from the 12 Patriarchs. They fathered the physical nation of Israel. So, from the 12 sons of Israel were born the nation of Israel and from the teachings of the 12 apostles the church was born. So, both laws God has given to man was given through 12 people.... The Law of Moses was given to the children of the 12 patriarchs and the gospel of Christ was given to the church through the 12 apostles. For one to be a member of the nation of Israel, he had to be physically "born" into that nation. They were the physical descendants of the 12 patriarchs. For one to become a member of the church they have to be "born" spiritually into Christ by following the teaching of the 12 apostles.

12 Partiarchs plus 12 Apostles = 24

So, I believe that the 24 elders represent the authority that God gave unto men to bring into existance the nations of his people that were subject to God's laws. Israel was a "physical" nation subject to the Law of Moses and the church is a "spiritual" nation subject to the law of Christ given through the 12 apostles. Therefore, there are 24 elders.





(...take 2)


courtesy " www.gracethrufaith.com "


These 24 elders confuse some people, but they shouldn’t. Their appearance gives them away. They have thrones, so they’re rulers. They surround the Throne of God, so they’re assisting Him. They’re seated, so their work is done. They’re dressed in white, so they’re righteous. They’re wearing the Greek “stephanos” crown, so they’re victors, over comers. They’re called Elders, a title associated more with Christianity than Judaism. I think we have a pretty strong case for them representing the Church.

When King David realized that the number of priests in Israel was too large for effective service in the Tabernacle, he seperated them into 24 rotating groups. These smaller groups were sufficient to carry out the necessary duties and represented the entire priesthood while on duty. 24 is a multiple of 12, a number that represents government.

I think God has done the same thing and in Revelation 4 these 24 elders represent the newly raptured Church beginning our rule and reign with Christ. All the Old Testament views of the Throne of God show only one throne with the exception of Daniel 7:9 which is an end times view, so these elders can’t be some special order of angelic rulers in place from the beginning. They appear a total of 12 times throughout the Book of Revelation, always in Heaven.







(...take 3 )


By Tim McHyde


I think the question of who the 24 elders are is a question a lot of people have wondered about, including me. And I think I finally deduced the most reasonable literal scriptural "allegory-free" answer to the question a few years ago.

By the way, I think the question stands whether you believe in a pretrib rapture or not. Because John is seeing the 24 elders and four creatures in Heaven in his time. There's nothing indicating that it is a future scene. It's simply the throne room in Heaven. Later we do get a scene of the same throne room in the future, but this time with many souls standing on it singing the song of Moses and the song of the lamb. That appears to be after the rapture, or gathering of the Firstfruits to Heaven for sure, since it happens after the 7th trumpet and the seven bowl angels arew are seen parading out to deliver their deadly payload (Rev 15:1-6).

So how did the 24 elders get there back in the First Century when John received the apocalyptic vision after Jesus' death? Well, first, let's make sure that they are men and not angels so we do not solve a problem that does not exist.

24 Elders Men, Not 24 "Elder Angels"

Revelation 4:4-And round about the throne were four and twenty thrones: and upon the thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. Here's why I feel these cannot be angels but must be men as it seems (although glorified men).

It says they are elders - I cannot find the word ever applied to angels. This makes sense since angels apparently are all the same age anyway.
They sit on thrones and wear crowns - Again you never will find an angel wearing a crown or destined to rule as the thrones imply. On the other hand we are told throughout the Bible that the righteous shall inherit and rule the earth, including the twelve apostles sitting on twelve thrones ruling each of the twelve tribes (Lk 22:30).
White Raiment - If they are righteous glorified men in Heaven, this is what they ought to be wearing according to Rev 19:8 as the clothing of the Bride of Christ at the Marriage Supper will be, in addition to many parables of Jesus.

Is 24 Figurative?

Ok, we've established that they are men. But are they really 24 men or are they representative somehow of all of the righteous who had died up to this point and taken up to heaven? Well, the problem with that idea is that Scripture teaches people do not go to heaven immediately when they die, but they must wait until later to "rise", that is, be resurrected. Even the righteous prophet Daniel was told he would sleep in the grave from which he would only rise at the end of the age to receive his reward:

Daniel 12:13 As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance. When are these times of rising? Scripture teaches three:

1 Corinthians 15:22-24-22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Messiah the firstfruits; afterward they that are Messiah's at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. Notice there is the obvious resurrection/rapture of the righteous at Messiah's coming that all of us today hope to be part of, as well as the one at "the end" that Revelation 20:5 (and Ezekiel 37) speaks of as when the rest of the (unrighteous) dead are raised. However what we often gloss over is the the fact that at Messiah's resurrection there were also "firstfruits" plural.

Who are "the firstfruits"?

These firstfruits were pictured and predicted in the Torah/Law by the Feast of the Firstfruits rehearsal done each year on the Sunday morning after Passover by a wave sheaf of barley being waved to God by the high priest:

Leviticus 23:10-11-10 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. And we find that just as Jesus was raised on that day, so were several Firstfruit saints:

Matthew 27:50-53-50 Y'shua, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Notice that although the graves were opened at the moment that the earthquake of Jesus's death happened, the inhabitants did not wake up from their "sleep" (the same "rest" that Daniel still is in) and emerge until after Jesus' resurrection. As it happens, in Jewish tradition, the wave sheaf was first marked on Passover before it was cut and waved on Firstfruits. So if all those who had their graves marked were then resurrected with Jesus on the same day, then it would perfectly fulfill the Torah rehearsals as they were performed.

And it would give us a reasonable answer for who the 24 elders in Heaven are. They are the glorified saints who were raised in the "First of the Firstfruits" resurrection of the Messiah.






Who are the 24 Elders? I don't know for sure. The above explanations are as good as any. Time will tell. Do we really need to know now? I don't think so. One day soon, we'll see the Elders ourselves if Jesus is our true Lord.



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