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In Revelation 4-5, John pictures a scene of worship around God's throne in heaven. Around the throne are twenty-four other thrones on which are seated twenty-four elders (πρεσβυτέρους). I've always assumed that the elders were humans, but recently I was reading an interpretation wherein the angels pattern worship in heaven with a song in chapter 4, and then in chapter 5 the Lamb redeems a people from every nation to worship in the same manner, but with a new song. For this interpretation to even possibly work, however, the elders must be angels.
Verse 5:5 seems to support this idea. In books like Daniel, Zechariah, and in the rest of Revelation, the people guiding the authors through their visions are typically angels. However, the elders are also dressed in white, which is typical of the saints in Revelation. Furthermore the number 24 suggests to me 2*12 matching the tribes and apostles; though, they could be angels over them perhaps.
What type of creature are the twenty-four elders?
John Mushenhouse Neil Steven Lawrence TerryandNita Wiles
come on Ricky Grimsley Link Hudson Brett Dobbs give us your BEST greek on this one
Troy Day there were 24 Prebyters in Greek.
Presbyters, usually translated elder, implies age and the wisdom that comes with maturity.
Michael Chauncey OK – why 24 and WHO are they as John asked the angel
Troy Day The text does not specify, but it seems likely to me that they will be some representation of the 12 sons of Israel and the 12 Apostles of Christ.
Michael Chauncey well the text does specify they are in the heavens alongside with John the Seer
24 men who were most faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Could be the apostles and or renown church leader elders from the past 1900 years, Who have died. And are now currently in heaven.
Brett Dobbs where does it say
THEY have died?
no where in the BIBLE and certainly NOT in Revelation
Michael Chauncey Duane L Burgess John Mushenhouse
Troy Day neither does it say that they were called up in the resurrection or the rapture
Brett Dobbs what other way did they get to heaven then?
We know that John was brought to them by a command COME UP HERE
John Mushenhouse Duane L Burgess James Pinkerton
Troy Day the same way these got up there.
Revelation 6:9-11 (KJV) 9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.
So these get killed from having the word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ. They’re now in heaven. They’re given white robes and told to wait until the rest of their brethren gets killed.
Notice it says “I saw the souls of them” and they received white robes. How can a soul that isn’t in the physical form receive a robe or a crown? I have no idea. But there is nothing in this text to indicate that these are in bodily form.
If we do suggest that these are in bodily form, then we would have to reach some type of conclusion that every time a saint dies during the tribulation that they instantly get resurrected. But that completely goes against other scriptures that says there will be one resurrection of the dead who are in Christ. Not multiple. And the resurrection of the dead in Christ is at his second coming when the sign of the son a man appears in the clouds. The dead shall rise first. And those who died in Christ will be with him. And we will meet him in the air.
Conclusion. Departed soul that dwells in heaven is physical in some sense. They can receive crowns and white robes.
Brett Dobbs who are THESE in
So these get killed
and how can you make IN COLNCLUSION w/o knowing their identity ?
Troy Day their identity is simple.
Revelation 6:9-9 (KJV) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Revelation 12:10-11 (KJV) 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Revelation 13:7-7 (KJV) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Revelation 14:12-13 (KJV) 12 Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Brett Dobbs OK but still who are THESE where you said:
So these get killed
Are you still talking about the 24 elders
Troy Day I’m suggesting that the 24 elders are renown christian men who have died and went to heaven within the past 1900 years.
You asked how could a soul of man receive crowns and white robes without being in their resurrected body. So showed Revelation 6:9-11 to show that dead saints who hasn’t been resurrected yet could receive white robes.
So therefore just because the 24 elders hasn’t received their resurrected bodies doesn’t prevent them from receiving their heavenly rewards.
Brett Dobbs christian?
JOHN saw them there 2000 years ago brother
Troy Day he saw a vision of the future. Lol
Brett Dobbs John Mushenhouse Michael Chauncey
The elders are a prominent group mentioned 12 times in Rev 4-19 (4:4, 10; 5:5, 6, 8, 11, 14; 7:11, 13;
11:16; 14:3; 19:4). Yet, the identity of these elders is disputed. However, the commentary tradition has
by and large narrowed it down to two dominant views. The elders either represent church-age saints or
some form of angelic beings. The following thoughts reflect my internal wrestling. It is also my attempt
to fairly represent both positions and defend both views as well as possible. Not all of these arguments
are equally strong, nor do I agree with each line of defense. My goal is to assist the reader to decide
which view is the best.
THE ELDERS REPRESENT CHURCH-AGE SAINTS
1. The elders are sitting on thrones before God (Rev 2:26-27; 3:21; 20:6; cf. Eph 2:6). While Christ is
not seated on His earthly throne, these kingly ones, having been presented “blameless with great joy,”
must be with Him (Jude 24-25).
2. The elders are clothed in white robes. Church-age overcomers are promised white garments (Rev
3:4-5, 18; 6:11; 19:7-8). Moreover, in Revelation, only the saints wear white clothing. This is
appropriate, for the church, at this time, would have been judged and rewarded at the Judgment Seat
of Christ (1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Cor 5:10).
3. The elders have crowns of gold on their heads. These crowns (stephanous) indicate achievement and
victory (Rev 2:10; 3:11). In the Epistles, believers are also promised crowns for spiritual
accomplishments (1 Cor 9:25; 1 Thess 2:19; 2 Tim 4:8; Jas 1:12; 1 Pet 5:4). The Bible seems to
distinguish between the word stephanos, which is used of a crown of reward for faithful endurance,
and diadema, which is the crown of royalty or authority. Note: the crowning of these elders also
indicates that the rapture and resurrection is past, for disembodied spirits wear no crowns.
4. The term “elder” (presbuteros) is only used of men in Scripture (e.g., Luke 7:3; Jas 5:14; 1 Pet 5:1).
“Elders” is often used of leaders and representatives of the churches (Acts 15:2; 20:17; 1 Tim 3:1-7;
5. The elders are “kings and priests” (Rev 5:10). Church-age believers are a royal priesthood (Rev 1:6;
1 Pet 2:9). Since Christ is a King-Priest according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb 5-7), believers
who are in Christ are also king-priests.
6. The elders are carefully distinguished from both the four living creatures and the angels in Rev 5:11
7. In Rev 5:9, the elders are seen singing a song of redemption. It appears that they sing of their own
personal redemption because they say that God has made them to be kings and priests and they have
been redeemed out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation (Rev 5:10). Note: Exodus
15:13, 16-17 demonstrates that it is possible to sing a song about yourself in the third person.
8. The numerical adjective 24 is significant. King David divided the Levitical priesthood into 24 orders
(1 Chron 24:3-5). Each order represented the entire priestly tribe and the whole nation of Israel as it
functioned before God. Therefore, it is possible that the number 24 represents a larger, complete
group. Some believe that the number 24 represents the 12 Apostles and the 12 Tribes. However, the
Apostles were to judge the 12 Tribes. Yet, Old Testament saints are evidently not raised until after
the Tribulation (Dan 12:1-2, 11-13; Isa 25:8; 26:19).
9. In the other visions of heaven in Isaiah and Ezekiel, there was only the throne and the four living
creatures. There were no 24 elders. If the 24 elders were angels then they would’ve been in the
visions of heaven in Isaiah and Ezekiel. It is significant that the 24 elders are seen in the New
Testament and not in the Old Testament. It may also be significant that the elders and their thrones
are not mentioned after Rev 19:7-9. From that point, the Church is seen as the bride of Christ, and
evidently sits together with Christ upon His throne.
10. Many people believe that the 24 elders are angels because they interpret events to John (Rev 5:5;
7:13). We see that two angels interpreted events to John. One showed John the Harlot and the City
of Babylon (Rev 17:1-19:10). The other angel showed John the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:9-22:11).
Both times John fell down and worshipped the angel that interpreted the events to him (Rev 19:10 &
22:8-9). He did this twice. You would think that John learned his lesson the first time. He didn’t.
There was something about these angels like an overwhelming presence. John never did this to the
24 elders. On two occasions, one of the 24 elders spoke to John (Rev 5:5; 7:13) and John never fell
down and worshipped them. Obviously, John didn’t see anything overwhelming about the 24 elders
for he never attempted to worship them. The important thing is not that both the angels and the 24
elders interpret events to John but the interpretation itself. The angels show John future events and
seem to focus on the two cities – Babylon and the New Jerusalem and the difference between the two.
The 24 elders describe past redemption and people being redeemed to Christ. One of the elders
introduced the slain Lamb (Jesus Christ) in Rev 5:5 and the white-robed multitude in Rev 7:13. Why
doesn’t an angel do this? Most likely, the elder can better understand this because he himself is a
THE ELDERS DO NOT REPRESENT CHURCH-AGE SAINTS
1. There are no other human beings in Rev 4.
2. Believers will not sit on thrones surrounding Christ’s throne, they are to sit at a later time with Christ
on His throne (Rev 20:4).
3. Believers will not receive their crowns until after Christ returns to the earth and overthrows His
Nice analysis of the 24 Elders in the book of Revelation.
From what you have said we would have to throw out the idea of angels fitting the role. (Anyway, ￼I never saw them as angels, this is the first time I’m hearing anyone thinks that). ￼
The fact that they are the closest to the throne of God besides, the four living beings, would seem to add another element to their selection. They have the greatest honor of any part of￼ Yahweh’s creation.
I do not think it is appropriate to restrict their role in the narrative by time constraints, because the vision they are shown in is coming from eternity. ￼￼￼ Even as you pointed out, they have bodies with robes and crowns, yet none of the saints of the ages have received their bodies yet until the Rapture. ￼ Thus, in typical Revelation fashion it is a vision from eternity – God‘s perspective. ￼
I have always thought of the number 24 representing 12 Old Testament Saints, and the 12 Apostles. ￼ Various commentaries hint at this idea as well.
So, if we are going to place the selection of these positions of honor – the “ruling with Christ“ in a time frame, we would need to also include the 1000-Year Reign as a period for selecting worthy and faithful Saints to be included in the number. ￼
Another consideration might be that the 24 is not restricted to only 24 from all of human history, but that there will be many more to serve in that position, but they rotate in groups of 24; similar to how the priests rotated during Temple service.
Neil Steven Lawrence I got one for them being angels or not too 🙂 Duane L Burgess but lets see if Brett Dobbs got them risen or not
Humans, of course!
how far did you get on this ? Neil Steven Lawrence Brett Dobbs we also had Robert Dickinson who preached on this recently and could in fact provide some further insights on the passage IF he wishes so
No doubt at all as it has been written “Elders” [except four] clearly in the Bible. “And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that lives forever and ever” (Rev. 5:14).
Rasiah Thomas what do you mean by that comparison ?
Troy Day Although beasts said “Amen” and bow down, they are not human beings. As for elders, “And he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14). It is self-explanatory.
Isara Mo how do you mean?
They are neither humans nor angels ..
I believe the 24 elders are representative of the saved of all ages. 12 tribes of the O.T. and 12 Apostles of the NT representing the saved of both Old and Nt ages all redeemed by the blood of the lamb. They are not seated upon thrones but as the scriptures show they are before the throne worshipping God. The Four Living Creatures are representative of the blood washed Overcomers who are said to be redeemed and sitting on the throne. Jesus said to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne Rev 3:21. They are the true Bride of Christ. My personal opinion. When you get to heaven you will see I’m right. 🙂
David Levandusky Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders.
Troy Day Very accurate – they are on a throne and round about the throne BEFORE the sea of glass. But the Living Creatures are IN the throne and around the throne. One group on one side of the sea of glass and another group on the other side of the sea of glass next to the throne and around it. They are the sanctified ones who have overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. I Jn 2:15-17. Ones whom Christ has presented to himself sanctified, washed in the water of the word, a glorious church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that it should be holy and without blemish. Eph. 5. Again my personal opinion as I was taught many years ago. Not everyone who goes to heaven will sit upon the throne with Jesus. The Overcomers will. Rev. 3:21. The Spirit and the Bride say “Come” Who is the Bride inviting. If the Bride is inviting then the ones being invited are not the Bride.
David Levandusky correct – what does this mean ?
Angels don’t age!
Philip Williams Angels don’t eat
Troy Day they ate with Abraham.
Do angels have crowns ?
SO what is the bottom line when all said and done Brett Dobbs Dan Anthony
Troy Day 24 Elders are saints and not angels. They are present when Jesus begins opening the seals. These men are from various places with different nationalities.
Brett Dobbs how did they get there before the rapture ?
Troy Day I assume the way all other Christians make it to heaven before the rapture. They died.
Brett Dobbs How did you assume that without resurrection. ALSO fellow assumer Link Hudson had some pastor tell him at a funeral there is NO verse in the BIBLE for dead ppl going to heaven (or something similar)
Troy Day saved souls go to heaven. If saved souls don’t go to heaven and they go somewhere else, then the 24 elders would be in their resurrected bodies.
But we do not know 100% for sure if the 24 elders are in their spirit form or physical glorified body form.
But since I hold to the resurrection of all saints being at the last day, the day of the 2nd coming, the day of Christ, the Day of the Lord. Then I must stay true to my overall view and can only come to the conclusion that the 24 elders are not in a physical resurrected body. They are in their soul form. And I defend that position of being in a soul or spirit form with Revelation 6:9-11. John says he sees souls of the saints who were slain. And they’re given white robes. And told to wait till the rest of their brethren is killed. If I was to assume that these saints was in their resurrected bodies then that would mean that during the tribulation, as soon as a saint dies, then they’re immediately resurrected in their physical body. So there would be resurrections happening the entire time of persecution. And something like that is never mentioned in scripture.
That is my overall point of view.
Troy Day Not true. You are conflating different accounts. I went to a Pentecostal (and a baptist) funerals within a certain period of time and heard no mention of the resurrection of the dead… though I was listening for it… only dying and going to heaven. I went to a Roman Catholic funeral, the first and only RCC service I ever went to, and the resurrection was emphasized in the liturgy.
The conversation with the preacher/dean of a Bible college was at a different time. That type of language, “Died and went to heaven”- that terminology is not in the Bible. It is not stated that directly. I notice you aren’t one for nuance on some issues.
Link Hudson TOOK a bit but I found your comment hidden in the 24-elder OP again OFF topic and masked ONE can suppose you are trying to say the 24-eleders are not believers if they are in heaven SINCE dead saints dont go to haven – I am only guessing here since youVE never actually stated clearly BUT once again why is the Catholic deadman/funaral/priest significant for you to prove your point here?
Troy Day If you could actually read and comprehend that OP you keep references, I did not say that the spirits of departed saints do not go to heaven. I said this is an inferred doctrine, with less support and less explicit than the resurrection.
Yet you can find people who get their ideas about Christianity from sermons and pop culture who know about dying and going to heaven who don’t know about the resurrection of the dead. And among Christians who acknowledge both, the fact that the former is emphasized so much and the latter is rarely spoken of shows an error of emphasis with many believers.
Do you think the living creatures are deceased saints?
Link Hudson SO
You did not say that the spirits of departed saints do not go to heaven
(which no one said that you said that)
but you said this is an inferred doctrine, with less support
HOW should what you said be understood by the normal reader?
Troy Day like I said it.
Link Hudson its not clear – you’ve said more about your personal story in this discussion than actual theology Now once again we gonna go down the trail of what happened to you like anyone cares than actually discussing theology and BIBLE #sorry not enough time to waste !
Brett Dobbs if you dont know maybe Link Hudson can tell use today? https://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Dispensational-Truth-Refuting-Dispensationalism/dp/1945774290
HERE Is the MAIN problem with your interpretation IMHO Brett Dobbs you say these are dead saints who got in HEAVEN without a rapture BUT Link Hudson is questing dead saints going to heaven upon their death – so there seems to be a very strong difference in takes on this passage when the RAPTURE is excluded – a pre-Trib rapture solves this easily as John Mushenhouse Michael Chauncey Neil Steven Lawrence Duane L Burgess Darnell Henson Jr. has established already – the saints got there via pre-trib rapture THAT SIMPLE
now Kyle Williams has emerged from this type dispens. theology liked by Oscar Valdez and for him there is no rapture @ all and we already live in the Millennium which basically where post-trib eschatology is heading if you think theologically
Troy Day my belief in the millennium being a present reality is predicated upon the Authority and reign of Christ. Christ is not waiting to take His seat on the The throne. He’s been seated upon that throne since the Son of Man received His everlasting Kingdom from the Ancient of Days.
Kyle Williams have you fully studied the covenant made to David. Currently Jesus is on the fathers throne. God promised David that Jesus would reign from David’s throne. That is an earthly throne.
Troy Day then Link Hudson view of soul sleep or view that souls don’t go to heaven when they die is wrong.
Brett Dobbs I mean i get your point, but my understanding is that “that throne” being spoken of in 2 Samuel 7 as an everlasting throne relates to the everlasting dominion or rule that was given to the Son of Man(Daniel 7:13-14), so it is the extent of the Rule of Christ that is likend unto the Davidic throne and not a physical throne or seat. It’s earthly in that Christ has (presently) all authority in heaven and on earth.
Kyle Williams I think you need to add to that a little bit. For example in the book of acts they asked would he now restore the kingdom back to Israel. (Setting up his earthly throne the throne of David) Acts 1:6-7 (KJV) 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
And then revelation 5, Jesus is handed the sealed book. Which is basically a title deed. Jesus does have all authority on heaven and in earth. However he has yet to claim what belongs to him.
But right here is where he claims it.
Revelation 11:15-15 (KJV) And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Brett Dobbs the kingdoms of this world ARE the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, because Jesus has all authority
Kyle Williams when do the saints or when do we rule and reign with Christ?
Brett Dobbs presently. We have been made a kingdom of priests unto God.
Kyle Williams but when does this happen?
Revelation 20:6-6 (KJV) Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
yes Brett Dobbs I too think Kyle Williams needs to add quite a bit to this
Kyle Williams but how are we in a physical Millennium right now?
Troy Day there are physical and spiritual aspects as I see it. Christ is making all things new.
Kyle Williams where is the lion and the lamb? Link Hudson Philip
Link Hudson after reading Brett Dobbs Kyle Williams seems like NOT All post-tribbers think alike. I will leave you guys to it 🙂
Brett Dobbs not my view. I wrote the resurrection is an explicit doctrine heavily emphasized. Going to heaven at death and the idea of being conscious has less scripture to back it up and some scriptures that might be a problem for the view (the dead know nothing).
Link Hudson oh I see.
Link just posted this
Going to heaven at death and the idea of being conscious has less scripture to back it up and some scriptures that might be a problem for the view (the dead know nothing).
John Mushenhouse Duane L Burgess how do you understand the last part I am truly lost in what this actually means?
ARE YOU READY TO ANSWER: “COME UP HERE!”
“ … the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” (Revelation 13:5–18)
……“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”” (Revelation 11:15–18) …………
“Change your hearts and lives and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away. It is for everyone the Lord our God calls to himself.” ACTS 2