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Who are the 24 elders? We have evidence that many saints were resurrected after Jesus resurrection (Matthew. 27: 52- 53; 1Cor. 15: 20, 23; Eph. 4: 8- 10). These saints are 24 elders seated in the throne room of God as John had seen them in Heaven. ► Evidence that "elders" represent redeemed saints ➊ Greek:presbuteros (G4245), elder. It is never used of angels (Acts 14:23). ➋ They are distinguished from angels in Rev. 5:11- 14. ➌ They have crowns and sit on thrones, which are promised redeemed people (Rev. 2:10; 3:21; 20:4; Mt. 19:28; 1Cor. 9:25- 27 2Tim. 4:8). ➍ These saints are in glorified bodies as they already received the crowns and in white raiment. ➎ These 24 elders must exclude Elijah and Enoch who are in the natural bodies in Heaven ➏ Angels are never seen in Revelation on thrones or wearing crowns. Angels are mentioned with thrones only in Isa. 14:12- 14; Col. 1:16. ➐ They wear white raiment, which is used only in Revelation of Christ and saints (Rev. 3:5, 18; 6:11; 7:9, 13; 15:6; 19:8, 14). ➑ The white raiments also symbolize the righteousness of saints in the next life (Rev. 19:8). ➒ It is clear from Rev. 1:1; 5:5- 7 7:13- 15 19:10; 22:8- 9 that one of the elders is the person showing John the Revelation, and that he is a redeemed man. ➓ If one of them is a man, then all 24 are men. Since they are redeemed men and in heaven on thrones all through the time of the fulfillment of Rev. 4-- Rev. 22, they must have been raptured before that. ► Why Twenty- four Elders? The following facts are clear: ➊ The whole priesthood of old was represented by 24 elders (1Chr. 24:1- 9) ➋ It is not the 1st time that mankind were allowed visions of God's throne. Isaiah 6:1-5, Micaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel were given visions of God's throne Ezekiel 1,10 Daniel 7:9-14,22 none of these prophet ever describes seeing these Elders. It is obvious these Elder's appearance is an addition to the throne room of God AFTER the time of Daniel. So it must be after Christ’s resurrection ➋ We have evidence that many saints were resurrected after Jesus resurrection (Matthew. 27: 52- 53; 1Cor. 15: 20, 23; Eph. 4: 8- 10). ► What are they doing? ➊ They sit on thrones (Rev. 4:4; 19:7- 8). ➋ They worship God (Rev. 4:9- 11 5:8- 10). ➌ They clothed in white raiment(Rev 4:4; Rev 3:4) ➍ They cast crowns before God (Rev. 4:10). ➎ They fall prostrate before God (Rev. 4:10; 5:8, 14; 11:16; 19:4). ➏ They sing and play harps (Rev. 5:8- 10). ➐ They act as priests (Rev. 5:8). ➑They give John the Revelation (Rev. 5:5; 7:13- 14).
Scripture doesn't tell us who these elders are. One clue may be that they are called "elders," implying they would be much older than Christians were at the time John wrote Revelation. I believe they are Old Testament prophets who who were severely persecuted and in most cases slain for the sake of righteousness, as Christians later were in taking up their cross and following Christ. They would all have the Holy Spirit while alive, but would be not in the Throne room before Christ was crucified and led "captivity captive" (Eph. 4:8). They fulfilled the conditions required of Christians to receive a crown before Christianity began.
I believe the 24 Elders are the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve Apostles. They also represent the perfect Church of Christ both those from the Old Covenant and those redeemed under the New Covenant. I pondered the issue of John also being one of the Apostles but seeing himself there, however, we must remember that Christ is showing John what was, what is and what is to come. This view is of the heavenly Tabernacle at, what is for John at the time he received the Revelation, a future time - a time not too far from us now. Time is an earthly institution, there is no time in the Spirit. Time was for a time but the time of the Ages will come to pass and time will be no more. Our concept of time is partly what limits us. There are no limits in the Spirit - by that I mean no constraints of expanse or longevity, no limit to God’s power or insight in us - the Spirit is eternal. We are constrained by the love of Christ and those constraints remain. We are set free to be obedient to the Covenant that God has given us through the Lord Jesus Christ - the freedom for abundant Life. I pray that God will fill you with all the fullness of Christ as He has promised.
I believe that the 24 elders are the patriarchs of the Old Testament that were faithful to GOD. As it is here on earth it is in Heaven, an elder has a official post in the church and is appointed by the pastor and is a person of age. In Heaven GOD is the Head and HE picked the elders already when John was there. Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Judah, and Pharez. (Gen. & 1st Chron.)
It has long been to believed that the 24 elders are the heavenly representation of the Sanhedrin. Most of the book of Revelation, often contrary to popular belief, actually deals with Israel.
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