4 And [kai] round about [kuklothen] the throne [thronos] were four [tessares] and [kai] twenty [eikosi] seats: [thronos] and [kai] upon [epi] the seats [thronos] I saw [eido] four [tessares] and [kai] twenty [eikosi] elders [presbuteros] sitting, [kathemai] clothed [periballo] in [en] white [leukos] raiment; [himation] and [kai] they had [echo] on [epi] their [autos] heads [kephale] crowns [stephanos] of gold. [chruseos]KJV-Interlinear
4 And around the throne were
twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting,
clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. NASB
Now we come to the 24 thrones, the 24 elders that
sat on those thrones, their white clothing and their golden crowns.
There is a great deal of speculation as to who
these persons are.Man or angel?Old Testament saints,
or New Testament saints?Perhaps the
twelve tribes of Israel elders and the twelve apostles tying up all of history
into the rulership with Christ?
All good guesses, but the Bible leaves nothing to
guess work.It clarifies everything if
only one is willing to dig for it, and generally one does not have to dig too
far.God is not the author of confusion,
but of clarity.
First, consider where we are in this book of
Revelation.John has introduced the
importance of Bible doctrine and spiritual growth - the seven spirits standing
before the throne of God, and representing the advancement of the believer
toward spiritual maturity.
Second,John covered the historical trends of
the Church Age, the various attitudes that believers would have, and the
various crowns and rewards that would be available to those who advanced to
Third, John is now covering, in our current
chapter, (chapter 4 and 5) the appearance of heaven just prior to the
judgments, the Church in heaven.John is
called up into heaven, the rapture, not to see the current things in heaven,
but to see what 'will take place after these things'.The chronology of events after the Church
Age, after the Rapture.
Fourth, nowhere in the scriptures are angels ever
referred to as elders, never referred to as kings or royalty, nowhere do angels
ever sit on thrones of any kind, nowhere is there ever any representation that
angels will share power or rulership with Christ.Angels are ministering spirits and their
purpose is to serve those (believers) who are saved, Heb. 1:14, Matt. 18:10.
John is in heaven and observes the following.The throne, standing, 'keimai',
permanent, standing or appointed, in the process of completed placement.John observed the permanent throne of Christ,
as it was just being completed, but not within itself, but with respect to its
relative position in its surroundings - the other 24 thrones surrounding it.
Next John saw Jesus Christ in all His perfection
and essence, sitting on the throne.God
cannot sit for He is omnipresent.Man
can sit, but man is not God.Therefore
only Jesus Christ can be the one sitting because no other man can enter into
heaven and sit on a throne, and God the Father and
Spirit did not become man.Only Jesus
Christ who is God and who became man, is qualified to possess
this throne which sits in the center of the rest of the thrones.
In the Old Testament, when the Levite's were
anointed as priests, only 24 of them served at any one time, but there were
24,000 of them.They served on rotations
of 24, such that the temple was served constantly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week, all year long.These priests were
elders or supposedly knowledgeable authorities concerning Gods Word.
But there were other elders as well in the Old Testament
such as family leaders, tribe leaders, officers.Generally people of age and wisdom.To these was given the responsibilities of
rulership, dispute settling, and priestly activities.
Here we have 24 thrones occupied by elders dressed
in white and wearing golden crowns.No
angel was ever invited to sit with God, only man.No angel was dressed in white or wore a
crown.Angels were never given the title
of elder, only man. These are human beings sitting on the 24 thrones.But are they Old Testament or New Testament
elders, or both?
Their robes are in white and they are wearing
crowns, so that means they have completed their resurrection, they have been
cleansed from all wood, hay, and stubble (the white garments), and have
received their rewards of crowns.Since
no man ever receives his eternal reward until after the resurrection, then the
rapture has been completed, and these elders are resurrected people, already glorified
and serving Christ.
Since Christ holds the seven seals
in His hand, which seals reveal the judgments of the Tribulation, then the
judgment of the Tribulation has not yet been conducted, therefore the Old
Testament believers have not received their resurrection yet.
Since only mature believers receive the extra
crowns and rewards of eternity, then we can conclude that these elders are
Church Age mature believers who have advanced to that point of maturity which
qualified them for these golden crowns.We can also assume that there are not just 24 people, in all of the 2000
years history of the Church Age who will qualify, but there are perhaps
millions, and therefore the 24 number is representative of the rotation of duty
pattern used in the Old Testament Levitical priesthood.
Thus mature Church Age believers will share in the
rulership and priesthood of Christ.We
already know from other passages that we as Church Age believers,
are Royal Family, Royal Priests, will participate in the joint rulership and inheritance
of the universe with Christ.See the
blessings list on the web site special studies library.
We as joint rulers (elders) in heaven,
will witness the final judgments of earth as described in subsequent
chapters.Being in heaven and seeing
first hand for thefirst time ever in
our lives, the activities of Gods will and history as it unfolds before us will
cause us to fall to our knees and bowed heads, totally overwhelmed in the
awesome power and authority of God.
Here on earth we read the words, trying to imagine
or comprehend it all, but really lacking the total picture to really appreciate
or even understand the realities of life beyond our senses of sight, smell,
feel, hearing, and taste.
We get up each morning, go to work, or do whatever
we do on a daily basis, return home and to bed.We get up the next morning and repeat the process throughout our
life.We do not see awesome miracles
every moment of the day, every day of our lives.We survive in our spiritual lives, through
faith in things we do not see.We do not
see angels. We do not see the angelic
Yet one day we will be in heaven and we will see
the things that unbelievers reject.We
will see and participate in things that most people on earth don't think much
of, or have little regard for.That is,
until their world crashes down around their ears and they are in a lot of
So these elders are spiritually mature Church Age
believers who are in heaven as a result of the rapture, having received their
resurrection bodies, having received their evaluations from Christ, having
received their cleansing, and having received their rewards for their mature
status. They are not older believers, for age is not an ingredient of knowledge
and wisdom.They are believers who have
advanced to maturity, and thus will occupy places of high honor in heaven.