In the book of Revelation by John, it is said that 24 Elders are sitting on thrones around God’s throne. Who are these guys? How did they achieve such a prominent position?
Revelation 4:4 & 10-11
4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the
thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in
white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on
the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever,
and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:
11 “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were
Revelation 5:8 & 14
8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures
and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each
having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are
the prayers of the saints.
14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!”
And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who
lives forever and ever.
The 24 elders are probably what the Bible says they are, as usual. They are elders, human elders. Angels don’t grow old. There are no elder angels. So the 24 elders are 24 men who have lived as men on earth. They must have lived out their lives before God and served him in a special way in times past. The Bible does not tell us precisely who these 24 elders are, but they have to be men of distinction somehow, safe to say it could even be the very first borns in our human lineage? Considering now Luke 3:34-38:
34 …the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the
son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the
son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the
son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,
the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan,
the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the
son of God.
Now we take this lineage and reverse it so it makes sense…
One change needs to be made: God couldn’t be one of the 24 “elders”, so we remove God as one of the elders and replace it with the one person who is missing in this lineage. Who is missing from this lineage?
Before Seth, Abel was the chosen line before he was murdered by his brother Cain. Abel is definitely an “elder”. This sounds like a fairly credible possibility.
For what it is worth, here is another opinion on this matter of the 24 elders. And it is just that, an opinion. If we look at Revelation 21 we see the New Jerusalem descending from heaven. We see that it has 12 foundations. These 12 foundations represent the 12 apostles The Holy City also has 12 gates representing the 12 tribes and 12 patriarchs of Israel. I believe these offer some valuable clues as we seek to look into this matter of the 24 elders.
As we search out the identity of these 12 elders we note the number 12 is represented in Holy Scripture in association with the government of God. So we might well suspect that these 24 elders are in fact two sets of 12 men. All 24 of them would have had great importance in the unfolding of God’s plans and purposes here below. Here is something for us to consider. Is it possible that 12 of the 24 were key witnesses to what God was doing early on in the Old Covenant? And might the other 12 be key witnesses to what God was doing in the New Covenant?