Round about the throne there were twenty four thrones and upon these thrones were twenty four Elders. They were clothed in white raiment and they had on their heads crowns of gold. These twenty four elders represent redeemed mankind. The name Elder is never given to an angel; neither do angels ever have crowns or sit on thrones. Only redeemed men are promised thrones and crowns: Matthew 19:28 and Revelation 3:21.

These elders must be a representative number of the Old Testament Jewish saints and the New Testament Christian saints that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The prophet Daniel said he saw thrones and on one of the thrones sat the Ancient of Days. His raiment was white as snow and the hair of His head was like wool. Twenty four thrones were occupied by the twenty four elders. Those elders must have passed the fiery test of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Believers are called before the Bema Seat of Christ and judged according to their works. This judgment does not determine if they are saved and go to heaven, but it is an evaluation of the good deeds they have accomplished and the crowns will be given as a token of their reward.

Those crowns are five in number. The incorruptible crown, I Corinthians 9:25-27, the crown of life, Revelation 2:10, the crown of Glory, I Peter 5:2-4, the crown of Righteousness, II Timothy 4:8, and the crown of rejoicing. That these elders are redeemed men is further evidenced by the song they are singing; “And they sang a new song saying thou art worthy to take the book and open the seals for thou was slain and has redeemed us to God by they book out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation and has made us unto our God Kings and Priests (better translated a kingdom of priests) and we shall reign on the earth”. Revelation 5:9-10.

Now this could not be said of angels or any other created heavenly being for they have not been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

Twenty four is the number of priestly courses as given in I Chronicles 24:1-19 when David distributed the priests into courses he found there were twenty four heads of the priestly families and those twenty four heads he made representative of the both the Old and the New Testament saints. The Old Testament saints are represented by the twelve tribes of Israel and the New Testament saints by the twelve apostles of the Lamb. They, together, make up the twenty four representative characters.

This distinction is clearly brought out in the description of the New Jerusalem where the twelve gates are named after the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve foundation stones are named after the twelve apostles. These twenty four elders do not as a whole just represent the church for the church is composed of only New Testament saints. The Old Testament saints are merely friends of the Bridegroom but the fact that the New Testament saints as represented by the apostles are required to make up the twenty four elders is for the proof that the rapture of the church takes place before the tribulation period.

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