The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Identifying the 24 Elders of Revelation 4

24 Elders

When the Apostle John was caught up to Heaven, he revealed that God’s throne does not stand alone. Rather, it is situated at the center of a circle of lesser thrones.

He wrote, “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” (Revelation 4:4). John, calling himself the Elder (2 John 1:1), had met the 24 Elders, and in doing so, presented a great mystery. Just who are the 24 Elders?

The first impulse is to identify the 24 Elders as a special elevated class of angels. Such a conclusion is problematic, though. The ancient origins of angels could have certainly earned them the title Elder, but then this would have been the only time in the Bible where angels are called elders.

If not angels, could the 24 Elders be members of humanity? And, if so, which humans? Some theorize that the 24 Elders could be comprised of the 12 sons of Jacob, Israel’s tribal patriarchs, plus the 12 Apostles, with the two groups representing God’s Old and New Covenants. That configuration has a certain logic to it. But, as the last living Apostle, John’s seat should have remained vacant, yet he still counted 24 Elders present.

If not a Patriarch-Apostle combo, what about the 24 Elders being comprised of still another group of men, ones unknown to us?

I believe these unknown men are representatives of the Church due to how John described the rewards these men hold, rewards promised only to the raptured Church.

After believers in Christ are Raptured, we will undergo the Judgment of the Just. We will be rewarded for the good deeds the Holy Spirit performed through our lives.

Some of those rewards will be immaterial. For example, those saved will live forever with their Creator in a loving relationship on the New Earth. Other rewards will relate to levels of position, as gloried believers will be granted different degrees of ruling authority during Christ’s millennial reign (Luke 19:11-27). Still other rewards will be material in nature, such as special white robes (Revelation 6:11; 19:8), and five different crowns which will be bestowed on Christians for meritorious spiritual achievements. These rewards were promised explicitly to the Church (Revelation 1:6).

John described the Elders as casting their crowns in worship before the One on the throne while singing a new song: “You have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).

Their song certainly proves the 24 Elders are not angels, for these elders needed to be redeemed by Christ’s shed blood, and there is no redemption for angels. Therefore, the 24 Elders could only be the Church Age saints. I’ll go even further, one of them could even be you!

During King David’s time, 24 elders had been appointed to divide the priesthood into 24 courses with each elder serving two weeks at a time in the Temple. The huge number of priests required a rotation in order to allow all of them their time to fulfill their priestly duties. Skip ahead to Jesus’ promise that those who “overcome” (meaning those who are saved), will get the chance “to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21).

Could it be that these overcomers, in order to get their turn, will be granted a rotational seat upon the heavenly throne? If so, that means, Christian, that you’ll be the one wearing a pure white robe. You’ll be the one wearing a golden crown. You’ll be the one casting your crown in an eternal act of joyous worship towards your Savior who sits upon the very seat over all authority. You may be, at least for a time, one of the 24 Elders!


Encounter 72 of God’s mighty angels from the book of Revelation! Come and travel along with a man called the Elder and his angelic guide as the end times are revealed throughout the book of Revelation in stunning detail. Along the way, meet 72 of God’s mighty angels as they proclaim God’s messages of warning and hope to a lost world. Together let us encounter… The Mighty Angels of Revelation! (New book by Nathan E. Jones.)

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The Mighty Angels of Revelation

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ABOUT AUTHOR View all posts Author Website

Dr. Nathan E. Jones

As the Internet Evangelist at Lamb & Lion Ministries, Nathan reaches out to the over 4.5 billion people accessible over the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ. He also co-hosts the ministry's television program Christ in Prophecy and podcast The Truth Will Set You Free.

2 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Paradigm shift for me! Lord let me be led continually by the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

  • Good stuff Nathan, but the ones in David’s rotation were only Levites.
    What about Abraham +, Moses, David, prophets etc. There would be 24 there easy.


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