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Monday: The Heavenly Assembly in the Throne Room — 33 Comments

  1. We are not told who the twenty-four elders are, or who comprise the four beasts, full of eyes. Perhaps the clue is given in the song they sing:

    And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Rev 5:10

    That description fits the saved. They have witnessed the events of history in part and are now asking the Lamb to open the seals and provide an explanation that fits all the pieces together. And, if we have made Jesus our saviour, we will be among that number.

    • "...provide an explanation that fits all the pieces together..."

      Well said Maurice.

      This is what I am finding more and more that God's 'judgement' process essentially is - nothing more, nothing less.

      God is unveiling/revealing things that our sin-blinded sight doesn't naturally see by itself. By this unveiling/revelation, we are enabled to actually see the evidence in its entirety. Consequently, the evidence is enabled to speak for itself because we are enabled to see the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We no longer see dimly, but instead are enabled to see all things as they truly are (1 Cor 13:12).

      And thus we are enabled to join with the rest of all created beings in being able to come to a correct 'judgment'/assessment/opinion as to whether Satan's allegations against God are valid or false.

    • Maurice: Volume 7 of the Commentary pg 773 suggests that the "us" didn't specifically include the 24 elders. While I have your attention, I have to tell you how much I have appreciated your comments these past few years.
      Thank you for giving me much to ponder.

      • Thank you, Leilani. I always hope there is enough teacher left in me to stimulate the brain cells of my fellow students! 🙂


    Isaiah calls them seraphims. Isaiah 6:2-3.

    Ezekiel calls them cherubims. Eze 10:1;8-22.

    They were found in the most holy place in the earthly sanctuary. Ex 25:17-22.

    Lucifer was one of them. Eze 28:14.

    They are near the throne even than the 24 elders.

    They lead the worship in heaven.

    They never stop praising- in heaven, they don't get tired.

    The first was like a lion- showing Majesty and fearlessness.

    The second was like an ox- showing humbleness, power and readiness to be used.

    The third had a face as a man- showing the ability to think,intelligence and love.

    The fourth was like a flying eagle- showing vision and swiftness.

    Lion- the king of the jungle
    Ox- the king of domestic animals.
    Man- the king of the earth.
    Eagle- the king of the birds.

    • The scroll represents the covenant between God and His people. In antiquity, covenants were always sealed by the one who originated/wrote the covenant and only one of His people with the proper authority could open a sealed scroll. The one with authority must be one who meets the demands of the covenant. In this case Christ, the slain Lamb.

  3. John 14:1-7 gives SUMMARY of the heavenly look.

    Every person longs for stability in the midst of this changing world. But ultimate security can only come from knowing that we have an eternal home with God in Heaven even after our death.

  4. We have already noticed a strong association between the twenty-four elders and the twelve apostles of the Lamb. So just as the symbol of the 144,000 represents the totality of Israel, both Old and New Testaments, the twenty-four elders could be heavenly representatives of the people of God in both the time of Old Testament Israel and the era of the church. In support of this is Jesus’ comment to His disciples in Matthew 19:28 and parallel: “In the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt 19:28, ESV, see also Luke 22:30). Here the twelve disciples are clearly associated with both heavenly thrones and the twelve tribes. They are the counterparts to the twelve tribal heads (patriarchs) of Old Testament Israel. And they are also depicted to have a role in the final judgment.
    The best explanation of the twenty-four elders seems to be that they are symbolic representations of the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles, just as can be seen in the depiction of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21. A similar parallel can also be seen in the Song of Moses and of the Lamb in Revelation 15:3, where the key figures of the Old and New Testament people of God are combined into one song. The elders in this vision seem to represent all of redeemed humanity, in both its Old and New Testament forms. In other words, the twenty-four elders are symbolic of all God's believers throughout history. Their inclusion in this heavenly vision indicates that humanity is well represented before God. God is using the twenty-four elders to help minister to, and eventually judge, His people on earth. Comment by Jon Paulien

    • Ever watched and considered Pastor Stephen Bhor's series on the 24 elders? He concludes that they are the Representative of the unfallen world.

      Specifically, he also quotes Ellen White's account in the Desire of Ages:

      "There is the throne, and around it the rainbow of promise. There are cherubim and seraphim. The commanders of the angel hosts, the sons of God, the representatives of the unfallen worlds, are assembled. The heavenly council before which Lucifer had accused God and His Son, the representatives of those sinless realms over which Satan had thought to establish his dominion,—all are there to welcome the Redeemer. They are eager to celebrate His triumph and to glorify their King." DA 834.1

      • The only problem with that is, they are unfallen, how would they be able to relate to fallen man? We are they only ones created in the image of God who know good and evil. I do believe that there are unfallen worlds, but they are not partaking in the judgement. No other created beings will be able to sing the song of Moses, only those who have experienced overcoming sin. Jesus our High Priest is acquainted with our infirmities, He who was sinless became the bearer of sin on our behalf. He is the perfect Judge.

  5. Please explain Matt 27:53-53. It was my understanding that these resurrected saints eventually saw death again,like Lazarus. Kindly clarify

    • Thanks Naomi for providing your good question. In Ephesians 4:8 Paul says, " That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people." Many believe the "captives" refers to those who were resurrected. After all, if it was Christ's death that ransomed them from the grave wouldn't that be eternally? In Ephesians 4:8 Paul is quoting Psalm 68 which also goes on to say,
      When you ascended to the heights,
      you led a crowd of captives.
      You received gifts from the people,
      even from those who rebelled against you.
      Now the Lord God will live among us there.

      19 Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!
      For each day he carries us in his arms. Interlude
      20 Our God is a God who saves!
      The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death."

      So if they were rescued from death, to me that would mean they would not die again, or they wouldn't really be rescued from death. If you are open to investigating Ellen White's commentary on the topic in Desire of Ages, Page 786, here it is as well. " During His ministry, Jesus had raised the dead to life. He had raised the son of the widow of Nain, and the ruler's daughter and Lazarus. But these were not clothed with immortality. After they were raised, they were still subject to death. But those who came forth from the grave at Christ's resurrection were raised to everlasting life. They ascended with Him as trophies of His victory over death and the grave. These, said Christ, are no longer the captives of Satan; I have redeemed them. I have brought them from the grave as the first fruits of My power, to be with Me where I am, nevermore to see death or experience sorrow."

  6. They are only human called the son of God in the Bible is Adam, Luke 3:38. In Job 1:7, 2:1, and 38:7 the phrase the “sons of God” came together Before the Lord, or sang together. Is it too much of a jump to speculate that the 24 elders are other sons of God or representatives of other populated worlds? Just a thought… Royce

  7. I struggled with who the 24 elders in heaven were. In today’s lesson, the one explanation said ‘They perhaps are the ones who were raised from the dead at the time of Jesus’ death (Matt. 27:51-53). This brought furious alarm bells in my head. This is bordering dangerously on ‘adding’ to the words of the bible that Revelations 22:18 say very clearly we must never do. Jesus said himself in John 3.13 viz- ‘And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.’KJV. What is clear in Matt. 27:52-53 is i) ‘52The graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose’, (we have been told we as believers are ‘saints’), ii) 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection’, iii) …and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. I checked JFB’S commentary and ‘Thus, in the opening of the graves at the moment of the Redeemer’s expiring, there was a glorious symbolical proclamation that the death which had just taken place had “swallowed up death in victory”; and whereas the saints that slept in them were awakened only by their risen Lord, to accompany Him out of the tomb, it was fitting that “the Prince of Life … should be the First that should rise from the dead” (Ac 26:23; 1 Co 15:20, 23; Col 1:18; Rev 1:5). https://biblia.com/books/nkjv/Mt27.51-53 , Volume 2, Page 62. And from Pulpit Commentary -‘Appeared unto many. They were permitted to show themselves openly in their well known forms to pious relations and friends, as witnesses and proofs of the resurrection.’ https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/27-53.htm
    Further if we read in 1 Chron. 24:1-19 the chiefs of the 24 divisions of priests were set out by King David, who took turns serving in the earthly temple services. We are aware that the temple or Sanctuary on earth was a copy of what is in heaven. God told King David the plans and his son Solomon carried them out. I prefer the explanation stated in today’s lesson that ‘The number 24 also mirrors the chiefs of the 24 divisions of priests who took turns serving in the earthly temple services.’
    A Slide from Fustero’s ‘Slideshows for the Sabbath School’, stated –‘As C. Mervyn Maxwel explains in his book “God Cares. The Message of Revelation”, John saw those heavenly elders as priests with censers who offer incense while people are praying (Rev. 5:8). The King James version tells that the 24 elders were saying: “Thou ... hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred ... and nation; ... and hast made us ... priests." (Rev. 5:9, 10)... The Bible scholars agree that the 24 elders actually say that Christ has redeemed “men” (not “us”), and Christ has made “them” (not “us”) priests for God.
    The Greek manuscripts of Revelation support the opinion of the scholars, and that’s how this passage is translated in modern versions. The 24 elders are not necessarily humans, but they’re still our friends. They help us when we pray. John saw them offering symbolic incense as we pray. We should be grateful to each one of them. Fustero slide 6 Les4 Q1 2019. Godbless us today. Mrs A Stolz

  8. The KJV translators have added an interesting interpretation in Rev 4:11 so that it reads that the Lord is worthy to receive worship because He created us for His pleasure, it gives me a great feeling to think my existence gives God pleasure!

    (KJV) Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy *pleasure* they are and were created.
    (MKJV) O Lord, You are worthy to receive glory and honour and power, because You created all things, and for Your *will* they are and were created.
    The Greek word “thelema” (G2307) is translated “pleasure” by KJV and “will” by MKJV in Rev 4:11 and as *will* in 62 other occurrences in KJV in the NT
    From the prolonged form of G2309; a determination (properly the thing), that is, (actively) choice (specifically purpose, decree; abstractly volition) or (passively) inclination: - desire, pleasure, will.
    Total KJV occurrences: 64

  9. Revelation 4:4
    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.

    clothed in White robes -

    Matthew 22:11

    11But when the king came in to see the guests, he spotted a man who was not dressed in wedding clothes. 12‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But the man was speechless
    We cannot enter the kingdom of God without being covered with the robe of righteousness given to us by Jesus Christ.
    Crowns of Gold on their heads -
    2 Timothy 4:7-8 New International Version (NIV)
    7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

    This is just a foretaste of what it would be like when the redeemed are taken up to heaven

  10. From the pen of inspiration, the 24 elders are described as "angels".

    1. Signs of the Times, December 22, 1887 par 7

    "John beholds an innumerable company, precious, refined, purified, around the throne of the Majesty of Heaven. The angel inquires of John, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” and John answers, “Sir, thou knowest.” Then the angel declares: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” Now we have the precious opportunity of washing our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb till they are spotless in his purity. To all who shall do this the promise is, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

    2. On her comment on Rev. 7:13

    Signs of the Times, November 22, 1905 par 3

    "As John saw the multitude standing around the throne of God, the question was asked, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” The angel answered, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” At infinite cost a fountain has been prepared for our cleansing. If we now wash our robes of character at this fountain, God will give us a place in the mansions that are being prepared for those who love Him."

    • The passages you quote describe the great multitude and the innumerable company surrounding the throne and from the context these quotes refer specifically to Rev 7,8-10. As far as I know Ellen White does not refer to the function or origin of the 24 elders. (I could be wrong - I don't have the time to do a detailed search)

      In the absence of any other biblical detail I prefer to refer to them by their primary function in the throne room scene - as witnesses.

  11. Intriguing to see the varying and strongly held opinions on the living creatures and the elders, I need to go back and go over my supporting points for my conclusions. I believe we will from now on discover the importance of the points laid out in Rev 1:1-2 - symbols and allusions from old and new testaments. I note the issue created by the difference in translation of Rev 5:9-10, and would suggest we rather use OT background to solve the mystery.

  12. I can intellectually understand all the relevance given to the Book of Revelation and I'm trying with all my heart and prayers to be able to understand Jesus Christ's message for me as part of the body of Christ on earth through that book... however, one point that really frustrates me is the symbology itself (I never was good at interpreting poetry at University) - and the scholars and religious authorities come up with -"well, X may represent Y ... or if Y = W, it implies that X represents... etc... got my gist?
    The lesson today itself said - the 24 elders is symbolic. Well... if it's symbolic as a number maybe there are more than 24 ... and then we go... But pray for me not to give up on this book. Some hypotheses vented only in today's lesson:
    "The number 24 is symbolic:..."
    "The 24 elders COULD represent God’s people in their totality,..."
    "The fact that the 24 elders were never mentioned before in the Bible IMPLIES that ..."
    "IF SO,..."


    And when He comes we'll understand it by and by.

    • Hi Moacir

      Do you reckon it is necessary for every person to understand every detail?

      Or could it be that God, knowing that the Bible would exist for a vast diversity of people and cultures across thousands of years, made it so that:
      a) everyone could understand the central and most important themes,
      b) while at the same time, some details would be more or less relevant to some people within some cultures and time periods than others?

      Could this be one of the ways that the Bible is a living word (Heb 4:12)?

  13. I believe the living creatures are angelic beings who guard God's throne. 3 main reasons. 1) Rev 4 is about God's throne in the sanctuary. In the wilderness tabernacle it was above the Ark, the mercy seat with cherubim at each side Ex 25:18-20. 2) Eze 1:5-14 4 living creatures move God's throne and are similar to those in Rev 4, then in Eze 10:20-22 Ezekiel says the living creatures are cherubim. 3) Isaiah 6:2-3 Isaiah saw God's throne with seraphim saying Holy, Holy, Holy just like those in Rev 4.

  14. Hello brethren!

    I have a totally different view of who the 24 elders are. This is drawn by EG White's comment on this chapter. She states: “The commanders of the angel hosts, the sons of God, the representatives of the unfallen worlds [Revelation 4:4], are assembled. The heavenly council before which Lucifer had accused God and His Son, the representatives of those sinless realms over which Satan had thought to establish his dominion,--all are there to welcome the Redeemer.”

    In Manuscript Releases, volume 12, pp. 296, 297 she states: “This roll was written within and without. John says: "I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon" [verse 4]. The vision as presented to John made its impression upon his mind. The destiny of every nation was contained in that book. John was distressed at the utter inability of any human being or angelic intelligence to read the words, or even to look thereon. His soul was wrought up to such a point of agony and suspense that one of the STRONG ANGELS had compassion on him, and laying his hand on him assuringly, said, "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof" [verse 5].”

    Also, in chapter 7, EG White has another telling commentary on the 24 elders:Signs of the Times, December 22, 1887: “John beholds an innumerable company, precious, refined, purified, around the throne of the Majesty of Heaven. The angel inquires of John, "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?" and John answers, "Sir, thou knowest." Then the angel declares: "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

    She also comments on 5:9,10 - Sermons and Talks, volume 1, p. 20: “John saw a company standing around the throne of God and the angel asked him: Who are these in white robes? He answered, thou knowest. And the angel said, "These are they who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (See Revelation 7:13, 14). There is a fountain in which we may wash from every stain of impurity. And says the angel, "He shall lead them to fountains of living waters, and shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (See v. 17.) This will be the happy privilege of those that have kept the commandments of God in the earth.”
    Signs of the Times, November 22, 1905: “As John saw the multitude standing around the throne of God, the question was asked, "What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?"--"These are they which came out of great tribulation," the angel answered, "and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

    THE CONCLUSION FROM ABOVE IS INEVITABLE: 24 elders are STRONG angels, also called SONS OF GOD, whom both Joel and Job identify with representatives of God's created worlds.

    As long as Christ had not been crucified, Satan had access to heaven as part of these elders, because he had usurped earth's dominion. This is brought out in Job 38:4-7 - talks of sons of God who were with Him when He was creating. Job 1:6,7 - talks of a heavenly council, which would be held by representatives/ select individuals, with whom Satan claimed to enter the same council as a REPRESENTATIVE of earth.

  15. Another line of thought supports the "elders" as not resurrected saints. The 24 elders sit on thrones in chapter 4:4, but for them to sit on a throne would require that they had been already judged worthy of that position. Since Jesus does not receive the scroll until chapter 5:7, and since the loosenings of the seals (chapter 6 through 8:1) correspond to events on this earth that occur largely before judgment day, then, in chapters 4 and 5, the judgment has not occurred upon which human beings could be placed on heavenly thrones. Therefore the beings on the thrones should not be understood to be people.

    • or... our assumptions about the end time judgment process are flawed? This is an equally viable proposition.

    • I believe God knows people's hearts and does not have to wait for "the day of judgement" but can act in certain circumstances in advance of the general, we should not limit God.

      • I note in the fifth seal they ask when will God judge they are told to wait and given white robes, so we have an example of white robes being given before The Judgement. We will also see in the trumpets judgement being executed before the great day of judgement. So it is possible for the 24 to have received their robes in advance.


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