The Christian Church in Revelation 4. 24 Elders. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
I want to make one thing very crystal clear, it won’t matter what Rapture position you support, you will be Raptured regardless.
I believe in the Pre-tribulation Rapture. To me it’s the only view backed up by scripture. This is the only view that paves the way for the prophetic scriptures to be accurately understood and interpreted.
By the time John witnesses this vision in heaven the rapture has already happened. When John was transported in time to the day of the Lord, he saw a group of ruling elders that had never been present in Old Testament views of God’s Throne. From their dress, their position, and their crowns they can only represent the Church in Heaven.
Here are two (2) scriptures that defines my view of the Pre-tribulation Rapture.
1 Thessalonians 5:9: For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 3:10: Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
Remember the book of Revelation was given to the Apostle John in chronological order.
The 24 Elders.
Now we get to the Raptured Church in Chapter 4. The 24 Elders.
Rev. 4:4: Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.
Note: These 24 Elders are mentioned 12 times in the book of Revelation.
- These 24 elders confuse some people, but they shouldn’t. Their appearance gives them away.
- They have thrones, so they’re rulers.
- They surround the Throne of God where Jesus is seated, so they’re reigning with Him.
- They’re seated, another sign of royalty.
- They’re dressed in white, so they’re righteous.
- They’re wearing the Greek “stephanos” crown, so they’re victors, over comers.
- They’re called Elders, a title long associated with the Church.
I want to back up with scripture in what I’ve addressed above.
Thrones. They are not angelic beings, as some suggest. No where in Scripture do angels ever rule or sit on thrones. The Church, however is repeatedly said to rule and reign with Christ. Revelation 2:26-27; 5:10; 20:4; Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30.
Dressed in White. While angels do appear in white, white garments are given to believers symbolizing Christ’s righteousness imputed to us at salvation.
Revelation 3:5: He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Revelation 19:8: It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the Saints.
As great as the Heavenly Angels are, angels are never referred to in scripture as Saints.
Victors Crowns. The Golden Crowns worn by the 24 Elders. Crowns are never promised to angels, nor are angels ever seen wearing crowns.
The word translated “Crown” here refers to the victor’s crown, translated in Greek as “Stephanos” crown, worn by those who have successfully competed and won the victory as Christ promised in Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12.
The crowns the 24 Elders are wearing is proof that the Judgment Seat of Christ, (Bema Seat,) has already taken place, in order for this judgment to have taken place the whole of the church, the Bride must be in Heaven.
The Title of Elder. This title also clarifies that these 24 Elders hold a position of great authority before the Throne of God, under God’s Hierarchical structure of appointed Authority.