|Q228 : Where is the Church in Revelation 4 and 5?|
Tony thank you for your Revelation commentary, A Testimony of Jesus Christa, . . . I have been studying it for a while
I've got one question that's been bugging me for a long time. If the rapture took place at the end of chapter three and John is shown into heaven in chapter four why is it that we don't see any New Testament saints, only the twenty four elders who supposedly represent the redeemed?
Isn't it because we are present but everyone has ignored the signs and wrote it off as an impossibility. In Rev. 5:6 there's a reference to Angels, Beasts and the Elders.
Is it not possible that these Angels are the redeemed from the church age seeing that Jesus said the following in Mat 22:30: For in the Resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as Angels of God in Heaven (cf. Mark 12:25; Luke 20:36). Can you please give me an answer as to what you think?
|A228 : by Tony Garland |
It is my view that Revelation 4 only describes those individuals who are in the immediate vicinity of the Father's throne. As you mentioned, I believe that various clues indicate the 24 elders are representative of the redeemeda from the age of the church—having been taken up in the Rapture by that point (only typologically hinted at in the opening verses of chapter 4).
My reasons include a consideration of the answers to the following questions:
Although Revelation 5:11 only mentions angels, living creatures, and the elders by name, and gives the angelic number as ten thousand times times ten thousand [myriads of myriads], and thousands of thousands with no mention of saints, Revelation 5:13 mentions every creature which is in heaven which could include the rest of the Raptured saints of the Church.
- Can the term “elder” describe an angel? [no]
- Do angels wear crowns, symbols of reward not found in association with angels elsewhere? [no]
- Do elect angels sit on thrones, although never mentioned elsewhere? [no]
- Is the textual variant at Revelation 5:9, which explicitly includes the elders among the redeemed, the preferred reading? [yes, I believe the singing is antiphonalb]
The passages which you mention where Jesus explains that, in our resurrected condition, we are as [like] the angels because we will no longer marry, do not seem to teach identity: implying in our glorified state we are then considered to be angels. It appears Scripture consistently distinguishes between glorified believers and angels (e.g., 1Cor. 6:3; Rev. 6:9; 7:9-13; 11:16; 14:3; 15:2-3; 19:4).1
|1.||An exception to the clear distinction between saints and angels might be found in the seven angels of the seven churchesc, but only if one takes their identity as the men (elders) primarily responsible for each church.|