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Q44 : Twenty Four Elders

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Q44 : Twenty Four Elders

In the book of Revelation, it mentions the 24 Elders who also sit on thrones. Are the 24 Elders the 12 Apostles and the 12 sons of Jacob which are the 12 tribes of Israel?

A44 : by Tony Garland

The view you mention is one popular view, although I personally think there are reasons why Old Testament saints are not among the 24 elders of Revelation 4.

The Revelation Commentary and associated audio course discuss this matter in detail:

CommentaryAudio Course
Read about Revelation 4:4a Listen to Revelation 4:4b

Here are several suggestions which may help to gain a better understanding of the book of Revelation:

  1. Systematic Study - Undertake a systematic study, verse-by-verse, of the entire Book of Revelation. It is nearly impossible to arrive at a proper understanding of the text by focusing on individual passages, however interesting they may be. Many people come to the book without a systematic approach and wind up with a flawed interpretation. Our Revelation Coursec and companion Revelation Commentaryd provide a systematic study of the book consisting of over 70 hours of lecture sequenced with over 900 slides. The companion commentary has an extensive introduction, verse-by-verse commentary, and also discusses related subjects. Both of these resources are free.
  2. Daniel - It is almost impossible to adequately grasp the meaning of parts of the Book of Revelation without a solid foundation in the Book of Daniel. Ideally, a study of Daniel should be undertaken before coming to Revelation. This will go a long way to helping one grasp the consistent prophetic themes revealed by the Holy Spirit in both books.
  3. Old Testament - The Book of Revelation contains more allusions to the Old Testament than any other New Testament book. Again, without a solid background in the Old Testament, many of these allusions will be overlooked or misunderstood. (For example, the importance Genesis 37:9 to interpreting Revelation 12:1.)
  4. Illumination - It will be difficult to understand much of the Book of Revelation (indeed, much of the Bible) without having first been born again (John 3:5-7; 1Pe. 1:3, 23; 1Jn. 5:1) — exercising faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit, we cannot fully understand God's Word (John 14:26; 16:13; 1Cor. 2:14).

This may sound daunting, but the fact is that God is under no obligation to reveal insights into the Scriptures when we approach His Word as a vending machine—which is too frequently the case today—especially in regard to the Book of Revelation.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

Abide here means to "dwell," or "remain." How often we want the "spiritual goods," but are unwilling to stay the course to abide in His Word! I discuss this important matter in a chapter of the Commentary titled, Learning God's Waye.

May God bless you as you seek to understand this fascinating and important "crown jewel" of the New Testament.


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