Darries asked: Who are the 24 elders in Revelation 4:4 or what is that representing?
Great question, Darries.
In seeking to identify the twenty-four elders mentioned in Revelation 4:4, it’s helpful to know that the number twenty-four is often used in Scripture as a representative number. It’s used to represent a host of people.
For instance, there were twenty-four officers of the sanctuary representing the twenty-four divisions of the Old Testament priests. Israel had thousands of priests, but they were represented by the twenty-four.
There were also twenty-four divisions of singers in the temple, representing several mass choirs in 1 Chronicles 25.
So, I believe that the twenty-four elders are a representative group, and what they represent is the church. The church will have been raptured to Heaven prior to that time, and will be praising God in the court of Heaven and before the throne of God.
The lyrics to what we will be singing are down in Revelation 4:11, as we sing:
Worthy are you, our Lord and God . . .
This is very personal worship. The promise of Christ to the church has come true. He promised us that we will be robed in white garments (Revelation 3:5 and 3:18); that we will be rewarded with crowns upon our heads (Revelation 3:11); and that we will be seated on thrones (Revelation 3:21). The twenty-four elder in John's vision represent all of us who will be doing exactly what is described.
These twenty-four are not angels; nor are they the twelve apostles and the twelve sons of Israel, as many have speculated. Due to their garments and their crowns and the thrones, which are specifically promised to the church, and because of their personal worship of their Lord and God, I’m convinced they represent the company of the redeemed, you and me, worshiping the Lord following the rapture of the church.
Why is this important? This scene brings us great comfort. During the tribulation, as God pours out his wrath, the church is singing. We’re not terrified of His wrath because we will have been rescued by faith in Christ. So while the whole earth experiences the wrath of God in utter terror, the church will be in Heaven, secure in our place and position, with our reward and white robes, exulting in their worship of sovereign God.