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Let’s begin by reading Revelation 4:1-4, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”  The words of the Lord to John, saying, “Come up hither” coincide with the rapture of the church.  In the first three chapters of Revelation, we have the word ‘church’ or ‘churches’ mentioned nineteen times.  We don’t have that word again until the completion of the Lord’s plan on the earth.  We then read in Revelation 22:16, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”  So, we see that the catching up, or rapture, of the church occurs in Revelation 4:1.  This corresponds with what we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

The focus of the book of Revelation turns from looking at the church in the first three chapters, to looking at the heavenly scene, beginning in chapter four.  John, caught up to Heaven, sees a throne and someone sitting on that throne.  We know this is the Lord Jesus Christ sitting on the throne by what we read in Revelation 4:11 which says, “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 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..”  Speaking of the Lord Jesus, we read in Colossians 1:16, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”

Who are these twenty four elders who cast their crowns before the throne?  We know they are not angels because the white robes and crowns indicate those who have been redeemed and made righteous.  The crowns indicate endurance and victory over earthly trials.  In all likelihood, these elders represent the redeemed ones from the Old Testament and from the church.  The number ‘twenty four’ is important and pretty obvious in representing these two groups of believers.  In the Old Testament, there were twelve tribes of Israel which make up the nation of Israel.  In the New Testament, there were twelve Apostles who laid the foundation of the church as we read in Ephesians 2:19-20 which says, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”  So, here in Revelation, chapter four, we find all of the redeemed ones of God throughout time casting their crowns at the feet of their beloved redeemer.  (106.4)