Revelation 4:4-5

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Rev 4:4-6 The Twenty Four Elders Around God’s Throne

Rev 4:4 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.

Rev 4:5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

Introduction

The number “four and twenty” is simply a multiple of the number twelve. As such it is but a higher and more mature picture of the spiritual significance of the number twelve, which significance, as is demonstrated throughout scripture, is foundational and governmental. For example, Ishmael had twelve sons who formed the foundation of his kingdom.

Gen 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelveprinces shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

Jacob had twelve sons who became the founding fathers of the nation of Israel. Christ had twelve apostles of whom He made this statement:

Mat 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Twenty four is a multiple of twelve and is a higher revelation of the foundations of the government of God in these ‘four and twenty elders, clothed in white raiment wearing crowns of gold.’

The only way to understand the significance of all the symbols of this heavenly scene or any of the following signs and symbols of the book of Revelation, is to know what and where is heaven. If we know where heaven is, then we know what is the subject of these verses. Once we know and have established in our minds that “the kingdom of God is within you,” we can then understand where the throne of God is in that kingdom and where all of this heavenly vision concerning that throne is taking place.

Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Last week we established that “the kingdom of God is within you,” if you are God’s elect, and if Christ is sitting on His rightful, heavenly throne. What we might not have made clear last week is that the the scriptures teach us clearly that both the throne of God and the temple of God are situated “within you.”  This is made clear by the scriptures which state that “the kingdom of God is within you” and that God’s throne is in the heavens.”

Where Is This Throne Of God?

Mat 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
Mat 23:21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.
Mat 23:22 A nd he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

If God’s throne is where He dwells, and He dwells in His temple, then His throne is in His temple in heaven where “He sits thereon.”

Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [ our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God

If the kingdom of heaven is within us and if the heavens are God’s throne and if God dwells in His temple and if we are that temple, then it stands to reason that the heavens and the temple and the throne of God are one and all a spiritual realm which we are told is “within you.” It is not just innately within mankind, but God comes into our hearts and  places His kingdom within us, and He calls  it forth out of the darkness which is innately within mankind.

Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me ( that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

This is all by God’s design so as to bring us to this point:

Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25 I thank God t hrough Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

That is our flesh until Christ dethrones the beast within our hearts and minds and sits upon His rightful throne which He has designed to be called out of darkness and to bring to life through death.

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

The way we defile the temple of God is by having “the man of sin” sitting on the throne of God in the temple of God.

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for [ that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

God’s throne is within His temple because we are told that he dwells in His temple, and we are also told that he dwells in the heavens which we are told is his throne.

Satan Usurps Christ’s Throne Within Us

We have just covered this situation when we studied the sad situation of the angel of the church of Pergamos:

Rev 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
Rev 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat [ Greek, throne] is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas [ was] my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

It is a very revealing fact that we can be praised by the spirit for “holding fast Christ’s name, and not denying His faith,” and in the same breath be told:

Rev 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them [ the Nicolaitans] with the sword of my mouth.

That is the subtlety that is an Adversary who “appears as an angel of light.” So much of what He says sounds so very true, but then you realize that there is a very subtle twist to every word that he speaks. This is the same condition in which the church at Corinth was found:

1Co 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes [ our] brother,
1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

What more can be said about a child of God? Well, we could add these words:

1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [ in] all knowledge;
1Co 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

But with the same breath we are told this of these same Corinthian saints:

1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

As it is to this very day, these Corinthian “babes in Christ” wanted to be bottle- fed milk by Paul and Apollos and did not want to “go on unto perfection” and “search the scriptures daily to see whether these things are so.” Staying on milk when you should be on meat is the same as having Satan himself sitting on the throne of your heart. Let it not be so with you.

Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Who Are The Four And Twenty Elders, Clothed In White Ramiment – Who Is Wearing Golden Crowns?

Rev 4:4 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.

If you know that “God dwells in the heavens.”…

Psa 103:19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
Psa 115:3  But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
Psa 123:1 <A Song of degrees.> Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.

If you know that God dwells in His people…

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

… then you will know what and where is heaven, what heaven does, and what and where is the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven:

Psa 19:1 <To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.> The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Psa 19:2  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
Psa 19:3  There is no speech nor language, where their voice [ the heavens] is not heard.
Psa 19:4  Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun[“Christ in you, the hope of glory” Col 1:27] 
Psa 19:5  Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber [ the sun], and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
Psa 19:6  His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

If God’s spirit opens your eyes to see these truths, then you will know that these four and twenty elders are exactly who they say they are:

Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

This is all taking place “in the heavens” where God dwells and sits on His throne, and rules of His kingdom. Where is that kingdom?

Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

What is white raiment?

‘White’ is “the righteousness of the saints.”

Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Rev 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

The Lamb’s wife is the group of saints in whom the Lamb dwells. It is God’s elect who are “clothed in white linen.” An Old Testament type of God’s elect is Mordecai who was condemned to death just before the man who accused Mordecai was put to death on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Look at the raiment Mordecai is wearing:

Est 8:15 And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.

First and foremost “white raiment” symbolizes the righteousness of God’s elect. That is the spiritual significance of ‘white raiment.’ Who in this prophecy is clothed in white raiment? We need not speculate about this:

Rev 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev 19:14 And the armies [ which were] in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Those who “have not defiled their garments… He that overcomes, and the armies in heaven” are all symbolic of God’s elect.. “The “white raiment” is but one of the symbols which reveal to us that these “four and twenty elders,” as well as the four beasts, are heavenly symbols of God’s elect, sitting with Christ on thrones at the right hand of His Father “clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”

… and they had on their heads crowns of gold.

Crowns are worn by kings and rulers. Who is promised to become kings and priests? Who alone is promised rule with Christ in His throne?

Rev 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [ be] untoyou, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, [ and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [ be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Rev 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

As we pointed out in our study of Rev 1:5, part 2, the words “unto him that loved us” has but one Greek word behind it. That Greek word is ‘agapao’ and would better read ” who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.”

There is a great theological debate over whether these four beasts and these four and twenty elders are “simply heavenly creatures in charge of  heavenly praise,” as E. W. Bullinger asserts in his book Numbers in scripture, under his comments on the spiritual significance of the number 24. It is interesting that Bullinger sees the significance of this number dealing with “heavenly government and worship” and in the same breath denies that government has any application to this case here in Rev 4:6. Apparently, in Mr. Bullinger’s eyes, there is a great difference between government and worship. He certainly does not see that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God are within you. If he did, then he would understand that these twenty four elders are within.

(Page 264) “Those who regard them as representing the redeemed have done so on the supposed authority of Rev 5:9; but they have been misled by some scribe who, in copying Rev 5:9, altered certain words either to make the passage conform to Rev 1:5, 6 (which is somewhat similar), or to support this very view.  Thus it has been handed down that these twenty- four elders were redeemed, and are therefore glorified human beings.”

Christ gives the revelation of His Father to whomever He wills, and only those He wants to understand will do so. Those who understand God’s Word, do not manipulate the Word to make it fit their doctrines. If 24 is the number of government, then that will be its significance in every case, be it positive or negative government.

Rev 4:5  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [ there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

This is exactly what Israel experienced at Mount Sinai when they were given the “law for the lawless.” This is how the judgment of the flesh is introduced.

Exo 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
Exo 20:18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [ it], they removed, and stood afar off.

Psa 77:18 The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.

It all was used to introduce forty years of trials and of the judgment of the flesh, culminating in the death of the old man and the entering of the new man into the land of promise:

Num 32:11  Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me:
1Co 10:5  But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Heb 3:17  But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

The significance of the thunder and the lightning is to tell us that our old man cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven:

1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

That is the same significance the thunder and lightning have throughout this book of symbols. It all foreshadows and forebodes the judgment and the death of our old man and the dying daily of the flesh as the new man increases within.

Rev 8:5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Rev 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.

Rev 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

The “fire, great hail, and… a great earthquake” are all symbols of great destruction, the destruction of the flesh and the destruction of our old man within.

… and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

We covered the seven spirits of God in our study of verse 4 of Revelation one.

Rev 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [ be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

We must never lose sight of what is the meaning of these seven spirits. As we said in our study of Rev 1:4, the number seven spiritual completeness. So the seven spirits of God are the complete spirit of God’s one spirit:

1Co 6:16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
1Co 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [ we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [ we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Eph 2:18 For through him we both [ Jews and Gentiles] have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Eph 4:3  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:4  [ There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6  One God and Father of all, who [ is] above all, and through all, and in you all.
Php 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

To read and to suggest such unity of spirit today will get you labeled a fanatic and an unloving, elitist cult member. But let God be true and every man a liar. There is no trinity, no trinity of the trinity, and the seven spirits are but the one complete spirit of God. In our next chapter these same seven spirits, here called seven lamps of fire, are there called “seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth:”

Rev 5:6  And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

What is that spirit which is sent forth into all the earth? Here is what that spirit is:

Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

It is God’s Words which are His spirit, and it is God’s Words which are “seven lamps” which make up that “one spirit.”

Psa 119:105  NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psa 119:106  I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.

It is God’s Words which are “righteous judgments” and which are “fire from the altar,” as quoted above.

Pro 6:23  For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

It is the spirit of righteous judgments, which serve as a  lamp to our feet, and which are “reproofs of instruction… the way of life.

1Jn 5:2  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

God’s Word is love, a lamp; it is seven horns and seven eyes; it is spirit and it is life. That is the seven spirits of the one spirit of  God. That is the spirit God has given to Christ.

Summary

Rev 4:4  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.
Rev 4:5  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and [ there were] seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

We have seen that all of this heavenly scene is symbols of the invisible things of the true heavens wherein resides the kingdom of God.

Exo 25:40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.
Exo 26:30  And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle a ccording to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount.
Heb 9:23  It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. [ You and I must be purified with better sacrifices than the blood of calves and goats]

Luk 17:20  And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

We have seen the spiritual significance of the number 24, and we saw that 24 is a multiple of twelve and that wherever we see this number twelve in scripture, it will always concern foundational government and rulership. We saw the examples of the foundations of the nations of Ishmael, the foundations of Israel, and the foundations of the church itself upon Christ and His twelve apostles. Twenty four, being a multiple of twelve is but a more mature meaning of that number. It is, in this case, the number of the foundational first fruits of God and of the Lamb, redeemed to God out of every nation of men.

We saw that these twenty four elders proclaim themselves and the four beasts to be the heavenly symbols of those who are redeemed to God out of every nation, tongue and people.

Rev 5:9  And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

We have seen that white raiment is the righteousness of God’s elect who also are made kings and priest and who also wear crowns of gold.

Finally, we saw that the lightnings and thunderings of this heavenly scene, are the judgments of our old man and our flesh, which judgment is the Words of God, symbolized by the seven lamps of fire which are the seven spirits of God, which we have seen is simply the symbol of that “one spirit.”

Next week, Lord willing we will cover these next two verses:

Rev 4:6  And before the throne [ there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [ were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
Rev 4:7  And the first beast [ was] like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast [ was] like a flying eagle.

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