The Twenty-Four Elders :: by Lynette Schaefer

In Revelation 4:1-4, we have a vision of the raptured saints where in vs. 1, John is told to “come up hither” by the sound of a Trumpet. In verses 2 and 3 we are told about a beautiful, majestic, glorious Throne and the One who sits on that Throne, who is the Lamb of God. Then in verse 4 it mentions the twenty-four elders who sit around the Throne, encircling it. It’s quite a vision!Just for clarification, according to Matthew Henry’s commentary, the twenty-four elders are representative of the Saints, collectively of all the Church.They are also clothed in white raiment, which is the righteousness of the saints, and are seated around the Throne, which is indicative of their relation to God. They’ve also been given crowns of gold to wear, signifying their authority and honor. They have triumphed! What a wonderful scene, as a Christian, to know that we will be there one day soon, face to face with our Lord and away from the horrors and complete chaos of what is taking place on the earth – the Tribulation!

This picture of our future makes me think of the state of my relationship with the Lord now. How much do I love Him and want His presence always in my life, what am I willing to do to serve and obey Him by honoring His principles, how much do I or should I love other Christians as a reflection of my devotion to God, and how are my actions and attitudes as a Christian perceived by the world around me?

Here are some ideas that come to my mind:

God needs to be first in our lives. (Matt. 6:33) How committed are we to loving and honoring God? Do we respect and live according to His principles? Do we seek His kingdom above all else, or are we just living from day to day? Do we give Him the firstfruits of our lives, or the leftovers? Do we live for God, or do we live for ourselves? Are we really looking forward to His Trumpet Call to come live with Him? Or would we rather just stay here on the earth and hope He doesn’t come back too soon because we are too preoccupied or busy with our own plans and think it’s inconvenient for us if Jesus chose to sound that Trumpet now? Are we harboring temptation in our life or are we working to overcome it? Do we spend our time sharing Jesus with those around us, or are we rushing around with our own schedules every day and passing them by without a second thought? These are things to think seriously about and ponder, because they directly relate to our future in terms of how fruitful we are for Him on earth.

Serving the Lord with gladness. (Psm. 100:2) We are each called to serve the Lord as Christians. He doesn’t expect us to spend every waking moment doing church or service work for Him, because that would be overwhelming or too much of a burden to our well-being.But He does expect that we would find our “niche” where we can use our talents and spiritual gifts to be fruitful and give Him the glory.Wherever we serve others, we are to serve heartily as unto the Lord. (Col. 3:23) We each need to do our part in service and not just leave the burden of serving to others. Also, when we are involved in serving in some capacity, we grow and mature in the Lord. If we serve with gladness and joy, it not only gives us a great deal of satisfaction and purpose, it gives God a great deal of pleasure to see us serving and helping as well as bringing Him the glory. So, if we’ve been sitting on the sidelines being passive not doing anything productive for the Lord, we need to change direction, get busy and get involved. Our service to the Lord now is really preparation for Heaven, where we will be occupied serving Him around the Throne all the time.

Love other Christians as a reflection of loving God. (John 13:34; John 15:12, 17) How do we treat and act toward one another? Good?Bad? Indifferent? Jesus said, “If you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you’ve done it unto me”. (Matt. 25:40) This means, if we are in the habit of being respectful towards other Christians, we are doing the same thing to Christ and giving Him honor. On the other hand, when we do things like snub, gossip, bad-mouth or mistreat another Christian and hurt them, we are doing the exact same thing to the Lord! So, how much do we pay attention to these things? Probably not much, as Jesus Himself stated that “because iniquity will abound, the love of many shall wax cold”. (Matt. 24:12) Have our hearts grown cold in our love for each other as true disciples? (John 13:35) I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to being rewarded by Jesus for all the ways in which I showed love and compassion to my brothers and sisters by encouraging them in the Lord. I don’t wish to stand before Jesus one day and have Him ask me why I didn’t love Him enough to feed His sheep (John 21:16, 17) or to obey Him. (John 14:15) 1Pet. 3:8-11 commands us to be courteous to each other and to refrain our lips from speaking guile. Also, we are admonished to meet with other believers in the house of God (Heb. 10:25) and to esteem each other as better than ourselves. (Phil. 2:3) In addition, God says that we are to be tenderhearted, forgiving one another as we have been forgiven by our Lord. (Eph. 4:32) We are to practice hospitality (fellowship) towards other Christians. (Rom. 12:13) Lastly, we are to cheerfully respond to those around us who have needs, to minister to them and not ignore them or respond grudgingly like they are a big infringement on our own lives. (1John 3:17) This is a far cry from the reality of what we sometimes experience as Christians, unfortunately.

How are our actions and attitudes perceived by the world around us? (John 8:12; Phil. 2:15) Do we show the character of Jesus to other people? Do we aim to be respectful of all people, even when they are not respectful toward us? (1Thess. 5:15; Matt. 5:44) How much do we go out of our way to minister to others who don’t know the Lord? The compassion and ministering that we have toward them is a testimony of what God is doing in our own life and the level of intimacy in our relationship with Him. It can be a witnessing tool, and unbelievers can look at that and want to know more. Do we share Jesus with them when we have opportunity? Do other people perceive our attitudes as being consistent with what we believe, or do they look at us and exclaim, “hypocrites!” and want nothing to do with us? I would hope they wouldn’t.

Now, I realize that we are all just human beings with limitations, frailties and imperfections; making it very difficult, if not impossible to attain this level of maturity. We are all a work in progress, each at our own degree of sanctification until we get to perfection in heaven. Although this is true, we need to also realize that we are living in times of general indifference, apathy, coldness, spiritual “sleepiness”, and so on. So we need to be aware of how to combat these undesirable behaviors by focusing on how God wants us to live and how to stay in the center of His will. How do we do that? With regular prayer, Bible study, devotion/meditation, thanksgiving to God, church attendance and involvement, sharing Jesus, learning to listen to God and carrying out what He commands. We need to develop the character of Christ by attaining to wholeness, purity, love, conviction, and responsibility. As a Church and the Body of Christ, our Salt and Light has, sadly, almost gone out due to widespread ignorance, compromise, worldliness, or indifference; and there is no longer a distinct difference between the typical “Christian” and an unbeliever as in times past because our worldview, attitudes, and lifestyle have become very similar. God expects His people to be holy (set apart) unto Himself. It is therefore, high time to wake up out of this stupor and make a commitment to love God, pay attention to what He’s saying and walk with the Lord properly.

The Lord is going to call us soon. His call is imminent and it can happen at any time. What are we doing to get ready for that, and how do we expect the Lord is going to respond to us? I would like my Lord to smile at me and be really glad to have me with Him, as I long to be with Him too.

In all honesty, if you have not trusted the Lord to be your personal Savior up to this point, you are definitely not ready to meet Him. You’ll never make it to heaven at all, and when all those who have trusted in Jesus for salvation are caught up to Him, you will be left behind to face seven years of unprecedented horror called the Tribulation (see my article on “The Judgments of the Tribulation”). In fact, none of us has any guarantee of being here even tomorrow. We can die at any time due to circumstances beyond our control. So, if you’re not sure where you are going to spend Eternity right now, what are you going to do about it?

Here’s what you need to do: 1) recognize that you are a sinner who is separated from God, as all have sinned (Rom. 3:23); 2) that Jesus came to earth as God Incarnate to die for our sins in our place (Heb. 7:27); 3) that He is the perfect, sinless, Son of God who is the perfect sacrifice who atoned for sin (Rom. 8:3); 4) that we need to truly REPENT (change, turn around) of our sins, recognizing how they have separated us from a Holy God (Acts 17:30); 5) that God will not and cannot leave sin unpunished (Prov. 11:21); 6) you need to ask Jesus to come in to your life to be the Lord of your life and your new Master (Rev. 3:20).