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. (Revelation 4:10-11)
In the beginning of the Revelation, John wrote, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein: for the time is at hand” (1:3). Despite the blessing promised, there are many that are afraid to tackle Revelation and thus they miss this wonderful blessing. Two of my favorite chapters in the book are chapters 4 and 5, which are thrilling to the heart of those that desire to worship Christ. The scene in these chapters is heaven where an untold multitude of men and angels bow before the throne reverently chanting, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power…”
One of the most interesting aspects of these chapters is understanding the identity of the elders that are first mentioned in verse 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.” We could spend a good deal of time exploring the many different ideas of who these elders are and what they represent. I believe they are representative of the saints of God of all time. Twelve of these elders represent the Old Testament and refer to the twelve tribes of Israel, and twelve represent the apostles of the church in the New Testament era. Thus, God’s program for the world prior to the first advent of Christ and after the first advent is represented. This scene in heaven is a sure guarantee that everyone that places their faith in Christ will be in heaven.
Another interesting aspect is the crowns of gold that are worn by these elders. Verse 4 says they sit on “seats” which in the original language is the same as “thrones.” This indicates ruling authority. However, we notice in verse 10 these crowns are cast at the feet of Jesus. This means they recognize His supreme authority and are under His dominion. From this verse, many have mistakenly thought our crowns of reward will be given back. These are not crowns of reward but represent the merits of Christ that are freely given through the imputation of His righteousness. They are much like the white robes that represent the perfections of Christ. Rewards for faithful service to the Lord are not given back. They are ours to keep and will increase our joy in heaven.
Surely as we read this portion of scripture today, you must think about your own relationship to Christ. Have you submitted to His authority? Do you love Him with all of your heart, soul, and mind? If a painting could be made of this scene in heaven, would you be in the picture? Those that will not bow their knee to Him on earth will never have opportunity to bow to Him in heaven. A relationship with Jesus Christ requires trust in and reliance upon Him as Saviour and Lord. God’s wonderful promise is that all who receive Christ now will be accepted by Him and will live forever in this beautiful place He has prepared for them. Trust Him today and learn why He is worthy to receive, glory, honor, and power.
Pastor V. Mark Smith