24 Elders: Who represents the planet Earth in the heavenly council?
We learned from previous lessons that the 24 elders as mentioned in Revelation 4 and onwards cannot be the redeemed human beings. Instead, they are representatives of the unfallen worlds in the heavenly council of God’s vast creation.
A good question to follow is: who represents the planet Earth?
Upon answering this question, we will also see that whoever represents the planet Earth has the same identifying characteristics of the 24 elders as enumerated in Revelation 4:
- sons of God
- seated on thrones (rulers)
- with crowns (kings or rulers)
- robed in white garments of light
Adam as the representative son of God
Like the angels which were referred to as ‘sons of God’ in Job 38:4-7 who shouted for joy during the creation, Adam was also called a son of God in the Bible (Luke 3:38).
We also learned from the previous lesson that this term ‘sons of God’ has special meaning when used in Job 1-2 and in Revelation and that these ‘sons of God’ come and go to the heavenly council as God is inviting them.
In the book Patriarchs and Prophets page 45, Ellen White mentioned that Adam as the son of God is God’s representative over the lower orders of being, i.e. the inhabitants of the planet Earth.
“Though formed from the dust, Adam was ‘the son of God.’ He was placed, as God’s representative, over the lower orders of being.”
Adam had a crown as with the 24 elders
The common argument for the interpretation that the 24 elders are humans is because of the crown that the elders are wearing. This view says that the elders were given the crown because of their victory over sin through the blood and merit of Jesus.
But having a crown does not always mean that one was victorious over sin. Adam was crowned at creation before he committed sin.
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: ” Psalm 8:3-8 KJV (see also Genesis 1:26-28)
The Psalmist declares, as we read above, that the entire planet Earth was under the kingship of Adam. Ellen White elaborates this in Review and Herald Feb. 24, 1874:
“Adam was crowned as king in Eden. To him was given dominion over every living thing that God had created…He made Adam the rightful sovereign over all the works of his hands.”
The crowns on the respective heads of the 24 elders do not automatically mean that they should be humans who overcame sin. They have crowns because they represent and were given dominion over other creatures just as Adam was.
Adam was clothed with white raiment as with the 24 elders
Another common argument for the view that the 24 elders are humans is because of the white raiment being worn by the elders. This view says that the elders must be humans because in Revelation redeemed saints are given the white raiment.
But white covering is not only for humans, even angels who did not fall into sin are also wearing the white garment.
“…and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.” John 20:12
The sinless God is covered with the robe of light as a garment.
“Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment:” Psalm 104:1-2 KJV
The white garment represents God’s purity and Christ’s righteousness. Although Adam and Eve were naked when God created them, they were not ashamed because God covered them with white robe of light.
“The sinless pair wore no artificial garments; they were clothed with a covering of light and glory, such as the angels wear. So long as they lived in obedience to God, this robe of light continued to enshroud them.” Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets page 45.
Lucifer took Adam’s position
By loving, believing, and listening more to his wife (Eve) rather than God, Adam consequently los his kingship over the earth. Lucifer won against Adam and thus, Lucifer claimed to be the prince of this earth since then.
In Job chapters 1-2 and 2 Chronicles 18:18-22, we can see that Lucifer had still access to the heavenly council representing the planet Earth.
Lucifer was cast out
In Revelation chapters 4 and 5, Lucifer was not in heaven when the heavenly council prepared and welcomed Jesus in His ascension. The simple reason is that Satan was defeated on the cross by Jesus and thus was cast out from the heavenly council.
“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” John 12: 31 KJV
Many years later after the cross, the heavenly beings described Jesus’ victory this way:
“Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Revelation 12:10-12 KJV
If Satan was cast down to earth from the heavenly council, who replaced him?
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Jesus, being the last Adam, represents planet Earth
Paul wrote to the saints at Corinth about Jesus being the second Adam.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22 KJV
“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” 1 Corinthians 15:45 KJV
Ellen White, once again, amplified this thought that Jesus is now the representative of humanity.
“The human race
Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus has a crown, He is the King of the Kingdom of Grace (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus wears a white robe of light. Everything that Adam and the 24 Elders have, Jesus has it.
If Adam had the characteristics of being the representative of the planet Earth, Jesus being the last Adam, is fitted to be the Earth’s representative.
Will Adam get his throne back again?
Let’s read from the inspired commentary what will happen when the two Adams are about to meet:
“As the ransomed ones are welcomed to the city of God, there rings out upon the air an exultant cry of adoration. The two Adams are about to meet. The Son of God is standing with outstretched arms to receive the father of our race,—the being whom he created, who sinned against his Maker, and for whose sin the marks of the crucifixion are borne upon the Saviour’s form. ” The Great Controversy, page 647.
This is a scenario when all the redeemed are finally in heaven.
“As Adam discerns the prints of the cruel nails, he does not fall upon the bosom of his Lord, but in humiliation casts himself at his feet, crying, “Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain!” Tenderly the Saviour lifts him up, and bids him look once more upon the Eden home from which he has so long been exiled. “
“After his expulsion from Eden, Adam’s life on earth was filled with sorrow. Every dying leaf, every victim of sacrifice, every blight upon the fair face of nature, every stain upon man’s purity, was a fresh reminder of his sin. Terrible was the agony of remorse as he beheld iniquity abounding, and, in answer to his warnings, met the reproaches cast upon himself as the cause of sin. With patient humility he bore, for nearly a thousand years, the penalty of transgression. Faithfully did he repent of his sin, and trust in the merits of the promised Saviour, and he died in the hope of a resurrection. The Son of God redeemed man’s failure and fall, and now, through the work of the atonement, Adam is re-instated in his first dominion.”
We learned that Adam was the representative of the planet Earth in the heavenly council. Adam was given a crown and throne and was wearing white robe before sinning.
But the moment he listened to Lucifer more than his God, Adam yielded his rulership to Lucifer. Lucifer then became the bogus representative of the planet Earth.
But Jesus took that throne from Lucifer when He triumphantly resurrected from the tomb and is now our Mediator and representative in the heavenly council before God’s throne.
When these two Adams will finally meet soon, Jesus will re-instate Adam to his former rulership, thus becoming the representative of the inhabitants of the new Earth. Adam will once again be a member of the 24 Elders in God’s divine council.
This article is based on the “24 Elders”