There has also been much debate about the identity of these elders mentioned in Revelation 4 and 5. There are two major theories.

1. They represent believers:

a. pictured as being clothed in white (cf. 1 Cor. 9:25; 1 Thess. 2:19; 2 Tim. 4:8; James1:12; 1 Pet. 5:4)

b. angels are never said to wear crowns and sit on thrones (cf. Rev. 4:4,10)

c. they are in lists which specifically include angels (cf. Rev. 5:11)

d. Rev. 5:9-10 in the Vulgate, Peshitta, and later the Textus Receptus includes the elders in the songs of redemption

2. They represent angels:

a. angels do wear white garments (cf. Matt. 28:3; John 20:12; Mark 16:5; Acts 1:10; Rev. 15:6 and Dan. 10:5,6)

b. these elders are always identified with the living creatures as in Rev. 5:11,14, which seem to list three different orders of angels

c. one of the elders acts as a revealing angel (cf. Rev. 5:5)

d. in Isa. 24:23 the angels of God's heavenly council are called "elders"

e. the textual evidence of Rev. 5:10 implies that the elder does not include himself in the song of redeemed humanity


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