The 24 elders could be the raptured church, representing messianic christians from Israel the 12 tribes, and from christianity represented by the 12 apostles.
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.
From other scriptures we know that the faithful are given white raiment and crowns.
John sees them in Heaven before the first seal is opened, in fact before the Lamb is given the little book.
Rev 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
Rev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
Rev 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
Rev 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
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.
Rev 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
And they are many people, not just 24 persons.
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.
More tomorrow, boy is everyone busy at the moment, I'm supposed to be retired.
The KJV reading of Revelation 5:8-10 is not accurate. Check for yourself other translations of the same text to see that it is disputed as to whether the living creatures and elders are singing the song about themselves, or whether they are singing the song about humanity in general.
For example, the NIV renders Rev 5:9 "with your blood you have purchased men"
, the ESV has "by your blood you have ransomed people"
etc. Anyway, the more you check, the more you will see that the KJV version "thou has redeemed us by thy blood"
is the minority opinion of how the text should read. Below is a link to a website that has a bunch of different versions of Revelation 5:9 for you to see....http://bible.cc/revelation/5-9.htm
If you just do this simple research, and read the other translated versions of Revelation 5:8-10, you should at least come to the conclusion that how the text should be translated is in dispute by scholars. So there is a problem that should be resolved here before doctrine is built on this passage....would you agree?
I did a study of the all the manuscripts available that contain Revelation 5:8-10 and found that 23 are in favor of the 3rd person version of the song, and only 3 favor the 1st person reading. And of the 3, 1 (792) is not conclusive because it has a first person reading in vs 9, but a 3rd person version of verse 10. And also the 3 that favor the 1st person KJV reading are very late byzantine mss that are generally much less reliable and more prone to changes than earlier mss. I posted the results from my study awhile back on this forum.
Here are the facts:
In Revelation 5:10a - the MSS containing 5:10 that read 'kai poieo autous' (and has made "them")
A, B, N, M, P, 046, 052, 922, 1006, 1611, 1826, 1828, 1841, 2041, 2050, 2053, 2329, 2344, coptic, syriac, vulgate, NA27, LXX
the MSS that read (and has made "us")
792, 2436, and the sole source of Revelation used by Erasmus 2814. These 3 MSS all date in the range of the 11th and 12th centuries.
It should also be pointed out that even though 792 is a witness in favor of the TR in verse 10a, and uses "us", 10b is rendered "they shall reign" which opposes the TR. So 792 is not really a reliable witness for the TR in my opinion.
It should also be noted that MSS 296, 2049, and 2066 reflect the TR version hemas/us in 10a. But all three are cursives directly copied from the TR itself and can't be used for support.
Many of these mss are available for viewing at this link for those that are interested:http://www.csntm.org/manuscript
It's really not necessary to study the greek mss to know which version is correct however. It just takes simple reasoning to know that the 1st person KJV version is not correct. Simply take into consideration that the 'four living creatures' are also singing the song. These are the same 'living creatures' from Ezekiel's vision...which are identified as 'cherubim'.Eze 10:14 And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
Eze 10:15 And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.
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.
The 'cherubim' could not be singing a song about how the Lord redeemed them from the earth by his blood, because 'cherubim' are heavenly creatures which are not redeemed from the earth. The KJV reading of Revelation 5:8-10 is wrong.
I think that 'larry2' was the person I had this discussion with last and see he is still advancing the opinion that the 'living creatures' are raptured men. That is simply not the case and is soundly disproved by Ezekiel 10:15. I hope you can be more open and honest with this research and not base doctrine on the corrupted KJV version of Revelation 5:8-10. Thanks for your time :)
Have a great day,