There is an old gospel song that goes, "When we all get
to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be, when we all see
Jesus we'll sing and shout the victory!"
What makes this song such an endearing favorite of Christians
over time is its basis in scriptural fact. One day every believer
in Jesus Christ will be caught up from life and the grave to
instantaneously join the Lord in the air before they journey
onto their heavenly abode beyond the stars. This breathtaking
promise from the Word of God is found in I Thessalonians 4:15-18.
How long and scenic the journey will be between the departure
from the atmosphere of earth until the celestial boundaries of
Heaven are reached we are not told, but we are told in the Bible
Book of Revelation of one of the earliest experiences believers
will have within their eternal home.
Quoting from verses 1-4 & 9-10 of Chapter 4 of the Book
of Revelation and also verses 1-11 of Chapter 5 we read, "After
these things I [that is John] looked, and behold, a door standing
open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a
trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will
show you things which must take place after this."
Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set
in heaven, and One sat on the throne.
And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone
in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in
appearance like an emerald.
Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones
I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and
they had crowns of gold on their heads...Whenever the living
creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on
the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders
fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who
lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne,
saying: "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor
and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they
exist and were created."
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a
scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who
is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?"
And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was
able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and
read the scroll, or to look at it.
But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold,
the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed
to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals."
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of
the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood
a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven
eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the
Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of
Him who sat on the throne.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures
and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having
a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers
of the saints.
And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to
take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and
have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and
tongue and people and nation, "and have made us kings and
priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
Before we proceed with our study of this passage a matter
of greatest importance must be addressed.
If the Bible version you have in your possession uses any
other word than the word "us" in Revelation Ch. 5:9-10,
such as "they," "them," or "men"
then you need to be made aware that your version is in contradiction
of the collected majority of ancient Greek, Latin, and Armenium
Some older Bible versions even go so far as to perpetuate
this inexcusable lack of scholarship by stating in their margins,
without merit, that the words "they" or "them"
are found in most or even the best Greek manuscripts. With a
modest amount of effort these assertions can be proven false.
This subject of "us" or "them" is critical
for being able to correctly identify who is being written of
in these Scriptures and what is in store for this present and
When the correct word, "us" is used in such Bible
versions as the King James and New King James, which is our preferred
version, it becomes clear that we are being shown that the Church
will in fact be in heaven before the final 7 years of tribulation
The breakdown of the ancient manuscripts regarding this passage
of Scripture as researched by Dr. David Hockings is as follows:
There are a total of 5,557 preserved Greek, New Testament
manuscripts. Of that total, 240 contain fragments of the Book
of Revelation. Of those 240 only 24 contain the verses in question.
Of those 24, 23 use the word "us" and not "them,"
"they," or "men."
The Siniaticus, which uses the word "them," also
incorporates apocryphal writings on par with the canon of Scripture
within its texts and is, therefore in our opinion, an untrustworthy
In addition, all Latin and Armenium copies have the word "us."
The much vaunted Vaticanus copy cited by so many for its
age does not even contain the Book of Revelation.
The proper translation of the word "us" in Revelation
5:9-10 is unquestionably upheld by the vast majority of preserved
manuscripts in spite of what is carelessly written without supporting
evidence to the contrary.
With this issue resolved by the facts, we can now study Revelations
Chapters 4 and 5 with soaring heights of joy and unencumbered
In verses 1-3 of Ch. 4 the Apostle John finds himself suddenly
called up to heaven where he sees an open door. A comparison
of this event to what is to happen to all Christians at the Rapture
of the Church as is described in I Thessalonians 4:15-18 and
Rev. 3:8, follows a normal and logical train of thought and
John is first told that he is going to be shown "things
which must take place after this."
When we read Rev. Chapters 2 and 3 of what has just taken
place prior to this announcement we find that the totality of
the Church Age had just been discussed. John then is in fact
being shown, while in heaven, what must take place after the
Church Age ends.
Verse 4 is one of the critical verses in this study. While
in heaven, after the Church Age, John sees 24 individuals who
are given the title of "elders" sitting on 24 thrones.
They are clothed in white robes; and they had gold crowns upon
We are now faced with the all important question of, "who
exactly are these 24 elders?"
What makes these individuals so fascinating is that as we
shall see in Rev. 5:9, they are representatives of a much, much
larger group of very special individuals who had been redeemed
by the blood of Christ from, "out of every tribe, tongue,
people and nation" of the earth.
Our first clue found in Rev. 4:4 is that the 24 are called
Angels are immediately eliminated from the small choice of
candidates because angels are never called elders and are not
redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Israeli religious leaders are not called elders either, but
are called "priests," so the Old Testament Jews are
Reading in Acts. 14:21-23 we find that the title of "elders"
was appointed to leaders of the Church. Elders are in fact believing
But now we must ask, "does the rest of the description
of the 24 elders in Rev. 4:4 harmonize with the description of
We are told that they "sit" on "thrones."
In Revelation 3:21 Jesus tells the over comers that He will
grant them to "sit" with Him on a "throne."
In I John 5:4-5 we are told it is the Church that is the over
We were also told in Rev. 4:4 that the elders will be clothed
in white robes and will be given gold crowns.
In Rev. 3:5 Jesus tells the overcoming Church that they will
be clothed in white garments and in II Timothy 4:8 the Apostle
Paul tells how he and all those of the Church who loved Christ's
appearing will be given crowns. The evidence is solid that the
elders represent the Church.
What needs to be investigated is, "how and when did these
elders of the Church get to Heaven with their crowns?"
Don't miss this scriptural point; crowns are not given to
believers until after the Church sees Jesus coming for them according
to I Peter 5:4, "and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you
will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away."
That these 24 elders had to have seen the Lord at His coming
and were then Raptured to Heaven becomes the tremendous, inescapable
conclusion. This fits perfectly with the things John would see
taking place after the Church Age, Raptured elders with crowns
Verses 9 and 10 of Revelation 4 puts emphasis upon this truth
of the crowns when we are shown that the elders will cast their
crowns of honor in worship before the Lord in Heaven.
The timing of the Rapture of these elders to Heaven gets narrowed
down even further if not almost pinpointed by what we had read
earlier in verses 1-7 of Rev. Ch. 5.
There we were shown that the elders are located in Heaven
before Jesus Christ had even taken in hand the scroll that unleashes
the 7 final years of tribulation upon the earth.
This decidedly affirms that the Rapture will take place a short
time earlier than the start of the final 7 years and will not
take place simultaneously at the very start of the tribulation
or even afterwards as many believe. Some time period will have
obviously passed upon the earth while the elders were given
their robes and crowns.
Then we are shown an additional duration of time as the elders
worship the Lord before the appearance of the scroll and for
Jesus to then come forward and take it.
How much time will pass upon the earth during this interlude
as it translates from Heaven's perspective we cannot say. We
are told in Psalm 90:4 and II Peter 3:8 that to God a passing
of a thousand years on the earth is but like a day to Him. What
may seem like seconds or minutes in Heaven may appear as months
or even years upon the earth.
Revelation 5:1-7 describes for us how the elders witness
the appearance of the scroll sealed with 7 seals being held in
the right hand of God. No one in heaven or on earth is found
worthy to open the scroll and the Apostle John openly weeps because
of this circumstance.
John weeps because of what is revealed about the content of
the scroll in Chapters 6-19 of Revelation.
It contains the final judgments on the earth that herald the
end of Satan's dominion and the coming of the Lord and John weeps
at the very thought that these glorious events may not take place.
John is then comforted and reassured by one of the elders
that Jesus has prevailed in all He had set out to do upon the
cross. The Lord Jesus then comes forward and takes the scroll
from the hand of God His Father.
In Rev. 5:8 we find that Jesus is again worshiped by the 24
elders after He has taken the scroll.
The scroll is not opened at this time and the Tribulation
Period has therefore still not begun. We know this to be a fact
because Rev. 6:1-2 tells us of the moment when Christ opens the
first seal in Heaven and reveals the grand appearance of the
Anti-Christ upon the earth.
We read, "Now I [John] saw when the Lamb opened one of
the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying
with a voice like thunder, Come and see,' And I looked,
and behold a white horse. And he who sat on it had a bow; and
a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer."
Two companion passages for this moment of the going forth
of the Anti-Christ are found first in Daniel 9:27, when this
evil ruler will demonstrate his authority by strengthening the
7 year tribulation covenant with Israel and her neighbors, and
then in II Thessalonians 2:6-8 where we are told that this revealing
of this man of sin cannot take place until the "
restrainer" is removed.
As we have shared in past studies the only entity that can
be portrayed as both a neutral and masculine individual, as is
described in II Thess. 2 of the Restrainer, is the Holy Spirit-indwelt
Church body of Jesus Christ.
Concluding our study in Revelation 5:9-10 we pick up from
where the 24 elders were worshiping the Lord in verse 8.
In verse nine they are singing a new song.
In perfect harmony with what we have just shared regarding
the Restraining power of the Church having to be removed to Heaven
before the Anti-Christ can be released in Rev. Ch. 6 to begin
the countdown of the 7 year Tribulation Period, the 24 elders
reveal to us in Rev. 5:9-10 that they themselves are in fact
the appointed representatives of the entire Church residing in
They count themselves among the company of all who have been
redeemed by the blood of Christ. They are of the Church. No longer
is there even one Holy Spirit filled member of the Church left
upon the earth for God to use to restrain the appearance of the
Truly when we all get to Heaven what a day of rejoicing that
will be, when we all see Jesus we'll sing and shout the victory.
In Revelation 5:9 we are told of some of the heavenly words
we will sing as we are lead in chorus by the elders, we quote,
"You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals;
for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood
out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation."
Then as if to remove any possible remaining doubt that this
is indeed us, the victorious Church, being seen in Heaven before
the throne of God at this time, Rev. 5:10 then records, "and
have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign
on the earth."
In I Peter 2:9 the Church is called "a chosen generation,
a royal priesthood..." Yes, the Lord has made us kings and
priests of God and by the declaration of the Word of God found
in II Timothy 2:12 we shall also reign with Him.
We are told in Isaiah 14:12-14 that Heaven has a recognizable
location and Revelation 21:12-21 tells us that within Heaven
there are dimensions and boundaries.
Heaven is a real place and not just a state of mind as some
suppose; and Heaven is being added to.
In Ch. 14:1-3 of the Gospel of John, Jesus told us that after
He would leave here (almost 2,000 years ago) He would go to His
Father's house where there are many mansions, and while there
He was going to prepare a place for us, and that just as surely
as He was going to prepare these places in Heaven for us, so
would He surely come again to receive us to Himself so that we
can be where He is.
In I Thessalonians 4:17-18 we are told to comfort each other
with this promise of being caught away to join our Lord forever.
We pray that you are comforted this day that when we all get
to Heaven we'll join in heavenly song with the elders as we all
sing and shout the victory.
The time remaining is extremely short in the face of an eternal
decision which needs to be made. Today is the day to turn your
life over to Jesus Christ and to trust in Him for the forgiveness
of your sins. This very moment you can be living at peace with
God and in joyful expectancy with a song in your heart that your
place in Heaven is ready and waiting.