“And around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.” ~Revelation 4:4
The twenty-four elders are representative of the Church, having now been snatched up from earth into heaven, ruling with Jesus. Jesus said in Revelation 3:21~ “‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.'” In Revelation 3:5~ “‘He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments;'” 2 Corinthians 5:21 states that “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Remember, when we become believers and followers of Jesus, we are washed clean by His blood and clothed in His righteousness, represented by white garments.
What about the crowns?? 1 Peter 5:4~ “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” This crown of glory is promised to faithful elders, leaders of the church. This is but one of the many references to crowns given to believers as rewards for their works.
We are told they will be imperishable– “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. …They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” ~1 Corinthians 9:24-25
James speaks of the crown of life in 1:12- “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” Jesus also speaks of this crown in Revelation 2:10b~ “‘…Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.'”
In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul speaks of the crown of righteousness- “in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
And the final crown is here in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20~ “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.” Paul speaks of a crown of exultation, or rejoicing, that he is receiving because of the joy he has in believers.
If you are worried about how you will be able to wear all of those crowns in heaven, look at Revelation 4:10-11~ “the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.'”
Phew, we will give them back to God! We will finally have something to give to Him, something of value- our works here on this earth, believing, following, obeying and serving Him. 🙂