Ellen G. White and the Identity of the 24 Elders in Revelation

Elisha Kwabena Marfo (marfoe@aiias.edu)

The identity of the 24 Elders in the book of revelation has long been debated, with scholars division on their interpretation and identity. Their identity is prophetically, exegetically and theologically enigmatic. Among Seventh-day Adventist theologians also diverging views have been expressed on the identity of the group.

The study indicates that among scholars and theologians, the 24 Elders has been identified variously as (1) those raised at Christ’s resurrection, (2) a special group of senior angelic host, (3) group of the redeemed selected to form part of the heavenly council of state, (4) prophets and apostles both of the old and new Church, whom Christ has made to be priests and kings, (5) the twenty-four courses of the Jewish priests which ministered at the tabernacle and the temple, at first appointed by David, (6) to the twelve patriarchs and twelve apostles, as the heads of the Old and the New Testament churches, and (7) the representatives of the unfallen worlds in heaven.

A study of Revelation 4 & 5 in context and evaluation of the various views suggests that the 24 Elders are the representatives of the unfallen worlds in heaven which is in congruence with Ellen G. White’s interpretation. Such a conclusion may not only contribute towards resolving a prophetical and exegetical difficulty but also towards reshaping perceptions among theologians notably Adventists about identifying the 24 Elders.