Who are the 24 elders in Revelation?  Are they human beings or supernatural creatures?


As in virtually all of Revelation, the 24 elders are symbolic, so asking a specific question is perhaps not all that helpful.  I believe that these are symbolic of God’s people.  The number 12 is the number of God’s people.  The number two is used to represent power in Hebrew literature.  So 24 means God’s people in their power.  Possibly the 24 represent the 12 tribes and the twelve apostles, but in any case they are symbolic.  I believe that they represent Israel or Church symbolically.  There is no indication that they are “supernatural creatures.”  Are they actual, living, breathing, human beings?  We do not need to decide because, as a vision, they are clearly intended to be taken symbolically.  Is the “dragon” in Revelation a literal woman?  No.  Is the “woman” in Revelation 12 a literal woman?  No.  She is symbolic of Israel, of Mary and of the Church, depending on which part of the chapter you are talking about.  I suggest you try to not overliteralize Revelation.

So, no they are most likely not “supernatural creatures.”  Neither are they likely to be literal human beings, but symbolic of human beings.

BTW, I just posted a four hour class on Revelation at the web site, including power points and notes.  You might want to look at this class.

John Oakes

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