Q. Who are the 24 elders in Revelation 4:4 wearing white raiment with crowns on their heads?
A. These 24 elders confuse some people, but they shouldn’t. Their appearance gives them away. They have thrones, so they’re rulers. They surround the Throne of God, so they’re assisting Him. They’re seated, so their work is done. They’re dressed in white, so they’re righteous. They’re wearing the Greek “stephanos” crown, so they’re victors, over comers. They’re called Elders, a title associated more with Christianity than Judaism. I think we have a pretty strong case for them representing the Church.
When King David realized that the number of priests in Israel was too large for effective service in the Tabernacle, he separated them into 24 rotating groups. These smaller groups were sufficient to carry out the necessary duties and represented the entire priesthood while on duty. 24 is a multiple of 12, a number that represents government.
I think God has done the same thing and in Revelation 4 these 24 elders represent the newly raptured Church beginning our rule and reign with Christ. All the Old Testament views of the Throne of God show only one throne with the exception of Daniel 7:9 which is an end times view, so these elders can’t be some special order of angelic or human rulers in place from the beginning. They appear a total of 12 times throughout the Book of Revelation, and only there, and are always in Heaven.