Who are the Beasts and Elders of Revelation?
W. J. Franklin
The beasts (R.V. living creatures) and elders are often mentioned together, but are also mentioned separately. See Rev. 11:16-18; 15:7. They are mentioned at times as individuals – Rev. 5:5; 6:1. Together, they worship God for creation, Rev. 4:9-11; for redemption, 5:8-10; and for judgment, 19:1-4.
They are redeemed human beings – 5:8-10. They are seen in heaven before any judgments of the seals, trumpets, woes, or vials are poured out. The evidence of their sainthood is that they are elders, wear crowns, and on thrones or are in the great throne. Angels are never promised crowns, are not offered the place of reigning with Christ neither are they offered a place in the throne. They sing of their redemption– Rev. 5:9. Angels never join in the redemption song, neither is it ever said in the Bible that angels sing, for that matter, but since they are not redeemed, they do not sing redemption’s story.
It is promised to the saints that they shall judge the world and angels. These are seen uniting with Christ in judgment. Note that the beasts (living creatures) call out the horsemen of Revelation 6. Those are judgment scenes. One of the beasts will give the seven angels of Rev. 15 the seven vials full of the wrath of God – Rev. 15:7. In fact, the angels that pour out the vials of wrath are identified as saints – Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9. They are fulfilling I Cor. 6:2-3. Angels are never promised this office of judging the world. These saints are joined with Christ, acting under Him, and carrying out His will in the judgments. Note the statement of Rev. 18:20, where the better reading is “God hath judged your judgment on her.”
We believe that all will agree that these represent the highest development of sainthood. People are here that claimed all that Christ purchased for them. They learned to appropriate His work for victory in its fulness here, and will reign with Him there fully.
They seem to represent one company, reigning as kings, serving as priests. In their song, they are made kings and priests. After the marriage of the Lamb, they are never mentioned again, implying that they will constitute the bride or wife of the Lamb. They are mentioned first in Rev. 4:4-6 and last in 19:4, Where they join with all heaven in praising God for the destruction of the vile woman, Babylon of Rev. 17-18.