There are 5 references to the twenty four elders – Rev 4:4; 4:10; 5:8-10; 11:16; 19:4. Looking at Rev 5:8-10 NKJV:
(8) Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (9) And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, (10) And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.
Verse 9 above, describes the twenty-four elders. We read that they were
- redeemed by Jesus’ blood out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation
- were made kings & priests
- would reign on the earth
The following scriptures identify those who these things apply to:
But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’
And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.‘
We see in Daniel’s prophecy that the saints will be given the dominion over the earth – the new testament elaborates on this theme to show that Jesus will be the King at this time and the saints his helpers in governing the earth.
1 Pet 2:5-9
you yourselves [the saints] like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (6) For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (7) So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” (8) and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (9) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Again the same picture – the Jews as a nation, temporarily rejected, the saints from all nations – both Jews and Gentiles – now regarded as the holy nation.
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, (5) and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood (6) and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Jesus has freed us and “made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father”. This is referring to the saints once again. This is our hope and calling.
Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
Those who share in the first resurrection – ie the saints – will be priests and reign with Christ.
It seems that the description of the saints in the above verses, matches the description of the twenty four elders in Rev 5:9-10. The saints are made up of the faithful from Israel and from the Gentiles. In Christ, there is no distinction – we are all one in Christ – Gal 3:27-28
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.