I read from this link:

A. Some people believe these twenty-four elders represent Israel,
but at the time of this vision, Israel as a whole nation had not yet been redeemed.

B. The elders cannot represent tribulation saints for the same reason
not all had yet been converted at the time of John’s vision.

C. The most likely option is that the elders represent the raptured Church which sings songs of redemption (Revelation 5:8-10).

What made me confuse is because on point-C, I can also say :
but at the time of John’s vision, there is no raptured Church yet.

So, the question is :
Did Calvinist say (in point-C) that at the time of John’s vision there is already raptured Church?

On the other hand,
If what Calvinist meant (in point-C) is at the time of the "End Time",
Then why the argument in point-A and point-B use at the time of John’s vision ?

  • 2
    There's not going to be any clear consensus of that level of detailed interpretation of Revelation even amongst Calvinists.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 7, 2020 at 10:15
  • 1
    I think this is an interesting question since the gotquestions answer does seem confusing, but @curiousdannii is correct in saying there isn't really a consensus 'calvinist' or 'reformed' view on Revelation, historically they haven't really even espoused the 'rapture' at all let alone a specific view like the recommended sources of gotquestions. See: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/8750/…
    – ninthamigo
    Jun 7, 2020 at 10:20
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    Since the source mentioned ("understanding end-times prophecy") is by Paul Benware and published by Moody Publishers (a branch of my Alma Mater) he likely represents the "dispensational premillenial" framework for which he is pre-trib, I consider changing your question to ask the group in quotes for a more relevant answer. See also: paulbenware.com/about/beliefs
    – ninthamigo
    Jun 7, 2020 at 10:23
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    Indeed. @karma what makes you think anything on that page has to do with Calvinism?
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 7, 2020 at 10:43
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    Indeed as you will see from my answer below, the response from GotQuestions is only confusing if you don't understand they don't take a generic 'reformed' view but a very specific form of dispensationalism that is held by only 'some' who are also Calvinists.
    – ninthamigo
    Jun 7, 2020 at 10:50

2 Answers 2


You seem to be asking how the non-occurence of certain events are said to rule out certain interpretations of Revelation 4:4 and not others. I think this confusion can be cleared up if we recognize the difference between 'historical' non-occurence and 'narrative' non-ccurence from within John's vision.

The pre-tribulation and dispensational pre-millenial perspective that the author(s) of the article on GotQuestions seem to be writing from (see the beliefs of the author, Paul Benware who is cited at the bottom of the article) fits with points A and B that you summarize above. While it is true that for a dispensationalist neither A, B, nor C have occurred in a 'historical' sense from the time of John's writing, there is a 'narrative' time and order of events that seem to undermine pre-tribulation dispensational pre-millenialism if the 24 elders refer to either the elders of Israel or Tribulation saints.

The author(s) seem to feel that Revelation 4 takes places (within the narrative of the vision) sometime before the tribulation, but after the rapture. If A were true, then the narrative would be off because Israel has not been redeemed yet within the narrative and so there would be no 24 elders, but if B were true the narrative would still be off because tribulation saints do not appear yet within the narrative. Both A and B are not possible because the author(s) believe that at the 'narrative' time of John's vision the tribulation not considered to have occurred.

The challenge then becomes discovering who the elders are if they are not either A or B. The author(s) of the article then seem to assume that while the tribulation has not occurred, end-times events have nevertheless been kicked off and saints have been raptured. It is then from these raptured saints that the 24 elders must come. The confusion arises from not understanding the radical distinction held by dispensationalists between Israel and the Church and the fact that at the time of John's 'writing' within the narrative the tribulation has not occurred (or been completed).

  • 1
    Thank you for the answer and the explanation, ninthamigo. I now understand and I accept your answer. Thank you once again.
    – karma
    Jun 7, 2020 at 19:20

With regard to this short article, it is NOT saying that at the time of John’s vision there is already a raptured Church. Neither can the 24 elders represent the nation of Israel because that nation has not yet been redeemed. Since Got Questions maintain that the tribulation (seven and a half years) comes before the rapture of the Church, and since both events are still some time future, then the identity of the 24 elders is still unknown. The article says that the 24 elders are “most likely representative of the Church” and that they are not angels.

I agree that the penultimate sentence is confusing because it sounds like the Church has been raptured and that the 24 elders are already wearing the crowns of victory and they are in heaven ruling alongside Christ Jesus. However, rather than speculate, I will contact Got Questions and ask them to clarify.

With regard to Got Questions doctrinal basis:

We are Christian, Protestant, evangelical, theologically conservative, and non-denominational. https://www.gotquestions.org/about.html

With regard to Got Questions and Calvinism:

It is interesting to note that in the diversity of the body of Christ, there are all sorts of mixtures of Calvinism and Arminianism. There are five-point Calvinists and five-point Arminians, and at the same time three-point Calvinists and two-point Arminians. Many believers arrive at some sort of mixture of the two views. Ultimately, it is our view that both systems fail in that they attempt to explain the unexplainable. Human beings are incapable of fully grasping a concept such as this. Yes, God is absolutely sovereign and knows all. Yes, human beings are called to make a genuine decision to place faith in Christ unto salvation. These two facts seem contradictory to us, but in the mind of God they make perfect sense. https://www.gotquestions.org/Calvinism-vs-Arminianism.html

With regard to Recommended Resources: The views expressed by Got Questions in the body of their articles are often a summary of various views on that subject. Some Got Questions articles give a recommended resource, but what they say in their article may not be taken directly from the book they mention. I have written several articles for them and I can assure you that the recommended resource was not consulted by me, neither was any part of it quoted in the article.

  • Thank you for the answer Lesley. You wrote : sentence is confusing because it sounds like the Church has been raptured. If I read just point-C, to me it's not confusing, because it "automatically" has the sense that it means at the time of the "End Time". But since the argument on point-A and point-B is using at the time of John’s vision, then that confused me. As from the "about" link mentioned that the site is non-denominational, I wonder how there is no difference between non-denominational vs moderately Calvinistic.
    – karma
    Jun 7, 2020 at 18:55
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    @karma That's not what it means. It's non-denominational because it's not owned by a denomination, it's just a private site. There are private sites for all sorts of theological positions.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 7, 2020 at 23:53

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