Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 11:16

And the twenty-four elders, who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Elder;   Praise;   Thankfulness;   Scofield Reference Index - Times of the Gentiles;   Thompson Chain Reference - Worshippers;   The Topic Concordance - Government;   Saints;   Seals;   Wrath;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Thanksgiving;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Worship;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Order;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Adam (1);   Nebuchadnezzar;   Revelation of John, the;   Throne;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Beast;   Hope;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Eschatology;   Throne ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Elders;   Revelation, the;   Throne;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Seat;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The four and twenty elders - The representatives of the universal Church of Christ. See on Revelation 5:8-10; (note).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-11.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And the four and twenty elders which sat … - See the notes on Revelation 4:4.

Fell upon their faces, and worshipped God - Prostrated themselves before him - the usual form of profound adoration. See the notes on Revelation 5:8-14.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-11.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And the four and twenty elders who sit before God on their thrones, fell upon their faces and worshipped God,

These represent the church. They were those made "a kingdom" (Revelation 1:6). They therefore fitly take up the burden of praise to him who has now established his universal and everlasting kingdom.[90]

Who sit before God on their thrones ... These thrones suggest the truth that the redeemed have already been reigning with Christ throughout the whole dispensation.

ENDNOTE:

[90] A. Plummer. op. cit., p. 294.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-11.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the four and twenty elders,.... The same with those in Revelation 4:4;

which sat before God on their seats; as they are also there described; and which may be expressive of their enjoyment of the divine Presence; and also of their quiet and undisturbed situation, being restored to their former places, which they now possess without molestation and interruption; for as these are the representatives of Gospel churches in all ages, they were with the church in the wilderness during the 1260 days, or years: hence we hear nothing of them from the time of the sealing of the hundred and forty and four thousand, and during the sounding of the trumpets; but now they are restored to their former seats, and upon this wonderful change of things in the world, they

fell upon their faces and worshipped God; in a very humble and reverential posture, and in a way of praise and thanksgiving.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-11.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

29 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

(29) As before in (Revelation 7:11). This giving of thanks is altogether of the same content with the words going before.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-11.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

before God — B and Syriac read, “before the throne of God.” But A, C, Vulgate, and Coptic read as English Version.

seatsGreek, “thrones.”

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-11.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The four and twenty elders (οι εικοσι τεσσαρες πρεσβυτεροιhoi eikosi tessares presbuteroi). They follow the living creatures (Revelation 11:15, if correctly interpreted) in their adoration, as in Revelation 4:9. Though seated on thrones of their own (Revelation 4:4), yet they fall upon their faces in every act of worship to God and Christ (Revelation 4:10; Revelation 5:8, Revelation 5:14; Revelation 19:4). Here επι τα προσωπα αυτωνepi ta prosōpa autōn (upon their faces) is added as in Revelation 7:11 about the angels. The elders here again represent the redeemed, as the four living creatures the forces of nature, in the great thanksgiving here (ευχαριστουμενeucharistoumen present active indicative of ευχαριστεωeucharisteō).

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-11.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

And the four and twenty elders — These shall reign over the earth, Revelation 5:10.

Who sit before God on their thrones — which we do not read of any angel.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-11.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

Ver. 16. And the four and twenty elders] {See Trapp on "Revelation 4:9"}

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-11.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

This chapter concludes with a doxolgy and solemn thanksgiving in heaven, for the victory which Christ obtained over antichrist here on earth, that is, for the begun victory over him.

Here observe, 1. The persons rendering praises, the four and twenty elders; all the ministers of the church, say some; the whole church, say others, who are said to sit before God; denoting,

1. That they rest from their labours; they walked as pilgrims before, they sit now. Would we with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, sit down in the kingdom of God in heaven? we must with Abraham walk before God in uprightness here on earth, Genesis 17:5.

2. It denotes the honour and dignity unto which they were now advanced; as servants they stood before, as friends they sit now: but upon this great occasion mark their humble gesture, their prostrations and adorations before God, They fell upon their faces and worshipped.

Observe, 2. The ground and occasion of it; what it is which they thus solemnly bless God for, namely, for Christ's victory over his enemies, for assuming to himself his great power, and universal dominion; and because the kingdoms of the world were now become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ.

For if there be joy in heaven at the conversion of one sinner unto Christ, what is there, suppose we, at the conversion of nations and kingdoms unto Christ: behold here the whole host of heaven, the church triumphant in the New Jerusalem, breaking forth into the highest praises for establishing the public exercise of religion in its purity, never more to be driven into corners, as it was twice before; first by Pagans, next by Pagan Christians.

Observe, 3. The doxology or thanksgiving itself, Lord God Almighty, we give thee thanks for this begun overthrow of Antichrist, which by thy almighty power thou wilt certainly carry on, being always the same, and as able to help thy church as ever, because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

As if they had said, in the time of antichrist's full power, when thy church was under a bitter and bloody persecution, thy power seemed to be laid aside, and thou seemedst not to reign, having thy power obscured by his tyranny; but now thou showest thyself to be a ruler over all the world, both king of saints and king of nations.

Observe, 4. The indignation and wrath which the friends of antichrist express upon this occasion, Revelation 11:18. The nations were angry, that is, the idolatrous nations; they who formerly persecuted, do now fret because they are overcome; they gnash their teeth at the successful progress of the gospel; and because thy wrath, that is, the time to execute thy wrath, is come, upon all idolaters and false worshippers.

And the time of the dead, that they should be judged and rewarded: that is, the time is now come when those witnesses, which were civilly dead, and accounted as dead by the world, shall revive again; or, the time of the dead, that is, of those that have been slain by Antichrist; the time is come that their blood shall be avenged, and all thy faithful servants and sufferers recompensed and rewarded; particularly thy prophets, whose work being greater, such shall their reward be also.

And all that fear thy name, both small and great; that is, all true believers of a more private capacity, who have cleaved unto Christ's pure and undefiled religion, how obscure soever they have been in the world, none of these shall miss of a recompence, when God's time of rewarding is come; and then he will destroy them which destroy the earth; that is, those bloody persecutors, who destroy the inhabitants of the earth by persecutions, or false doctrines.

Observe, 5. The great blessing which follows upon the downfall of antichrist, Revelation 11:19. The temple of God was opened; alluding to the frequent shutting up of the temple of Jerusalem by idolatrous princes, Ahaz, and others, when the ark, in which the law of God lay, was not seen; but Hezekiah and Josiah, those two reforming princes, opened the temple, and restored the true worship of Almighty God.

In like manner, during antichrist's reign, the temple of God was shut up, his true worship suppressed: but now, since antichrist's falling, the temple is opened, the ark seen, the pure word of God expounded, and a more than ordinary presence of God (of which the ark was a symbol) found in his church. Well might the church then, upon this happy occasion, triumphantly say, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-11.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 11:16. ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ θεοῦ) Thus the greater part of the Manuscripts read,(119) although the more ancient omitted the words τοῦ θρόνου, leaping from the one τοῦ to the other. The mention of the throne is especially suitable to this place, where the kingdom is spoken of, and where also the thrones of the elders are mentioned.(120)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-11.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I take this to signify no more than the triumph of the saints and angels in heaven upon this victory of the Lord over antichrist, and the promoting of Christ’s kingdom; and certainly if there be joy in heaven upon the conversion of one sinner, as we are told, Luke 15:7, we must imagine a much greater joy upon the conversion of nations and kingdams unto Christ.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-11.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

двадцать четыре старца См. пояснение к 4:4.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-11.html.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

The song of triumph--11:16-19.

Verse 16 reverts to the worship of the twenty-four elders of chapter 4, in the beginning of vision. They were the enthroned representatives of the Old Testament and the New Testament--of Israel and the church. The visions began and end with them, in the symbols of the complete church of God, which was here seen rejoicing in victory.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-11.html. 1966.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The24elders" ( Revelation 4:10; Revelation 5:8; Revelation 5:14; Revelation 7:13-14) response to this announcement was to fall prostrate before God. Worship in heaven contrasts with rebellion on earth.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-11.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 11:16. The voices in heaven are now answered by the twenty-four Elders, the representatives of the redeemed Church on earth. Enraptured with the prospect before them, these fell upon their faces and worshipped God.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-11.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

sat = sit.

on. App-104.

seats = thrones.

fell, &c. See Revelation 4:10.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-11.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,

Before God. So A C, Vulgate, Coptic; B, Syriac, read, 'before the throne of God.'

Seats - `thrones.'

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-11.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(16) And the four . . .—Translate, And the four-and-twenty elders, who before God were seated upon their thrones (not “seats”), fell upon their faces, and worshipped God. The four-and-twenty elders represent the Church of God in all ages; they sit with Christ in heavenly places, even while they are toiling and sorrowing on earth; every one of the true children of the kingdom appear before God, and their angels behold the presence of their Father who is in heaven. They were seated on thrones, not “seats” (comp. Revelation 4:4), as in English version; the word used is the same which is translated “throne” when it refers to our Lord. It is the same word which is rendered “seat” (Revelation 2:13; Revelation 16:10) when it refers to Satan; but it is better rendered throne throughout, for by this variation of translation, as “Archbishop Trench has pointed out, two great ideas which run through this book, and, indeed, we may say through the whole of the New Testament, are obliterated: the one, that the true servants of Christ are crowned with Him and share His sovereignty; the other, that the antagonism of the Prince of Darkness to the Prince of Light develops itself in the hellish parody of the heavenly kingdom” (Prof. Lightfoot, Revision of New Testament, p. 41). It is specially desirable that this thought should be kept before us in this passage, which proclaims that the kingdom and throne and power of the wicked one have passed away, and the hour has come when the victorious saints may sit down with Christ in His throne (Revelation 3:21).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-11.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
4:4,10; 5:5-8,14; 7:11; 19:4
Reciprocal: Genesis 17:17 - fell;  Daniel 2:46 - fell

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-11.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

These are the four and twenty elders of Revelation 4:4. They rejoiced to see the triumph of Him who was and is the saving virtue of both of the organized systems of religion given into the world by the Lord.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-11.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 11:16

Revelation 11:16-17 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

These two verses contain a doxology and thanksgiving to God (for the glad tidings of the Kingdom of Christ declared from heaven) by

the four and twenty elders which sat before God on their seats;

They worshipped God with thanksgiving, etc. { Revelation 11:16} By these four and twenty elders which alludeth to the four and twenty orders of the sons of Aaron, who were Governors of the House of God { 1 Chronicles 24:1-19} we are to understand the faithful ministers of Christ, who are also called elders { Acts 20:17-28; 1 Timothy 5:17} and have the rule and government over the members of the church. { Hebrews 13:7-17} In their thanksgiving, we have, first, the object of praises,

O Lord, the God, the Almighty, kurie o yeov o pantokratwr which art, and wast, and art to come.

Secondly, the matter of their thanksgiving; that for which they give thanks to God:

because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

By the

Lord, the God, the Almighty,

here we are to understand the Lord JESUS CHRIST, for he is called JEHOVAH, our Righteousness. { Jeremiah 23:6} The true God { 1 John 5:20} which Isaiah, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. { Revelation 1:5-8} This great power, is all power in heaven, and on earth. { Matthew 28:18} By Christ his taking this great power to himself, we are to understand the execution of Christ's Kingly power on earth; therefore it followeth,

And hast reigned.

Though the Lord Jesus Christ had this great power given him of his Father before { Matthew 28:18} yet he hath suffered other Lords to have dominion over his people. As God suffered the kings of the nations to have dominion over his people Israel of old. { Nehemiah 9:36-37} So the Lord Jesus Christ hath suffered the princes of the gentiles to exercise dominion over his saints. { Matthew 20:25} The saints at Rome { Romans 13:1-7} also the saints scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, and other gentile countries, were exhorted to submit themselves to their kingly government. { 1 Peter 2:13-17} For so is the will of God. { 1 Peter 2:15} But the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of the Kings of the earth, { Revelation 1:5} will in his time shew himself to be the only Potentate. { 1 Timothy 6:13-15} by taking unto himself his great power, and reigning on earth and Christ will then put down all rule, and all authority, and power, that are his enemies { 1 Corinthians 15:4; 1 Corinthians 15:25} for HE must reign till he hath put all his enemies under his feet.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-11.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16.Elders—Representatives of the universal Church in heaven and earth. Notes on Revelation 6:4.

Their faces—First rising and then prostrating before God; not even lifting up the face. So profound and so one is their thanksgiving over this sure consummation. The heart of the whole Church of God feels the inexpressible joy of this grand certainty, that the dark problem of the world is solved in the final triumph of good.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 11:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-11.html. 1874-1909.