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The Sons of God and the 24 Elders

The "sons of God" are mentioned a number of times in scripture and would not seem to relate to the 24 elders of Revelation 5 but, on this page, we will explore the possibility that the 24 elders are among this group. On the previous page, we looked at the identity of the 24 elders and concluded that they were not:

  1. the four beasts
  2. angels
  3. the 144,000
  4. the great multitude
  5. those raised at Jesus' resurrection

So who are they? On this page we will look at who they are. There are three ways in scripture to become a son of God.

1. By Adoption
We can become sons (and daughters) of God by being adopted into His family when we accept Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf:

"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will," (Eph 1:5)
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Rom 8:14-15)
"And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor 6:18)

2. By Being Begotten
There is only one being who has become a son of God by this means - Jesus:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

3. By Creation
The genealogy of Luke 3 traces the generations from Jesus back to Adam and ends with this verse:

"Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God." (Luke 3:38)

It is only Adam who was created directly by God that is called the son of God. Others are all listed as the sons of their earthly fathers. Not even Jesus is here listed as a son of God because He was not a son of God by virtue of being born on earth. Rather, He existed before the incarnation. Think of it - if God sent His Son to earth He had to have a Son to send. Just as He was about to leave Heaven and begin His mission to planet earth His Father did not say to Him something like: "I will see you back here in about 33 years, now go and become my Son." No; it would have been more like: "My Son, go now and you will rejoin me here in about 33 years."

So who are the "sons of God" and could they possibly relate to the 24 elders of Revelation 5? There are three types of uses of this term in scripture.

Sons of God in the New Testament

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. In Genesis" (1 John 3:1)

This and other verses in the New Testament speak of the adoption mentioned of above.

Sons of God in Genesis
Two uses speak of the sons of God becoming involved with the daughters of men. This is a different use that will be spoken of on another page.

Sons of God in Job
That leaves the book of Job where the sons of God are spoken of as coming "to present themselves before the LORD." (Job 1:6) This is a very interesting incident. It must be happening in heaven itself. In our look at the ways to become a son of God above, it seems these must fit in the option of becoming a son of God by creation. They were not begotten by God and they were not redeemed. Who were they? The next verse provides a clue:

"And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." (Job 1:7)

Satan came "among" the sons of God or as though he was part of this group. There is no verse ever calling any angel a son of God. Indeed the Lord seems to challenge his being there. He asks "Whence comest thou? (verse 7)" or "where did you come from?" or "what it your position that gives you a right to be here?" God knows perfectly well where He came from - He doesn't need to ask to be informed; it is more of a challenge.

Satan's answer, justifying his presence, even gives a clue as to who the rest of the group is. He says:

"... From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." (Job 1:7)

This is a way of stating his claim of ownership of the earth. It's what a person does when they acquire a new piece of property; they walk around in it to check it out - I have done it several times. It may also be a way of justifying his presence there - after all, that was the question. As prince or ruler of this world (John 14:30) he did indeed have some right to appear as its representative.

That God is challenging Satan's right to be there as the representative of Planet Earth is even more evidenced by His then drawing attention to Job, "a perfect and an upright man (verse 8)" - perhaps he could represent earth.

Adam lost his God-given dominion of this earth when he sinned and even Jesus referred to Satan as "the god of this world." (2 Cor 4:4) Satan could offer "all the kingdoms of the world" because it was given (or forfeited) to him by Adam:

"And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it." (Luke 4:6)

Adam was crowned before his fall; he was the king with dominion (Gen 1:26) of the earth:

"For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." (Psa 8:5)

Obviously, the meeting recorded in Job 1 is not happening on the earth as that is where Satan came from to get there. In chapter 2, he again comes from the earth to another gathering with this same group before the Lord. As we saw above, in the genealogy of Luke, it is only Adam, the first man on the earth, who is called a son of God.

Extraterrestrial Sons of God?
Is it possible that the sons of God mentioned here are the equivalents of Adam - the first or representative men created on each of their respective worlds? Wouldn't that require that there are other populated planets with intelligent life; in fact, people who send representatives to heaven to take part in the government of the Universe?

Here is an interesting verse:

"When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:7)

Some commentaries say that the two terms are equivalent. But how could that be? There are two groups mentioned and they are each doing different things. Scripture frequently refers to angels using the symbol of stars. The sons of God must be a different group. Angels are never referred to using this term. Consider this verse:

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them." (Job 1:6)

If the angels came. Satan, as an angel, would be among them and there would be no need to say "Satan came also." Here is another use of "sons of God:"

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)

This verse is not saying that we are angels. Let's look more closely at the context of that verse in Job 38:

"Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7)

The context is the creation of the world. The idea is that two separate groups - the morning stars (the angels) and the sons of God (the representatives of other worlds) - were both joyful at the creation of a new planet.

I have often said to our study group that God's ultimate purpose is to make as many people as possible as happy as possible for as long as possible. Could God have made other inhabited worlds? Absolutely. Estimates are that there are 100 billion galaxies in the universe with 100-200 billion stars in each. This brings up the question, could there actually be other inhabited planets (part 3 of this study) in the universe?

Note that the word "universe" is derived from "one voice" in reference to the voice of God by which all things were created.

Return from Sons of God to Revelation Chapter 4 - Coming Soon

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