Around the throne were twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads... The twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp...and they sang a new song saying, You are worthy... Revelation 4:4, 5:8,9
In a secular and rather profane world, it's difficult to reconcile this passage in Revelation with the reality of our daily lives. Heaven seems very distant...
But, there is an old, but true, saying that "heaven must be in us before we can be in heaven...We can't join the glorified choir unless we have learned their song."
Truly, God's universe is one; heaven and earth are not really so separate as our lack of faith has imagined. For we (believers) are all one family--one house!--divided only by the partition of death. The Christian's occupation on earth and in heaven is exactly the same--magnifying and praising the name of the Lamb in song. Christ said: "Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."
In St. John's vision, the church of Christ is represented in heaven by the 24 elders "who sit around the throne"; they are to be the ultimate model for the saints on this side of the divide, a guide for the praising of our high and holy God.
Notice first, the men are called "elders." Perhaps this is to show the dignity and "gravitas" which mark God's saints in heaven. The worship of the elders is strong, focused on Christ: foolish and adolescent frivolity is nowhere to be found in heaven. Surely, it should not be found in the worship of Christ in His church on earth.
Note St. Peter's description of the believer: "What manner of persons we ought to be...in all holy conversation and godliness." (2 Peter 3:11) Christians, let us leave immaturity in our music of worship and "go on to perfection..."
Second, the elders are seated "around the throne." Christ is the center of heaven's song. Our songs of worship must not be about us...but about Him.
Third, they are "clothed in white." They have been presented holy and blameless before the throne. We may not achieve perfection here on earth, but oh, we must aim for it. Everything about us must witness to the fact that we have been with our Lord. Seek the best in words and music...glorify Him in the beauty of holiness.
Fourth, they "fall down before Him..." They are elders, mature oaks of faith; but they sing with humility. There is no elitism, no arrogance in their song.
Fifth, they are joyous. Their song is fresh and new (not chronologically; no, a song is new not because of its age, but because of its subject); their song of the Lamb is forever new--a song for all eternity: "Worthy is the Lamb."
This, then, is the elder's joyous occupation in heaven: May God strengthen you to make it your occupation right now!