The Apostle Peter described a unique award designated for Christian leaders called the Crown of Glory (1 Pet. 5:4). It is called the Crown of Glory because such believers will uniquely share in the glory of the Kingdom of God. Peter describes these believers using the Greek word presbyteros, which is defined as an “elder or senior.” Such believers lead, tend, care for, teach, and pray for other believers (1 Pet. 5:1-4; 1 Tim. 5:17; Rev. 5:8). Such believers must be examples to other believers (1 Pet. 5:1-4). Like Peter, Paul, and John (the Elder), they often function as teachers of other believers. However, Peter made it clear that “elder believers” must not be domineering or overbearing (1 Pet. 5:3). They must not be greedy (1 Pet. 5:2). And Peter reminded us that we must all maintain our humility (1 Pet. 5:5). We must all humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God, and He will exalt us at the proper time (1 Pet. 5:6).
In addition to the foregoing, Peter explained that such believers must also willingly share in the “sufferings of Christ” (1 Pet. 5:1). The zeitgeist of this world is antagonist to Jesus Christ, His message, and His mission. Such believers learn to function in love even in the face of hostility. Believers like Peter are companions of Christ, who will share in the governance of Christ’s Kingdom (which is both a present spiritual reality and a coming political reality). Believers like Peter are companions, partners, and leaders in the Kingdom of God. At the Second Coming of Christ, such believers will receive the unfading Crown of Glory (1 Pet. 5:4). The Apostle Paul explained that elder believers (presbyteros) “who lead well are considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at teaching and preaching” (1 Tim. 5:17).
The Scriptures are filled with examples of mature, elder believers and with images and descriptions of the rewards they receive because of their status. In the Old Testament, we are presented with a unique scene of the 70 elders of Israel feasting and enjoying fellowship with Moses and God on the Mountain of God after their escape from Egypt (Exod. 24: 1-11). I believe that elder believers will enjoy a unique fellowship with God and each other for all eternity. In Hebrews, Chapter 11, we learn how the spiritual heroes of old (presbyteros) gained God’s approval by faith (Heb. 11:2). Included were famous spiritual heroes like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses (Heb. 11:1-40). The Lord told Abraham, “I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great” (Gen. 15:1). In the Book of Revelation, we see a Council of 24 Elders (clothed in white garments with crowns on their heads) surrounding the Throne of God (Rev. 4:4-10). This is a Biblical and apocalyptic image of unique believers sharing in the blessings and the rulership of God’s Kingdom. In my opinion, elder believers will rotate on and off the Council of 24 Elders for the eons of ages to come. In fact, such believers are already sharing in the rulership of God’s Kingdom. In the Book of Revelation, such believers are pictured as leading us in the worship of God (Rev. 4:10, 5:8,14). At 1 John 2:13-14, John, the Elder, used the Greek word pater (fathers), which is in some passages generally equivalent to presbyteros (elders) to describe an advanced believer who possesses wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of God.
As I explained in my book Eyes to See the Revelation, the 144,000 are a numerical and apocalyptic image of mature believers. The Council of Elders (24 in number) are a subset of the 144,000. Both are symbolic numbers designating believers who will uniquely share in the leadership, blessings, and glories of the Kingdom of God. Elder believers will, even more, share in the unique blessings and in the glory of God’s coming Kingdom.
#spiritualmaturity #elderbelievers #crownofglory #petertheelder
 “G4245 – presbyteros – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 2 May, 2022. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g4245/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.