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The Scriptures speak of a number of crowns: The crown of Life (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10, compare context which speaks of death);

of Glory (1 Pet. 5:4; cf. John 17:22; Heb. 2:9);

of Righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8), the full realization of the imputed and inwrought righteousness of Christ;

of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19 ) at the sight of converts that have been won by one’s ministry for Christ;

of Gold (Revelation 4:4

 Incorruptible (1 Cor. 9:25), as compared with the perishable crowns of the Greek games; Thy crown (Rev. 3:11), that which is laid up for you, and which should not be lost by unfaithfulness; the summing up of all the previous expressions—all are characteristic of “thy” crown.

1.     The crown of the high priest Exod. 29:6; 39:30
2.     The crown of thorns Matt. 27:29
3.     The crown of a soul-winner Phil. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:19
4.     The crown of righteousness 2 Tim. 4:8
5.     The crown of life James 1:12; Rev. 2:10; 3:11
6.     The crown of heaven’s King of kings Rev. 14:14; 19:12
7.     The crown of incorruption 1 Cor. 9:25
8.     The crown of glory 1 Pet. 5:4
9.     The crown of demons Rev. 9:7
1     The crown of Satan Rev. 12:3
11   The crown of the Antichrist Rev. 6:2; 13:1

Crown of Life

James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Trials result not only in spiritual maturity but also in crowns eternally. Granted, you may not think crowns are a big deal now—but I guarantee you will in heaven, for your crown will determine whether you’ll rule over ten cities, five cities, or no cities in heaven (Luke 19:11-27)

  19:11-While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.

  19:12-So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return.

  19:13-“And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’

Lk 19:14“But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’

Lk 19:15“When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done.

Lk 19:16“The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’

Lk 19:17“And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’

Lk 19:18“The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’

Lk 19:19“And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

Lk 19:20“Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief;

Lk 19:21for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’

Lk 19:22“He *said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow?

Lk 19:23‘Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’

Lk 19:24“Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’

Lk 19:25“And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’

Luke 19:26“I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.

Luke 19:27“But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”

When you face trials and temptations, if you stay close to the Lord, you will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (see Matthew 25:21)  and you will receive the crown of life specifically reserved for those who don’t walk away from Him in trials or temptations.

Revelation 2:10 (a)

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days…

In the years A.D. 100 through A.D. 313, there were ten Roman emperors who correspond to the ten days spoken of here. They launched such massive attacks against the believers that between five and seven million Christians were killed during their rule.

Revelation 2:10 (b)

…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Notice that for this group, Jesus doesn’t have a corrective exhortation. Perhaps this is because by enduring persecution, they remained pure. But notice also that Jesus makes no promise to lighten their affliction. On the contrary, He says, “Go through the pain and crushing. Be faithful unto death.”

Rev 2:10 ‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Crown of Glory

1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

If you’re an example—if you’re feeding people and caring for them—the day is coming when all of those things that were unnoticed will be greatly rewarded. A time is coming when all of the things I have done are going to be tested by fire. I will stand before the Lord, realizing I could have given more generously and served more freely.

The crowns of which Peter speaks are not just to parade around in. No, they are to cast at Jesus’ feet in gratitude and adoration—as well as determining our function in eternity. If you’re tired of where you’re at now, be one who says, “I might not be where I wanted to be on earth, but I’m praying, giving, worshiping and serving as if the chief shepherd is coming. My efforts will be known to Him, and I will be fulfilled in ways I never was on earth.”

Crown of Righteousness

2 Tim 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

If you are one who says, “I love life. God has been good to me. But I know I’m only a pilgrim because I’m headed for heaven and looking for His coming,”—you are guaranteed a crown of righteousness, which will determine your ministry in the ages to come.

According to Luke 12:37, Jesus will actually serve a meal to those who are watching for His coming. What a day that will be!

Luke 12:37-“Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.

Oh, but I’ve blown it so badly. There’s no way the Lord would serve me, you might be thinking. Ask Peter about that. After denying the Lord, he went back to his old occupation of fishing. But even when he was out at sea and out to lunch, when he saw Jesus on the beach, he swam to shore, wanting to be with Him. And what did Jesus do? He served Peter a meal just as He had promised.

John 21:12-14

  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

Crown of Rejoicing or Exultation

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

  For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.

  Paul voiced a rhetorical question to heighten the intensity of his feeling. In effect he asked what would be the greatest blessing he could possibly receive at the judgment seat of Christ. They were! They were everything that was worth anything to Paul. They were his hope; their development was what he lived for as a parent lives to see his children grow up to maturity, to produce and reproduce. They were his joy; they filled his life with sunshine as he thought of what they used to be, what they had become, and what they would be by the grace of God. They were his crown; they themselves were the symbol of God’s blessing on his life and ministry.

“Yes, we’ve been beaten up in the city,” writes Paul. “Yes, we’ve been chased down by envious Jews. Yes, we’re going through real persecution. But it’s all worth it because you’re getting saved.”

The greatest joy in the world comes from seeing someone for whom you’ve been praying, and to whom you’ve been witnessing, receive Christ. No wonder Jesus tells us that when one person is saved, all of heaven breaks out in rejoicing.

 (Luke 15:7) “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Truly, joy and evangelism go hand in hand. Thus, my prayer is that we would never lose sight of the privilege, priority, and pure joy of sharing the Good News with people who don’t know Jesus.

Re 3:11-‘I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

This is intriguing. “I’m coming suddenly,” Jesus says, “so hold fast in order that you don’t lose your crown.”

“Crown?” you say. “I don’t have one yet. What does this mean?”

I believe the answer is found in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20, where Paul identifies the crown as people—people with whom we’ve shared, people for whom you’ve prayed. “Stay with them,” says Jesus. “Keep praying for them. Don’t give up on them.”

Crowns of Gold

Revelation 4:4

  Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.

Because the Old Testament priesthood was divided into twenty-four groups (1 Chronicles 24), and because the church is called a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:6), some suggest that the twenty-four elders speak of the church, with their white garments symbolizing the righteousness given to us in Christ.

In my opinion, however, the twenty-four elders refer to the twelve patriarchs and the twelve apostles because on each of the twelve gates into the New Jerusalem is the name of one of the patriarchs; and on each of the foundations is the name of an apostle (Revelation 21). If this is the case, the twenty-four elders would symbolize God’s people in entirety—the patriarchs representing the Old Testament believers, the apostles representing the New Testament believers.

While we cannot be dogmatic regarding the identity of the twenty-four elders, we can be certain of their ministry, for as the Book of Revelation progresses, we’ll see what these elders do in heaven. They don’t have board meetings. They don’t run programs. They don’t pursue higher office. What do they do? Here we see them sitting in God’s presence. In the next chapter, they seek out John, saying, “Weep not. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah has prevailed.” Later, we see an elder ask John questions to spark spiritual discussion and to provide information and enlightenment. We’ll also see the elders singing a new song.

So, too, if we want to be elders, ministers, or servants here on earth, we must be those who sit in God’s presence, those who seek out people who are hurting and point them to the Lord. We must be those who share truth; and those who sing a new song of something God is doing today, in this hour.

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