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We can picture kings and queens as having crowns on their heads. They don’t wear them all the time because a crown can be heavy. For example, at his coronation poor King Charles had to wear the St. Edward’s Crown, which weighs nearly five pounds. It has a solid gold frame and was set with a jeweler’s semi-precious stones. Imagine carrying that around on your head all day. No wonder the king looked so tired.

It may bring up the question: Do we get a literal “crown’ for our good works when we get to heaven? It may seem that way, but the “crown” is most often metaphorical: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1.12). Paul talked about crowns as well: “Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4.8). Crowns of life and righteousness. What gifts, and much better than toting around a heavy piece of metal on our heads.

One “crown” that I was given was my wife, for as Proverbs 12.4a says, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown…..” (Proverbs 12.4a) The “crown” we have can also be passed on to our children and grandchildren: “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children” (Proverbs 17.6). I am also delighted to find that “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16.31). What hair I have is mostly white, not gray, and there is not much of it.

The people the Lord has rescued will return to Zion singing, and “everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isaiah 51.11). There is therefore no doubt that God will crown the heads of those who love him, but the crown will be metaphorical. This is evident in verses like “The Lord their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown” (Zechariah 9.16). And this reward applies to all who follow God and appear in his presence because we are promised that “when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5.4).

There are, of course literal crowns, but they don’t last. In Paul’s day athletes received them: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9.25). In our Western culture, in particular, athletes are rewarded with metals, flowers, honors, and other accolades. Paul mentions the transitory nature of human crowns, prizes and awards again in 1 Corinthians 9.25: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

The glory and crown we receive is available because God has made us “a little lower than the angels; [and] crowned [us] with glory and honor” (Hebrews 2.7).

Jesus was given a literal crown, but it was to mock him: “They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him” (Mark 15.17).

The twenty-four elders also had crowns, but they showed their love of God by surrendering them: They laid their crowns before the throne and said:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4.11).

Paul talked, metaphorically, about the people he ministered to and who followed him, as his “crown of glory”: “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?” (1 Thessalonians 2.19)

The metaphorical nature of the crown can also be adverse and destructive: “Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins” (Psalm 68.21). This contrasts with how he “takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory” (Psalm 149.4).

Kings and crowns--let us hold on to the one we have because the king is coming, and he alone is worth of our crown. "I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3.110.

Karl Franklin


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