The Eternal is in His holy temple God wants us to succeed in our calling to be part of His family and will strengthen us to that end if we stay the course, if we overcome and if we let no man take our crown.
If I ask you to picture in your mind’s eye royalty, what do you see? You would probably include in that image a crown. I suspect that we have all seen pictures of kings or queens wearing royal crowns of gold studded with jewels. This is probably the most recognized form of a crown in our culture, but crowns down through history came in many shapes, forms and symbols – even for royalty. While crowns were, and are, often made of gold and contain items of value such as jewels and precious stones, many ancient crowns were made of cloth or wood but decorated with royal colors and/or studded with precious and semi-precious stones. The history of crowns also includes those crowns representing honor or achievement. Modern examples would be the Miss America crown, but more often we hand out medals for major achievements. Anciently, however, an Olympic victor might wear a simple wreath crown, but the meaning is still one of great accomplishment and personal glory. In the Greek and Roman worlds, the crown of laurel won in the games was one of the highest forms of honor and recognition. Today we are going to take a look at crowns, specifically:
• God’s crown representing our spiritual calling
• God’s warning regarding our spiritual crown Let’s begin in Revelation 3. Revelation 3:11 Revelation 3:11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
American King James Version×– let no man take your crown In the New Testament there are primarily two Greek words translated “crown” – stephanos and diadema. Stephanos means a chaplet (wreath) made of leaves or leaf-like gold, used for marriage and festive occasions, and expressing public recognition of victory in races, games and war. Diadema is the word for “diadem,” from dia (about) and deo (bound), i.e. something bound about the head. This word is only used in three places and in each case the “diadems” are symbolic of power to rule. In considering the concept of crowns let’s review the context of Rev. 3 and the church of Philadelphia. Jesus concludes His instruction to Philadelphia with the warning that He is coming "quickly" and that the saints should "hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown" (Revelation 3:11 Revelation 3:11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
American King James Version×). Next comes the reward for doing so: "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name" (verse 12). In offering this reward, Jesus drew some interesting parallels to the events and customs in first century city of Philadelphia – a city prone to earthquakes. Huge stone temple columns were often the only parts of the city left standing after a devastating quake.
Instead of fleeing the city whenever there was the slightest indication of a tremor, Jesus explained that the reward of the faithful would be a secure, stable place within His spiritual temple—a place where they would never fall or topple. Similarly, faithful city leaders were sometimes honored by having their names inscribed on a special pillar. Christ's terminology reflected knowledge of these practices (Expositor's Bible Commentary). Though customs have obviously changed over the centuries since Christ delivered this message, the rewards Jesus offers to those who have the patience of the saints (faith and obedience) remain the same. Jesus implores those who have spiritual discernment—"an ear to hear"—to pay attention to this message (verse 13). It is imperative for us to remember Christ’s message to Philadelphia – keep His word and faithfully go through the doors He opens. The most unique aspect of the letter to the church in Philadelphia is that the church doesn’t receive a condemnation.
The letter that follows to Laodicea is unique in that it doesn’t receive a commendation. Many who read the letters to the church in Revelation 2 & 3 think that Christ was especially hard on Laodicea. Many use this as a point of self-righteousness claiming to be spiritual Philadelphia while those not amongst them are spiritual Laodicea. Lest some think Christ was uncaring in His correction, Jesus concluded His warning with an explanation of why He had been so critical: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent" (verse 19). It is His hope that those who are in need of this advice will be zealous (eager) to repent. Those who respond to Jesus' words are promised a great reward: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (verses 20-21). What a wonderful blessing and opportunity rather than condemnation! Jesus concludes this message saying, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (verse 22). This message and the ones to the other cities were not intended only for the instruction and correction of first century Christians, but for the entire body of Christ in all ages and parts of the world.
• God’s crown represents our spiritual calling Revelation 3:11 Revelation 3:11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
American King James Version×– let no man take your crown The idea being conveyed here is not that of one believer taking the place designated for another, but rather that of an enemy taking the crown. The word “take” also has a connotation of being seized or removed. Notice: “hold fast that which you have.”
• Blessing of God’s hand in our lives
• Access to God through the Holy Spirit
• Christ’s sacrifice paying for our sins • Understanding God’s plan of salvation
• Etc. Revelation 2:25 Revelation 2:25But that which you have already hold fast till I come.
American King James Version×– hold fast what you already have What is the crown which we already have? Ephesians 5:9 Ephesians 5:9(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
American King James Version×– fruit of the Spirit 2 Thess. 2:13 – God has chosen you Revelation 3:10 Revelation 3:10Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.
American King James Version×God promises to keep us while we are in the temptation, not that He would keep us from temptation. John 17:15 John 17:15I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil.
American King James Version×– keep them from the evil Whatever glory an earthly crown might represent, the Scripture reminds us that it is temporary and fading – but this is even the case for some crowns on a spiritual level. Revelation 4:10 Revelation 4:10The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that lives for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
American King James Version×– cast down their crowns Why did they do this? Even on the spiritual level, the 24 elders will throw their crowns down at the feet of God acknowledging that He alone is the true King. The symbols of their own glory must be humbly submitted to God’s honor and glory. Let’s look a little further at the crown God gives those He has called. God offers those who accept His forgiveness, salvation and lordship, the Crown of Life.
Revelation 2:10 Revelation 2:10Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be you faithful to death, and I will give you a crown of life.
American King James Version×– the crown of life The apostle James used the same wording in James 1:12 James 1:12Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
American King James Version×. Peter called it a Crown of Glory. 1 Peter 5:4 1 Peter 5:4And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away.
American King James Version×– This is not our glory, but rather God’s glory in us – that is His own Presence radiating His authority and rule through those He loved and redeemed. In the Greek and Roman world everyone who competed in the games did so through strict training. They did it to get a crown that will not last (the laurel crown mentioned in the introduction), but we “train” to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Corinthians 9:25 1 Corinthians 9:25And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
American King James Version×– an incorruptible crown 2 Timothy 4:8 2 Timothy 4:8From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing.
American King James Version×– a crown of righteousness 2 Timothy 2:5 2 Timothy 2:5And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
American King James Version×– crowned through lawful application
• God’s warning for our spiritual crown Colossians 2:18 Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
American King James Version×– let no man beguile you Jeremiah 12:5 Jeremiah 12:5If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the swelling of Jordan?
American King James Version×– run with the horses Hebrews 12:1 Hebrews 12:1Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
American King James Version×– endure the race Our crown can go to another Matthew 25:28 Matthew 25:28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him which has ten talents.
American King James Version×– talent given to another Romans 11:17 Romans 11:17And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
American King James Version×– wild olive grafted onto the olive tree We must work to hold onto our crown Hebrews 12:1 Hebrews 12:1Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
American King James Version×– run with patience the race Daniel 12:10 Daniel 12:10Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
American King James Version×– many shall be purified So why go through this topic today? Satan is still on his throne and doing whatever he can to overwhelm God’s people. He would love nothing more than to see us quit and walk away from the calling God has given to each and every one of us – that is to give up our crown. 1 Peter 5:8-10 1 Peter 5:8-10  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brothers that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.
American King James Version×– a roaring lion We are not to have fear in our calling, or to be overwhelmed by the seriousness of that calling. Rather we are to remember the One who backs us up and seeks for us to hold onto the crown He has given each and every one of us. Habakkuk 2:20 Habakkuk 2:20But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.
American King James Version×– the Eternal is in His holy temple God wants us to succeed in our calling to be part of His family and will strengthen us to that end if we stay the course, if we overcome and if we let no man take our crown.