087 Crown Him with many Crowns
(Adapted from a Sermon by C H Spurgeon)
In the Book of the Revelation in the
7th verse of the 22nd chapter, we read….”Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book”
One cannot help but be blessed in the daily and regular reading and study of any portion of Gods word, the Bible, but here we have a peculiar promise, unlike any other in the Bible. Here we are definitely promised a Blessing, for “keeping” the sayings of this Prophetic Revelation. In the original manuscript, the work “Keeping” is rendered ta-re-o meaning “to guard well” -thus we are encouraged to guard the prophecy, and in so doing to receive the blessing that accompanies it. Many are unfamiliar with the Revelation, and find it complicated and frightening, especially in those portions where God warns of Judgement, Death, Hell and the Lake of Fire? Others, even some Clergy steer a clear path away from it, afraid of controversial interpretations, and some imagine contradiction in the text where they fail to read it properly. For instance many confuse the rider on the White Horse spoken about at the beginning of the Revelation with another rider on a White Horse spoken of at the end of the book. There are indeed similarities in the two, which become obvious as one studies the Revelation, in that one is Christ and the other is Antichrist, one is the real thing and the other is an impostor. One is the Child of God, and the other is the Child of the Devil. One stems from the “root of Jesse” while the other stems from “the root of all evil”.
So today in the moments left to me I want to look again, (as I have on other occasions in these broadcasts) at the Revelation
in this sermon which I have entitled,
“Crown Him with many Crowns”.
I take my inspiration from a verse in Revelation 19 and 12, which reads;
“On his head were many crowns”
The crowns upon the head of Jesus Christ are of three sorts. First, there are the crowns of dominions, many of which are on his head. Next, there are the crowns of victory, which he has won in many battles. Then there are the crowns of thanksgiving with which his church and all his people have delighted to crown his wonderful head.
First, then, let every believing eye look through the clouds and behold Jesus as he sits this day upon the throne of his Father, and let every heart take pleasure in seeing the many CROWNS OF DOMINION upon his head. First, and foremost, there sparkles about his forehead the everlasting diadem of the King of Heaven. His are the angels, the cherubim and seraphim who continually sing his praise. At His behest the mightiest spirit delights to fly, and carry his commands to the most distant world. He has only to speak, and it is done. Cheerfully is he obeyed, and majestically doth he reign. There is no spirit in heaven so pure that it does not bow before him, no angel so bright that it does not veil its face with its wings, when it draws near to him. Moreover, the many spirits redeemed, delight to bow before him, day without night they circle his throne, singing—”Worthy is he that was slain and hath redeemed us from our sins by his blood, honour, and glory, and majesty, and power, and dominion, and might, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev 5:13) Side by side with this bright crown I see another.
It is the iron crown of Hell, for Christ also reigns there supreme! Not only in the dazzling brightness of heaven, but in the black impenetrable darkness of hell is his omnipotence felt, and his sovereignty acknowledged; the chains which bind damned spirits are the chains of his strength; the fires which burn are the fires of his vengeance; the burning rays that scorch are of his might. There is no power in Hell besides his. The very devils know His might. Jesus chains and holds the great dragon. If he allows him any temporary freedom, yet is there a chain in his hand, and he can draw him back should Satan go beyond his limit. All Hell trembles at him. C.H. Spurgeon says “the very howling of lost spirits are but the deep bass notes of his praise. While in heaven the glorious notes shout forth his goodness; in hell the deep growling resound his justice, and his certain victory over all his foes”. Thus his empire is higher than the highest heaven, and deeper than the lowest hell. This earth also is a province of his wide domain. Though small this empire compared with others, yet from this world he has perhaps derived more glory than from any other part of his dominions. He reigns on earth. On his head is also the crown of creation. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”(John 1:3 ) His voice said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. It was his strength that raised the mountains, and his word suspends the clouds. He is their Creator. If you lift your eye to the upper atmosphere, and look to the starry planetary worlds—he made them too. They are not self-created. He struck them off like sparks from the anvil of his omnipotence; and there they glitter, upheld and supported by his might. He made the earth and all humanity on it, the cattle an a thousand hills, and the birds that make glad the atmosphere by their song. The sea is his, and all life in it.
Together with this crown of creation there is yet
another—the crown of providence, for he sustains all things by the word of his power. Everything must cease to be, if it were not for the continual out-going of his strength. The earth must die, the sun must grow dim with age, and nature sink in years, if Jesus Christ does not continually sustain and strengthen it! The heart of our great universe beats by his power. On his head is the crown of providence. And next to this there glitters also the glorious crown of his grace. He is the King of grace: he gives, or he withholds. The river of God’s mercy flows from underneath his throne; he sits as Sovereign in the dispensation of mercy. He hath the key of heaven; he opens and no man shuts; he shuts, and no man opens; he calls, and the stubborn heart obeys; he wills, and the rebellious spirit bends its knee; for he is Master of men, and when he wills to bless, none can refuse the benediction. He reigns in his Church amidst willing spirits; and he reigns for his Church over all the nations of the world, that he may gather unto himself a people that no man can number who shall all bow before the sceptre of his love.
So then these are the CROWNS OF DOMINION,
but Christ has many CROWN’S OF VICTORY also. The first diadems which I have mentioned are his by right. He is God’s only begotten and well-beloved Son, and hence he inherits unlimited dominions. But viewed as the Son of Man, conquest has made him great, and his own right hand and his holy arm have won for him the triumph. In the first place, Christ has a crown which I pray that every one of us may wear. He has a crown of victory over the world. For so said he himself, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33 ) Did you ever think of what a stern battle that was which Christ had to fight with the world? The world first said, “I will extinguish
him, he shall not be known;” and it threw on Christ heaps of poverty that there he might be smothered. But he shone in his poverty, and his seamless coat shone with greater light than the robe of the grandest Rabbi. Then the world attacked him with its threatening. Sometimes they dragged him to the brow of a hill to cast him down headlong; at another time they took up stones to stone him. But he who was not to be beaten by poverty, was not to be scared either by threatening. And then the world tried its flattery; it came with a smiling face and presented to him a crown. They would have taken Christ and would have made him a king; but he who cared not for their frowns was regardless of their smiles. He put away that crown from him; he came not to be a king but to suffer and to die. “My kingdom is not of this world,” he said. Have you never thought how through thirty years the world tempted Christ? That temptations of the devil in the wilderness were not the only ones which he had to endure? Trials of every shape and size surrounded him, the world emptied its quiver, and shot all its arrows against the breast of the spotless Redeemer; Still separate from sinners, he walked among them without defilement; feasted among them, and yet did not sanction their gluttony; drank with them, and yet was not a drunkard, acted as they acted in all innocent things, and was the world’s man, and yet not a man of the world. He was in the world, but he was not of it; separate, and yet one of them; united to our race by closest ties, and yet evermore separate and distinguished from all mankind. I would, that we could imitate Christ in our battle with the world. But alas, the world often gets the upper hand of us. Sometimes we yield to its smiles and its flattery. We need to be more like our Master, to be the world’s foe and overcome it. Stand upright amid all its pressure, and be not moved by all its enchantments. Christ did this, and therefore around his head is that right royal crown of victory; trophy of triumph over the entire forces of the world.
The next crown he wears is the crown by which he has overcome sin. Sin has been more than a match for creatures of every kind. Sin fought the angels and a third part of these spirits of heaven fell. Sin defied the perfectly created Adam and soon overcame him, even he and the woman God gave him, both fell. Sin had a stern contest with Jesus our Lord, but in him it found its master. Sin came with all its temptations, but Christ resisted and overcame. It came with its horror and with its curse; Christ suffered, Christ endured, and so destroyed its power. He took the poisoned darts of the curse into his own heart, and there quenched its poison by the shedding his own blood. By suffering, Christ has become master over sin. The dragon’s neck is now beneath his feet. There is not an avenue of temptation which he has not known, and therefore not a pressure to sin which he has not overcome.
And then, Christ wears about his head the crown of death. He died, and in that dreadful hour he overcame death, rifled the sepulchre, split the stone which guarded the mouth of the grave, hewed death in pieces and destroyed the arch-destroyer. Christ seized the iron limbs of Death and ground them to powder in his hand. Christ has opened the gate of resurrection for his redeemed, and in that day when he shall put the trumpet to his lips and blow the resurrection blast, then shall it be seen how Christ is universal monarch over all the domains of death, for as the Lord our Saviour rose, so all his followers must rise.
And again, Christ is not only Lord of the world, king of sin, and king of death, but he is king of Satan too. He met that arch fiend foot to foot. Fearful was the struggle, for our champion sweat as
it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground; but he hewed his way to victory through his own body, through the agonies of his own soul. Desperate was the encounter. Head and hands, and feet and heart were wounded, but the Saviour flinched not from the fight. He rent the lion of the pit as though he were a kid, and broke the dragon’s head in pieces. Satan was nibbling at Christ’s heel, Christ trod on him and smashed his head. Glorious is that victory! Angels repeat the triumphant chorus, his redeemed take up the song; and you can praise him too, for he hath overcome all the evil of hell for your sake.
So we have seen that both …
Crowns of Dominion and Crowns of Victory adorn that Holy Head, but there are also
CROWNS OF THANKSGIVING there. Surely, concerning these we may well say, “On his head are many crowns.” In the first place, all the faithful of Christ’s Church will cast their crown to him. But think first of the glorious crowns of the Biblical faithful those like Elijah, Daniel, Moses, Jeremiah, David, and all the prophets. What crowns are those which shall adorn the heads of the apostles! What a weighty diadem is that which Paul shall receive for his many years of service? How shall the crown of Luther glitter, and the crown of Calvin; and what a noble diadem shall that be which Whitfield or the Wesley Brothers John & Charles shall wear, and all those men and women who have so valiantly served God, and who by his might have put to flight the armies of the Alien and the Erroneous, and have maintained the Gospel Banner flying in troublesome times?
Not only the mighty doers but the mighty sufferers do this. How brilliant are the ruby crowns of the martyred saints. From the stake, from the gallows, from the fire, they ascended up to God;
Among the bright ones they are doubly bright, fairest of the mighty host that surrounds the throne of the Blessed One. What crowns they wear! I must confess that I have often envied them. What crowns are those which martyr’s wear? An angel might blush to think that his dignity was so small compared with that of those riders in chariots of fire. Where are all those crowns? They are on the head of Christ. Not a martyr wears his crown; they all take their blood-red crowns, and then they place them on his brow—the fire crown, the rack crown, there I see them all glitter. For it was his love that helped them to endure; it was by his blood that they overcame. Thank God.
Then, I am prompted to think of another list of crowns. “They who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.” (says Daniel 12:3) There are a few men whom God has enabled to do much for the church and much for the world. They spend and are spent for the eternal well-being of the lost. What crowns shall be theirs when they come before God, when the souls they have won shall enter paradise with them, and when they shall say, “Here am I and the children which thou hast given me! (Heb 2:13 ) Yet even they will take their crowns of reward from their heads and lay them down by the Lamb in the midst of the throne. There will they bow and cry, “Jesus, we were not Saviours, you did it all; we were but thy servants. The victory belongs not to us but to our Master. We did reap, but He did sow, we did cast in the net, but He did fill it full! Our success is accomplished through your strength, and by the power of your grace.” Well may it be said of Christ,
“On his head are many crowns.”
But in this Revelation, I can see more…
Look, another host approaches. I see a company of cherub spirits flying upwards to Christ; and who are these? I know them not.
They are not numbered among the martyrs; I don’t read their names among the apostles; I do not even distinguish them as having been written amongst the saints of the living God. Who are these? So I ask one of them, “Who are you, ye bright and sparkling spirits?” The leader replies, “We are the glorious myriad of infants, who compose the family above. We from our mother’s breasts fled straight to heaven, redeemed by the blood of Jesus. We were washed from original depravity, and we have entered heaven. From every nation of the earth have we come; from the days of the first infant even to the winding up of earth’s history, we in flocks have sped hither like doves to their windows.” We ask “How came ye here, ye little ones?” They reply, “through the blood of Christ, and we come to crown him Lord of all.” I see the countless multitude surround the Saviour, and flying to him, each one puts its crown upon his head. What a glorious and gracious gathering this is. Can you see it? Can you imagine it? Will you one day join it?
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
There is but one more thronging His throne, one more group, casting their crowns before him; They are the chief of sinners, saved by grace. And here they come—Saul of Tarsus, and Manasseh, and Rahab the harlot, and many of the same class. And how came they here? They reply, “We have had much forgiven, we were grievous sinners, but the love of Christ reclaimed us, the blood of Christ washed us, and we are whiter than snow now, though once we were as black as hell.” And where are they going? They reply, “We are going to cast our crowns at his feet, and ‘Crown him Lord of all.'” Among that throng, my dear listeners, I hope it may be my lot to stand.
Washed from many sins, redeemed by his precious blood, and happy shall that moment be, when I shall take my crown from off my head, and put it on the head of him whom having not seen I love, but in whom believing, I rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. And it is my solemn prayer this moment. that all of you will go with me there, go to His throne and Crown Him with many Crowns.
Thank God for the Blessing this Revelation has been, and Praise God that for every single one of his children,
THE BEST IS YET TO BE