Summary: This speaks of getting rewarded in heaven with crowns, doing things in life that matter in the next one, and why we would lay them down at His feet.
Revelation 4:1-11 – Getting Crowned
A man died and went to heaven. He was met at the Pearly Gates by St.Peter who led him down the golden streets. They passed mansion after beautiful mansion until they came to the end of the street where they stopped in front of a shack. The man asked St. Peter why he got a hut when there were so many mansions he could live in. St. Peter replied, "I did the best with the money you sent us."
Today we are talking about heaven. Well, sort of. In particular, what we will get when we get to heaven. Today I am going to share with you what the Bible says about crowns.
The idea of gaining crowns is well documented in church songs of the past. The old song, Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown? by E.E.Hewitt and John R. Sweeney, says this: “I am thinking today of that beautiful land I shall reach when the sun goeth down. When thro’ wonderful grace by my Savior I stand, will there be any stars in my crown?” And the chorus says: “Will there be any stars in my crown
when at evening the sun goeth down? When I wake with the blest in the mansion of rest, will there be any stars in my crown?” This song speaks of winning souls for Jesus, and the more souls we bring to Him, the more stars we will have.
The old marching hymn called Wear a Crown by Harriet Waters and A.E.Lind has these words: “Bugle calls are ringing out, “Forward” is the battle shout. See where floats the conquering sign, onward to the war divine! And when the battle’s over, we shall wear a crown, we shall wear a crown, we shall wear a crown! And when the battle’s over, we shall wear a crown in the New Jerusalem. Wear a crown, wear a crown, away over Jordan! And when the battle’s over, we shall wear a crown in the New Jerusalem.” This crown is the victory crown, given to the winners of a battle. Unfortunately, there’s a reference in the song to the Emperor Constantine, who saw a sign of the cross in the sky and went out and conquered pagan lands in the name of Christ. Perhaps not the best form of soul-winning. Choose Jesus or choose death. Then again I am a little cynical sometimes.
Now, I’m not entirely comfortable with the thoughts of having crowns in heaven. That is, some will have bigger or better crowns or more stars in them when we get to heaven. As if we are saved by grace but rewarded by works. I’m not entirely comfortable with that thought. But yet it’s biblical, Old and New Testaments. We will be rewarded for how we lived our faith here on earth. Here are some verses to prove this:
Matthew 16:27 – “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.“ Ephesians 6:8 – “You know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does.” 1 Cor.3:8 – “The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” Now, I understand that our works flow from our faith. So it really is all about how much faith we have. Still, it cannot be denied that whoever uses the faith he has will receive more in heaven than the one who doesn’t. Thus, we are rewarded for what we do here on earth. We can’t work our way to heaven, but our works are reflected by the amount of reward we have when we get there.
Thus, we get crowns. The Bible speaks of different kinds of crowns, but they are likely just different descriptions of the same crown, the incorruptible crown that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 9. Peter calls it the crown of glory. James 1 and Revelation 2 speak of getting a crown of life. And in Paul’s last letter, 2 Timothy, he was looking forward to getting the crown of righteousness.
Now, the idea of a crown came from Greek competitions. Just outside of the city of Corinth there was a Roman amphitheater and the plains of the Isthmus of Corinth where, every two years, the Isthmian games, part of the Greek Olympiad were held in honor of the Greek God of the Sea, Poseidon. The victor’s prize, under the Greeks was a crown made of woven laurel leaves. Later it was a crown of wild celery, but after Corinth was conquered by the Romans under Julius Caesar, the games were reestablished for a time with a crown of fir as the victor’s prize.