This has been a distressing few years. For some time, we’ve known our nation was in trouble, but not like this. Suddenly, we are taking a hammering from all directions, and almost no one can escape the trauma. I won’t recount all the issues; you already know them. Regardless, we believers have a hope that will not disappoint us – if only we hold on to it and don’t get bogged down in this world’s bad news.
Didn’t our Lord warn us that the End Time will be distressing, even like birth pangs? We know that but haven’t had to take it seriously . . . until now. As if waking from a bad dream, we find ourselves scrambling to get up, come to grips with the cultural freefall, recover our footing, gear up for war, and fulfill our mandate to bring God’s salvation to a world on the brink.
I’m aware that many Christian leaders feel battle-weary, demoralized, and on the verge of quitting. I’m also aware that many of God’s people have been left confused, distressed, and wandering in a spiritual quagmire. Since we need encouragement right now, my purpose here is to offer some.
Let’s begin with Paul’s refreshing words: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Eph. 1:18-19a). Wow, there is so much here for us, but we must turn the “eyes of our hearts” upward to see it.
That, of course, is a battle. The enemy of our souls knows that if he can choreograph events to pull our hearts downward into the gloom, he can wear us down until our light is reduced to a flicker. But remember our Lord’s promises, “… a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish until He leads justice to victory.” (Matt. 12:20b). That’s SO hopeful!
In Colossians 3:2, Paul says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Heavenly things are antithetical to earthly ones with both competing for our loyalties. It takes resolve to bend our minds and affections from our natural earthly inclinations to the heavenly ones.
So, what things are above that Paul would have us set our minds on? So many! Things like God’s forgiveness and our victory through the Cross of Christ, and His Resurrection power that’s available to all believers. However, because of Queen Elizabeth II’s recent passing, I have felt led to focus on crowns.
Hopefully, picturing the surpassing glory of heaven’s crowns will lift your heart and soothe your soul.
As I write this, King Charles III is formally in place, and Queen Elizabeth II’s inspiring funeral is behind us. The Imperial Crown, containing some 3,000 precious jewels, sat atop her casket. Still to come is the King’s Coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, where coronations have taken place for 900 years. As with every British ruler since 1626, King Charles III will be coronated while sitting in the “King Edward’s Chair.” He’ll take the Coronation Oath; the archbishop will anoint, bless, and consecrate him; he will receive the Sovereign’s Scepter with the world’s largest cut white diamond (530 carats), and carry the Royal Orb (representing his sovereign power). Finally, the St. Edward’s Crown with 444 gemstones will be placed upon his head. He literally will be weighed down with Crown Jewels.
Perhaps a sense of wonder will accompany the occasion, but still, this is earthly stuff. Let’s set our sights upward and ponder heaven’s majestic splendor. Just a glimpse should lift our hearts with joy and expectation. I well remember the time when I, as a new believer, had this very experience in church one Sunday morning. I stood in the balcony as we all sang the hymn, “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.”
All hail the pow’r of Jesus’ Name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all!
Suddenly, I saw a vision of Jesus. Wearing royal robes with a crown on His head, He proceeded down the center aisle toward the pulpit. Feeling like my heart might burst with emotion, I stopped singing and wept. I noticed my pastor staring up at me, wondering what was going on. How could I ever explain the beauty of the moment when God visually illustrated to me that great coronation hymn of the Church? I pray you will catch such a glimpse of our Lord Jesus Christ, too!
BUT WE SEE HIM who for a little while was made lower than the angels, NAMELY JESUS, CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2: 9, my emphasis).
In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John describes his breathtaking apocalyptic vision. On earth, he had watched His Lord die in shame on the Cross, a crown of thorns driven into his skull. Now, in Heaven, the exalted Risen Lord is seen gloriously crowned and ready to judge the world: “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with A GOLDEN CROWN on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand” (Rev. 14:14, my emphasis).
But there’s more! Nearing the end of Revelation, we see Christ wearing many more crowns:
Then I saw heaven standing open, and there before me was a white horse. And its rider is called Faithful and True. With righteousness, He judges and wages war. He has eyes like blazing fire, and MANY ROYAL CROWNS on His head. (Rev. 19:11-12a)
What do these crowns represent? Most obviously, Jesus Christ is the King of kings, and the crowns depict His universal reign over every other king. But there are many additional ideas about His crowns. He’s said to be wearing crowns of victory, sovereignty, grace, and glory. The old hymn, “Crown Him with Many Crowns” picks up the theme, joyously exclaiming, “Crown him the Lord of heaven . . . Crown Him the Son of God . . . Crown Him the Lord of Light . . . Crown Him the Lord of Life . . . Crown Him the Lord of lords . . . Crown Him the Lord of years . . . Crown Him the Lord of heaven.” Awe-inspiring!
Never think for even a moment that this world’s issues are too great for our magnificent sovereign King. He will never abdicate His throne! And, try as they may, none of His enemies can ever dethrone Him. He rules the entire universe and beyond, and yet He values us as eternally significant. He knows us, loves us, is aware of our needs, and promises to work all our griefs for good. Not only that, but He also actively moves history to its climax when we will be with Him forever. He is coming soon! Hallelujah, so encouraging!
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people.
Amen. (Rev. 22:20-21, the final two verses of the Holy Bible)
Photo credit: © Phil McKay www.philmckay.com
(This article is Part 1 of a 2-part series, ROYAL CROWNS. For more related encouragement, look for Part 2 soon. This next article will address OUR royal crowns and direct our eyes upward to more hope-inspiring heavenly scenes.)
If any of you have additional thoughts, I would love to hear from you. Please post a comment below. If you appreciated this message, I’d be grateful if you send it on to others with this link: https://www.cherylford.com/single-post/royal-crowns