“CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS”

Wayne S. Walker

“…And on His head were many crowns” (Rev. 19.12)

      A hymn which identifies Christ as the King of kings and Lord of
Lords with many crowns upon His head is “Crown Him With Many Crowns.”
The original text was written by Matthew Bridges (1800-1894).  Born at
Malden in Essex, England, he was a member of the Church of England and a
writer whose interests lay in literature, history, and politics, he later
became a member of the Roman Catholic Church and is best known for his
religious poetry.  This hymn first appeared in 1851 in the second edition
of his “Hymns of the Heart” and consisted of six stanzas.

     The tune (Diademata) was composed for this hymn by George Job Elvey
(1816-1893).  He was music director at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor,
England, where the British royal family often attended.    It first
appeared with Bridge’s text in the 1868 Appendix to “Hymns Ancient and
Modern.”  Then, in 1874, six additional stanzas were written by Anglican
minister Godfrey Thring (1823-1903).  These first appeared in his 1874
“Hymns and Sacred Lyrics.”  Most books today use a composite of stanzas
drawn from both Bridges and Thring.

     The song was found in the 1937 “Great Songs of the Church No. 2”
(#365) edited by E. L. Jorgenson, and the 1963 “Christian Hymnal” (#154)
edited by J. Nelson Slater.  among books still published today, it is
located in the 1971 “Songs of the Church” (#362), the 1990 “Songs of the
Church 21st Century Edition” (#63), and the 1994 “Songs of Faith and
Praise” (#’s 193, 305), all edited by Alton H. Howard; and the 1992
“Praise for the Lord” (#115) edited by John P. Wiegand.

     This hymn presents several possible reasons for the crowns on Jesus’
head.

I. The first crown represents kingship in general and is said to be on
the Lamb
“Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne;
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns All music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing Of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King Through all eternity.”
 A. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God: Jn. 1.29, 1 Pet. 1.18-21
 B. And this Lamb of God is now upon His throne: Acts 2.29-32, Heb. 8.1
 C. As the victorious Lamb upon His throne, He is worthy of our praise:
Rev. 5.6-7, 11-12

II. The second crown belongs to Christ as both Son of God and Son of Man
“Crown Him the Son of God Before the world began,
And ye, who tread where He hath trod, Crown Him the Son of man;
Who every grief hath known That wrings the human breast,
And takes and bears them for His own, That all in Him may rest.”
 A. Jesus Christ is certainly the divine Son of God: Matt. 16.16, John
20.30-31
 B. However, Jesus is also the Son of Man in that He became flesh and
lived as a man: Jn. 1.14, Phil. 2.5-8
 C. And one stated purpose of His becoming a man is that He might be able
to aid those who are tempted: Heb. 2.14-18

III. The third crown is that of love, as demonstrated in His death for
our sins
“Crown Him the Lord of love!  Behold His hands and side,
Rich wounds, yet visible above, In beauty glorified.
All hail, Redeemer, hail!  For Thou hast died for me:
Thy praise shall never, never fail Throughout eternity.”
 A. Certainly, Jesus is the supreme embodiment and expression of God’s
love for sinful mankind: Jn. 3.16
 B. And that love was shown by His willingness to die for our sins: Rom.
5.8
 C. Thus, because of this great love, we can have salvation: Eph. 1.3-7,
2.4-10

IV. The fourth crown is that of life, as manifested by His resurrection
from the dead
“Crown Him the Lord of life, Who triumphed o’er the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife For those He came to save;
His glories now we sing Who died, and rose on high,
Who died, eternal life to bring, And lives that death may die.”
 A. The Bible records the resurrection of Christ from the dead as a
historical fact: Lk. 24.1-10
 B. Thus, the central message of gospel preaching in the first century
was that Jesus Christ arose from the dead: Acts 2.22-24, Rom. 1.3-4, 1
Cor. 15.1-4
 C. And because Jesus Christ thus showed Himself to be Lord of life, He
can give us life: Jn. 1.4, 10.10

V. The fifth crown belongs to Jesus as the Lord of peace
“Crown Him the Lord of Peace, Whose power a scepter sways
>From pole to pole, that wars may cease, Absorbed in prayer and praise;
His reign shall know no end, And round His blessed feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend Their fragrance ever sweet.”
 A. It had been prophesied that the Messiah would be the Prince of Peace:
Isa. 9.6-7
 B. Indeed, Jesus came to bring peace: Lk. 2.10-14
 C. While worldly peace between warring nations is something to be
desired, the peace of Christ is more than that because it makes it
possible for sinful mankind to be a peace with God: Eph. 2.13-14

VI. The sixth crown is His as the Lord of Heaven
“Crown Him the Lord of Heaven, One with the Father known,
And the blest Spirit, through Him given, From yonder glorious throne!
No angel in the sky Can fully bear that sight,
But downard bends his burning eye At mysteries so bright.”
 A. Jesus Christ ascended back to heaven: Dan. 7.13-14, Acts 1.9-11
 B. Having ascended to God, He now has all rule and authority: Eph.
1.19-21
 C. And as the Lord of Heaven, He has opened the way to eternal life with
God to all mankind who would obey God’s will: Rev. 22.1-5

     CONCL.:  Some brethren have objected to this song, perhaps assuming
that it is talking about crowning Christ when He comes again.  One might
mistakenly think that, but this is not what the song says.  It pictures
the crowning of Christ in heaven following His resurrection and
ascension, and thus refers to the fact that He has been crowned and is
therefore King upon His throne today.  However, it might also be said
that we continue to crown Him in the sense that we make Him the King of
our lives by yielding our hearts to Him and also by our praises to Him.
     Jesus Christ was crowned as Savior and King following His death and
resurrection, upon His ascension when He sat down on His throne at the
right hand of the Father on high.  Today, He is crowned by each
individual as we make Him the King of our hearts and Lord of our lives in
obedience to His will.  And in heaven, the redeemed of all ages, along
with the angelic hosts, will crown Jesus forever and ever as the Son of
God with their eternal praises to His name.  Therefore, it is fitting
that, with thoughts of all that Jesus has done for us, we sing, “Crown
Him With Many Crowns.”

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