Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.
Revelation 4:4 (ESV)
Six times in the Revelation of Jesus Christ we read that the twenty-four elders fell down from their thrones to worship God and the Lamb (Revelation 4:10; 5:8, 14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:4). The fact that these elders were sitting on thrones and wearing crowns brings us to the conclusion that they had some authority to render judgment and rule. However, with each new revelation of God and the Lamb they quickly deserted their thrones, fell on their faces and assumed a position of worship.
On one occasion the twenty-four elders not only bowed in worship, but also cast their crowns before the throne of God saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:10 ESV)
In ancient times crowns were given to rulers or athletes; individuals who had conquered something. A good example of this is depicted in the movie Ben Hur. Upon winning the chariot race, Judah Ben Hur, played by Charlton Heston, is presented with a crown by Pontius Pilate.
In his letters to the Philippians (4:1) and first letter to the Thessalonians (2:19), Paul said the believers living in those cities were his crown. Other crowns are mentioned in scripture such as the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), crown of life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10), and the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4). All of these crowns are rewards for a life of obedience to the call of God.
Paul makes reference to the presentation of crowns in his letter to the Corinthians. He said, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run is such a way that you may obtain it. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath (crown), but we an imperishable. (1 Corinthians 9:24-25 ESV) In Timothy Paul wrote, An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. (2 Timothy 2:5 ESV)
John writes in Revelation 19:12 that the rider of the white horse, which is Jesus, was wearing many diadems or crowns. In Manners and Customs of the Bible James M. Freeman writes that monarchs who claimed authority over more than one country wore more than one crown. The vision of Jesus wearing many crowns establishes the truth that he is the King of Kings and solidifies his universal dominion.
The twenty-four elders took the glory (reward) they had received for their work and cast them before the throne of God. They understood that the only one worthy to receive all glory and honor was the one who sat on the throne and wore many crowns. Jesus was their King and Lord and they adorned him with their crowns. He had conquered their souls.
Has Jesus conquered your soul? Does Jesus get all the glory from your life?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Corinthians 9:26
2 Timothy 4:7