With John’s Revelation, we are given a glimpse into the spiritual side of the story that God weaves throughout human history. This hotly debated book remains one of the few parts that Christians stand in eager expectation of its coming rather than a record of the past events of the faith. With its fantastical depiction of the end of days and the victory of Christ over the forces of nature, Revelation shows us that Christ already won and secured our victory. However strong this may be, we are catching up and eagerly awaiting the promised finale. Nonetheless, God is still seated on the throne. Whatever accomplishments we may earn as we await the coming of eternity, compared to the fullness of God’s victory, they will fall short.
“Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
– Revelation 4:9-11, NIV
In the throne room of God, the elders, for whatever position, whatever achievements, and anything else they had accomplished or earned during their lifetime, knew where they stood. They stood before the Great High King in the Heavenly throne room. Their personal fanfare would not exist if not for the ultimate source of life, God almighty. Compared to the crown of the King of Kings, they could not longer cling dearly to their own crown. For crowns of Kings to have meaning, they must fall before the throne of God.
The Insufficiency of Our Crown
Over the course of human history, we have seen people do amazing things and rise to new heights. In and of itself, this is no a bad thing. There have been numerous advancements in science, technology, and our understanding of how the world works. Moreso, people have risen from lowly positions to become Kings, Queens, Regents, Presidents, and Officials. Yet, for whatever presence we hold, we must not forget where our meaning comes from.
Our crowns, however shiny and sparkling they may be, can never define our meaning or seat us in the heavenly realms. For the 24 elders, they were willing to lay down their crowns when faced with the glory of God. They saw their position in the throne room and immediately understood that it was by grace that they were there in the first place. They relinquished their crowns knowing that the true glory comes from the one who gives life true meaning. Our crowns and achievements are insufficient for our personal identification and glorification and must fall at the feet of God. He alone is the One, True King.
Sovereignty of the True Crown
As people, we try and find meaning and purpose by what we do. We elevate our work and our status because it is a sign of our meaning. This is the age old lie that we can, in some way, find purpose by our accomplishments. Our work becomes our God and our crown becomes our restraint. Our accomplishments will never be able to hold a place of purpose of our lives, however much we may try and define ourselves by them. Whatever we do and any accomplishments will have no meaning unless they are brought before the King of Kings and submitted to His reign.
The richness of the Kingship of God rests in his ability to give life it’s meaning. After all, it was by His hands that the world was called into being. It is through Him that everything is sustained. For the 24 elders, they understood that whatever achievements they held were nothing compared to the glory of God’s reign and would happily give up their position for a chance to worship before Him. God alone is the Sovereign King.
As much as I may try and achieve Kingship and status, when I stand before the throne room of God, I will see it for what it is; insufficient compared to God. When people submit to a ruler, they do so because that ruler is more powerful or honorable than themselves. God is perfection, holy. Yet God is a gracious King. As much as I do not deserve to stand before Him and have not earned it, I am bid to come anyway. This is why we lay our crowns down. He is a perfect King who loves us dearly and deeply, calling us not merely His subjects, but His friends. Whatever challenges the world and myself will face, He is the great conquerer who has already declared victory. He alone reigns supreme and can never be overthrown.
Read Revelation 4
- In your own words, describe the situation in the throne room of God.
- What reaction do you have to seeing the future promises of God and the conclusion to the story? What does this change in your life?
- How do the elders respond in the presence of God? How do their actions display their reverence for the situation?
- What reason do the 24 elders give in laying down their crowns before the feet of God?
- What are the crowns that we cling to that should be laid down at the feet of God? Why is it difficult to lay out those crowns? Why is it easy?
- What happens when we allow God to act as our sovereign King and submit to His will?