Part 012 – Crowns cast before God’s throne

The Book of REVELATION

 

A Study

Part 012

Crowns cast before God’s throne — Revelation Chapter 4

The context

Properly understanding Revelation Chapters four and five is crucial to a proper understanding of the Book of Revelation as a whole. Contextually, the events seen in these two chapters occur following the judgment of the whole church consisting of all the believers who lived during the 2000 year period of this dispensation (chs.1-3) but preceding the Tribulation Period which is shown to occur from ch.6 onwards. The central subject of Chapters 2 and 3 has to do with all believers before the Judgment Seat of Christ. But it is also evident that a history of the Church throughout the dispensation is also shown in these chapters. Accordingly, Chapter 4 begins at the same point as seen in Rev.1:10, showing the removal of the complete Church at the end of the dispensation before the beginning of the Tribulation Period. Then the appearance of a rainbow (Rev.4:3) encircling the throne indicates the completion of the judgment of all the believers. Earlier, the rainbow appeared in Gen.9:13-17 following the completion of God’s judgment through the flood.

The rule from the heavens over the earth

“Thrones” and “crowns” have to do with regality and the government of the earth is in view in the Book of Revelation and also throughout the Scripture. God not only created the heavens and the earth, but He also governs/reigns over the whole creation. The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all (Psa.103:19-22). God created innumerable number of ruling/messianic angels and appointed each of them over different provinces of His whole creation (Job 1:6; 2:1). All the angels, created and appointed by God, are also called the “sons of God.” God also created and appointed innumerable subordinate angels and placed them under each of these ruling angels. Satan is the messianic angel whom God placed over the earth in the beginning, along with a great host of subordinate angels (Ezek.28:13-15). But Satan sought to elevate his throne above all the other messianic angels and occupy the very place which God himself occupied (Isa.14:13, 14). As consequence, God not only rejected him as the appointed ruler over the earth but God determined that his ultimate destination will be in “the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt.25:41).

Twenty-Four, Thirty-Six

When Satan rebelled against God, only one-third of his subordinate angels rebelled along with him. Note the way Rev.12:4 is worded: “his tail drew a third part of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth…” These “stars” refer to angels (Job 38:7; Rev.1:20). Then the number “twelve” signifies governmental perfection and the number “three” signifies Divine perfection and thus “twelve” multiplied by “three” which is “thirty-six” signifies Divine perfect government. All of the subordinate angels originally placed by God under Satan could be signified by the number “thirty-six.” Then the two-thirds of the angels which did not take sides with Satan in the rebellion, and remained loyal to God could be signified by the number (2 X 12 = 24) twenty-four. According to a Biblical principle of divine government, these angels had to retain their crowns until those who are going to replace them are ready to ascend the throne.

The Bride is identified

At this point in the book, events pertaining to the dispensation in which the Spirit spent 2000 years, searching and preparing a bride for God’s Son are complete and the events surrounding the judgment seat — identifying and separating the bride — are also complete. And as a result, one would look forward to the fulfillment of that which is stated in Heb.2:5—For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. And this is same as that which was originally purposed regarding man in Gen.1:27, 28—So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion…” Immediately thereafter, John sees and hears various things around God’s throne (Rev.4:4-9). Then the scene returns to the twenty-four elders who relinquish their thrones and crowns and fall down before God, expressing adoration to the One worthy “to receive glory and honor and power” (Rev.4:10, 11).

“Crowns” — stephanos, and diadema

There are two words in the Greek text for “crown” — stephanos, and diadema. Diadema refers to the type crown worn by a monarch, one presently exercising regal power. Stephanos, on the other hand is used in an opposite sense. It is used to show someone crowned but not presently exercising regal power. For example, the crown seen on Christ’s head in Rev.14:14 is referred by the word stephanos in the Greek text, because Christ though a victor will not be exercising regal power at that time. Then when Christ returns to the earth to take the kingdom, He will have many crowns upon His head; and the Greek text uses the word diadema to refer to these crowns, for Christ will be returning as “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (Rev.19:12, 16). The crowns relinquished by the twenty-four elders in Chapter four are referred to as stephanos in the Greek text, indicating that, though crowned, these elders are not exercising regal power whereas only Satan and the one third of his angels are presently exercising regal power (Luke 4:5, 6; John 12:31).

Twenty-four crowns cast before God’s throne

However, Satan, though disqualified, continues to rule, for a principle of Biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler hold his appointed position until he is actually replaced by another appointed ruler. After events in Revelation chapters one through three have come to pass, for the first time in man’s history, the person (the bride) who is to rule with Christ will have been made known and shown forth. Now, all the angels who did not join with Satan in the rebellion, signified by the twenty-four elders are seen willingly relinquishing their crowns. These crowns though will be worn only after Christ returns to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, overthrows Satan and his angels and forcibly takes their crowns. Only then will Christ be in possession of all the crowns which He and His bride are destined to wear as they ascend the throne and rule the earth in the coming glorious age. Then, Divine perfection will once again exist in the government of the one province in God’s universe where imperfection existed for millenniums.