Posted by: rcottrill | October 23, 2017

Crown Him with Many Crowns

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Words: stanzas 1, 5, 6 and 9: Matthew Bridges (b. July 14, 1800; d. Oct. 6, 1894); stanzas 2, 3 and 4: Godfrey Thring (b. Mar. 25, 1823; d. Sept. 13, 1903)
Music: Diademata, by George Job Elvey (b. Mar. 27, 1816; d. Dec. 9, 1893)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Matthew Bridges) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: This great hymn (with a great tune) is the combined work of two hymn writers, Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring. The Cyber Hymnal gives nine stanzas all together, with some unusual phrases applied to Christ. For example (in stanza 9):

Crown Him the Lord of years,
The Potentate of time.

When Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne of Britain and several Commonwealth nations in 1952, a royal crown was placed upon her head.

Such a crown represents several things. It’s a symbol of recognized honour, and a symbol of the legitimacy or lawfulness of the monarch’s rule. It also is a mark of the authority that goes with the throne, and a reminder of the responsibility to rule well. That responsibility is no small thing. William Shakespeare wrote of it in his day, ““Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” suggesting the sleepless nights the ruler may face.

In the Bible, the word “crown” is used dozens of times. It appears in the Old Testament, after Israel becomes a monarchy. Of one instance we read, “He brought out the king’s son [Joash], put the crown on him, and gave him the Testimony [a copy of the Law]; they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, ‘Long live the king!’” (II Kgs. 11:12). When Esther became queen of Persia, the Bible says, “[King Ahasuerus] set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti” (Est. 2:17).

In the New Testament, two particular Greek words are translated “crown.” One is stephanos, which refers to a garland (often woven of oak leaves) placed on the head as an award for winning athletic contests. The ancients used these instead of the medals awarded today. “Everyone who competes for the prize is temperate [disciplined] in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown [stephanos]” (I Cor. 9:25). This word is also used of the various awards Christians will receive in heaven for their faithful life and ministry on earth (e.g. II Tim. 4:8).

A different Greek word is used for the royal crown that will be placed on the head of the Lord Jesus in recognition of His coming reign as “King of kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 19:11-16). In this case the Greek word is diadema, referring to a kingly crown, a royal diadem. This will appear to be “many crowns” (vs. 12) nested together, perhaps picturing Christ’s rule over all the kings of the earth.

Edward Henry Bickersteth, Jr. (1825-1906) was an English pastor, hymn writer, and hymnal editor. In 1866 he published a lengthy poem (filling nearly four hundred pages) called Yesterday, Today and Forever. It traces earthly history, with particular emphasis on the death and resurrection of Christ, and on His ultimate triumph yet to come. In dealing with Revelation 19:11-16, where we read of the heavenly crowning of Christ, Bickersteth piles phrase on phrase to give us some small idea of the thrilling glory of the scene. (The “hierarchal presbytery” refers to the elders around God’s throne (Rev. 4:4), perhaps representatives of the church.)

The Eternal Father slowly rising placed
A crown, which in itself was many crowns,
Upon the head of the Eternal Son:
And from amidst the throne a Voice was heard
Commanding Hallelujah. And forthwith
From cherubim and burning seraphim,
And from the hierarchal presbytery,
And from the Bride low at her Bridegroom’s feet,
And from the principalities and powers,
And hosts of angels rank’d in endless files,
As sounds the roar of mighty multitudes,
Or rush of many waters in still night,
Or thunders echoing from hill to cloud,
Arose that pealing coronation hymn–
‘Crown Him forever, crown Him King of kings;
Crown Him forever, crown Him Lord of lords;
Crown Him the glorious Conqueror of hell;
Crown Him the everlasting Prince of Peace;
Crown Him Jehovah, Jesus, Lamb of God,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen.’

In our hymn books, the hymn Crown Him with Many Crowns sounds a similar thrilling note. It enables a congregation, in some small way, to imagine and anticipate that glorious day when we rejoice before the throne.

CH-1) Crown Him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heav’nly 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.

CH-4) 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.

Questions:
1) In the nine stanzas given in the Cyber Hymnal, what to you is the most thrilling title or description of the Lord Jesus Christ?

2) If Christ reigns in your heart today, what will that mean to your behaviour?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Matthew Bridges) (for another article see here)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


Responses

  1. one of my all time favorites!!!

    • Mine too–though studying hymns for over 50 years has tended to give me many “favourites.” It was also my father’s favourite hymn, and the only recording I have of his voice is of him leading the singing in a church service, and announcing that hymn. Dad was a music major at Moody Bible Institute, in Chicago. He was, at various times, a violist in a church orchestra, a church organist and choir director, and the trainer of two excellent men’s quartets.

      The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. As well as serving as a pastor and Bible college professor, I’ve been involved in music all my life. And that that can be extended in two directions. My grandmother was a wonderful soprano soloist, and sang in Handel’s Messiah, in England. My son, a missionary in Mexico with his family, is a fine soloist, and plays keyboard in the services. (Forgive the ramble down memory lane. Great to hear from you. God bless.)

      • a delightful sharing and not rambling—and a tale of a true legacy—you are rooted well Robert and are sending forth the next generation in find form!!!


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