223

Crown Him with Many Crowns

Full Text

1 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.

2 Crown him the Lord of life,
who triumphed o’er the grave,
who rose victorious in the strife
for those he came to save.
his glories now we sing
who died and reign on high,
who died eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.

3 Crown him the Lord of love;
behold his hands and side,
rich wounds, yet visible above,
in beauty glorified.
no angels in the sky
can fully bear that sight,
But downward bend their burning eyes
at mysteries so bright.

4 Crown him the Lord of years,
the potentate of time,
creator of the rolling spheres,
ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
for thou hast died for me;
thy praise shall never, never fail
throughout eternity.

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Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The text is a magnificent celebration of Christ's victory over sin and death and of his rule in the world. The "crown," which in Revelation refers to both the crown of royalty/ kingship and the wreath of victory given to an athlete, symbolizes both the victory and the rule. 
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The confessions make it clear that the ascension of Christ opened the door to the rule of his kingdom. This fact is comforting to those who love him and is a fearful threat to those who despise him. The response therefore is praise and adoration from people of faith, and resistance from those who reject him.
 
Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 27 affirms “All authority, glory and sovereign power are given to him,” and reaffirms it in paragraph 43: “Jesus Christ rules over all.”
 
Consider the clear affirmation made in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 19, Question and Answer 50: “Christ ascended to heaven to show there that he is the head of his church, the one through whom the Father rules all things.”
 

It is no wonder that those who despise him join together to conspire against him, for Christ’s aim as Lord is to “destroy the devil’s work…every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your holy word” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 48, Question and Answer 123).

223

Crown Him with Many Crowns

Call to Worship

Ascended and reigning Christ,
help all of us who struggle to worship you as Lord
perceive the beauty and glory of your sovereign rule.
Help all of us who struggle to worship you as heavenly priest
discover the beauty and power of your ongoing prayer for us and with us. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!
Then every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth
and on the sea, and all that is in them, sang,
“To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power
for ever and ever!” Amen.
—from Revelation 5:12-13, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
—Psalm 47:5-8, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

People of God,
the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, sends his greeting to you.
And his greeting is this:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
through the working of the Holy Spirit.
This is the greeting of Christ, who arose from the grave.
He died and rose that we might have eternal life.
All thanks be to him!
This same Christ has ascended to the Father.
He ascended that we might experience God’s presence and power.
All praise be to him!
[Reformed Worship 23:40]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Jesus Christ has come into heaven and is at God’s right hand—
with angels, authorities, and powers in submission to him.
Since we have a great high priest who has gone into heaven—
Jesus, the Son of God—let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
Let us praise his holy name!
Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!
Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power, and strength
be to our God forevermore!
Alleluia, Amen!
Alleluia!
—based on Hebrews 4:14; Revelation 5:10, 12
[Reformed Worship 23:41]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lord God,
the words “Jesus is King” come easily to our lips,
yet we often fail to grasp the significance of what they mean for us.
In this service, help us worship you in spirit and truth,
and give us a vision for how we may live in homage to you
every day of our lives, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
—Psalm 24:7-8, 10, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Words of Praise

The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty
and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established,
firm and secure.
Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.
Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days.
—Psalm 93:1-2, 5, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Assurance

Christ, while his disciples watched,
was taken up from the earth into heaven.
He remains there on our behalf until he comes again
to judge the living and the dead.
Christ is true human and true God.
In his human nature Christ is not now on earth;
but in his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit
he is never absent from us.
Christ is our advocate in heaven in the presence of his Father.
We have our own flesh in heaven
as a sure pledge that Christ our head
will also take us, his members, up to himself.
Christ sends his Spirit to us on earth as a corresponding pledge.
By the Spirit’s power we seek not earthly things
but the things above, where Christ is,
sitting at God’s right hand.
Christ is seated at the right hand of God
to show there that he is head of his church,
the one through whom the Father rules all things.
Through his Holy Spirit he pours out gifts
from heaven upon us his members,
and by his power he defends us and keeps us safe
from all enemies.
In all distress and persecution,
with uplifted head,
we confidently await the very judge
who has already offered himself to the judgment of God
in our place and removed the whole curse from us.
Christ will cast all his enemies and ours
into everlasting condemnation,
but will take all his chosen ones to himself
into the joy and glory of heaven.
—from Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A’s 46-47, 49-52
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

This saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance:
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
There is one God; there is one mediator
between God and humankind, Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as a ransom for all, to whom we testify.
Great indeed is the mystery of our religion:
He was revealed in flesh,
vindicated in spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.
—based on 1 Timothy 1:15; 2:5-6; 3:16, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

As followers of Jesus Christ,
living in this world—
which some seek to control,
and others view with despair—
we declare with joy and trust:
Our world belongs to God!
From the beginning,
through all the crises of our times,
until the kingdom fully comes,
God keeps covenant forever:
Our world belongs to God!
God is King! Let the earth be glad!
Christ is victor: his rule has begun!
The Spirit is at work: creation is renewed!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
Jesus ascended in triumph,
raising our humanity to the heavenly throne.
All authority, glory, and sovereign power are given to him.
There he hears our prayers
and pleads our cause before the Father.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Our hope for a new creation is not tied
to what humans can do,
for we believe that one day
every challenge to God’s rule will be crushed.
His kingdom will fully come,
and our Lord will rule.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Our World Belongs to God, st. 1-2, 27, 55
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Blessing/Benediction

Now to the King eternal,
immortal, invisible, the only God,
be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
—1 Timothy 1:17, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Grace and peace to you
from him who is, and who was, and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—
to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
—Revelation 1:4-6, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

In the presence of God, who gives life to all things,
and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony
before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame
until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which he will bring about at the right time—
he who is the blessed and only Sovereign,
the King of kings and Lord of lords.
It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light,
whom no one has ever seen or can see;
to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
—1 Timothy 6:13-16, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Grace to you and peace
from him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood,
and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father,
to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
—Revelation 1:4-6, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

O God of all power and majesty,
you created the heavens and stretched them out.
You formed the earth and all that comes from it.
You give the breath of life to all who walk on the face of the earth.
Jesus, you conquered sin and death and now reign victorious.
You are Lord; glory is due your name.
The former things have come to pass;
we now await the new things you will bring through the Holy Spirit.
We rejoice to be gathered in your name.
Alleluia! Accept our praises and petitions. Amen.
[Reformed Worship 39:28]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
223

Crown Him with Many Crowns

Hymn Story/Background

This text is a composite of texts by two different authors, both of whom were inspired by the words from Revelation 19:12, "On his head are many crowns." Matthew Bridges' six-stanza text was published in his Hymns of the Heart in 1851. Asked to improve on Bridges' text, Godfrey Thring wrote a new text instead, which was published in his Hymns and Sacred Lyrics in 1874. Drawing from both authors' texts, the Church of England Hymn Book published a composite version of "Crown Him" in 1880. Most hymnals follow that example and include stanzas written by both Bridges and Thring.
 
The text is a magnificent celebration of Christ's victory over sin and death and of his rule in the world. The "crown," which in Revelation refers to both the crown of royalty/ kingship and the wreath of victory given to an athlete, symbolizes both the victory and the rule.
 
Composed for Bridges's text by George J. Elvey, DIADEMATA was first pub­lished in the 1868 Appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern. Since that publication, the tune has retained its association with this text. The name DIADEMATA is derived from the Greek word for "crowns."
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Matthew Bridges (b. Malden, Essex, England, 1800; d. Sidmouth, Devonshire, England, 1894) was raised in the Church of England. Though he wrote the anti-Roman Catholic book The Roman Empire under Constantine the Great in 1829, he came under the influence of the Oxford Movement and left the Church of England to become Roman Catholic. Bridges wrote a number of historical works, as well as poetry and hymns, and published them in collections such as Hymns of the Heart (1847) and The Passion of Jesus (1852). He lived in Quebec, Canada, for some time but returned to England before his death.
 
 
— Bert Polman

Godfrey Thring (b. Alford, Somersetshire, England, 1823; d. Shamley Green, Guilford, Surrey, England, 1903) was born in the parsonage of Alford, where his father was rector. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford, England, he was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1847. After serving in several other parishes, Thring re­turned to Alford and Hornblotten in 1858 to succeed his father as rector, a position he retained until his own retirement in 1893. He was also associated with Wells Cathedral (1867-1893). After 1861 Thring wrote many hymns and published several hymnals, including Hymns Congregational (1866), Hymns and Sacred Lyrics (1874), and the respect­ed A Church of England Hymn Book Adapted to the Daily Services of the Church Throughout the Year (1880), which was enlarged as The Church of England Hymn Book (1882).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

As a young boy, George Job Elvey (b. Canterbury, England, 1816; d. Windlesham, Surrey, England, 1893) was a chorister in Canterbury Cathedral. Living and studying with his brother Stephen, he was educated at Oxford and at the Royal Academy of Music. At age nineteen Elvey became organist and master of the boys' choir at St. George Chapel, Windsor, where he remained until his retirement in 1882. He was frequently called upon to provide music for royal ceremonies such as Princess Louise's wedding in 1871 (after which he was knighted). Elvey also composed hymn tunes, anthems, oratorios, and service music.
— Bert Polman

Song Notes

One of the most effective and simple costume changes is to put on a hat. When you walk off stage and return wearing a top hat, you are suddenly a different person. A “man of many hats” is someone who can be a different person in different contexts or crowds. This hymn declares that we are to crown our Lord with many crowns, but this does not mean that Jesus is a “man of many hats.” Christ was not simply a prophet, he was not simply the carpenter’s son, and he was not simply human, nor simply divine. Rather, this call to “crown him with many crowns” is a simple and yet profound declaration that Christ is many things, and everything. He is Lord of all, to be crowned for many things that all add up to him being Savior of the world. Each crown represents a different aspect of who Christ is – Lord of life, Lord of love, Lord of years, Lord of heaven, the Lamb upon the throne. Christ is King, Servant, Lamb, Shepherd, and we celebrate this all-encompassing, paradoxical nature of our Savior by crowning him the Lord of all.
— Laura de Jong
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