Crowns, Jewels and Revelation


The Bible extensively uses metaphorical imagery and care must be taken when discerning literal vs metaphorical usage of its language. Regarding the use of ‘crown’ and ‘jewels,’ the bible sometimes ‘talks’ (my metaphor) of believers being crowns and jewels. Even the Greek stephanos must be handled carefully: sometimes it’s a crown (made) of gold or thorns … but if so, then what is a crown (made) of life or righteousness, etc. The five crowns of heaven metaphor has even been extended to ‘crowns’ of separation (as in being set aside in sanctification) and protection (as a hedge providing protection) as can be seen on page 7.

I have found a variety of ideas about the crowns, in particular, and rewards in general, but my response is this, might our crown be Jesus (re: WILL BELIEVERS EARN CROWNS IN HEAVEN?)? And truly, if we are doing everything to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31), then what crown do we seek except Jesus? And what crown or what reward do we deserve when “we have only done our duty?” (Luke 17:10) And what shall we say when some of us have labored longer than others but we all agreed to the same wage? (Matt 20:1-16, Parable of the workers in the vineyard)

There is some tension between these verses and others (shown below) that seem to reflect varying rewards, but even those rewards are from the grace of God. I certainly don’t want to develop a transactional attitude with God (“I did this, so you give me that” – or “I deserve that”), so my choice is to put thoughts of rewards to the side. Some of us have had more opportunities to serve God because of circumstances – and not necessarily because of our character or choices we made. All of us stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before. I only know this, that He will do what is just, right and fair and that I am undeserving.


  • Heavenly rewards given as a result of a judgment on the works of the saints
    • 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
    • Hebrews 10:32-39 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure     in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
  • Difference in rewards allows the saints to serve God in greater or lesser ways throughout eternity
    • Matthew 13:23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.
    • Matthew 25:28-29 So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

Uses of word ‘crown’

General uses

Atar – to surround H5849

  • Ps 103:4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
  • Ps 8:5 You have made them[a] a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor
  • Ps 65:11 You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.
  • Songs 3:11 come out, and look, you daughters of Zion. Look[ on King Solomon wearing a crown,
    the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day his heart rejoiced.
  • Is 23:8 Who planned this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, whose merchants are princes, whose traders are renowned in the earth?

Atarah – crown, wreath H5850

  • Jer 13:18 Say to the king and to the queen mother, “Come down from your thrones, for your glorious crowns will fall from your heads.”
  • Prov 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.
  • Prov 17:6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

Pa’ar – to beautify, glorify H6286

  • Ps 149:4 For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.

Al – over you H5921

  • Songs 7:5 Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses.
  • Is 35:10 and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
  • Isaiah 51:11 Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
  • Is 62:3 You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
  • Is 61:3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.


 – from “to encircle” or surrounds G4735

  • Rev 4:10; 6:2; 9:7; 12:1; 14:14
  • Matt 27:29 mark 15:17; John 19:2, 5 crown of thorns
  • 1 Cor 9:25 (im)perishable crown
  • Phil 4:1 my joy and crown
  • 1 Thes 2:19 crown of exultation
  • 2 Tim 4:8 crown of righteousness
  • James 1:12 crown of life
  • 1 Pet 5:4 crown of joy
  • Rev 2:10 crown of life
  • Rev 3:11 take your crown
  • Rev 4:4 crowns of gold
  • Rev 4:10 cast their crowns
  • Rev 6:2 crown was given
  • Rev 9:7 appeared to be crowns
  • Rev 12:1 Crown of 12 stars
  • Rev 14:14 golden crown on his head

5 (or 7) Crowns in heaven


  • 1 Cor 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
  • Matt 6:19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
  • 1 Peter 1:4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,


  • 2 Tim 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
  • Phil 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,


  • Rev 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
  • John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
  • 1 Jn 2:25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.
  • James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
  • Heb 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


  • 1 Thes 2:19-20 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
  • Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
  • Lk 15:7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
  • Rev 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”


  • 1 Pet 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
  • Isa 62:2 The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
  • Is 42:8 “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.
  • Acts 7:55-6 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
  • Gal 1:5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
  • Rom 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.


Re: Seven Crowns of believers ( Gina Burgess 4/24/22

  • Num 6:8 All the days of his separation he is holy to the LORD. It could also be our Crown of Holiness. We are of God. He has transformed us through Christ’s blood sacrifice into a holy people.
  • 1 Pet 2:9 But you are a special people, a holy nation, priests and kings, a people given up completely to God, so that you may make clear the virtues of him who took you out of the dark into the light of heaven.

Re: Crown of Separation ( )Carolyn Hyde 6/4/20

  • Lev 8:9 Then he placed the turban on Aaron’s head and set the gold plate, the sacred emblem (holy crown), on the front of it, as the Lord commanded Moses.
  • Ex 39:30 They made the plate, the sacred emblem (holy crown), out of pure gold and engraved on it, like an inscription on a seal: holy to the Lord. (re: Num 6 Nazarite vows)


Re: Seven Crowns of believers ( Gina Burgess 4/24/22

  • Ps 5:12 For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround (crown) him with favor as with a shield.

Re: hedge of protection

  • Zech 2:5 And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will be its glory within.’
  • Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
  • Psalm 27:5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
  • Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
  • Hosea 2:5-6 For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. (ESV)


Bible with Dr Andrew Farley

Quick Answer: The imagery of crowns is used in different ways in the New Testament. However, crowns are never presented as heavenly rewards for good works. The crown of life, the crown of righteousness, and the crown of glory all refer to Jesus Himself and what He means to us.

Diving Deeper: Many teach that God will reward His faithful children with crowns in Heaven. But is this not consistent with the New Testament.

The New Testament often uses imagery to convey certain truths to readers. Crowns are a great example of this symbolism. For example, James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10 both speak of a “crown of life” given to those who persevere under trial. Elsewhere in the New Testament Jesus is presented to be our eternal life (John 14:6Colossians 3:4). So, the crown of life seems to be Jesus Himself. He is the great reward that awaits those who endure. Of course, we learn throughout the New Testament that we only endure because we are more than victorious through Christ (Romans 8:21) and God Himself is able to make us stand (Romans 14:4).

Another crown, the “crown of righteousness,” is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8. Paul says this crown will be given not only to him but to all believers. What exactly is this crown? Once again, Jesus! Jesus is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30), and there is no righteousness outside of Him.

Peter speaks of another crown, the “crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4), that believers receive at Jesus’ second coming. We know that God has already given us His glory as a free gift, and Jesus Himself is our source of glory (John 17:22). So, this crown is, once again, symbolic of Christ Himself.

Elsewhere, crowns are used to describe people. In Philippians 4:1, the Apostle Paul describes the church at Philippi as his “joy” and “crown.” Evidently, the church itself was Paul’s crown, because they had received his message about Jesus.

In conclusion, the New Testament does not use the imagery of crowns to indicate that jeweled prizes await those who exerted extra effort on Earth. Instead, crowns are simply the imagery used in the New Testament to convey who Jesus Christ is to us – our life, our righteousness, and our glory.

This is precisely why in the vision that John recounts in Revelation 4:10-11, twenty-four elders each receive a crown and then toss them at the feet of Jesus, declaring that He is worthy of all honor: “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” (Revelation 4:10-11).

Jewels and Precious Stones – Encyclopedia of the Bible

The following section is taken from “Jewels and Precious Stones – Encyclopedia of the Bible”

Native elements
adamant (Jer 17:1)
diamond (see also adamant)
copper (2 Tim 4:14)
gold (Ps 21:3)
iron (2 Chron 18:10)
silver (Exod 3:22)

brass (Rev 1:15 KJV) copper and zinc
bronze (2 Chron 24:12 NEB) copper and tin

Of silicon
amethyst (Rev 21:20)
crystal (Rev 21:11)
agate (Isa 54:12)
carnelian (cornelian) (Exod 39:13 NEB)
chalcedony (Rev 21:19)
chrysoprase (see also beryl—Rev 21:20)
jasper (Exod 28:20)
onyx (Ezek 28:13 – cf. NEB; see also marble)
sardine (Rev 4:3 KJV – cf. ASV, NEB) sardius (Rev 21:20 – cf. NEB) sardonyx (Rev 21:20)

Of aluminum
adamant (Ezek 3:9)
ruby (Lam 4:7 – cf. NEB and see coral)
sapphire (Exod 24:10)  
malachite (Esth 1:6 NEB) copper, hydroxide

beryl (Rev 21:20; see also emerald)
carbuncle (Isa 54:12; see also garnet)
chrysolite (Exod 28:17 NEB; Rev 21:20)
emerald (Rev 21:19; see also beryl)
feldspar (Ezek 28:13 NEB)
arnet (Ezek 27:16 NEB; see also carbuncle)
jacinth (Exod 39:12 ASV)
jade (Ezek 28:13 NEB)
ligure (Exod 28:19)
topaz (Rev 21:20)
turquoise (Exod 28:19 NEB)

Organic material
amber (Ezek 1:4 cf. NEB)
coral (Job 28:18 NEB)
pearl (Matt 13:45).  

Jewels in context

  • Proverbs 3:15 She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
  • Proverbs 8:11 For wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.
  • Prov 20:15 lips of knowledge are a precious jewel
  • Prov 31:10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
  • Job 28:12-19 “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living. The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.
  • Is 62:3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God
  • Zechariah 9:16-17 On that day the Lord their God will save them, as the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land. For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the young women.
  • 1 Timothy 2:9 Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,
  • 1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, …
  • Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Ezekiel chapter 16 is an allegory of God’s dealings with the nation of ancient Israel. This chapter figuratively describes how God picked up an abandoned newborn female baby and then cleaned, fed and provided for her. God provided beautiful jewelry for her: bracelets, a chain, a jewel in her nose, earrings, and a crown. Then later God marries the woman who symbolizes Israel.

Positive examples of jewelry in the Bible include Genesis 24:53, Proverbs 25:12, Isaiah 61:10, Luke 15:22 and Revelation 21:2. Examples of jewelry being used by people with bad motives include Jeremiah 4:30, Hosea 2:13 and Revelation 17:4.

Questions about jewelry come up because of statements in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:3-4 that talk about how Christian women should “adorn” (enhance appearance often with beautiful objects) themselves. In 1 Timothy, Paul’ concern is to not to prohibit expensive clothing or beautiful arrangement of the hair, but the excessive concern about appearance at the expense of more important things, such as godliness and good works. In 1 Peter, Peter’s concern is also about priorities; not that a woman must not beautify herself but that the inner person is more important than the outer and should therefore be given greater effort and emphasis.

Breastplate and Foundation Jewels

NIV names of jewels: Agate, beryl, amethyst, carnelian, chrysolite, emerald, jacinth, jasper, Lapis lazuli, Onyx, Pearls, Rubies, Sapphire, topaz, turquoise

The following section is largely from “Gemstones of the Bible” (

Problems in naming gemstones

Not surprisingly, the identities of the breastplate gemstones have become confused. Modern English versions of the Bible collectively offer more than 40 different identities for the 12 breastplate gemstones. Most are modern names of gemstones, minerals, and mineral varieties, along with some archaic English names and several untranslated Greek and Latin names.

Adding to the confusion, modern artistic depictions of the breastplate often disregard the probable color and transparency of its gemstones. Many depict the gemstones as faceted, transparent gems, even though faceting as we know it today was not developed until about 1400 C.E. Prior to the first century B.C.E., most gemstones were opaque or translucent and were fashioned as cabochons. For centuries, historians, theologians, and scholars have debated the identities of the breastplate gemstones and agree only on the general historical background of the breastplate itself. According to biblical scholars, the Old Testament was written over a period of 1,000 years, roughly from 1400 to 400 B.C.E. The breastplate was created about 1450 B.C.E. during the time of Moses.

Most interpretations and translations of the names of the breastplate gemstones were provided by scholars with little, if any, geological, gemological, mineralogical, or sometimes even historical, awareness. Their translations are based largely on tradition, limited gemstone knowledge, personal whim, or simple phonetics (Ex: sapphieros must mean “sapphire,” and topazos must means “topaz.”)

The Septuagint is a third through first-century B.C.E. Greek translation of the original Hebrew Bible. The name “Septuagint” stems from the Latin septu gint, meaning “seventy” and refers to the number of Jewish scholars who worked on the translation. As a first-generation translation, the Septuagint is the most direct linguistic link to the identities of the breastplate gemstones.

“Even so, the Septuagint translators were uncertain as to the correct translation of the Hebrew names used for the precious stones into the Greek names used in their time, and that they translated the Hebrew name of a stone in more than one way … These differences suggest that there were different Septuagint translators, even for different chapters of the same book, and that little care was taken by them to be consistent with one another in the translation of technical terms.” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia – Stones, Precious (

Gems, tribes and constellations

Constellation/Zodiac signs based on color, * indicates most likely to be the original gem.

OdemSardionBright red carnelian*, sard, sardonyx, red jasper.RedJudahLeo
PitdahTopazostopaz, chrysolite, emerald, peridot*TanIssacharCancer
Bareqethsmaragdosberyl, carbuncle, emerald, malachite*, turquoiseYellow green(Golden)ZebulonAries
NophekAnthraxcarbuncle, emerald, ruby, turquoise, red garnet*Reddish blackDanScorpius
SappiyrSappheirosislapis lazuliLight BlueNaphtaliVirgo
YahalomIaspisBeryl, diamond, rock crystal, emerald, jasper, onyx, moonstone, chrysoprase*, amazonite.OrangeGadSagittarius
LeshemLigyrionAmber*, zircon, tourmaline, opalRoyal BlueReubenAquarius
ShebuwAchatesAgate*, jasperGreenSimeonSea-goat
TarshishChrysolithostopaz, onyx, chrysolite, beryl, tarshish, turquoiseYellowAsherLibra
ShohamBerullosOnyx, carnelian, berylWhiteJosephTaurus
JashephehOnuxionJasper, gray quartzRed/White stripes, or PinkBenjaminGemini

24 Elders – casting crowns

The elders are dressed in white, wearing crowns and are sitting on thrones. The crowns and the white robes (of righteousness) signify they are redeemed people. Sitting on thrones represents the church ruling with Christ.

Scholars are divided as what the 24 represents:

  • In 1 Chronicles 24, the descendants of Aaron, who were the priests in Israel, were divided into 24 sections to determine the order in which they would minister before the Lord.
  • In 1 Chronicles 25 the musicians were divided into 24 sections and they were responsible for worship in the house of the Lord.
  • The 24 elders represent the 12 tribes of Israel combined with the 12 apostles, representing how God has bridged the gap between the Old Covenant and the New. 
  • 24 is 2×12. Twelve is symbolic of completion or spiritual authority: 12 tribes, 12 loaves of bread on the table in the temple, 12 apostles, 12 baskets were full after feeding the 5000. Two times twelve could represent “truly completes” or “authority fully established”

Interpreting the Bible and Revelation

Hermeneutics used by the Biblical writers

  • We can and should try to discern the intentions of the Biblical writer.
  • The intended meaning of the text is what the writer communicated directly to the original recipient. The meaning is established by
    • standard methods of communication and grammar.
    • the genre of literature: narrative, law, poetry, wisdom, prophecy, epistle, figure of speech (simile, metaphor, etc.)
    • the context (word in which phrase, in which sentence, in which pericope, in which book, by which author)
      • Pericopes are self-contained literary units like poems, parables, chiasms, etc.
  • The intended implications of the text are the applications others can discern from the text.
  • The intended expectations of the text are what the writer envisioned
  • Biblical writers were intensely familiar with the scriptures written by earlier scripture writers by memorizing and meditating on those scriptures. The enabled biblical writers to use intertextual references that would enable readers to expand the meanings or implications of the message by combining the message being studied with the other referenced writings.

Interpreting Revelation (Apocalypse) of John

  • Key terms:
    • Apocalypse: from Greek, apokalupsis G602, to uncover something that had been hidden. Hebrew, galah H1540, used in prophetic books to talk about going into exile.
    • Eschatological: dealing with the last things
    • Apocalyptic literature: a genre of prophetic writing developed in post-exilic Jewish culture, dealing with the end times as revealed by a heavenly messenger.
  • Revelation is an apocalyptic form of text written to Christians in the first century (60s under Nero or 90s or Domitian)
  • Intention was 1) comfort the afflicted, to provide hope in the midst of persecution by revealing God’s control and 2) afflict the comfortable, warn those who are affluent or comfortable that what then think is important will be stripped away.
  • Key approaches that have been used to interpret Revelation: 1) as a code to be broken and compared to events in  past, present or future 2) as a lens to understand and respond to the world
  • Understanding the imagery in apocalypses requires understanding how dreams and visions should be interpreted. Revelation needs to be seen in context of OT apocalypses which all need to be seen in light of the creation event.
  • Five common strategies for reading revelation are:
    • Predictive futurist: revelation gives us a code that represents future events.
    • Preterist: revelation is a code that represents events in the past.
    • Poetic/theopoetic: revelation is poetic language to express ultimate truths about God, evil and history.
    • Theopolitical: revelation is a form of political protest and dissent against Roman Empire where the kingdom of God is the antithesis to the kingdoms of this world.
    • Pastoral/prophetic: revelation is anchored in past events but can speak to every generation of readers.

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