googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Revelation 3:11: Taking Our Crown

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Revelation 3:11: Taking Our Crown

ἔρχομαι ταχύ· κράτει ὃ ἔχεις, ἵνα μηδεὶς λάβῃ τὸν στέφανόν σου.
I am coming quickly. Hold fast that which you have so that no one should take your crown.

As far as simple translation, Revelation 3:11 is fairly straight forward. If you were to compare different translations, you would find they are all virtually the same. Yet for being such a simple translation, I believe the English version can not convey the full implication of the original Greek.

For me, the verse took on a whole new meaning when I considered the full impact of the word λαμβάνω, appearing here in the subjunctive (λάβῃ). The English word, “take,” may be an acceptable translation, but the word “take” conveys a wider range of meaning in English. To say in English, “Someone took my crown,” could imply there was theft, force, or some type of unlawful seizure.

In Greek, the word λαμβάνω carries no such implication. It is closer to the ordinary meaning of the word “take” as in to simply reach out and receive. This same word is translated in Matthew 7:8 as “receives”: “For everyone who asks receives” (NASB). There is no force implied. It's not theft (as in κλέπτω). It's not seizure (as in ἁρπάζω). It's only to take possession of something – to receive it as if it were your own.

So looking back at Revelation 3:11, we see that Christ is not warning us to be on guard against people who would steal our crowns. He is commanding us to be faithful – to be busy doing the work He expects of us. If we are slothful, no one steals our crown; he simply receives it. We have forfeited our reward and it goes to another person who deserves it. Consider this possible translation:

“I am coming quickly. Hold fast that which you have so that no one else should receive your crown.”

I know there will be no more tears in heaven (Revelation 21:4) but I can't help but thinking how sad it would be to stand in front of Jesus and have no reward. It will be to my shame when I stand there empty-handed while others are casting their crowns at His feet (Revelation 4:10). And the worst part would be knowing that I didn't loose my reward – I squandered it!

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