Posted in crown, curse, encouragement, savior, thorns

The curse of thorns and the crown of thorns

In the desert, cacti and thorn bushes mean business. Often, there are impenetrable thickets of rough bushes with spiky thorns that hurt even if you catch a glancing blow. Some cacti don’t even wait for a glancing blow but eject their little hairs to hurl at you as the wind of your passage awakens them. Desert thorns means business.

It wasn’t always that way. When the earth was created and the Garden of Eden planted nothing inside the Garden would hurt man as he passed. Which was good, because he was naked and not ashamed. Soft plants, beauteous flowers, stately trees, and mild animals dotted the landscape.

Then sin entered the world through one man, Adam, and because he listened to the voice of his wife, the ground became cursed. In some places today, the landscape even hurts to look at it.

After the Fall, thorns sprung up everywhere. Thorns hurt, thorns are negative, thorns are because of sin.

And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;

(Genesis 3:17-18)

Anytime there was a curse thereafter, thorns are frequently mentioned as part of the curse. (Nu 33:55; Jos 23:12-13; Isa 5:5-6; 7:23-25; 55:8-13; Jer 12:13; Hos 9:6). Jesus used the symbols of “thorns” in his teaching in a negative sense (Matt. 7:16; Mark 4:7, 18; Heb. 6:8).

Thorns came in with sin, and were part of the curse that was the product of sin, Gen. 3:18. Therefore Christ, being made a curse for us, and dying to remove the curse from us, felt the pain and smart of those thorns, nay, and binds them as a crown to him (Job 31:36); for his sufferings for us were his glory. Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume.

In Matthew 27:29 we read that the soldiers who were crucifying Christ had some mocking fun with Him and placed a crown of thorns over His head.

Source Logos Bible Software

Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.’ (Isaiah 55: 12-13)

Trees ‘clapping their hands’ is indicative of the fact that creation will no longer groan (Romans 8:22) but be glad.

In the crown of thorns placed upon His head, it was not only a mocking activity performed by pagans, but symbolic of the Lamb caught in the thorn thicket when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac. It is symbolic of the curse of sin that Jesus took upon Himself, so that we may escape it through Him.

EPrata photo

When you see that crown of thorns, and you think about the mockery and pain Jesus endured on our behalf, think about Him the spotless Lamb taking upon Himself the sins you and I do daily.

The Roman soldiers unknowingly took an object of the curse and fashioned it into a crown for the one who would deliver us from that curse. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13). (source)

What a tremendous, loving, wonderful Savior we have in Jesus Christ.


Further Reading

The Splendor of Thorns

Can you imagine the Wal-Mart floral department offering a bouquet of thorns? Does the Garden Center ever advertise Acacia thorn bushes? Do carpenters choose two-by-fours made of thorn wood? Except for our botanist friends, few people find thorns captivating. They are not beautiful. And they don’t seem very useful, though they do burn extremely well. The negative associations of thorns are what make their appearance in the Bible so intriguing, for God weaves these very thorns into the revelation of His grace. He gives them a star role in the unfolding drama of His judgment and unbelievable mercy.

The curse on the Man, part 2

In the original Eden you didn’t have to have cultivated planned crops, and you didn’t have any weeds. You had the natural flourishing of the earth producing all manner of food without crops, as we know them, that now produce flour and from that we make bread and there was no siach, no weeds which grow profusely now. And it also mentions in chapter 2 verse 5 that the rain contributes to that as we well know. Take a vacant piece of dirt, do nothing to it, just wait and let it rain and you will have a flourishing field full of weeds.

What is the meaning and significance of the crown of thorns?

After Jesus’ sham trials and subsequent flogging, and before He was crucified, the Roman soldiers “twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said” (Matthew 27:29; see also John 19:2-5). While a crown of thorns would be exceedingly painful, the crown of thorns was more about mockery than it was about pain. 

Posted in appearing, clouds, crown, rapture

He is coming on the clouds

EPrata photo

Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)

Pulpit Commentary says, “That have loved his appearing. It will be a characteristic of those who will be crowned at that day that all the time they were lighting the good fight they were looking forward with hope and desire for their Lord’s appearing and kingdom. “Thy kingdom come” was their desire and their petition. They will be able to say at that day, “So, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:9)

John MacArthur says of the 2 Timothy verse,

“Now somebody might say, “This seems a little egotistical. I’ve finished my course. I’ve kept the faith. I’ve done it all, now, Lord, I want my reward.” Is this selfish? Is this somewhat crass or self-indulgent? Is this a bit self-centered? Let me tell you why it’s not. God has made the promise. God promised the reward, it isn’t wrong to want what God promised. Furthermore, listen carefully, our eternal reward takes into consideration not only what we did but why we did it. Did you get that? And why we did it can either affirm the doing or cancel the doing. For Paul writing in 1 Corinthians chapter 4 and looking ahead to the time of reward says, “Do not go on passing judgment before the time but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” Motive is bound up in the deed. And admittedly sometimes…sometimes it seems as though you never do anything from a totally pure motive. But God knows the motive and what of that motive is pure is that which will be rewarded. So we don’t need to fear that we might be rewarded for selfish self-centered egotistical self-indulgent crass service. The wrong motive cancels the doing of the deed. But whatever has been done for Christ and in His name with a proper heart motive for His glory, that will be rewarded.”

I tell people that Jesus will come tomorrow. And the next day I say He will come tomorrow. And the next…and so on. One of these days, soon I think, I’ll be right. He IS returning, He promised to. He will gather His babes to Himself and take us to His home, and forever we will be with the Lord.

Posted in bema, crown, rewards

Our rewards in heaven!

We get rewards you know.

We do.

And it is OK to talk about them.

I’m looking forward to the rewards, but whenever I bring that up, I get the stink-eye from people. They mentally wag a finger and intimate that if I was a REAL Christian, I wouldn’t even mention the rewards, because after all, Jesus is plenty for a reward. I must be greedy or something. “Well, seeing Jesus in person is more than enough for me,” they say.

Well, of course He is enough for me. Salvation is a gift that never ends and enlightens my every day on earth. It is a gift that I never tire of thanking Him for. I am grateful for it every day. I can’t wait to see Jesus and I pray every day that today will be the day of the rapture.

But the doctrine of rewards IS in the bible and of Paul was excited about it then I’m excited about it.

The Bema Seat of Christ is what the rewards ceremony is unofficially known as. The bema is from Greek and it meant the raised platform from which athletic victors were given their wreaths. It also was where judicial acts occurred- arguments spoken by lawyers to the judge, and orators addressed the people from it also.

After the rapture, while the Tribulation is going on, is the rewards ceremony. Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15,

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

We stand before Jesus but we are not judged. Make no mistake- this is not a judgment. We are evaluated, not judged. It is a massive final exam. We are co-heirs, adopted sons, and cleansed of sin. Justified and declared righteous. But we were a work in progress. Did we work for Him? Did we rely on the Spirit to bear fruit? Did we bring Him glory by working out our salvation with fear and trembling?

We will stand before Him and He will display our works. Some that I think were for Him I am sure will be revealed to have had selfish motives and will be burned up. Other works, many I won’t even remember doing, will have been kept in the books by God and emerge as diamond. But it all will be laid bare. Ouch.

Even though it is not a judgment I am sure I will squirm!

In this essay by titled, The Doctrine of Rewards: The Judgment Seat (Bema) of Christ, they write,

In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, the Apostle Paul drew courage and was motivated by the fact of rewards at the return of the Lord for the church which he mentions in every chapter in this epistle and becomes the primary subject of 2 Thessalonians. The Lord’s return and what this means not only to the world but to us individually is a very prominent subject of the New Testament.

It is a very big subject! Please read the thorough essay at Now we read this from (Matthew 10:41)

“The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.”

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12)

“Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” (Luke 6:23)

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12)

“knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:24)

And don’t forget the crowns!

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12).

“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

“And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (1 Peter 5:4)

“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.” (1 Corinthians 9:25)

“He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward”.  (Heb 11:26)

I’m not a huge Chuck Missler fan, but he speaks of the Bema Seat in this clip between 11:00 and 14:00. What he says there makes sense to me. I’ll summarize it below.

Missler says, “I think a lot about the Bema seat every day. It is not an academic concept. The bible talks about how God will wipe the tears from our eyes, twice in Revelation, this puzzles me. There is no sickness, no death, Everything is good in heaven, why are there tears. I think what we are going to grieve over at the seat of Christ are not our sins. He paid it all, those were over and done with at the cross. I think what will grieve us is when we review our lives before our King and we see the wasted opportunities. Remember Schindler’s list at the end, he said “I could have saved one more” [Missler cries here] What will upset me are the things I could have done. Those moments when I wasn’t quite bold enough to challenge someone with the Gospel, or I wasted time on silly trivia instead of the King’s business. How diligent was I with the opportunities He put before me? How often I wasted away wasted opportunities, that will get to me.”

Our God is gracious…imagine even then, ministering to us, wiping our tears when we cry over the times we let Him down! And He rewards us who are His children, His lambs. Oh, yes, Jesus IS enough.

But I think I’ll look good in a crown. Maybe a tiara.

There is a reward, brethren. The good times are coming. They are almost here, maybe even at the door…

Dr. Todd Pylant, image- creative commons license free to use