THE CROSS & CROWN SYMBOL — What Does It Mean?

“NO CROSS, NO CROWN”

“THE purple grape must be crushed
To make the sweet, red wine,
And furnace fires must fiercely burn
The drossy gold to refine;
The wheel must cruelly grind,
Else where the jewel’s light?
And the steel submit to the polishing,
Or how would the sword grow bright?
“How then, my soul, wilt thou
The Spirit’s fruits possess,
Except thou lovingly yield thyself
To the Hand that wounds to bless?
Then patiently let the fire
Consume all earthly dross—
Thou canst not hope to wear the Crown,
If thou refuse the Cross!”

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The Watch Tower, September 1, 1914


But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Galatians 6:14 

‘In Bible Student usage, a Cross and Crown symbol appeared for the first time on the cover of the Watch Tower magazine for January 1891 and continued to be displayed until 1931. At first there was no natural wreath encircling the Cross and Crown, merely an artistic geometric pattern. Later, beginning January 1, 1895, a band of greenery was added, giving the wreath the distinctive appearance it has today, as frequently used on Bible Student convention programs and letter heads. Since it never was unique to the Masons, its adoption by the Bible Students carries no significance in relating it to that group (or any other group, for that matter).

Bible Student meaning for the Cross and Crown is taken from the Scriptures where both symbols are given a prominent place. The cross, besides being the instrument used in the death of Christ, is also a metaphor of the trials and persecutions of the believer. (See Matt. 16:24.) The crown is frequently used as a symbol of the glory, honour and immortality granted to Christ and his church for faithfulness in serving God. (See Rev. 3:21; 2:10.) The Bible also makes it clear that gaining the crown is dependent upon bearing the cross faith fully even unto death. (See James 1:12.) The poem, “No Cross, No Crown,” emphasizing this point, appeared in the July 1, 1911 issue of the Watch Tower. This again is not a concept unique to Bible Students and may be found in church hymnology dating back to at least the eighteenth century. And finally, the wreath encircling the Cross and Crown symbol is taken as a sign of victory. Its use in crowning the winners in the Greek games is directly alluded to in 1 Corinthians 9:25.’

Messenger of the Millennial Hope, 2006, p. 226 – C. F. Redeker


“NO CROSS, NO CROWN”

 Oh blessed crown of glory!
Oh crown of righteousness!
Oh crown of life immortal,
How can I thee possess?
In answer to my longing
A voice said, soft and clear,

“The crown is yours, beloved,
If you the cross will bear.”

 “What is the cross?” I questioned.
‘Tis bearing every day
The trials which the Father
Permits along the way;
‘Tis sharing the reproaches
Your Master meekly bore,
While those who claim to love him
Revile you, more and more.

 The world will look upon you
With disapproving eye;
And friends whom you love dearly
Will coldly pass you by.
They’ll have no patience with you;
Your good works they’ll deride,
And every righteous motive
To you will be denied.

And all the powers of evil
Will gather to assail;
They know your every weakness
And where they might prevail.

 

They’ll try to overwhelm you
By coming like a flood,
You must with force oppose them,
Resisting unto blood.

 The flesh will strive to win you,
Exerting every power,
‘Twill be perpetual warfare
Between you every hour—
A fight that ceases only
When one of you is dead.
It is no easy pathway,
Beloved, that you tread.

 And then I answered, “Master,
I’ve counted all the cost;

And deem it highest honour
To bear with Thee the cross.
And I will bear it gladly,
Till it works out in me
That blessed transformation
Which proves me part of Thee.

 And when the cross grows heavy,
By faith, I gaze upon
The crown Thou art reserving
For those who overcome—
The crown of great rejoicing,
The crown of righteousness,
The crown of life immortal
I’m striving to possess.

-Sister Doney

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The Watch Tower, July 1, 1911

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