Q. I’m reading your book on Revelation. I find it interesting that the 24-elders are wearing crowns (Greek word stephanos) and the first horseman of the apocalypse is wearing a crown (same Greek word). I’d appreciate your usual clear insight concerning why they have the same crown(s).
A. Stephanos is the Greek word for a crown of victory. It signifies that the wearer is not royalty, but has been awarded the crown by overcoming someone or something. It most commonly referred to the ivy wreath awarded to victorious athletes in the ancient Olympics.
Paul wrote about this in 1 Cor. 9:24-27 as a crown that will be awarded to believers who overcome the flesh to live godly lives. The 24 elders, who represent the church, will wear a stephanos crown, signifying that they have overcome the world through their belief that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4-5)
The anti-Christ will also wear a stephanos crown. This shows that he’s not the true messiah, who wears the crown of royalty, and that he will achieve victory by conquering the nations of the world (Rev. 13:5-8).
From these examples we can see that the stephanos crown does not always carry a spiritual significance, but is a sign of victory.