The New Year

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
Revelation 5:9

It is time for a New Year and one thought has been ringing in my heart the last few days. It is not, "We made it!" although for some, the Mayan calendar raised some question about whether we would or not. Neither is it, "Let's party!" although that is generally what the lost world looks to do at this time of the year. The thought that has been in my heart is, "He is worthy!"

2012 will certainly go down in the books as a challenging year. We are now more than ten years into war in Afghanistan, by far the longest war in which the U.S. has ever been engaged. House Speaker John Boehner recently announced that America "is broke" and, as I write this article, the talk of a "fiscal cliff" makes the headlines daily. And yet, in the heavens, God sits upon His throne and the heavenly hosts proclaim with a voice that would shake our universe, "He is worthy!"

And that Lamb is worthy! He is worthy because of the debt He paid. God created us in His image, to walk in His footsteps; yet we failed so miserably. But the worthy One came into this world to pay for our sins. We have just celebrated Christmas, a holiday in which we remember the coming of Jesus as a Babe in the manger, but this verse reminds us that the worthy One also came as a Lamb and was slain for our sins! It is because of that sacrifice that you and I have hope of eternal life. I join with that mighty heavenly host and say, "He is worthy!"

Again, He is worthy because of how He has joined the redeemed together. The worthy One has united all the born- again into one body, one family. That family is called "the church," an amazing collection from "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." We might add to that description that they will also be made up from every generation from the resurrection to the rapture, a mighty army that has stood the test of time and served God with distinction. Such a unit could only have been fashioned by the worthy One. It has been my privilege to serve in that family for many years, and I join with that mighty heavenly host and say, "He is worthy!"

But again, He is worthy because He will soon gather that group off this planet and take us into His presence. It is interesting that John the Apostle just described his experience in being "caught up" into God's Throne Room in the previous chapter. Perhaps his eyes moved quickly from the throne to the One who sits upon the throne to all the other marvelous sights of that indescribable palace; but they darted no longer when the worthy One stepped out of the midst of the throne. Instead, John found himself spontaneously bowing and joining his voice with the myriad of others who were in God's presence.

One of the reasons this passage stirs my heart so is that it is not just a description of heaven. It is a prophecy. As John was taken to God's Throne Room in a vision, all of God's children will one day be taken to this very place in reality. What John saw in the last chapter, our eyes will see; but what thrills my soul is to know that on that day, we will behold as the Lamb Who died for our sins steps to the forefront, and we will join with that mighty heavenly host and say, "He is worthy! He is worthy! He is worthy!" As I think of this New Year, that is what is ringing in my heart and perhaps 2013 will be that year!