The Fourth “Last Thing”: The Millennial Kingdom of Christ (Rev. 20:4-6) -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 157:625 (Jan 2000)
Article: The Fourth “Last Thing”: The Millennial Kingdom of Christ (Rev. 20:4-6)
Author: David J. MacLeod

The Fourth “Last Thing”: The Millennial Kingdom of Christ (Rev. 20:4-6)a

David J. MacLeodb

In The Film Grand Canyon (1991) an immigration attorney breaks out of a traffic jam and tries to bypass it by taking another route. His new route takes him along streets that seem progressively darker and more deserted. Then the predictable nightmare: The man’s fancy sports car stalls in an alarming inner-city neighborhood whose streets are terrorized by armed teenage gangsters. He manages to phone for a tow truck. But before it arrives, five young street toughs surround the lawyer’s car and threaten him with considerable bodily harm. Just in time, the tow truck shows up and its driver—an earnest, genial man named Simon—begins to hook up the sports car. The young toughs protest that the tow truck driver is interrupting their payday. So the tow truck driver takes the group leader aside and attempts a five-sentence introduction to morality. “Man,” he says, “the world ain’t s’pposed to work like this. Maybe you don’t know that, but this ain’t the way it’s supposed to be. I’m s’pposed to be able to do my job without askin’ you if I can. And that dude is s’pposed to be able to wait with his car without you rippin’ him off. Everything’s s’pposed to be different than what it is here.”1

As Cornelius Plantinga, professor of systematic theology at Calvin Theological Seminary, has written, “Central in the … Christian understanding of the world is a concept of the way things are supposed to be. They ought to be as designed and intended by

God.” The way things are supposed to be includes peace on earth, justice for all mankind, mutual respect and goodwill among people, and widespread concern for the good of one’s neighbor.

As everyone knows, however, “things are not that way at all. Human wrongdoing … mars every adult’s workday, every child’s schoolday, every vacationer’s holiday.” Plantinga asks his readers to think of the corrupt influences of sin. “A moment’s reflection yields memories and images of wrongdoing so commonplace that we are likely to accept them as normal.” A criminal in an old 1940s movie hangs up a telephone receiver; before exiting the phone booth, he rips the page he had consulted from the phone book and pockets it. A third-grader distributes party invitations in a manner calculated to let the omitted classmates clearly see their exclusion. Two old flames meet at a high school reunion and begin to chat intimately with nostalgia and boozy self-pity over what m...

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