The Fifth “Last Thing”: The Release of Satan and Man’s Final Rebellion (Rev. 20:7-10) -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 157:626 (Apr 2000)
Article: The Fifth “Last Thing”: The Release of Satan and Man’s Final Rebellion (Rev. 20:7-10)
Author: David J. MacLeod

The Fifth “Last Thing”:
The Release of Satan and Man’s Final Rebellion
(Rev. 20:7-10)a

David J. MacLeodb

One of the profoundest facts in the entire realm of history is the universal sense of guilt.1 Ancient pagan religions, with all their differences, were united in their recognition that people had offended their gods, whose anger needed to be appeased. Teachers in every branch of the Christian church agree on the problem of the fact of sin and its accompanying guilt before God. John Henry Newman wrote, “The human race is implicated in some terrible aboriginal calamity. It is out of joint with the purposes of its Creator.”2

The fact of guilt is an ongoing theme in the world’s great literature. Lady Macbeth, overcome with remorse over her part in the murders committed by her husband, vociferously cried out her guilt as she viewed the imagined blood stains on her hand. And Scripture indicts the entire human race for its sin. “Both Jews and Greeks are all under sin … that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:9, 19, 23).

Yet many people are in a state of denial, refusing to admit

their sin. “Nothing,” says Anglican bishop D. R. Davies, “is so sinister in our world today as the decline in the sense of sin, the dissipating of the sense of guilt.”3

Several forces—including liberal Protestant theology, aggressive secularism, ethereal humanism, revived paganism, and psychological Freudianism—contribute to this trend. Humankind, they insist, is basically good. Suppressed guilt feelings are the source of neuroses; therefore guilt feelings must be transcended. As a result the language of sin—the biblical assertions that unbelief, rebellion against God, and transgression of His commands are blameworthy—has been replaced by the language of sociology and therapy. “There was a time when we were afraid of being caught doing something sinful in front of our ministers,” observes a character in one of Peter De Vries’s short stories. “Now we are afraid of being caught doing something immature in front of our therapists.”4

Shortly before his d...

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