Why has God planned a Millennium of Jesus' reign, rather than have Jesus make a new heaven and earth immediately when He returns?
When Jesus splits the Mt of Olives, destroys the nations attacking Israel, destroys the beast and Antichrist, and Israel grieves and turns to her real Messiah, then Jesus will begin to reign from Jerusalem. What I haven't been able to figure out is God's reason WHY there must be a Millennium at all that still ends with Satan rallying the nations against Christ and His people yet again. Why is that not the time when He makes a new heaven and earth, destroying the curse forever?
Since we are not God, we only can speculate. For one thing, God has to fulfill all of His promises, pertaining to Israel, that He made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others. For instance, Israel never has received all of the land God promised to them (Genesis 15:18-21, 17:7,8). In the brand new Creation to come (after the Millennium), on the brand new earth, I don't think that things will be anything like we see and know them to be now. Therefore, I believe that most of those ancient promises will be fulfilled during the final 1,000 years, when Jesus rules and reigns on this present earth.
God has to fulfill everything He promised in this realm, before it is over, including how Christ will rule and reign until everything has been put under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25,27). Furthermore, all of what we see now cannot end until death has been destroyed (15:26), which will occur at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:14).
So we know that all of God's prophecies must be fulfilled, including all the ones pertaining to the Millennium:
I don't really know, but I have some opinions. Possibly God wants to prove, to mankind and to angelic beings (both good and evil), how great everything would have been if nations and societies had been run according to His laws and rules. All misbehavior, crimes, and transgressions would have been exposed and dealt with immediately and swiftly, as they will be during the Millennium.
Also, at the beginning of the Millennium, Satan will be dumped into the Abyss, where he will remain for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1,2). Thus, he will not be around to tempt humankind during that time. This will demonstrate to everyone that Satan wasn't/isn't the source of our sin problem; rather, our fallen, corrupt nature itself is the cause.
Maybe an immediate change over to a brand new, perfect Creation would be much too "traumatic" for even glorified saints to handle. Furthermore, perhaps a transitional Millennium will be a time for further perfecting and cleansing, even testing, true believers to prepare them for eternity.
At the end of the 1,000 years, when Satan is released from the Abyss, he will deceive the incorrigible, irredeemable people of the earth—so many that they will be like the sand on the seashore—to surround Jerusalem and make one last (unsuccessful) attempt to rid the earth of Jesus and God's people (Revelation 20:7-9). This would seem to show that wherever evil and innate rebellion against God are present, goodness and godliness cannot be forced—even by the Son of God. That is why this contaminated, corrupted universe and earth will have to be destroyed and new ones created, in which not even a trace of sin ever will enter (21:8).
I also have another theory. Similar to the way that a man and woman meet, become friends, spend increasing amounts of time together, learn more and more about each other, fall in love, become engaged, and ultimately get married, I see the same sequence of events taking place between God and the Church of saved believers. Up until the time of the Millennium, humankind has increased its knowledge about God, His character and personality, how He works, etc. We know that He loves us far beyond our ability to comprehend it, and we know that He wants us to love and appreciate Him in return.
In our present forms, of course, we cannot come anywhere near matching the love He has for us and wants back from us. After we are glorified at the Rapture, our love for Him will be deeper and more profound, and it will grow faster than it is and does now; however, it cannot be complete and full yet, because we still will be in this fallen world and universe. Even while we are in heaven, between the time of the Rapture and our return with Jesus back to earth, we will not be able to experience the supreme love that God wants from us, as even heaven has been tainted to some extent and will be replaced in the new Creation to come.
So, the bottom line is this: I see this present realm—all of human history up to this point—as the "courtship" of humankind with God. I see the Millennium as the "engagement" period of believers with God, where a commitment has been made, on both sides, never to stray or turn back but, rather, to prepare for the ultimate "wedding" and union. And I see the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2), within the new Creation, as the place that He has prepared ONLY for His chosen, perfected, pristine Bride. That "marriage" will be so perfect that the "honeymoon" bliss will last for eternity.
I don't really wonder so much anymore, as I used to, about the reasons for the Millennium. I just know that God has clear-cut, logical reasons for everything He does and will do. I trust everything He does, and I figure there is a good explanation as to why we don't fully understand why the millennial period must take place. I suspect that when we are glorified, after the Rapture, He will "enlighten" us with a better understanding. But I also suspect that there still will be things that we do not understand about the "whys" of the millennial period until it is over and we have become His eternal Bride.
See also Why do you believe that there will be a literal millennial period, of 1,000 years, after Jesus returns?
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